Triple-I Weblog | How Insurers Can Handle the “Nice Resignation”

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From Maria Sassian, Triple I consultant

If you haven’t quit your job this year, you are probably thinking about it: 41 percent of the global workforce are considering leaving their employer this year, according to a Microsoft study.

Record numbers of US workers quit: 4.3 million quit in August, nearly 3 percent of the US workforce, and most in the 20 years since the Department of Labor started keeping track. This followed 3.98 million resignations in July and 3.99 million in April.

While the reasons why so many workers are quitting now are often related to low wages and poor working conditions, the pandemic has also led many people with “good” jobs to reassess the role of work in their lives and seek jobs that do for them you make more sense. The mass exodus worries employers.

According to a Gartner survey of HR managers, 91 percent will be “increasingly worried” about employee turnover in the near future. Employee turnover costs US companies nearly a trillion dollars a year, by some pre-pandemic estimates.

What does this mean for insurers?

To shed light on the impact of the major resignation on the insurance industry, we turn to the Jacobson Group Insurance Labor Market Study, which was carried out jointly with Aon in the third quarter of 2021. The study found that insurance professionals who waited for a move at the start of the pandemic are now exploring their options and reassessing their positions with their current employers – a situation that makes recruiting, especially at experienced levels, “extremely competitive.”

Other important results of the survey are:

  • 56 percent of the companies are planning to increase their workforce in the next 12 months, driven by the life / health segment (73 percent);
  • If the industry executes its plans, employment in the industry is expected to grow 1.81 percent over the next 12 months;
  • Understaffed areas and business expansion were the two main drivers behind the increase in staff;
  • Technology is the area most likely to increase headcount for large companies, followed by sales / marketing and underwriting;
  • Medium-sized companies want to increase staff in the field of technology, followed by analytics;
  • Small businesses have the greatest need for tech talent, followed by claims;
  • Technology and product management are the two most important areas in which companies are looking for experienced employees.
  • Technology, analytics, and actuary positions are the most difficult to fill; and
  • Operational and actuarial roles have been identified as the areas where entry-level positions are most likely to be created.

Not all insurers want to hire more workers; 13 percent say reorganization and automation will be the main reasons for downsizing in the next 12 months.

What companies can do to retain talent

Managers are advised to be more methodical to prevent valuable human capital from leaking out the door. According to Anthony Klotz – the professor of management at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School who coined the term “Great Resignation” – employers often don’t think enough about the offboarding process and employees often don’t have real reasons to quit. Instead of just having an exit interview asking employees why they are leaving, he suggests speaking to their colleagues and friends at the company who know their real reasons.

Once the main drivers of sales are identified, a company can create bespoke programs to address these issues. According to Ian Cook, an HR strategist, “Implementing a truly data-driven retention strategy is not easy, but it pays to get it right, especially in today’s market…. With better insight into both the severity of your turnover problem and its underlying causes, you can attract top talent, reduce turnover costs, and ultimately build a more engaged and effective workforce. “

Of course, salary and benefits are still important in retention and recruitment. Sixty percent of American workers say the COVID-19 crisis has led them to think more carefully about the benefits of their employer, and about 68 percent believe their benefits will play a more important role in their future job choices, so a study by Voya Financial, Inc.

Many workers report feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, a condition that the pandemic has exacerbated. Employers can use the pandemic as an opportunity to deliver a great employee experience by listening to and engaging with their employees. After interviewing hundreds of employees, McKinsey identified several factors that help create the right environment. These include: a sense of social cohesion and purpose; collaborative teams; clear responsibilities and opportunities to learn and grow; an awareness of the meaning of the organization that corresponds to the personal values ​​of the employees; and an appropriate physical and digital environment that gives them the flexibility to achieve a work-life balance.

People who report a positive employee experience have 16 times more engagement than employees with a negative experience, and they are eight times more likely to want to stay with a company, according to McKinsey studies.