By Ron Vindivich, President U.S. Excess & Surplus, Argo Group
Winning over young professionals as they weigh their career options is a priority for the insurance industry. With a talent gap of 400,000 jobs anticipated by 2020, it’s clear that this challenge demands focus and creativity.
The challenge before us is considerable. Flipping the script on the tired narrative that has dogged our industry for decades isn’t simple. We have to dispel misconceptions that insurance is traditional, boring and staid, and instead show a new generation of employees how dynamic, specialized and global a career in insurance can be.
At Argo Group, we – like all insurance companies – want to hire the best people. Putting our ideals into action, we have joined hundreds of other companies in the Insurance Careers Movement, a grassroots organization that seeks to inspire young professionals to choose insurance careers. When seeking out new talent, it’s important to spend as much time thinking about what you can do to support new hires as you spend evaluating what they can do for your company.
Because the success of one company boosts the industry as a whole, sharing best practices is always a good strategy for success. These are ours:
Pledge to listen. Make a commitment to foster your employees’ growth. Prospective hires need to know that we will listen to their ideas because we value their insights. There is wisdom in experience, to be sure, but there is also creative energy in a fresh point of view that asks whether something can be done better. That’s where new talent can really shine.
Respect their skills. Promise to respect the specialized skills young professionals bring to the table, including fluency in rapidly changing technology. These are huge assets to any company attempting to grow and compete in a constantly evolving world.
Be open to change. We must embrace innovation to be competitive. When an employee – no matter how junior – comes up with a winner of an idea poised to maximize customer success, never stand in the way. Encouraging ideas is guaranteed to nurture loyalty and foster a growth mindset among new employees, who may still be gauging whether insurance is where they want to build a career.
Be fair and share. Employees’ contributions should be honored with bountiful opportunities to exercise authority, gain experience, receive financial reward, and enjoy security and adventure. At Argo, we believe the company’s success and our employees’ success are inextricably linked.
Our industry is centuries old, with roots in merchant ships sailing the high seas. With drones and autonomous vehicles testing our adaptability, our future promises to be exciting, as technology demands we consider new risks and exposures that would have been unimaginable even a decade ago. We must be flexible and creative to meet the challenges ahead. Encouraging young professionals to join us on the adventure is perhaps the most critical step of all.