Once they’re hired, millennials need to be mentored by experienced agents to ensure their success.
Much has been written about an upcoming brain drain in the insurance industry. As its 693,000 workers over the the age of 50 begin to retire in the coming years, the insurance industry may need to fill as many as 400,000 vacant positions by 2020.
In response, insurance companies and agencies have ramped up their efforts to recruit millennials. Once they’ve hired them, however, managers encounter the challenge of helping these younger workers thrive in the insurance industry. Without some understanding of this population’s mindset, agents and carriers struggle to provide the support and mentorship needed to ensure that millennials succeed in insurance.
Fortunately, millennials are open to learning. A 2014 survey by the Intelligence Group, a division of Creative Artists Agency, revealed that nearly 80% of millennials would want their boss act as a coach or mentor if they could not be their own boss. Here are four tips that experienced agents can follow to be the mentor they need.
EducationProfessional development is a major priority for the average millennial worker. After polling more than 1,550 millennials working in insurance last year, Vertafore found that more than 60% of respondents find the ability to learn and develop their skills as strong motivating factors in their professional decisions. For managers, this preference should encourage them to provide millennials with opportunities to advance through the company’s ranks such as continuing education credits and support with earning professional licenses.
Give Them FeedbackMillennials like frequent feedback from their managers. In fact, a 2014 survey of 1,400 millennials conducted by Success Factors and Oxford Economics found that a majority of millennials want feedback at least every month, more than other generations. Millennials believe that regular discussions with managers about their work contributes to their career advancement and makes them more productive.
Listen to ThemDespite their desire for feedback, millennials also want their voices to be heard by management. They prefer a collaborative work environment rather than a traditional hierarchical model, with 88% of millennials in the Intelligence Group poll drawn to less competitive and more cooperative workplace cultures. As a result, managers should encourage input from their millennial employees regarding the company’s strategy, policies, and programs. Such a tactic enables millennials to feel that they’re part of a team and important to the company’s overall mission.
Be FlexiblePerhaps because they grew up in the digital age, millennials don’t believe they need to be tied to an office desk or a 9-to-5 schedule to do their job. Indeed, nearly 75% of millennials in the Intelligence Group survey expressed a desire for flexible work schedules. While it may seem unusual to older workers, letting millennials telecommute or occasionally work from home or a coffee shop keeps them engaged. Managers should emphasize the quality of the work rather than where or when it was done.
As its workforce ages, the insurance industry must recruit more young people to its ranks. To make that happen, managers need to learn how to mentor millennials so the industry can succeed in the future.