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Mining for diamonds: Tips from GAMA LAMP on how to attract and retain the next generation of talent

GAMA LAMP logoThe challenge of attracting new producers to the insurance industry was a recurring theme at GAMA LAMP. In his opening keynote, CEO of the Wealth Advisory Group and retiring GAMA LAMP president, Howard Elias, urged the attendees to tackle this issue head on. “Our industry helps everyday people prepare for their futures, but we need to ensure that continues into the future,” he said. “The industry needs new talent and you are the leaders who will make that happen.”
As the advisor workforce ages, many firms are struggling to attract and retain the next generation of talent. Younger candidates often have a negative perception of the industry and the complex regulatory environment is only compounding the issue. “We need to educate candidates about the value of our profession,” explained Howard. “In addition to providing lucrative financial compensation, unlimited growth potential and flexibility, our industry lets [producers] help their communities in tangible and intangible ways. And that can be a powerful motivator.”

The social media advantage

To reach younger candidates, “… you need to be where they are,” said Hearsay Social CEO, Clara Shih. “These potential recruits look for opportunities through their online social networks. By empowering your advisors in the field with social media, you can amplify your recruiting messaging and reach candidates you might not have connected with otherwise.”
Clara also explained how digital channels help new advisors become more productive. “New producers in their twenties aren’t going to want to cold call,” she said. “Encourage them to reach out to their online social networks in the way you used to encourage your producers to reach out to alumni or former co-workers.”
In a highly attended keynote, “Gen Y Guy” Jason Dorsey described what motivates millennial candidates. “We have short attention spans,” he explained. “Don’t send us an email. Don’t call us on the phone. If you want our attention, send us a text or connect with us on social media.”

“Some of the best recruits we find come in through social media,” said Pete Gillespie of Freedom 55 Financial in his leading practices session. “After four years, 82% of the candidates we source through LinkedIn are still with our firm.” Once Freedom 55 Financial engages with a candidate, “we have them go through a consistent recruiting process where we get to know them well, understand what motivates them to succeed, and helps them understand who we are as a firm and exactly what we offer,” he said.
Successful recruiting through LinkedIn was described in several other sessions. Georgette Geller of AXA Advisors shared how LinkedIn has helped her firm find new talent. And John Maxwell, founder of EQUIP and the John Maxwell Company, also shared how his clients have used the social network to reach untapped candidates.

Building a legacy

Harry Hoopis, CEO of the Hoopis Performance Network and formerly of the Northwestern Mutual firm the Hoopis Financial Group, reminded attendees to carefully consider whom they bring into their firms. “Ask yourselves is this someone you’d want to have over for dinner? Are they someone you’d want to introduce to your grandchildren?” he said. “Most importantly, is this someone you’d want to be the last candidate you bring into your firm? Is he or she a good testament to your legacy?”

“You can’t afford to hire the wrong candidate,” echoed John Maxwell. “Think about how much the wrong person costs you in time and money. We all know that only one in four new advisors will make it through their first three years, but always be thinking about how you can improve those odds and grow your firm.”
As new producers join the industry, firms must prepare them for the realities of life in the field. “Don’t sugar coat how hard it is to become successful,” said Harry. “This is the worst career for those who shouldn’t be here. But for those who can succeed, this is the best career they could ever ask for.”