Hiring insurance producers is a critical part of running an agency or brokerage. Finding and retaining top talent becomes harder every year as workplaces compete for the best producers. Once you find great talent, keeping them on your payroll is a high priority – after all, it costs much more to hire new people than it does to keep the good ones you already have.
Changing marketplace conditions over the last few years continue to make employee sourcing and retention a challenge, even in a solid industry like insurance and risk management. The good news is more colleges and universities are adding RMI programs to their undergraduate degrees, creating a new and motivated pipeline of ready-to-be-trained producers.
But the bad news is employers have to compete on more than just salary and bonus structure, so you will need to focus on your overall package to stay competitive. Let’s look at some strong ideas for finding, hiring, and retaining top insurance producers.
5 tricks for finding top insurance producer talent
Try these methods to establish a multi-faceted approach to finding top insurance talent:
Do not avoid the obvious: promote your brokerage on LinkedIn and connect with others in the industry. Lots of people still search for jobs on the site, so consider posting your job opportunities.
Build out your LinkedIn profile to reflect your personal brand and show off your thought leadership through interesting posts and discussions. While you are trying to find top talent, you want to also attract talent to you. Do this by engaging with people and building a solid presence on LinkedIn, so potential producers know who you are and what your business is about.
2. Other social media sites
Try other social media, too. LinkedIn is well known as a top professional networking site, but candidates can be found chatting in Facebook groups, watching and creating YouTube content, or discussing current events on Clubhouse. Participate in some of these other social media sites as another way to find top insurance producer talent.
3. Colleges and universities
The growth of Risk Management and Insurance programs at colleges and universities across the country means a pipeline of potential producer talent is being educated. Try reaching out to your local universities to connect with their risk management program.
The insurance and risk management fraternity, Gamma Iota Sigma, is an active organization. You might get involved with them to find top students who will turn into your top producers. GIS hosts networking, educational, and career fair events you can support. If you are looking for an intern, the fraternity could be a helpful resource.
4. Press on your network
Networking—either digitally or the old-fashioned way, in person—is a great way to find new top talent. Ask around when you attend industry events or local ones. Are you a member of your local Chamber of Commerce and any insurance organizations that meet locally? If not, you could be missing a source of finding top producers.
5. Join professional insurance organizations
You are probably already a member of some industry organizations. Get the most from your membership by checking out their resources. Some organizations have affinity groups, so joining the agent and broker group might yield results when you next need to hire producers. There are local agent groups, professional designation groups like the CPCU Society, or trade organizations with networking groups.
3 tricks for hiring insurance producers
Once you find producers, make sure your hiring practices are up to speed.
1. Interview for top talent
Your interview process probably looks a little different than it did pre-pandemic. Ask questions to learn how your prospect handled the swiftly changing world. How did they maintain relationships, find new clients, manage communications? These types of interview questions will be expected by your prospect and will give you ways to judge their adaptability. Restructure your interview style if you have not already.
2. Consider ambition and drive
You are hiring people for sales, so finding top producers often means finding driven, ambitious, competitive people. Asking about past success in producer or sales roles the candidate has held is a good predictor of future behavior.
Top salespeople like to compete, whether against themselves or others. Ask about your candidates preferred benchmarks and how they like to be recognized. Some candidates might ask for higher commissions instead of taking a base salary, which might be a sign of a competitive salesperson who will push themselves month over month to do better.
3. Make the hiring process easy
Use tools and technology to your advantage when hiring talent. Video interviews help start the process, and letting candidates e-sign documents and upload their CV without re-inputting the same details into a cumbersome application creates a smooth workflow.
Investing in some basic tools and technology to communicate and process new hires shows your agency is committed to finding easy and efficient ways to do business. Lots of new hires want to work someplace with user-friendly technology to make their life easier. There is no better time than during the hiring process to show your dedication to technological improvements.
5 tricks to retain your top talent
Once you have found, hired, and trained your people, you will want to retain your top talent. It can cost up to twice an employee’s annual salary to replace them, so aside from the frustration of losing a great producer, it will cost you to replace top talent.
1. Employee education programs
Keep developing your top talent. Once you have hired them and they are working out great, it can be tempting to loosen the reins and let them run free. After all, they know what they are doing and are great at producing. But continuing to offer education, training, and ways to grow can help you retain talent.
People like to be challenged and to build on their skills, so offer ways to enrich their jobs, and you could see your employee retention rates rise. Some newer employee training programs use cool gamification techniques to make training fun and more memorable. These updated training modules might excite your staff more than the traditional ones.
2. Use efficient technology
People love technology that makes their lives easier—especially millennials—who may be the backbone of your workforce soon. Embracing cool tools and technology can set your agency apart from competitors and give your top producers another reason to stay.
Our agency CRM software helps you automate book building tactics, capitalize on all leads, and be more efficient – all traits a top producer will appreciate in their employer.
3. Audit your pay scale and benefits
Independent research on your competition and the marketplace, in general, can help you keep your salary and benefits package competitive. People have lots of options now, especially when many employers are hiring remote workers. You are not just competing with local agencies now; your top talent could be recruited by anyone, anywhere, at any time.
4. Mentorship programs
Allow your employees to flourish through mentor programs. Set up a way for newer and more seasoned producers to work together and learn from each other.
And it is not just the new producer who will see benefits from a mentorship program. Reverse mentoring is an excellent way for new hires to share their skills and knowledge with more experienced employees. Consider a new grad introducing new tools and technology to your more long-term staff. Everyone grows with mentoring programs.
5. Embrace flexibility
Work-life balance has shifted to work-life integration now. People need to combine their working lives and their home lives into a workable mix like never before.
The pandemic taught many of us to work from our living rooms alongside partners and children learning and working, too. These skills in adaptability and flexibility taught us something else, too. Lots of employees learned they liked being in control of how they accomplished their job. Commuting to a traditional 9 to 5 office job is a thing of the past, and employers who understand this mindset shift will find more success in retaining top employees.
Being flexible and offering employees the discretion to find the best way for them to do their jobs is at the core of the new work model. You probably already have an advantage since brokers and agents often have had the independence to work their book of business as they see fit. But now, it is more important than ever to afford this working flexibility. If you do not, your competitors will.
Finding, hiring, and retaining top insurance producer talent is a big part of your job. Getting it right leads to successful agency management. Make it easier by following some of our tips. Ask us how we can help with other parts of your agency CRM and book a demo today.