It will probably come as no surprise to anyone reading this that an increasing number of our candidates are seeking positions that will allow for remote work after the pandemic has run its course. Of course, this was a trend across all industries before Covid-19, but it was one that the insurance industry was not as quick to embrace as others. Insurers build their businesses on trust and personal interaction, so there was an understandable reluctance to step away from time honored and well-honed patterns of behavior. Many clients I spoke with around this time last year were a bit shell-shocked by the new normal of zoom calls and interruptions from their kid-sized and/or four-legged co-workers, and many were counting the days until this would all pass. Fast-forward a few months and I started hearing things like, “we’ve actually made a pretty smooth adjustment,” and “there’s been a boost in productivity.” Many long-time holdouts against remote work were surprised to find that business could not only go on as usual, but that they could also thrive.
A recent survey published by the Society for Human Resource Management found that nearly 8-in-10 business leaders believe that Covid-19 “will make flexible work more important to attracting and retaining talent, with work/life balance also top of mind.” This is borne out in many of our recent successful engagements. Companies who anticipate that the desire for flexible or remote work arrangements will not subside with the pandemic are doing much better at attracting talent. Not all jobs can be remote, and we know nothing can change that, but our clients are doing what some have described as “some deep soul searching” to be sure that roles which formally had to be in-person really need to stay that way. For positions that can’t be fully remote, many are negotiating hybrid arrangements with employees that allow for a mix of remote and in-person work on a predetermined schedule.
One of the top reasons clients come to us is because they need help attracting talent to smaller towns and metro areas, and I have to say these engagements are some of my favorites. Nothing makes me happier than hearing the story of these communities and helping to position their value and appeal to candidates. That said, the reality is that not every person we talk to is in a position to relocate, and in an industry where competition for talent is always high, it is never a bad idea to cast your net as wide as possible. If a role needs to be in the office when the office reopens, we will help you fill it, but by doing some of that “deep soul searching,” you might find yourself open to a whole new pool of quality individuals who can add significant value to your business.
– Clifton Frei, Director of Client Development at D.W. Simpson