New study shows independent agencies face a recruiting dilemma. Now what?
A recent survey of independent P&C agency principals conducted by Renaissance Alliance looked to gain better insight into agency growth, challenges, goals, technology adoption, and upcoming strategic initiatives.
The results led to an interesting discovery as it relates to one of the most commonly stated growth strategies in 2021: adding to staff.
A disconnect between goals and challenges for independent agencies
The survey found “adding to staff” as the number one planned strategic initiative for agencies in the next one to two years. On its own, this finding isn’t surprising, as agencies typically view their people as their greatest differentiator in the market and their greatest asset.
However, when considering the biggest challenge faced by independent agencies is the “availability of skilled staff,” a mismatch becomes more apparent.
Their top growth strategy is in direct conflict with their top challenge, presenting a real issue for agencies.
A majority of independent agencies (67%) reported feeling positive about their ability to grow their business in 2021. However, agencies may face disappointing growth numbers in the months to come if they depend solely on “adding to staff” to grow business.
So now what? What else can agencies do to grow in addition to hiring additional staff?
Three practical ways to supplement a hiring-focused growth strategy
While adding more producers and staff may seem like a no-brainer when it comes to growth, the talent gap plaguing the entire industry could prove too steep to overcome in the immediate future. The good news is that there are many practical ways to supplement this growth strategy that can help bridge the gap in a complex job market.
Invest in your current team. Fully supporting the staff you already have with tools that help them be more productive and happier is a winning growth strategy. A focus on strong onboarding practices, continuing education, and flexible schedules can increase engagement, employee retention, and productivity.
Invest in tech. The report notes, “Agencies that focus on adding high performance processes and automation tools are able to scale far beyond the number of fulltime employees.” Look for technology to reduce redundant and non-revenue generating functions in addition to adding staff. With a more modern agency, staff can not only be more productive, but also happier overall with an investment in intuitive, easy-to-use solutions that make their jobs easier and free up time to focus on what matters most: the clients.
Explore the non-traditional. The talent pool is changing, and it’s time to take a fresh look at what “skilled talent” may look like. Insurance can be a great option for someone looking for a mid-career change and for younger adults fresh out of school who may not realize the benefits and satisfaction that comes with a career in insurance. Diversity and inclusion practices are also key—many qualified candidates with great potential may be overlooked because they don’t fit a particular demographic.
In short, a touch of creativity and innovation might be what’s needed to overcome barriers in the current job market and help agencies meet their growth goals.
For a detailed look at the views of independent agency owners, view the full survey by Renaissance Alliance here.