Attracting and Retaining Talent on Purpose


Attracting and Retaining Talent on PurposeThe competition for talent in insurance and other industries seems to have hit fever pitch over the last couple of years. We have seen the Great Resignation, quiet quitting, and, more recently, career cushioning all contributing to the difficulty of retaining talent and knowledge in the workplace. Whatever new name is given to trends in the workforce, it is clear that attracting and retaining talent is more difficult than ever.

I have written before about the lack of a long-term contract between employers and employees and the lack of trust that creates. The guarantee of a career in one company and the reciprocal loyalty that people have for their company is very much a phenomenon of the past.

Changes in the workplace now are happening faster and are even more impactful to both employer and employee. Employers are looking for solid talent that will stay with the company long enough to be impactful in a very competitive environment. Employees are looking for good salary, benefits, flexibility, and a purpose.

What Younger Talent Is Seeking

As we look at how these trends impact a newer generation of talent, we can gain better insights into what they are looking for in a career. They do not have a long-term career guarantee with a company, so the relationship defaults to being more transactional for them. Many have witnessed downsizing and layoffs take a heavy toll on their parents after long and devoted careers to one company and do not want to repeat that pattern.

Younger talent still wants competitive pay, interesting work, and an opportunity to learn and grow, but they do want a connection with the company they work at. They demand to have purpose in their work and feel that their company has a mission they can identify with. That is the connection they look for with their employer.

How does the insurance industry fare with younger talent and connecting with them on their mission and purpose? Not well, unfortunately. That is not because they don’t have a purpose. It is because the insurance industry does not have a great reputation in popular culture. Making the insurance company look like the villain is very mainstream.

Insurance Should Promote Its Mission

Almost all companies are in business to make a profit, but most of them have causes that are important to them and their employees. Insurance companies also have causes they support, but they fail to promote the most basic tenet of their existence to their employees and potential employees: They help people. 

While that might sound corny, it’s true. The purpose of insurance is to manage the risk of terrible things that can happen. Add people to that equation who help policyholders in their worst times, and you have a very caring and compassionate industry.

I have been in the insurance industry for decades and have worked with some of the most dedicated, caring, and customer-focused people who truly do care about the policyholder and put them first. Whether it is rebuilding a home or a community after a disaster, enabling people to have dignity in their final days through long-term care, or helping a parent continue to provide a secure life for their children after the loss of a spouse, insurance plays a critical role.  

Helping people is at the heart of what insurance does. Insurance enables people to rebound from catastrophic events, providing a safety net that no one wants to use but that makes everyone feel more comfortable by being there. 

As we begin 2023, there are many unknowns about the economy and how that impacts recruiting talent. It would be helpful if our industry better communicated how insurance can have a significant impact on a person, family, or community when they are most in need. Meeting the needs of our community and helping them to prosper is a purpose I can identify with. I think it would be a purpose that talent of all generations could identify with, too.

To learn more about how insurers and the financial services sector are dealing with talent attraction and retention issues, read Aite-Novarica Group’s report The Great Resignation and Resulting Talent Gap or reach out to me at [email protected].