June 21, 2021
The Gig Economy Offers a Fresh Take On Talent Acquisition
by Mary Newgard
The number one question I receive from all types of retail agencies, wholesale brokers, insurance companies, and intermediaries of every shape and size is, “How do we source and hire experienced insurance talent?” By and large, the insurance industry’s hiring strategy is focused on full-time, W-2 employees. However, I think the convergence of two trends — the mass retirement exodus and COVID-19 pandemic layoffs — offer an opportunity to tap into a new type of talent pool.
You’re familiar with the gig economy through services like Uber, Door Dash, and Instacart. As an insurance professional, you’ve dealt with risk management and compliance issues for 1099 employees. But, as an employer have you considered how gig workers can benefit your business? Peek behind the curtain, and you’ll find a rich talent pool of experienced insurance professionals who can and want to participate in the gig economy. Here’s how you can plug them into your hiring strategy.
According to MetLife’s report, The Gig Economy: Opportunities, Challenges, and Employer Strategies, “85% of gig workers are interested in continuing contract work in the next five years as opposed to a traditional work role.”
Technical, Highly Skilled Insurance Positions. With so much pressure on insurance organizations to create flexible environments like work-from-home and telecommuting, gig arrangements may be the perfect solution to meeting your staffing needs and an individual person’s desires. A lot of account managers, underwriters, and IT professionals have worked as long-term, 1099 contractors within the insurance industry for years.
Project Consulting. Rapidly growing and expanding insurance organizations have special, short-term needs but are not certain if it’s enough work for a permanent role. Common examples include hiring consultants with insurance experience to lead M&A due diligence and integration as well as agency management systems conversion.
Interim Executive Leadership. I described one broker’s year-long process to replace a retired leader in my 2018 Insurance Journal article titled, “It Took an Agency How Long to Hire a Commercial Lines Manager?” Twelve to 24 months to complete an executive hire is not uncommon. Interim executives are immediately available to carry the baton before or during a search. They may even turn out to be your permanent solution because the time you get to watch them in action and solidify the scope of the role is invaluable.
“Approximately 57 million Americans do some type of work in the gig economy,” according to Great American Insurance which also describes the gig economy as an “On-Demand Workforce.” Isn’t that an interesting phrase given how at different points in the year insurance organizations face huge influxes in workloads? This is your opportunity to consider gig workers when you need them at a reduced expense compared to offshore outsourcing or permanent employment. A few examples include:
- Q4 benefits enrollers
- Year-end accounting and finance
- Backroom processing and data entry
This type of arrangement works great when you have projects that aren’t tied to the insurance portfolio but benefit from insurance expertise. Professionals with client service, operations, and human resources experience are great gig workers because they infuse insurance lingo into situations like:
- Creating a new marketing brochure
- Redesigning the functionality of the company’s website
- Writing training manuals
- Updating the employee handbook
- Mapping workflows for agency management system utilization