Brokerage Ops

Talent Development Strengthens Bottom Line

Council members are developing staff to grow top leaders and profitability.
By Zach Ewell

Education strikes a chord particularly with the emerging workforce. That’s why some companies invest intensively in developing talent through classes and other educational opportunities.

In 2018, the H.W. Kaufman Group was recognized by the Association for Talent Development as one of the best places—not just in insurance but globally—for talent development. According to Alan Jay Kaufman, president and CEO of H.W. Kaufman Group, developing talent is largely about providing resources and education to help employees grow and become more engaged in their career. “We’re going to further their professional career…by internal education, as well as encouraging them to seek other opportunities in education—whether it be other classes, seminars, programs, [or] industry conferences.”

To receive the Association for Talent Development award, an organization must provide evidence that its engagement with employees develops its bottom line. “Kaufman’s bottom line was profitability and growth, which was dependent on the company selecting, developing and retaining top, engaged associates,” Renée Lerche, president of the Kaufman Institute, says. “The Kaufman Institute, an educational and professional learning hub, has been the key driver to earning this award. It provides access to professional development, expanded learning content, certifications, programs and innovative learning tools.”

According to Lerche, 82% of Kaufman’s workforce participated in the program last year. Twenty-six percent of graduates from its emerging leaders and advanced management programs have been placed into executive positions.

Producers who participated in sales training in January 2018 experienced a 12% increase in sales in their first month following the training.
Renée Lerche, president, Kaufman Institute

The investment has also increased Kaufman’s earnings and business. “Seventy-six percent of Kaufman associates reported in 2017 that they have grown as a professional contributor to the organization, and producers who participated in sales training in January 2018 experienced a 12% increase in sales in their first month following the training,” Lerche says.

CBIZ Looks to Mentoring

While investing in company classes is one way of improving an organization, CBIZ relies on mentorship as a gateway to retaining top employees. “A higher level of leadership is required, and we must ensure that our leaders are well equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to lead such strong and smart professionals,” Marina Davis, director of organization and talent development for CBIZ Benefits and Insurance Services, says. “For this reason, we are currently placing a heavy emphasis on strengthening and growing our leaders’ capabilities to coach and mentor our insurance professionals throughout CBIZ.”

However, for mentorships to blossom, mentors themselves need to be taught how to teach. In the beginning of next year, CBIZ will pilot certification programs. “Some of our businesses are exploring formal mentorship programs, and that is something I expect to see embraced more and more,” Davis says. “We will be teaching some key professionals how to coach, which of course is one of the skills that is necessary when mentoring.”

With only 4% of millennials expressing a desire to make a living in the insurance industry, brokerages may enhance their attractiveness and talent retention through education and leadership-development initiatives. Employers that provide staff with opportunities to further their careers and expertise demonstrate commitment and respect to great employees. “They don’t want their time wasted,” Davis says. “They want to be treated with respect. They want to be challenged. They appreciate being treated as someone who already brings vast expertise.”

To support its members in this important initiative, The Council established The Council Academy, a multi-modality, curated collection of courses—both in person and virtual—on topics important to brokerages.  All of The Academy’s offerings, designed and developed based on adult learning principles, help ensure stronger interest, engagement and higher retention results for the learner. “The Train-the Trainer on Coaching Millennials, offered this fall, will help our members bring this important skill set back to their firms,” says Elizabeth McDaid, The Council’s senior vice president of leadership and management resources. “For the millennial learner, there are hundreds of short, just in time micro-learnings on a variety of topics.  Retaining top talent is critically important to our members and development is critically important to top talent.”

Zach Ewell Contributing Writer Read More

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