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Generating Talent Requires Trust & Fundamentals

In today’s work environment – specifically, the Mutual Insurance company space – there seems to be some frustration when it comes to hiring the ‘next generation.’ As I have spoken with several of my clients over the years, the sentiment seems to be the same – How do I attract new talent that can eventually become my successor? What is the correct methodology to hire the next generation? Is it attending every college’s job fair within a 100 mile radius to try and recruit new graduates? Is it posting your entry-level positions on every possible media outlet that you can think of? I know there are a lot of questions we can ask ourselves – I have heard many of them.

As we try to find the answers to these questions, let’s start by looking at the practical principles – starting within your organization first. I heard Joe Montana (Hall of Fame quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers) speak a few years ago. Two words he mentioned that stuck out to me were trust and fundamentals. He was referring to the trust he had in his lineman to protect him and how the team would go over the fundamentals every day in order to be successful. These two words can, and should, be applied to every business model.

So how does this apply to the hiring process?

First, let’s talk about trust.

Trust must exist between the hiring authorities within the organization and the Human Resources Department. More often than not, there seems to be a disconnect between what the HR professional and the hiring authority is looking for. There also seems to be a breakdown in the recruiting and vetting processes. In other words, the hiring authority needs to be able to articulate exactly what he/she is looking for and allow HR to do his/her job – bringing in the talent that he/she was tasked to find.

This is where it all starts. There can be arguments on both sides – a VP of Claims (hiring authority for the sake of this conversation) can make the argument that HR doesn’t handle claims, so they don’t really know what I need in the person we are looking for. HR can make the argument that the VP of Claims doesn’t recruit talent, so he/she doesn’t really know the process. This, my friends, is a failure to communicate and is the number one frustration within a lot of organizations. If this is the first line of trust within your organization, take steps to repair it.

Human Resource professionals: the VP of Claims has a wealth of knowledge that makes him/her successful. Their experience helps greatly in identifying the subject matter expertise and demonstrated experience that the claims professional you are hiring will need to help the organization and to plan for the next generation (career-pathing and succession planning).

VP of Claims professionals: your HR professionals have a wealth of knowledge that makes them successful in recruiting talent for your organization, and their experience in the process of identifying talent and attracting them to your team is invaluable. They can also help you implement plans to identify top talent, career-pathing, succession planning and put numerous tools into effect when identifying characteristics and profiles that will benefit the organization. This will also benefit you because it can help match the right candidate with your leadership and managerial style promoting career health and retention.

Everyone has an opinion on what the procurement process looks like. The key is open communication which creates trust.

Second, let’s talk about fundamentals.

Fundamentals are not what everyone is “talking about doing” to better their procurement process for the next generation of employees; they are what the organization is actually doing.

Talking about Succession Planning is easy, but actually implementing it can be a daunting task for an organization that has relied on the same core group of employees for the last, 20, 30 or even 40 years. We are in a fast-paced world that is difficult to keep up with, and sometimes it seems things are changing on a daily basis.

So, how do we attract the talent of this fast-paced world; namely college graduates or the Millennial generation? Not to say that we don’t have to take a different approach. Our culture is changing the thought process of younger generations, and it is different from past generations, but here it comes… wait for it…they are still human and desire the same things you did when you started within your organization 20, 30, or even 40 years ago.

Raise your hand if you went out looking for your first insurance job. It may have been that way for some of you, but oftentimes, the insurance industry finds us, and what finds us are the fundamentals: the lifestyle, financial stability, and the opportunity to learn something new. The Millennial generation wants to be part of something bigger than themselves, so attracting them to your organization may be easier and closer than you think.

We spend so much time busily trying to find the “new” best way to attract the next generation to secure our legacy that we tend to forget that insurance is a relationship business. It all starts with great communication, collaboration and an efficient process between your human resource professionals and hiring authorities to take care of your first customer and future leadership: the new employee.


With just under 20 years of combined experience in the insurance and recruitment industries and over $4 million in sales during his career at TCG, Brian Schrift understands market changes and the factors that drive them. In 2014 and 2015, Brian's team was recognized as #2 in the Eastern Region, and in 2016, Brian was named #3 in the Eastern Region and #10 globally. Brian has been invited as a speaker for several Mutual Insurance Company Associations' regional conferences and has been an integral contributor at President/CEO and HR Roundtables. He is currently on the PAMIC HR Committee, as well as the VAMIC Advisory Committee and regularly consults with clients to advise them on succession planning, automation integration, and forecasting.

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