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LinkedIn_inspiredMany industries today share a dilemma: how to bridge the talent gap. As seasoned professionals retire, they take with them institutional knowledge, industry experience, subject matter expertise, and technical and leadership competencies. Recruiting new workers to take their place is a challenge.

There is conflicting research on what millennials actually want and need.  The most recent research shows that it is more aligned to those of previous generations.  However, millennials tend to be more vocal about their expectations and will leave an organization if those expectations aren’t met.  Businesses can struggle to meet the “new expectations” of the next generation. In addition, today’s client increasingly expects our workforce to mirror the diversity of their own organization’s workforce and customer base. Shifting consumer expectations also present a challenge.

The Institutes® Risk and Insurance Knowledge Group has found that only 4 percent of current college graduates are considering the insurance industry as a career option.  That speaks volumes about the image of the industry and the job itself.  Our industry needs to rebrand itself by focusing on purpose—that is, people helping people in times of need, rather than the outworn “deny first” mindset of days gone by. Sedgwick’s caring counts℠ approach focuses on empathy and compassion when working with injured workers and other claimants. Our clients have come to expect this from us.

Leveraging technology to improve business operations is vital to attracting talent. Sedgwick has been at the forefront of our industry in offering leading-edge capabilities. Raising awareness about these assets can be instrumental in recruiting younger workers. And casting a wider net in the emerging talent pool means looking beyond specific college majors and educational backgrounds to identify candidates with attributes and skill sets that match the competencies needed to be successful in the position. For example, when hiring a claims examiner, we would look for personality traits that include empathy and compassion.

To retain talent, we must cater to employees’ changing needs. For example, those who prefer less structured schedules might appreciate the ability to work remotely. Corporate culture plays a major role in meeting expectations of performing rewarding, meaningful work. Feeling aligned with the culture of the company builds corporate loyalty.  Training and professional development help workers grow within their jobs and rise in the organization.

Understanding the unique value each individual brings to achieving the shared mission and goals of the organization encourages colleagues of all ages to deliver excellence every day. Setting clear, realistic expectations from the outset and keeping the lines of communication open show colleagues that they have a voice and the organization is listening.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts as this is such an important topic to all of us. I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday, April 25, starting at 2:30 p.m. to share more and engage in conversation to equip us all for attracting and retaining talent in our industry.

Terri Brown, chief people officer for Sedgwick

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2 Responses to Insight for Bridging the Talent Gap

  1. Steve Powell says:

    Terri, you hit the nail on the head with this. When the people within an industry focus on purpose—in our case, people helping people in times of need, the industry becomes employers of choice. Cultures that value people win. Leaders that lose sight of that lose. It’s simple — but simple is rarely easy.

  2. Brittani Drost says:

    Does Sedgwick reach out to college campuses at all and their graduating classes about work opportunities? I certainly fit under the umbrella of “millennial,” and when I entered Sedgwick, I had no prior knowledge of workers’ compensation insurance, none whatsoever! It was a very unique happenstance that I was made aware of Sedgwick and applied at all. By my experience, Sedgwick has been an educational and rewarding entryway into a post-grad adult working life, and I think many college graduates would jump at the chance if they were knew early on about the opportunities available. (Wonderfully written article, by the way!)

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