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Worried about retaining millennials? Start focusing on Gen Z.

Worried about retaining millennials? Start focusing on Gen Z.

Last December we published an article titled “Our Last Word on Millennials.” And we meant it. If you haven’t already gone through the process of addressing your hiring processes and adjusting them to target millennials, you’re too late. This is not to say that there still isn’t a vital need to continue to develop hiring practices that are designed with millennials in mind, but millennials no longer represent the incoming class of young insurance talent. Generation Z is matriculating as we speak and entering the workforce with a set of skills and ideas that won’t readily mesh with millennial-focused recruitment efforts (and don’t even think about refurbishing your Gen X practices for this group).

 

For forward-thinking companies who recalibrated to attract generation viewed as the polar opposite of the baby boomers, their millennial recruiting victories may be short lived. Now, as the economy flourishes and the job market begins to favor jobseekers, a new hurdle is keeping the talent that they worked so hard to attract. When considering how to retain one generation, it may seem counterintuitive to discuss how to attract the next generation, but a closer look reveals that the two issues go hand in hand.

 

Forward-thinking Practices Breed Commitment

If you think millennials are eager to jump ship for the next best offer, please refer to the article linked in the first paragraph. The myth that millennials are more likely to switch jobs is long debunked. They represent a generation that witnessed a collapse of the job market and what is most important to them is security. Most job changes made by millennials are not motivated by their current wants but by their desire to increase their chances for a more financially stable future. The way your company approaches hiring Gen Z is a reflection of your perceived longevity. Companies that are mired in old practices do not instill a great amount of confidence in their millennial employees. Millennials want to work for companies that are continuing to think about and work for a profitable future. When you actively work to attract this young class of talent, you send a message to your millennial workforce that you care about their future.

 

The Future of Insurtech

As the ongoing talent crisis created by the mass exodus of boomers has many companies working to find and promote millennial talent into the roles being made vacant by these vertical shifts, the demand for innovative technologies within the insurance sector continues to rise. While there are certainly individuals of all generations skilled in this particular segment, it will take a concerted effort to attract Gen Z to satisfy the entry level tech needs of an evolving insurance landscape.

 

The impending changes to the insurance industry as it relates to technology are inevitable. In the coming weeks, we at The James Allen Companies will continue to provide meaningful content regarding the growing field of insurtech. We also understand that at the core of the insurance industry is people, and we believe that the most important factor in meeting the changing technology needs of the industry is attracting the right people. The first step toward solidifying your company’s future and instilling a sense of security among your team begins with a renewed focus on bringing in the next young generation of insurance professionals.

Getting the Most Out of Your Recruiter:  Capitalizing on a Candidate’s Market

Getting the Most Out of Your Recruiter: Capitalizing on a Candidate’s Market

In our first installment of this three-part series focusing on the advantages of a quality recruiter for candidates we took you to the end of the process:  counteroffers. We did this for a number of reasons. Counteroffers are historically and statistically a detriment to the candidate. They serve as little more than an insult from a current employer who is likely doing what they can to retain an employee long enough to find their replacement. Accepting a counteroffer is also a quick way to irreparably damage one’s reputation, sending the message to the current employer, the prospective company and the recruiter that a candidate lacks integrity and honesty. Another reason why accepting a counteroffer can prove to be counterproductive is what brings us to this, our second installment on Getting the Most Out of Your Recruiter.

 

THE MARKET SHOULD MOVE YOU FORWARD

It’s little mystery that today’s insurance job market is candidate driven; however, it is this type of environment that can allow candidates to become a little too complacent. A candidate-driven market is not enough on its own to put insurance professionals on the fast track to success and upward mobility. Using the rising demand for talent as a lever within your current company is an enormous misstep, as it relates to the market. There are undoubtedly great opportunities out there for talented professionals with the dedication and drive to capitalize and further their careers. That being said, it makes little sense to use those opportunities as empty threats to pressure your current employer into offering a little more salary.

 

THE FOREST FOR THE TREES

With a candidate-driven market you will likely find many qualifying opportunities. Perhaps too many. This is really where one begins to appreciate the value of an experienced and knowledgeable recruiter. Understanding markets and knowing companies is their profession. Tasking yourself with evaluating multiple opportunities while balancing your current responsibilities can be more than difficult, it can be impossible. Working with a recruiter entrenched in the insurance industry provides you with a perspective that can focus your search and help you connect with an organization that can truly offer you the ability to maximize your career potential.

 

A CHANCE TO STAND APART

While every other candidate is relying on the market to do the work for them, these are the conditions in which the best can truly separate themselves from the pack. The market is like a current that has potential to carry candidates down the river, but those with the tenacity to still swim will find that they will go much farther, much faster. So how does one swim with the current? Many candidates approach this market with a “what’s in it for me” mentality. Imagine the refreshing shock potential employers will experience when they interview individuals who show up prepared, professional and interested in how they can help the company. Organizations will cling tightly and reward dearly those forward-thinking professionals who exhibit the willingness and the aptitude to go above and beyond regardless of what the job market dictates.

 

At The James Allen Companies, we have long been helping great people connect with great organizations in all job climates. We bring years of real industry experience and recruiting expertise to the table, which carries a great deal of weight with the clients for whom we recruit. The insurance job market today is positioned in such a way that candidates who are savvy enough to utilize the services and commit to the advice of experienced recruiters can enjoy success like never before.

How to Lose a Candidate in 10 Ways

How to Lose a Candidate in 10 Ways

Are you worried about attracting great professionals? Are you concerned that your hiring process might be making too positive of an impression on potential hires? Cast your worries aside. If you think you might be at risk of getting dynamic and talented individuals excited about your organization, The James Allen Companies has curated a list of the 10 most surefire ways you can drive away the best and brightest and keep your company from competing at the highest levels. Even for companies striving to grow and succeed by hiring great candidates, the list stands as a reminder of the mistakes that can cost your organization a chance at the best passive talent.

 

  1. Take Your Time

    When we search for candidates for our clients, we look for the most impressive passive talent that truly matches the opportunity and your organization’s culture. So when we present these proven professionals to you, be sure to stretch out your interview process for as long as possible. Nothing tells a highly qualified candidate that you couldn’t be less interested in them or more incompetent than draining every last bit of energy they have for your opportunity. An added bonus is that they may tell their colleagues how drawn out and painful your interview process was, ensuring that you’ll lose out on attracting other talented professionals.

  2. Assume They’re Jobless

    As we said, we seek out passive talent who are too focused on succeeding to be active in the job market. These individuals are employed and successful, but that doesn’t mean you have to treat them that way! If you want to drive away a great fit, there’s nothing quite as effective as making them feel like they should be thanking you for even taking the time to talk with them. Make sure you let them know early and often that they’re lucky to even have a chance at your opportunity, regardless of their past and present successes.

  3. Make ‘Em an Offer They CAN Refuse

    So you’ve been dragging out the interview process. You’ve made it clear that you believe you are their only hope in ever finding gainful employment (regardless of the fact they are already employed). But they’re still listening? Now it’s time to play hardball. If they haven’t figured out just how little you think of them, nothing sends the message of how little you value great talent by putting a paltry price tag on them. If you know what they’re making, offer them less. That’ll show them what you think they’re really worth.

  4. What’s Better Than One Great Passive Candidate?

    Ten mediocre active candidates! We have stressed in the past that the best and brightest candidates are most often those that are currently employed and not actively seeking new opportunities. The easiest way to discourage these great individuals is to bypass them altogether. By sticking to unhappy and underqualified applicants, you’ll avoid the exhausting work of scaring away impressive passive candidates.

  5. Put Them in the Pile

    Just because these great passive candidates didn’t come to you like the average applicant doesn’t mean you can’t treat them like any Joe Schmoe off the street. Sure, they aren’t even actively pursuing new opportunities, but by telling them to fill out an application before you’ll even consider speaking with them, you are all but ensuring they remember why they dislike the entire process, sending them back to the arms of their current employer.

  6. Resumes: Interviews For Dummies

    One expert solution to reducing passive candidates to nothing more than a faceless name is to distill them down to a single sheet of paper. Taking a three-dimensional professional and basing your entire perception of them on a two-dimensional piece of paper is an excellent way to keep them disenchanted and in the dark. Remember, there’s nothing a candidate can tell you about their vast experiences that you can’t learn from a few brief lines of text on a resume.

  7. “Why Do You Want to Work With Us?”

    Let’s not forget these passive candidates weren’t looking for a new career. They certainly weren’t looking for you. They may not even know anything about you or your organization. Still, that shouldn’t stop you from making it very clear that they are very lucky to have an audience with you. If you want to take this strategy up a notch, passively imply you don’t think they’re quite qualified while also dismissing their credentials.

  8. Keep Them Waiting

    Don’t limit yourself to only delaying the overall process of interviewing and making a decision. Take every opportunity to keep candidates waiting, apprehensive and uncomfortable. A key moment to express just how disinterested you are in a passive candidate comes at the interview. If you have the interview scheduled for 9:00 A.M., the candidate will most likely be there early. Keep them waiting until about 9:20 just to give them adequate time to really question your culture and begin reconsidering the opportunity altogether.

  9. Make it About the Money

    The best professionals in the industry are serious about what they do and they do it well, which is why you will want to ignore everything about the opportunity and cut straight to the chase. Keep it general and talk primarily about the financial reasons. If they’re only there for the money, then it’s only a matter of time before they leave again. And then you get to start the whole process over! This is a really great tip for not only pushing away serious individuals but for also landing employees who are only motivated by the most superficial factors.

  10. Candidates are Mushrooms…

    So feed them crap and keep them in the dark. A common theme among our tips is making them wait, and then making them wait a little longer. The best time to keep them out of the loop is after the interview. They are going to be eager to know how it went, which is why you want to withhold that feedback for as long as possible. And when you do provide it, keep it vague and noncommittal.

 

In all seriousness, we know you want the most talented and driven candidates that truly connect with your company’s mission and culture. We also know that an applicant being active and/or unemployed should not immediately discount that individual’s potential; however, the best candidates are usually the ones not currently seeking new opportunities. It then stands to reason that they are going to be the ones most easily turned off or discouraged by unnecessary delays and apparent disinterest. If you are interested in landing the best passive talent, like the professionals presented by The James Allen Companies, be sure to NOT follow the aforementioned tips.

Weathering the Talent Storm

Weathering the Talent Storm

In 2017, we sounded the alarm bell regarding the impending talent shortage that is to be a result of the massive retirement of Baby Boomers. By October of that year, according to data collected by Pew Research and the Social Security Administration, Boomers were entering retirement at a rate of 10,000 individuals a day. That is an astounding number, and it is not even close to slowing. In our Eleventh Hour series, we outlined the dire future for the face of insurance talent. In the opening article of that four-part report, we touched upon one statistic that estimated around 25% of industry professionals would be retired by 2018 and that by 2020 the industry could likely face nearly half a million vacancies. If the storm is upon us, we most likely have not even reached its eye. Now is the time to begin assessing the loss that is probably already occurring and is going to continue, as well as how your organization can not only weather the storm but find a way to succeed in spite of it.

 

Loss You Can’t Control

Burying one’s head in the metaphorical sand may be a good way to drown out the maelstrom of today’s talent climate, but it makes it impossible to make an honest assessment of the loss that is already occurred and develop strategies to counter that loss and defend against future vacancies. The first step is to accept the things we cannot change. Baby Boomers are retiring, and they’ve earned that retirement, so disregard any notion of trying to retain them because that’s only a bandage on a gaping wound. Whether it is today, tomorrow or two years from now, the most substantial sector of industry talent is packing their bags, and they’re not coming back. Now is the time to display to your upcoming talent how your organization honors and respects the years of service they’ve given your company. You may not be able to keep them, but you can make a lasting impression on younger generations in the way you help them exit.

 

Loss You Can Mitigate

If you’ve been proactive enough to keep your head out of the sand, then you are already headed in the right direction. If you are giving the appropriate attention to the exodus of Boomers, then you are doing even better, but be wary that while your back is turned, other companies are taking this opportunity to siphon away your next generation of leaders. There’s a reason why, when speaking about today’s talent climate, experts use words like “crisis” and “dilemma.” This is a storm that has not only ripped a hole in the front of the vessel, but it has also cut an opening in the back of the ship, causing you to incur losses from the bow and stern. While a portion of the loss is inevitable, there are measures that can be taken to improve retention of the valuable talent that is waiting in the wings. It’s important to note that when your competitors come for your upcoming talent, they aren’t going after your more disgruntled staff who are submitting to job boards and filling out online applications. Your competitors are using all means at their disposal to target your best and brightest employees. These professionals are ones you cannot afford to lose, and the ones most in your power to keep. As previously mentioned, the way you express your appreciation of your retiring professionals can send a strong message to your younger talent about the intrinsic value of your company. Efforts to promote retention can also have the added effect of attracting the new talent your organization will absolutely need to move forward.

 

The Best Defense is a Good Offense

Regardless of how incredible your retention efforts are, there is not enough talent on your bench to compensate for the inevitable losses that are occurring and will continue to occur over the next several years. Even the deepest benches will be exhausted either through promotion or losses to hungry competitors willing to do whatever it takes to replenish their own talent needs. Storms deplete resources, and this storm is no different. As we already mentioned, strong retention efforts can simultaneously increase the intrinsic value of your organization, attracting new professionals with the promise to help your company weather the storm. An added benefit of being proactive and acquiring high-quality professionals sooner rather than later is that it improves the overall atmosphere of your work environment, increasing your odds of retaining the talent you already have. Addressing your talent concerns early allows you to not only survive the storm, but it gives you the advantage to thrive during it. This means greater success now and in the future for your organization, and there is perhaps no better retention tool and talent magnet than success.

 

The James Allen Companies has been long studying the impending Baby Boomer exodus. Our research and extensive experience has allowed us to help a number of clients address the talent shortage that is already affecting the insurance industry as a whole. We are interested in doing more than filling vacancies. Our efforts allow us to deliver exceptional passive candidates, candidates who, like your best, are not actively seeking new opportunities because they are too busy producing results. We work with clients with the intention of promoting their success now and in the future. If you are ready to prep your business for the talent storm by hiring the most sought after professionals in the industry, contact The James Allen Companies today.

Our Last Word on Millennials

Our Last Word on Millennials

The end of 2017 is fast approaching, and as the year closes, we feel it is time to close the book on one particular topic that has dominated the hiring conversation for the past few years:  Millennials. We don’t expect this article to be the final word on the place of Millennials in the workplace, but it will be the final word for us. The time to debate just how terrible or great Millennials are is over. They are fast approaching the majority as the workforce. According to a study conducted by IBM, by 2020 Millennials will comprise 50 percent of the U.S. workforce. By 2030 they will represent 75 percent of the workforce. The time for pontificating over every outlandish claim that Millennials want to work solely from the comfort of their studio apartments or commute to their jobs in eco-friendly, refurbished Ferris wheels that are fueled by compost and hopes is over. Millennials are not the future of the workforce; they are the present, and it’s going to be okay.

 

In reference to the aforementioned IBM study, the insight and statistics provided are a sound representation of the myths versus the realities of the Millennial workforce, but it is also important to the context of this article to remind you that the study was conducted in the summer of 2014. At this time the age group for Millennials as prescribed by the study was 21-34. This means that by next summer, Millennials will be represented by individuals in the 25-38 age range. By the summer of 2020, when Millennials will be hitting 50 percent of the workforce, some of them will also be hitting 40 years old.

 

The goal with this, our last word on Millennials, is to confront a few of the enduring myths and, through the context of the IBM study, dispel them. While the study was a broad endeavor spanning 6 industries, the stereotypes and concerns addressed mirror those we have fielded within the insurance industry.

 

Millennials want different things from a career than older generations

Despite the insistence that Millennials are out to completely undermine or revolutionize the very concept of work, the research suggests otherwise. In fact, in regards to career goals, Millennials and Baby Boomers are almost identical in what they feel is important. Among the top goals for these two groups is to work for leading organizations and make a positive impact within that organization. If any generation is an outlier in terms of career goals, it is Generation X, who, at the time of the study, was comprised of individuals falling within the 35-49 age range.

 

Everyone should get a trophy

This has become the motto of cynics everywhere in regards to Millennials. Unfortunately for them, it doesn’t bode well in the face of the data. Millennials appear to be more concerned with working for leaders who value transparency and dependability rather than leaders who heap praise on their subordinates. While Millennials are more likely to value recognition than Generation X or Baby Boomers, the importance of this has been greatly exaggerated. Accolades are far less important to Millennials than fair treatment.

 

Millennials are eager to jump ship

Like every other generation in the workforce, Millennials strive for upward mobility within their career. They want to be able to grow and develop into roles that offer greater challenges as well as greater rewards. Are Millennials susceptible to making an organizational shift for their benefit? Yes, but no more than any other generation. In fact, individuals belonging to Generation X are more likely to change jobs for reasons of finance or passion than Millennials. The itinerant nature of Millennials seems to be more a product of the economic times rather than an internal desire to change jobs.

 

If Millennials are the future of the workforce, then the future was yesterday. But really, the most important thing to concentrate on when interviewing Millennials, or Gen-Xers, or Baby Boomers (and yes, you should be considering applicants from all these generations) is that they aren’t just a Millennial or a Gen-Xer or a Baby boomer. They are an individual, and if you interview well and listen closely, you might just learn what it is they are looking for, not as a member of some generational group, but as a person.

Understanding the Passive Candidate

Understanding the Passive Candidate

All signs within the insurance industry indicate that we are only moving further into a bear market in terms of accessible talent. As organizations continue to respond by shoring up their vacancies, it becomes increasingly more likely that the best fit for your open positions is already employed with one of your competitors. What makes this especially difficult is that the strategies and concepts typically incorporated by internal hiring departments are built out of an active candidate approach. These systems are designed to filter jobseekers who have sought out the opportunity and submitted documentation necessary to express interest. Unfortunately, as the pool of qualified talent continues to shrink, finding the best available talent through these means is often the exception rather than the rule. In order to compete at the next level, it is essential to apply a first-rate passive candidate approach.

 

The Statistics

While there is no direct statistics regarding the makeup of the insurance industry workforce as it pertains to active and passive candidates, there are some educated assumptions we can make when considering the greater workforce statistics. According to the article Recruiting Active vs. Passive Candidates, only 25% of the fully-employed workforce in the United States could be considered truly “active.” This means just what it implies, these members of the workforce are actively looking for a new opportunity, submitting resumes and applications. The remaining 75% of the workforce falls under the “passive” category, with a fifth of those being what could be considered on the cusp. Candidates on the cusp may be more inclined to consider new opportunities but still qualify as passive since they have not made steps to pursue a change in career.

 

How It Translates

If 75% of the entire workforce is comprised of passive candidates, the current state of competition for talent indicates that this percentage is probably higher within the insurance industry. As organizations struggle to find qualified insurance professionals due to baby boomer retirement and a dearth of millennial and Gen-X talent, the most qualified candidates are those already employed and, likely, not actively seeking new opportunities. What this means is that the traditional means of seeking candidates are going to yield very limited results.

 

Landing the Passive Candidate

Without the aid of an experience recruiting partner like The James Allen Companies, it is difficult bordering on impossible for organizations to locate, much less land, passive talent with their internal systems. This lack of interaction with passive candidates often inhibits these companies with understanding the intricacies of interviewing and attracting these individuals. The primary thing to remember is that the passive candidate was not looking, implying that they are, at least, satisfied with their current position. Hesitancy and delays are quick ways to lose your chance at what is most likely the best fit for the position you are seeking to fill. You cannot approach the passive candidate with the one-sided mentality that it is them who needs to sell their skills and expertise. With the passive candidate, it is just as important that you sell the candidate on why your organization is worth them pursuing the opportunity.

 

The most important thing to glean from this information is that if you are focused on finding the best possible candidates for your open positions, your best opportunity lies in passive candidates. And the best passive candidates are sourced by professional recruiters who understand the insurance industry. Once you have access to these candidates, however, it is vital that you recognize the best way to keep them interested in your opportunity. A swift hiring process that is expedited in favor of candidates with a strong and proven track record is an ideal example of how to improve one’s odds when attempting to secure passive talent. This is the added value of skilled recruiters like those at The James Allen Companies. We can provide you with the insight unique to each candidate, giving your organization the best chance of securing them. As the talent pool continues to dry up, the stakes are only getting higher. Take the most important step toward better talent today by reaching out to us.

The Eleventh Hour Part 4:  Investing in Education

The Eleventh Hour Part 4: Investing in Education

As we look to close our four-part series on talent-shortage crisis, we begin to look forward to better understand what the insurance industry can do to combat the impending deficiency of qualified leaders and personnel. To recap the major points of our Eleventh Hour series:  baby boomers are retiring en masse, leaving a large hole in leadership; millennials are opting for other career opportunities, creating an incoming talent pool that is too shallow to meet demand; while technology looks to compensate for this shortage, it introduces its own dilemma in that it exposes the insurance industry’s lack of technical talent; and generation X, which should be stepping in to fill the immediate need for leadership being opened by exiting boomers, is far too thin in terms of population to adequately meet this need. What these crises make clear is that there is an immediate need for talented professionals educated in the nuances of the industry.

The Higher Education Pipeline

One of the most optimistic areas in regards to the future of insurance talent is American higher education institutions. More American colleges continue to expand their risk management and insurance (RMI) programs. Currently, only 51 colleges offer a version of the RMI program. Graduates of these programs enjoy a high rate of employment, with the top schools boasting virtually 100% employment rates. While this is highly encouraging, the current graduation rate looks to only meet 10-15% of the insurance talent needs.

Learning on the Job

While institutions of higher learning grow their RMI programs, there is still an enormous dearth of talent in terms of meeting the rising demand. This is where a certain amount of burden falls to the insurance industry to promote educational opportunities from within. In the past we’ve referred to Tony Cañas and Carly Burnham’s book Insuring Tomorrow:  Engaging Millennials in the Insurance Industry. In this book Tony recalls the insurance companies of yore that offered incredible training opportunities for incoming employees. The insurance industry needs to more adequately prepare its current and incoming talent in order to effectively transition new leadership.

Meeting the Future

There is a clear gap in the acknowledgment of the industry’s growing shortage. As boomers continue to collect their gold watch and ride off into the sunset (or toward the Sunshine State), the demand for highly qualified and experienced leaders grows. But that demand is not reciprocated with a flourishing market. There comes a point when the industry must realize that the tree of leadership has long been picked, and it is time to grow a new generation of leaders. Companies must become creative and visionary, not looking for proven leaders, but instead looking for proven talent with leadership qualities.

The most difficult bridge to gap may be that of understanding. Recognizing there is a real and immediate dilemma is half the battle. The other half is responding. What we are already finding is that the most forward-thinking companies are already searching for tomorrow’s leaders in insurance. The talent pool of experienced leaders is not only shrinking, it’s all but dry, and many companies are engaging staffing experts, like The James Allen Company, with industry knowledge and experience. They leverage their experience to procure and place exceptional talent. We seek to truly understand our client companies and find future leaders that not only have the potential to provide long term success but also prove to be an immediate cultural fit. The best way to stay in front of the crisis is to partner with dedicated professionals with the experience to weather the storm.

The Eleventh Hour Part 2: The Technology Paradox

The Eleventh Hour Part 2: The Technology Paradox

In the first episode of this four part series we discussed the growing talent crisis that continues to threaten the traditional structure of the insurance industry. Specifically, we focused on the three generations that occupy the insurance talent pool and how each poses their own unique threat to the ability to meet staffing demands. The baby boomers, the most significant portion of the industry are nearing retirement, which stands to leave a vast gap in talent. Generation X (or Generation Next in terms of picking up the mantle of boomers) represents the midlevel professionals who would be expected to inherit the executive mantle from the boomers, but their population is much too small to even come close to satisfy the looming executive needs. Finally, the much-maligned Millennials have the numbers to rescue the industry from its staffing woes, but cultural clashes and a lack of interest has soured the relationship between them and the insurance world.

These concerns are considerable and only growing more so as boomers continue their mass exodus toward a much-deserved retirement. The rallying cry of optimists has become “technology,” and for good reason. According to these pro-technologists, the advancement of automation, artificial intelligence and other digital interventions within the insurance industry promises to satisfy much of the vacancies created by the loss of current professionals. This is not an unwarranted claim. According to some, technology could dissolve the need for as much as 25% of full-time insurance professionals in some markets. This combined with continued mergers and acquisitions promises consolidation and an overall reduction in staffing needs. Unfortunately, what the optimists have either missed or ignore is the dilemma technology introduces to the staffing needs of the insurance industry. We offer three separate obstacles that require attention in regards to viewing technology as a viable solution to the industry’s talent shortage.

The Numbers Don’t Add Up

From a very distant view, the elimination and consolidation of insurance positions seems to fit quite nicely with the dwindling pool of viable candidates. However, technology, while advancing at an incredible rate, is still not growing at a rate that matches the speed at which positions are being left vacant. That 25% reduction mentioned in the previous paragraph? That is over a ten-year period. That reduction becomes less encouraging when compared to the prediction of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that 50% of the current insurance workforce will be retired by 2030. That still leaves an enormous gap to be filled by a less-than-enthused base of Millennials.

Learning to Fish

The oft-quoted adage concerning giving someone a fish versus teaching them to fish is fairly applicable to the short-term solution technology offers. As we understand, technology is only gradually growing to the point of absorbing a number of positions. And as would be expected, the jobs that technology is best at are the most basic, entry-level positions. This does not solve the staffing shortage problem but only moves it a little down the road. By eliminating the entry-level workforce, we deplete the talent pool for mid-level positions in the future. The loss of these jobs to technology is clearly inevitable, but the industry will once again need to address how it will attract tomorrow’s talent.

Starting in the Red

The third obstacle presented by technology is the technology itself. The mass introduction of such industry-redefining tech will require a proportionally mass influx of qualified professionals equipped to manage and maintain these systems. This puts the insurance industry, a market already straggling to attract millennials, even further behind as it is positioned against more culture-savvy industries in vying for the best tech-oriented millennial talent.

Not only does technology not solve the most pressing staffing woes facing the industry, but it presents a new set of problems. Forward-thinking companies are partnering with recruiting professionals like The James Allen Companies to solidify their ranks with highly qualified candidates that can manage the technological transition, helping them overcome the staffing shortage. In part three of our series we will address the experience gap that threatens to deteriorate the bridge from incoming talent and rising management and executive needs.

Death of a Candidate

Death of a Candidate

There’s a plethora of quotes and clichés preaching the virtues of action.  The early bird gets the worm. Strike while the iron is hot. We could fill this post with the redundancy of phrases affirming and reaffirming the importance of being decisive and acting quickly on those decisions. As we find ourselves at the midpoint of the year, two facts have made themselves apparent:  it is a candidate’s market when it comes to careers in the insurance industry and employers are not responding appropriately. We continue to watch as the best available talent is secured by proactive organizations that are preparing themselves for the future, while hesitant companies put great candidates on the backburner, off in search of the nonexistent Mr. (or Ms.) Right, only to return and find that great candidate gone, most likely lost to an employer who understands that available talent today will be gone tomorrow.

What is most troubling is that these companies who hesitate not only suffer with the initial loss of a quality candidate, but also by extending the amount of time, money and energy needed to conduct a quality job search. Many times companies are unaware of certain practices that could be detrimental to their efforts. If you are finding yourself in situations like those we’ve mentioned, take an objective look at your current hiring practices and consider the following:

The Best Talent is Employed

As a professional staffing agency with decades of experience, we at The James Allen Companies go beyond a blanket search for candidates to fulfill your needs. We work in the interests of our clients, diligently searching for the best and most relevant talent. It stands to reason that said talent is probably already employed; however, hiring managers too often approach candidates as if they are an unvetted and underqualified applicant who found them through some bland job board. Candidates that are sourced by recruiting experts like those at The James Allen Companies are career professionals who have worked hard to acquire the experience and skills your company needs. These candidates take pride in their work and achievements. Unfortunately, when clients approach these candidates as though they are in need of employment, they demean their professionalism. Candidates certainly need to sell themselves to potential employers, but client companies need to be aware of the dynamics involved in interviewing and attracting quality candidates, and they need to be equally prepared to sell why these uniquely qualified job seekers should entertain the prospect of such a significant transition.

Time is on Their Side

There’s no reason to skirt the truth here:  candidates need a reason to make a move, and every second you allow them to reconsider a transition decreases the odds they take the leap. If you are stringing candidates along, be prepared to lose them. What is especially dangerous is that once you’ve planted the idea in their mind that a change is feasible, you’ve opened their eyes to not only your opportunity but other opportunities as well. The more time you delay in moving forward with them is more time your competitors have to swoop in and take advantage of your hesitation.

Don’t Rely On Life Support

Too many times we witness hiring managers risk the death of a candidate by placing them on a sort of “life support.” They feed them enough information or provide enough feedback to keep them on the hook, so to speak. This effort is unproductive, often even counterintuitive. The more you prolong the candidate’s experience, the more likely it is that you lose them to apathy, or worse, competition. When candidates get placed on life support, the thing it most often nurtures is their frustration. And candidates, like most people, vent their frustration. They vent them to us, but they also vent them to their colleagues and peers. Not only have you possibly damaged your relationship with this qualified candidate, but you are risking the way other professionals view your organization. The death of a candidate can become the death of several candidates.

When you engage the services of a professional staffing agency like The James Allen Companies, rest assured that they are connecting you with dynamic and qualified talent, but also be aware that the professionals they present are most likely solidly employed, passive candidates who are not readily searching for change in employment. Candidates that are truly hidden talent and can’t be found through job board postings, ads or other traditional means. Take advantage of the opportunity to attract and employ the industry’s best and brightest, but don’t risk the death of a candidate at the hands of indecisiveness.

Do you want MVPs or championship rings?

Do you want MVPs or championship rings?

For as long as sports journalists have been shoving tape recorders and microphones in the faces of successful coaches, we have been privy to their “secrets of success.” The responses have become so typical that we can recite them as if we are the Lombardis and Woodens of modern business. The responses rarely change and the secrets are hardly clandestine because the elements of success are pretty obvious:  talent, hard work and a team-first mentality. Each of those elements on their own can be helpful, but rarely do they translate into wins unless they work together. Staying ahead of the competition means delivering on all three levels, but what is the best way to maximize the opportunity for success in each area?

Talent

Think of the most naturally gifted athletes you’ve observed. They appear to be working hard, and they probably are, but they don’t seem exhausted. When the other players around them begin to lose their step, they step up. Talent is easy to recognize but hard to find. It’s also difficult to define. There’s a reason the most successful sports organizations in the world do not rely solely on their own inner office to discover and attract fresh talent. The scouting industry is a vital component to the efforts of championship teams. Having people who specialize in uncovering and attaining talent is the most effective way to ensure you have access to those individuals who rise above the crowd.

Hard Work

For as many talented individuals who have found success, there are far more who seemed to have that x-factor but never maximized their potential. Whether it was personal failures, injuries or other circumstances, for every Michael Jordon there is a Kwame Brown or Sam Bowie. What is more frustrating is when we watch players with loads of talent squander it because they’ve reached a level where they have to work in order to stay ahead and they just fail to do so. Talent alone isn’t enough if it’s not coupled with work ethic. This hearkens back to the benefit of a talent scout. They not only calculate the hardline statistics that signify talent, but they get to know the players they scout to better understand their drive and determination.

Team-first Mentality

The Patriots, the Yankees, the Bulls. These teams have exemplified what it takes to create a dynasty. They find talent that other teams either look over or under-utilize. They work harder than everyone else. And they concern themselves with team success over individual success. What we find when we examine these teams is that by focusing on team success, they found individual success. Talent rises higher when there is a great team around them to lift them farther up. This takes sacrifice, but sacrifice now means greater success later.

As executive recruiters specializing in the insurance industry, we at The James Allen Companies pride ourselves in finding talent that not only has the individual potential for success but also shows the greatest promise for making your organization better. We believe in continued success for everyone, and we know that everyone succeeds when talent fits with the team you’ve already cultivated. We are experts in locating and attracting candidates who would rather win championships than MVPs. We do this by sourcing and understanding individuals who have the talent, a proven history of hard work, and a team-first mentality.