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5 Perks to Help Recruit and Retain Agency Talent

A Liberty Mutual and Safeco report reveals what potential agency employees look for in their ideal employment situation, and how independent agencies measure up to those expectations.
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5 perks to help recruit and retain agency talent

In a report released last week, Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance shared the findings of their new talent and culture report, part of the “2023 Agency Growth Study," which surveyed 1,100 independent insurance agency leaders and team members. The report found that while agency principals said finding and recruiting talent continues to be their biggest management challenge, the current economy may offer opportunities for agencies.

The uncertain economic outlook has led to some companies outside the insurance industry pulling back when it comes to recruiting. Others have seen large-scale layoffs, resulting in experienced employees being put back into the employment pool. Meanwhile, independent insurance agencies that are looking to hire can showcase what they have to offer to potential candidates.

The report details the characteristics potential agency employees look for in their ideal employment situation, as well as how independent agencies measure up to those expectations.

Here are the five key benefits and perks candidates want in 2023: 

1) Flexible hours and work location. The report revealed independent insurance agencies are a good place for flexibility with 77% of agency staff members satisfied with the flexibility their agency allows.

Yet, there remains some disconnect between how agency employees and agency leaders view remote and hybrid work. While 16% of agency employees are currently working fully remotely, 22% would prefer to do so. Further, 52% of agents surveyed say they are more productive working from home, but agency principals believe this to be only 30%. Also, agency employees are more likely than agency leaders to say they are happier, have a better work-life balance and collaborate more when they work from home.

To retain current employees and attract prospective employees, agency leaders need to have conversations with their staff about flexibility and remote work, according to the report.

2) Community involvement. Agency employees are more than nine times more likely than employees in other industries to list community involvement among the top characteristics they look for in a job. This sets insurance agency staff apart from employees in other industries, according to the report.

By 2025, millennials will make up more than 40% of the workforce with Generation Z accounting for 27%, according to an earlier Safeco report. Ninety-five percent of Gen Z job seekers said it's important for their work to have meaning and 71% said they would take a pay cut to do meaningful work, according to a study by Zety. When job hunting, more than 60% look for a company whose values match their own and has a purpose that goes beyond just making a profit.

Today, the vast majority of independent agents across the country give back to their communities by regularly volunteering their time and talents and donating money, goods and services. And many independent agencies offer paid time off for their employees to volunteer.

Advertising an agency's community involvement in job postings could help independent insurance agents attract candidates who share their agency's values and desire to make a positive impact, the report recommended.

3) Parental leave. Only 1 in 4 agency employees is a parent to young children but more than half of millennial employees are, according to the report. Companies in the U.S. are not mandated to provide paid family leave and offer an average of only 29 days of maternity leave.

Offering this benefit can give insurance agencies a competitive edge in attracting new talent, which is highlighted by the fact that nearly half of agency employees list parental leave among the top things they want in a job, according to the report.

As women often take on the bulk of caretaking responsibilities, and currently make up nearly 60% of agency employees, flexibility and parental leave can be especially important in retaining women and supporting their career growth.

4) Job stability. The insurance industry tends to offer more stability and job security than other industries, with those employed in the industry tending to stay longer than workers in other industries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In the 2023 job market, the stability of the insurance industry is a selling point. Showing off the multitude of stable career options in insurance can help agencies attract job candidates from outside the industry, the report says.

5) Continuing education opportunities and career growth. Fifty-seven percent of millennial and Gen Z agency employees aspire to be a leader in their agency, according to the study. Sixty-two percent listed “inspiring leadership to provide mentorship and career guidance" as the top characteristic they want in a job. Yet, only 42% said their manager is actively developing them for leadership.

Offering career development opportunities, compelling career paths, networking opportunities and continuing education and training is another important way for insurance agencies to attract and retain the next generation of talent.

Olivia Overman is IA content editor.

Friday, June 9, 2023
Recruiting, Hiring & Training