WAHVE CEO Explains How to Solve the Talent Gap and Retain Quality Talent in a Competitive Market

Mar 20, 2024 / by AAIS

For this Advisory Report, AAIS spoke with Sharon Emek, Ph.D., CIC, CEO of AAIS Partner, WAHVE, a unique contract staffing talent solution serving the insurance industry, as part of a two-part series on how to solve the talent crunch and retain quality talent in the insurance industry. In part two, Emek addressed what causes employees to resign, how to create loyalty in your organization, the effects of COVID and remote work expectations, managing today’s workforce, how WAHVE helps insurers cope, and more.

 How to Create Loyalty in Your Organization

Creating a positive company culture and having empathy for employees are two of the most effective ways to create loyalty within an organization, according to Emek. She also believes a company’s onboarding process is important. “A lot of companies don't have a clear onboarding process,” Emek stated. “I suggest that when anyone joins the company, they get introduced to all the different departments, so they understand the whole company.”

Another crucial factor for creating loyalty at one’s company is to make sure employees feel like they have a purpose there. “The insurance industry, in my opinion, has a purpose for everything because we're protecting risks,” Emek shared. “Even the smallest thing you do is what's protecting somebody's life, somebody's home, somebody's business. So, communicating the purpose is so crucial to every job if you want to keep people.”

Effects of COVID & Remote Work Expectations

While COVID definitely changed the expectations of workers when it comes to remote work, Emek thinks it is changing back. “Now [companies] are understanding that people were highly productive [working from home] during COVID because they were home all day and night,” Emek explained. “Once COVID passed and people now could go out, productivity dropped. Companies recognize that young people are not getting mentored enough by working from home 100% of the time.” According to Emek, companies are now offering more flexible work arrangements where employees are in the office three to four days a week.

Another effect of COVID is that salaries have increased within the insurance industry and beyond. “This is a good thing,” in Emek’s opinion. “The insurance industry is competing with young people going into industries that pay much better salaries than we do, so raising that salary bar is definitely going to help attract young people in this industry.” Overall, she believes the outcome of COVID has been positive on work expectations.

Managing Today’s Workforce

Emek believes insurance companies need to think differently about how to manage their workers. “I think we have some very old management constructs that we still work by,” she admitted. “One of them is the performance review, which I call a report card. Report cards are for elementary, junior high school, and high school. They are at the end of the year for the most for most companies and by the end of the year, nobody remembers everything they've done.” Emek recommends implementing a newer version of this in the form of monthly one-on-one meetings, where employees and managers discuss goals for that month.

Another element that needs to be changed is how companies manage personal time off (PTO). “I think when you have the right people, it's about the outcomes [and] results,” said Emek. “People sometimes don't recognize that it's about the quality of the work that's being done, not how much time you might have put in.” All in all, as long as employees get their job done, they should be able to take any PTO they need.

WAHVE…Helping Insurers Cope

WAHVE offers two talent solutions to insurers. “Our main solution, which we built the company on, is helping our retiring insurance industry professionals continue to work in their retirement,” Emek explained. “Because the truth is, people aren't really retiring from work, they're just retired from the office. They're no longer on a career path; they want to have flexibility.” WAHVE has been capturing the retiring insurance industry population, qualifying them, and contracting them back out to insurance companies, retail brokers, and wholesale brokers all across the country. WAHVE has placed over 4,000 assignments over the last 13 years, from CSRs to underwriters to actuaries and even attorneys. By keeping the aging population working, WAHVE is helping the insurance industry maintain its institutional knowledge and fill that talent gap.

Another solution WAHVE released this last year is called Talent Acquisition Outsourcing. “We created bias-free, qualifying software exclusive within the insurance industry,” Emek explained. The software’s algorithm will match applicants with job ads that have similar hard and soft skill requirements by giving the applicant a score. “Then we give the client the five best-scored diverse candidate pools to hire from. So, you don't have to look at 100 resumes and worry about your bias, because you'll get the five most qualified scored against you.”

WAHVE also supports not-for-profits in the insurance industry that recruit talent, like the CPCU society. “We support them because we know it's so important to bring in the young talent,” said Emek. “That's why I built WAHVE in the first place…to help solve that problem.”

To view the full interview with Sharon Emek, please click the video above.

To view part one of this series where Emek discusses how to apply AI to solve the talent crunch and avoid its pitfalls, click here.

Tags: Machine Learning/AI, Remote Work, WAHVE, Artificial Intelligence, talent gap, Advisory Report


Written by AAIS

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