Being proactive and prospective are key to thriving and growing during a time of uncertain economic conditions.

How an independent agency reacts to the challenges of today’s hard market will impact its future growth and success. If today is anything like the inflationary period of the mid-1970s and early 80s we know that inflationary pressures often take a long time to go away.

One area that is particularly challenging is the demand for skilled employees. The talent shortage in the insurance industry is expected to continue for some time. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the industry will lose around 400,000 employees to retirement over the next few years. Add to that the challenge the industry faces in recruiting young people – or even any people, depending on an agency’s location. There is stiff competition among agencies, while the attractiveness of InsurTechs and other tech-based employers also vie for a dwindling pool of high-caliber candidates.

Ways to Keep and Attract Talent
Independent insurance agency owners need to be creative and non-traditional in order to attract talent. At the same time, a robust employee retention plan is both a reason to join and a reason to stay. Failing to keep an employee can be much more costly than hiring a new one.
Competitive wages and a strong benefits package are obviously important ways to recruit and retain employees. But there are other factors equally important to employees in this new, post-pandemic work world.

Tips on Attracting Talent
Technology has changed the methods used to attract, recruit and hire candidates. Among digital native generations, insurance suffers from a perception problem. The industry is not typically thought of as exciting and full of professional growth opportunities. One way to combat these challenges is to have a strong brand identity and put an emphasis on using technology and innovation.

Using digital channels, like social media, for recruiting is the norm. In today’s world, candidates expect a mobile-friendly application process. A quick hiring process is also proving to be important in the competition for a dwindling pool of qualified candidates.

Many people want and expect their employers to offer a hybrid work option. Another enticement is a signing bonus. Create an employee referral program — often your own employees are your best recruiters!

Hiring agencies should think about non-traditional employees. When having difficulty finding quality local candidates, consider a remote work option and expand the search to include areas outside your geography, or even the insurance industry, which expands the number of potential applicants.

Tips on Retaining Talent
Hybrid and remote work appears to be here to stay. People want the life balance this provides, and it is important to consider offering work-from-home arrangements to current employees. Stay bonuses are being given as is more time off. Professional training and development opportunities are additional ways to keep employees engaged and growing within your agency.

It is vital to have a great company culture and be a place people want to work. Be sure people feel valued and appreciated. Small investments, like free in-office coffee and snacks, go a long way toward making an environment pleasant. Also, think twice about skimping on the tech tools that employees want or need to do their jobs.

The Future of Recruitment and Retention
An aging workforce coupled with the expectations of the next generation of workers are of concern to the insurance industry overall. Understanding what is important to your current and future employees, and investing in those benefits, is critical to keeping your agency competitive.