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The cool new insurers: How to attract and retain millennials

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Digital offerings are continuously transforming industries – and the insurance industry is not immune. There are dramatic workforce changes taking place as advances in technology significantly alter the insurance business. The result is a more specialized workforce in which technological advances open the door to new and exciting types of work requiring entirely new skillsets.

For example, video damage reports submitted by policy owners could replace the need for many appraisers’ site visits. And several large insurance companies have received approval from the FAA to use drones to photograph homes and businesses damaged by natural disasters or fires.

This new nature of work will require insurance workers to possess different or enhanced skills, and employers will need to work on attracting and developing the right talent to address these needs.

Only 2% of grads want to work in insurance

Millennials are soon to be the largest generation in the workforce, and in order to be successful, insurers will need to work on attracting these digital natives to their workplace. What’s troubling is that only two percent of recent college grads are interested in working at an insurance company, according to Accenture Strategy’s 2015 U.S. College Graduate Employment Study.

Large insurance corporations have extra reason for concern – only 15 percent of grads want to work for a large company. Large companies across the board need to create fresh tactics to attract new talent and develop the old.

But there is good news! According to the same Accenture Strategy study, interesting and challenging work are among the top values new graduates are looking for in employers. And as new insurance jobs are created, insurance companies will increasingly look to fill roles such as data scientists, claims agents and product developers, providing greater potential to attract this younger, hipper and more technically savvy workforce.

To succeed in this, insurance companies must work to communicate these new and exciting roles in their recruiting efforts.

Insuring interest from millennials

To seize on these opportunities, insurance companies need to identify the skills required, and pinpoint where the gaps are to bring on new talent, or train current employees to learn new skills. 

This will require insurers to take a proactive approach on talent acquisition, development and retention. Here are three things they can do to stay ahead of the curve:

1. Transform the employee experience.

Identify innovative ways to engage with and retain current talent. Just as consumers expect seamless transactions, so do employees when it comes to the products and services they need, such as options for managing tasks across multiple devices or physical locations. Gamification tools effectively motivate and engage employees at work, but money and promotions are still the most effective rewards.

2. Re-invent on-the-job learning.

Insurers must provide training and development opportunities in order to help their employees perform at high levels in a fast-paced world. Look to digital options that offer short, digestible learning content that will not only tap into the young workforce’s desire for increased knowledge, but also help reskill existing workers.

3. Re-shape the talent supply chain.

Partner with colleges and universities to target students who will soon enter the job market. This will allow insurers to position themselves in a broader talent ecosystem while looking for talent in atypical places such as technology start-ups, trade organizations, skills platforms and crowdsourcing platforms.

The cool new insurers

On the digital frontier, insurers are going to have to be creative to attract the best talent. One of the most significant changes involves rethinking their approach to engaging and enabling their workforces to keep up with digital advancements and the demands of digital savvy customers.

Insurance employers also need to position their field as an attractive place to work by promoting the new cutting-edge and high demand skillsets employees must possess. For example, promote the breadth of knowledge required, based on expertise in STEM subjects, and digital skills needed in employees to aggregate big data and provide real-time analytics. Or highlight the creativity and flexibility needed to maneuver through fast-changing policies and regulations and soft skills required such as problem-solving and communication to boost sales and offer personalized customer experiences.

Only those insurance companies that redefine how they identify, source and develop their talent will be recognized as leaders in an industry transformed. Insurers will need to make drastic changes to their workforce strategies to remain relevant and maintain a competitive edge.

By doing so, they will also have the most highly-trained and happiest employees who are using their unique skillsets to innovate the insurance industry.