You’ve heard the stats, right? The ones quoting a fifty-something average age for health insurance brokers. Some stats project a HUGE shortage of brokers within the next few years. While we’re not the worst industry (think tailors and farmers) to experience this phenomenon, we’re certainly in the running.
First, a note on recruiting. Hi, my name is Adam and I’m a millennial (Now you say, “Hi Adam!”). I also gravitate toward selling. Before insurance, I sold cars, lumber and software. Lucky for me, that software gig happened to be targeted at the insurance industry. Like so many brokers I’ve talked to over the years, I “fell” into this industry. Once I got here, I wanted to stay. Why? I saw an industry starving for innovation along with a REAL chance to impact people’s lives. I’m not the only millennial out there attracted by these opportunities.
Alas, recruiting efforts don’t work unless there are some interesting ideas to share with young recruits. I’m highlighting five actionable steps you can take to put your agency on the radar of potential young producers.
1. Offer a formal training and mentoring program
Young people are building their careers. They need an employer that teaches them the power of attending conferences, networking and continuously growing their knowledge of the industry. While this is something we should all strive to do, younger workers especially want an employer that feeds this mentality. By offering a defined training lineup, you demonstrate your commitment to their growth and opportunity. This should include training on internal processes, carrier programs, and long-term development plans through designations and other resources.
Your program should be mapped out and methodically scheduled for everyone to get the most benefit. Part of this training plan could be an ongoing reading list coupled with a mentor relationship that carries on for a longer term once the formal instruction concludes. Work with your top salespeople to establish this mentoring component and it will prove to be a real draw for young, innovative producers.
2. Offer a compensation plan they can understand
Let’s be honest: life is complicated, your compensation plan shouldn’t be. Do your research. What are average wages nationally and by state? What’s the demand for agents in your area? How do these things compare to other local sales jobs? It’s imperative that you design a compensation plan that’s comparable to other sales jobs out there.
Offering a competitive base salary plus a simple commission structure on new business will simplify the decision-making process for younger producers. Simply explain what that will mean if they hit or exceed the planned goals. As previously mentioned, our industry is where some transition after starting their careers in another area. Offering great training, mentoring and a clear, competitive compensation plan will make your agency stand out.
3. Use technology, because they do
Young people are always networking – especially online. Hopefully you post your jobs on LinkedIn and other online job sites. But before you do, are you making sure your website is up to date? What about your activity on social media? Brokers who’ve established an online presence that resonates with their ideal client audience not only have a HUGE advantage in attracting and retaining business, but they also have a real edge in recruiting young talent. Take the time to work on these branding and marketing needs - the return will be like getting two for the price of one.
4. Match your work environment
It’s important to create a work environment where people of all generations can flourish. As technology improves, we get to do things that weren’t even possible a few years ago. There are systems that make remote work a viable option for a good part of the week. When people are in the office, create some open spaces that foster collaboration and brainstorming. You might also consider being transparent with your team about the agency’s financial goals and ask for ideas to improve results on a consistent basis. Do you want to send a clear message that you actually care about their ideas? Then ACT on them – don’t let the flipchart get shoved into a back closet until the next “brainstorming session.”
Young producers want to see the path to promotions within an agency. Describe in detail the available leadership opportunities and how they can realistically be obtained. Then, add to it a couple of benefits that pair well with their value of work/life balance, such as remote work options and flex scheduling. My colleague, Jadd, wrote this article outlining 5 benefits young producers would love to have that are possible for any employer: Millennials and Employee Benefits: 5 Thoughts
5. Show them the mission, not just the job
The millennial worker values being part of something bigger as much as they value a paycheck. Help them understand how you’re helping families and businesses. Share about your agency’s community involvement. Just as you need to paint a valid vision of the future for your clients, do the same for the new potential producer you’d like to add to your team. Tell them why you love the industry! Your passion paired with the points above will position you to entice younger brokers, both now and in the future.
Now it’s your turn! What tips do you have for attracting younger brokers to your agency? Have you implemented any of the steps suggested above, if so, how? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.