I just got back from the first Millennials in Insurance Conference in New York City, organized by Insurance Business America Magazine, where yours truly was a speaker and the chairperson. What a way to celebrate Insurance Careers Month!
The panels were absolutely fantastic and I will be writing multiple articles about them over the next few days.
However, about halfway through the day, it hit me that many of the speakers were speaking about RMI Majors and Underwriting Training Programs. I love RMI Majors and the great work done by Gamma Iota Sigma and The Spencer Foundation, but we have to be real, RMI programs only feed 10%-15% of our needs in any given year. Yes, we need many more RMI programs but for the foreseeable future, 85%-90% of our new hires will come from other academic backgrounds. The same story applies to Underwriting Training Programs and other rotation programs. They are amazing programs that accelerate young insurance careers but the great majority of our new hires start in simple, garden-variety entry-level roles like inside claims, personal lines underwriting, assistant underwriting, processing centers and call centers. By simple math, most of your future leaders are going to come from one of these non-glamorous roles.
These entry-level roles tend to be staffed by recent college grads with no formal insurance education who did not grow up wanting to work in insurance, nor did they go to college to go into insurance. Like most of us, they fell into insurance by accident. Prior generations fell into insurance by accident and they stayed out of loyalty and having found solid jobs. The current generation falls into insurance by accident but has a different definition of loyalty, no expectation of lifetime employment and no pensions to tie them down to the same employer.
It all starts in orientation, right after their first day at work. We MUST make sure every one of our new hires goes through a solid orientation program that helps them fall in love with insurance. We need to go over the history of insurance and the history of your company. We need to really paint the picture of how insurance does something positive for the world and how they can do well by doing good. We need to explicitly paint potential career paths and exactly what they need to do in order to grow in your company. Also, we must be explicitly clear about the demographic crisis we are facing and the opportunities that are going to open up for them if they get the right experience and the right education.
If we get orientation right and we make believers out of them we make it much more likely that they will stick around. We cover this topic a lot deeper on our best-selling book Insuring Tomorrow: Engaging Millennials in the Insurance Industry.