When Millennials think of an insurance position, they cringe at the thought of a mundane 9-to-5 spent hunched over a keyboard in a cubicle or the archetype of the pushy salesman who is only interested in commission. Quite often, the idea doesn’t even cross the horizon of options when job hunting. With insurance talent increasingly on the back nine of their careers, C-suite leaders are looking for new talent to fill in the gaps. Here are 5 ways (with tips!) on how you can get the young workforce into your office.
Re-educate the masses
It’s time to put insurance back on the map. What’s great about having a negative stereotype is that people are shocked when they see an example of that stereotype shattered. And things that shock, stick. Start shattering the stereotypes and get your audience to see you as different. Here are some tips:
- Get in front of college seniors within your area through internships, career fairs, and by partnering with professors for class project integration.
- Use the negative stereotypes to your advantage! If your career fair booth said, “Keep on walking, insurance is terribly boring,” the laughs would probably initiate a lot of good conversations.
- Millennials are going to research your company online. What kind of “personality” does your company’s online presence project? Leverage your website, LinkedIn, and other online platforms to redefine what it means to be “the insurance guy or lady.”
Re-brand the role
Language plays a huge role in communicating reality from one person to another. Take a look at your company’s job descriptions. Chances are, it uses common vocabulary that elicits from its readers the stereotypes described above. How can you reshape the functions of roles with language that highlights the complexity, creativity, and purpose behind a position? Here are some things to think about:
- A “customer advocate” implies a unique nuance to a position that “customer service” does not. Switch out overly used words for synonyms that better capture the role or cast it in light of your company’s mission statement.
- Think of the position as a character in the story of your company. Millennials would rather be a part of a story than a cog in the wheel or a step on the assembly line.
- Add some strategic colloquial language or humor to the job description. This goes a long way with millennials by appealing to their value of authenticity—It shows signs of a lively company culture and stands out from the norm.
Re-think the workflow
When observing a Millennial in their natural habitat, one will find their social dynamics lean toward egalitarian collaboration. While authority is respected, nothing quite brings millennials alive like genuine relationship and teamwork. Rigid hierarchies, high power distances, and siloed departments are a big turn-off. Here are some tips to shift the workplace dynamics:
- Identify ways collaboration might strengthen your business model and company culture, and take steps to implement them. Even without Millennials in mind, this practice is just a good idea.
- Invest in your leader. What are their unique leadership styles, and how can they each take steps toward more effective leadership? There are some great services, seminars, and online resources available.
- Some companies have eliminated internal email and follow a no-meetings-allowed policy. Start questioning the productivity of those workplace habits that have become immortal over time.
Revive the vision
Many people hold another kind of negative stereotype about the insurer: its employees are mostly concerned about cutting the biggest slice of commission possible. Many see insurance companies as quick to demand high premiums, and stingy to pay out. Sure, companies like that exist in every industry. But assuming your company has higher goals in mind, share the heck out of that vision! Millennials are attracted to a position and a company where they feel like they are helping others. Many people have forgotten the fundamental service insurance provides to society. Keep in mind:
- Insurance is a helping profession and is positioned to serve and support people in times of need. As a time-tested buffer against poverty and one of the oldest examples of social entrepreneurship, the industry has a lot going for it.
- Remember your company is a part of a very powerful story that spans centuries. Revive this people-first mentality with good business practices and spread the insurance gospel!
- Cast your company story into a larger context. There is a rich history dating back to Babylonian civilization where records show some of the earliest insurance and risk management practices were recorded. Modern civilization would not be where it is today without Insurance.
On an especially practical note, Millennials have some unique needs and values that an employer can address in order to catch their eye. Shaping a flexible benefits package or making some changes to the office space is a great way to attract talent. Here are some pointers:
- Student loan or tuition reimbursement: the economic recession paired with the skyrocketing price for a bachelor degree (which is often required while also slowly losing value) puts Millennials between a rock and a hard place. Helping students pay off this debt is one way you might re-route some funds for your benefits package to an option that truly speaks to Millennials.
- Mentorship: the opportunity to grow professionally, learn from experienced professionals, and participate in training offer value to these relationally-driven potential employees.
- Minor office space changes go a long way for Millennials, who value the atmosphere and “vibe” of their surroundings. Natural lighting, communal workspaces, and attention to office ergonomics are small ways to make a big difference.
This article is also published here. Thanks, CIOReview!