Insurers are no longer just competing for talent within the industry. Now, these organizations face competition from global tech giants, worsened by a significant talent gap with retirements at an all-time high. According to a 2022 Deloitte report, 43% of insurance talent respondents feel it is getting increasingly difficult to find skilled candidates in a number of functional areas.
“Every company faces some degree of turnover, but we have been very successful in our retention, with a turnover rate well below the industry average,” said Angie Schaefer, Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Safety National. “Organizations can strengthen their retention efforts by reinforcing an outstanding benefits package, sharing the employee experience and recognizing where change needs to happen. It’s often the simplest ideas that are overlooked in the process.”
Angie and her team pivoted significantly throughout the pandemic, adjusting processes and implementing new technology to enhance the applicant process. Here, she provides further insight into their challenges and how other organizations can adapt.
How do hiring workers’ compensation and risk management professionals differ from other industries?
Requirements for these roles may vary based on the specialty, but typically they require more experience because of our niche industry. Specific designations, education, professional development and accomplishments may also be more beneficial, as many are designed to fit the needs of particular roles within the company.
What is the most significant challenge related to recruiting workers’ compensation and risk management professionals? What is essential to retaining them?
The pandemic has changed recruiting a lot. One of the challenges can be where the position is located since representation may be needed outside of the corporate office. Regional office job markets may be more competitive than others too. There are also smaller applicant pools for certain specialties, which requires innovative recruiting approaches. Recruiters should consider the wide range of education that can apply to operational or customer service-centric roles, outside of just the standard two- or four-year degree.
The key to retaining employees in the industry comes down to company culture and reputation. Even in this time of fully-remote positions, candidates will be willing to relocate for an organization with a reputable background and strong culture that aligns with their values. Hiring managers should be prepared to explain what sets their organization apart from their competitors.
Many insurance professionals cite a significant talent gap worsened by ongoing retirements and the individual expertise needed for these roles. How does that affect recruitment efforts, and how can an organization adapt?
Organizations can start by taking a hard look at their current talent, what the business needs are and what can be done differently. Look at your internal talent and develop opportunities for career growth that may not have been previously considered. When you have to recruit externally, be open to different work experiences that foster relevant skills like teamwork, communication and attitude. Many skills can be found through experiences outside of the insurance industry, such as customer service-focused roles in the restaurant or retail industries.
Adapting to the talent gap requires focusing on the transfer of knowledge and mentoring opportunities within an organization. Professionals new to the industry can be upskilled and developed into different roles through innovative training processes. If a candidate does not fit a role appropriately, consider another position to create a new skillset outside of their specialty.
How has technology or social media changed recruiting and retention efforts? Are there any specific applications that have greatly improved the experience?
Video interviews were not even on our radar previously, but it opened up another option, particularly for initial interviews once we pivoted. This method has been critical for applicants and is here to stay. We were also able to automate other recruiting processes, such as utilizing DocuSign to extend formal offers of employment. Where a hard copy offer used to be mailed to an applicant, DocuSign has expedited the process, decreasing the time it takes to provide the offer to the candidate.
LinkedIn continues to be a valuable resource for recruiting external candidates and to source for certain roles. Utilizing the Life section of the platform has been a great way to explain to prospective employees what it’s like to be an employee at Safety National.