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20 Feb 17 08:51

I had to chuckle the other day when I read the headline, “Juice cleanses among 2017’s top employee perks.” But being an open-minded person I told myself, “Ok, read on. Let’s see what this is all about!”

Turns out I learned a thing or two about what job seekers are looking for and how forward-thinking companies are responding. A Glassdoor survey shows nearly three in five applicants seriously consider a company’s benefits and perks before accepting a job. Given February is Insurance Careers Month, a grassroots movement designed to entice Millennials to our industry, surveys like Glassdoor's provide a valuable insight into how the newest generations think.

Glassdoor singled out 20 companies that have differentiated themselves with their employee perks and Swiss Re is one of them, with our Own the Way You Work program. I hope many of our employees who are reading this have been positively impacted by Own the Way You Work, and if you are, I hope you’ll agree that it’s more than a perk. It’s part of who you are and is a nod to your manager who understands the value it brings. It speaks volumes about your team and how everyone succeeds on a daily basis.

Swiss Re recognizes an agile workforce can be a competitive advantage. Own the Way You Work is a culture built on “supportive managers, clear performance expectations and open communication that builds on trust. It’s about improving results by giving employees a greater sense of control – within the limits of their business and consistent with the working styles of individuals and teams over how, when and where they work.”

The point is: if insurance is such a great career for millennials we’ll have to demonstrate it by doing more than stuffing a few perks in an onboarding packet or adding a few lines to our mission statement. Companies need to take a serious look at the qualities they’re seeking in people, at how their leaders lead, at how they recognize great work and how talent management informs their vision of the future.

The stakes are higher and employers are stepping up to the challenge. With so many compelling career options, does that mean there’s a risk of millennials turning their backs on insurance? I say no, so long as we realize this isn’t about filling positions but rather about how we can attract the best and brightest of this generation. Sure, we can find people to fill the seats, but will they contribute their best? Can they move our industry forward in an increasingly competitive and complex world? Success starts with boldly announcing, “This is our vision, here’s what we expect of our people” followed by “we know you’re interested in our company because you share our vision." Next up is "we see you have exceptional talent and potential, so let us show you an environment that encourages people to dream, to build exciting things and to grow.”

So what does a juice cleanse have to do with all of this? As silly as it sounds (and admittedly the headline is clickbait), I think of a juice cleanse as symbolic—a chance to take a fresh look at where we want to go as an industry. We are blessed, I think, with an attractive proposition, to protect lives and assets. Consider another recent headline, “4 VCs were asked what the hottest area of fintech is right now — all they could talk about was insurance.” The ideas and imagination are pouring in, so let’s capitalize on this wave of recognition!

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Location: Armonk, NY, United States

1 Comment

- 22 Feb 2017, 11:50 a.m.

Thank you Monica for sharing great thoughts. I fear that many employers in financial services field may fall into a trap of easy fixes, when attracting new talents. As you rightfully say: simply adding a few hip perks to your benefits package will most probably not do the trick.

Employers tend to see Millennials through the prism of new emerging trends, but there is so much more to look at. Millennials actually are interested in old topics, they simply look at them from a new angle. The most striking change is that, Millenials are not afraid to be vocal about topics, that used to be considered as taboo.

The question arises, if employers are ready for « Maryam Mirzakhani » alike talents? First women to win a 'Nobel Prize of math' and not afraid at all to speak up about the stereotypes of women in scientific fields? How does it feel to touch upon such a topic with your employer? Does it feel uncomfortable? Does it feel like the discussion should rather move on to the cleansing juices? Or is your employer ready to take a stand on a taboo topic?

I believe that the answer to these questions will impact dramatically the turnaround of Millenials in the workplace. Millenials need to see all the cards on the table, in order to evaluate compatibility with their employer. And believe me, they are not afraid to put it all out there and be exposed.

Today’s employers should be future ready, but I think that, it is equally important for them to look back in the past and face the old themes with new perspective …….and trend it!

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