Insurance 101

Recruiting, Retention and Retraining

By Karen Armstrong, benefits account manager at Gilbert’s Risk Solutions and board member of the Western Reserve Association of Health Underwriters.

Every business wants to retain and attract the best labor and talent, create processes and practices to help them innovate, grow, reduce risks and create an environment for associates that is inspiring and motivating.

As insurance agents, you encounter these business challenges daily with your clients and you experience them within your own organizations. It’s important to understand the challenges your customers face. Which leads me to the three R’s of human resources: recruiting, retention and retraining.

I frequently hear human resources and management teams talk about recruiting and retaining the best talent. Everyone has a challenging story to tell. The way that they find skilled labor, develop succession plans, evaluate attrition and look ahead to fill new positions can be overwhelming – particularly for small and medium-size businesses whose leaders wear many hats. They express their frustration at where to even begin.

Never mind the last time that they updated or evaluated their written policies and employee handbook – the foundation of their vision and mission. Today’s human resources team is more about compliance amid ever-changing regulations.

As important as compliance is, businesses need to focus more than ever on creating an environment of vision, appreciation and connection. They need to reimagine their strategies and how they retain and retrain their most valuable asset: people.

Our customers should know what their edge is and why people want to work for them. They need to have a clear message that conveys their values and their mission and how their teams fit into the global vision and mission of the company.

The talent of their team is more than their educational background. Their skills and experience are part of the canvas that holds the picture. Today’s talent is looking for opportunities to be part of cross-functional teams and wear different hats.

They want to be empowered to make decisions and they are looking to their leaders to give them the framework to make good decisions and feel comfortable in their abilities. They want to apply their own creative style to the framework. And yes, salary and benefits are part of the picture. I like the simple equation that a colleague uses all the time: ER = CR, employee retention equals client retention.

Many would say that retraining is the new recruiting. With digital and other disruptors, retraining is an immediate solution for employers. But many companies don’t know where to begin. They need help to identify needed skills within their organizations, create clear paths for employees and implement performance metrics that drive behavior.

Those who take the time to create and develop good onboarding and retraining programs for their employees will also have the most knowledgeable and loyal employees. They are the businesses who understand the cost of a bad hire and the return on a great hire and how it affects every aspect of their business.

Through the Ohio Association of Health Underwriters, members of the Western Reserve Health Underwriters have launched a new human resources subscription service that meets the business challenges presented in this article.

Through strategic partnerships, agent members now have an expanded portfolio of services and a holistic and affordable human resource solution for their customers.

Remember: people are your most valuable asset and they affect every part of your business.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.