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The top three things insurance employers can do to attract talent

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Recent research indicates that 55% of insurance businesses are struggling to find suitable talent due to ongoing recruiting challenges.

The talent shortage in the general insurance profession is partly due to stagnant wages, lack of competitive benefits, inflexible remote-work policies, all resulting in job dissatisfaction. Market research shows that in 2022 there were around 30,500 job vacancies, an 8000 increase on 2021 and a year on year growth of 37.9% (Insurance Post: War on wages sees insurers struggling to fill vacancies). This unprecedented increase in vacancies was partly due to a large number of professionals moving roles for higher salaries, in order to cover the cost-of-living crisis.

Wage inflation and unrealistic salary expectations is therefore a key challenge for employers when attracting talent. A report by Vacancy Soft, the leading provider of labour market data and analytics, shows that, “people have been able to move jobs to achieve a 15%, 20% or even 25% pay increase and counter-offers have hit an all-time high” (Vacancy soft: Vacancy Analytics).

To address this challenge, businesses need to offer competitive benefits which don’t just focus on remuneration packages, but support workforce transformation and continuous innovation to develop and motivate their employees. Forward-thinking organisations are using innovative training and learning solutions to upskill their workforce and offer long-term career opportunities which enable personal and professional growth.

To attract top talent, businesses must view their operations through the lens of their employees and make necessary tweaks. To attract top talent and build a motivated and skilled workforce, insurance employers need to focus on three critical areas; culture and values, flexible working and a realistic work life balance, and inclusion and diversity, which offer more than a competitive salary.

Culture and values

Culture, values and authenticity plays a huge role in attracting and retaining top talent. Our own research revealed that big name brands are no longer the main appeal, with only 20% of employees listing ‘employer brand’ as an important consideration when looking for a new role, but more highlighting the importance of joining a company with a positive company culture that matches their own personal values and beliefs. Furthermore, a study by Workbuzz, UK employee engagement consultancy showed that, “almost 45% of UK employees…rank a great culture as the most important factor when looking for a new job…and that a top priority for job applicants is a consciously created culture” (Workbuzz: The state of employee engagement).

People often want to work at companies that align with their belief system because it creates a sense of purpose and fulfilment in their work. When an individual's values are in alignment with those of the company they work for, it can create a shared purpose and a greater sense of satisfaction in the work they do. This alignment can also lead to a stronger sense of commitment, collaboration and loyalty to the company and its mission.

In order to promote company values and culture, it’s important for companies to be authentic with their messaging externally and internally, this helps to build trust and credibility with current and prospective employees.

Flexible working and a realistic work life balance

Employees are increasingly prioritising work / life balance, flexibility, and wellbeing support when considering new job opportunities, rather than the level of challenge the role presents or the reputation of the employer's brand.

In fact, our data shows that nearly three quarters (74%) of employees identified work / life balance as the most crucial factor when contemplating a new position, followed closely by benefits (71%) and job security (58%).

How to support work/life balance

There are several factors that businesses should consider when looking to support a work / life balance or enhance their flexible working practices:

Openly communicate flexible working arrangements
This may well be something that is part of a company’s working style but there can sometimes be confusion around whether employees feel empowered or allowed to take time out for personal needs during work hours. To ensure people feel supported and understand the boundaries, it’s important to communicate openly with current and prospective employees about endorsed flexible working practices.

Encourage taking breaks and time off
Employees need time to recharge, and encouraging them to take regular breaks and vacations can help them maintain a better work / life balance.

Set clear expectations and boundaries
It's essential for businesses to set clear expectations about workloads, deadlines, and work hours. This can help employees manage their time more effectively and avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Prioritise mental health and wellbeing
Offering resources and support for mental health and wellbeing, such as access to counselling, mindfulness programmes, or health and wellness activities, can help employees feel more supported and improve their overall quality of life.

Encourage healthy habits
Promoting healthy habits such as exercise, healthy eating, and adequate sleep can help employees manage stress and maintain their physical and mental health.

Lead by example
It's important for business leaders to model good work / life balance practices and encourage their employees to do the same. By leading by example, business leaders can embed positive working styles and support employees to prioritise healthy habits.

Strive to be diverse

The General Insurance profession is making big strides in becoming more diverse, but there’s still work to do. Research has shown that a diverse and inclusive workplace delivers the best results and has the best teams. Adding to this, companies with higher diversity, especially with more women, have higher productivity levels, on average between 20-25% (McKinsey & Company: Diversity wins: How inclusion matters).

Companies in the General Insurance profession, like many other businesses, should ensure that they have a meaningful and strategic approach to diversity and inclusion which is understood across all levels and teams. This will help to do the following:

Attract and retain talent: A clear and comprehensive D&I approach can help to attract and retain top talent, particularly from diverse backgrounds, who are looking for a workplace that values diversity and inclusivity.

Improve employee engagement and retention: A D&I strategy that is clearly communicated and implemented can improve employee morale and engagement by creating a sense of belonging and making employees feel valued and respected.

Enhance innovation and creativity: Diverse teams create diversity of thought, which leads to greater innovation and creativity.

The insurance profession has historically been quite traditional in its practices and standards, but there is a significant shift towards greater inclusivity. As companies cultivate more diverse talent pools, the significance of establishing an inclusive workplace, driving business growth and enhancing retention, increases.

Whether you’re looking for support with your talent strategy, business transformation needs or would just like to discuss our offerings and solutions our specialist consultants are here to help. If you’d like more information or just an informal chat, feel free to contact us.

For more up to date information on attraction and retention practices in the insurance profession, you can also access our 2023 Salary & Benefits Guide.