This article was republished with permission from Property Casualty 360.
By: Ashley Heline and Leah Ohodnicki
With a record number of insurance professionals retiring, the industry is facing a talent gap. To help address talent management in insurance, industry leaders have a shared responsibility to be proactive in developing the next generation of talent.
Here are 10 tips for leaders to help successfully bridge the gap.
1. Be a mentor.
Find 30 minutes a month to invest in mentoring someone with high potential. Studies show success with mentoring for any level of talent. According to Harvard Business Review, 84% of CEOs who engaged in informal mentoring programs said they became proficient in their roles faster.
2. Be a mentee.
If you are mentoring someone and you are only training them, you are looking at it the wrong way. Form a reverse mentoring relationship so early-career professionals can teach you new skills and provide real value today, in addition to future value.
3. Open the lines of communication.
When you open the lines of communication, you may be pleasantly surprised by what you get in return from your less experienced colleagues. This can help you build a perspective from a different vantage point. They are the buyers of tomorrow, and the sooner you understand how they tick, the faster you will be able to hone your skills to understand the next generation of decision-makers.
4. Help make connections.
Half the battle of becoming successful in any industry is forming connections with the key players. Make a point to introduce high-potential employees to internal leaders and top clients.
5. Open doors to opportunities.
Give those early in their careers opportunities to be a part of crucial conversations – even if it’s just a small role such as taking notes. This will give them the opportunity to learn how senior leaders think strategically and navigate conversations.
6. Empower new ideas.
Encourage new ideas and give early-career professionals the chance to execute on their ideas. Provide the guidance and feedback necessary to help ensure they are successful.
7. Encourage specialization.
Developing a specialty can help an early-career professional stand out from their peers. Encourage those who are new to their career to find a specialty early and to become an expert in that area.
8. Provide guidance for difficult conversations.
Whether it’s discussing a rate increase or a missed deadline, difficult conversations occur in the workplace all the time. How these conversations are handled can help set someone apart from their peers. Practice these conversations with high-potential professionals to help them succeed when stakes are high.
9. Talk about career development opportunities.
Discussing development opportunities will help to keep employees engaged and motivated. This will also help to ensure high-potential early-career colleagues are aligned to an area to which they can provide the most value.
10. Make training a top priority.
As an industry, we are only as good as our future talent. It’s up to current leaders to bridge the talent gap by committing to training the next generation.
For more tips on bridging the insurance talent gap, read this article for early-career professionals.
Ashley Heline is marketing program manager, and Leah Ohodnicki is senior vice president, group producer management, for Argo Group.