Monday, May 19, 2014

More Companies Hiring Remote Workers

There's no mistaking the fact that talent shortage is major challenge for the insurance industry. Often times the biggest issue is location.   

While the insurance industry isn't alone in the talent acquisition struggle, compared to some industries I believe it would be fair to say it lags behind in creative solutions because of fears over work ethic, culture, and loyalty.  Take for example this recent article in the Des Moines Register's Business section, (Go Remote), which profiles an experienced technology professional in Des Moines who works for a Silicon Valley-based firm, but started on a contract basis so the company knew exactly what work ethic and skills he brought to the table.

The article describes how well the arrangement has worked out for both the company and employee.  It also touches on key points that employers are using in the ever increasing remote working trend.  Here's where the insurance industry needs to be more open to adopting work-from-home situations.  It's not just a must do scenario, but a way companies can expand.

  1. Contract to permanent conversion benefits.  The Register's article mentioned that the tech professional had worked on contract for the gaming company for a year before hiring him full-time.
  2. Increase retention.  Hiring remote employees is more than just tapping into a faraway talent pool.  It's about retaining employees from local and regional competitors.  Remote situations strengthen commitment, communication and loyalty in the right senior employees, which eliminates the hook a lot of competitors will use to recruit your people away.
  3. Attracting Young Talent.  Young professionals communicate, learn and work in a virtual world.  Telling them that the only way to be successful in their insurance career is to be in an office is like telling them the only way to listen to music is on a CD player.  It sounds old and archaic.  They live in a virtual world and want to work in one.
  4. Vertical Niches.   What if your experts are concentrated in a different part of the country?  You have two options when hiring them: 1) Relocate that talent if you can or 2) Let them stay in their natural market and be subject matter experts both by region and industry