I am a great believer in the good that our industry can and has done in the world because this is an industry that, by its very nature, helps individuals and brings them peace of mind.
We know that insurance provides security against life’s uncertainties for families, individuals and small businesses today and into retirement. And we know that’s true for people of all ages. But we need to find innovative ways to tell our story to a new generation, and to motivate younger workers to join us.
LIMRA confirms what we know, which is that millennials just don’t recognize the benefits and need for insurance. Last year, LIMRA found that 60 percent of millennials were more concerned with spending their money on Internet, cable and cell phones than on their financial futures.
So what are we as an industry to do as we seek to attract and keep these young people as employees and to introduce them to the peace of mind that insurance offers?
I believe the answer is deceptively simple: Give them a cause to believe in. Barkley, an independent advertising agency, finds that more than 50 percent of millennials make an effort to buy products from companies that support causes they care about.
At National Life Group, we’ve built our company and its culture around a cause, which is our values: Do good. Be good. Make good. Everything we do revolves around those six words.
Jackie and Kevin Freiberg are best-selling authors and business management consultants who recently published a new book, Cause!, which focuses on companies that have built themselves around a mission.
They highlighted cause-driven companies, including my own, because these are the businesses that engage their employees and their customers and, ultimately, perform better. And there is plenty of research to prove the point.
Former Procter & Gamble global marketing officer Jim Stengel worked with research firm Millward Brown to create the Stengel 50. After studying 50,000 brands, Stengel concluded that brands that focused on the cause of improving people’s lives grew three times faster and outperformed their peers. Over a 10-year period studied, an investment in The Stengel 50 would have been 400 percent more profitable than investing in the Standard & Poor’s 500 over the same period.
Other research supports the idea. Edelman’s 2014 Trust Barometer found that 84 percent of respondents believe that business can pursue its own interests while doing good work for society. And 92 percent of consumers want to do business with companies that share their concerns. In other words, customers really do want to work with a company that has a cause.
And the same holds true for employees. Deloitte found that organizations that have a strong sense of purpose are much more optimistic about their ability to stay ahead of the industry and to outperform their competitors. Deloitte’s research also found that when employees are engaged with their company’s culture and it aligns with corporate strategy and purpose, there can be as much as a 50 percent differential in performance.
There is powerful evidence from Deloitte that millennials gravitate toward companies that have a clear mission, something these young people can relate to beyond the quarterly P&L.