Notes from Nashville – Millennials

Last week’s post was about the presentations of two of the well known speakers at my client’s conference event in Nashville.  They were good, but the one I found to be the most interesting was given by a person I had not heard of before.  Antonio Canas is the founder of “Insurance Nerds“, which is a combination website/blog for Millennials in the insurance industry.   His presentation focused on how the generation known as Millennials (people born between 1981 and 1996) viewed a career in insurance and what the insurance industry needed to do to convince Millennials to come to work and stay in it.

Mr. Canas began by noting the significant differences in attitudes about work in general between Millennials and Baby Boomers.  These are the two biggest generations in American history and are separated by a much smaller generation known as Generation X.  Baby Boomers remain in control of most agencies and insurance companies, but that is rapidly changing as they retire or die.  Generation X doesn’t have enough members to fill all the vacancies that will be left as the Baby Boomers exit the insurance industry.  That makes it critical for the continued success of the industry to recruit and retain Millennials.  However, to successfully do so, Baby Boomers need to understand the significant differences in attitudes about work they have with Millennials and adjust their recruiting, onboarding, and job training methods to better align with the attitudes of Millennials.

This will not be easy for Baby Boomers when one considers that Millennials think a long time working for one employer is 11 months or that loyalty to an employer means only working hard while you are at work.  But adjustments will have to be made if an agency owner wants to be able to continue to operate and grow their agency.  Mr. Canas pointed out that the insurance industry has, for the  most part, the things that Millennials say they want in a job; challenging work, a positive impact on the community, space to grow their career, flexible schedule, and working with the latest technology.  What needs to be done is to make Millennials aware of this fact.

Mr. Canas proposed solutions to the above problem revolved around how to treat Millennials in the workplace so they will want to stay in the insurance industry and more particularly, with the company or agency that hired them.  After listening to his presentation (the substance of which can be watched in a recording of an earlier presentation on his website), I came across an article in Property Casualty 360 that perfectly summarized his solutions.

For Mr. Canas and in this article, the onboarding process is crucial.  It should be a smooth process during which the employee is made to feel a part of the family and that he or she is embarking on a career not just starting a job.  That leads naturally to giving the employee a vision of how they can develop their skills to become better at what they do and improve their position with the employer.  This vision must be backed up with an actual plan that is followed.  Part of that plan needs to include regular feedback on at least a weekly basis.  Contrary to popular belief, Millennials can take constructive criticism if it is delivered in the right way.  See Mr. Canas’ recorded presentation for his thoughts on that subject.  As noted above, Millennials like the ability to have a flexible schedule, so when possible an agency owner should offer that option.



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