The insurance and risk management fields are professions with legions of rapidly-retiring older employees, and they struggle to hire and keep promising new, and younger ones. How to accomplish this? Customized training is one way to do this, a millennial industry professional said during the recent RIMS 2017 annual meeting in Philadelphia.

“Create individual development plans. It’s important to link people’s objectives to the company’s growth,” Kathleen Crowe, an Aon Risk Solutions account specialist, said during the April 26 session.

“We don’t get a lot of opportunities to sit in front of your C-suite and have a conversation with them,” Crowe said, adding that by doing so, “it makes it feel like you’re in it together [and it’s] not just about the company’s bottom line.”

“It is about what you are looking for, working together to get where you want to go,” Crowe added.

Crowe also offered a number of additional tips as to how to attract millennials to your company, and keep them engaged once they’re there. They include:

  • Know an employee’s aspirations and goals.Crowe said managers should consider a candidate or employee’s records, aspirations, five-year and 10-year goals and figure out how they can be achieved within their companies.
  • Manage both the quality and quantity of high potential-employees at the corporate level. “Having year-over-year consistency and explaining and being very clear about what’s going on with the company is very important,” Crowe said. “The lower rung can be uncomfortable about not knowing what’s going on. We need to know where we stand with each other, as far as supervisor to younger person.”
  • Don’t rotate young employees into different departments. Crowe said many companies will hire younger employees and have them work in multiple departments during the first week and then pick the one they like. “Don’t burden them with that,” she said. “Don’t burden them with that—take that project and say ‘here, take it and run with it.’ —It’s having a really great and full idea about one or two things. [The employee] will be able to benefit much more long term and for your company.”
  • Consider younger employees for challenging positions. Crowe argued that leadership develops under stressful situations, so giving that younger employee the opportunity to experience that and be able to fail is key for both employee and company. “If you don’t understand what it feels like to fail you are never going to be able to be successful,” she said. “When you are in risk management, not everything is going to go right all the time.”
  • Reevaluate your top talent annually.Crowe pointed out that risk management field and insurance are both constantly changing, with the constant emergence of new products and technology, which means growth strategies are likely to change, too. Employers must communicate this, Crowe said, and also make sure their teams are “synched and aligned” as much as possible each year.
  • Pay incentives.Crowe urged employers to offer “significantly differentiated compensation” to help promising younger employees see that “that are an emerging leader and someone you want to have on your team, and also a person you want to respect and continue to help grow.”
  • End blast emails, and use individualized messages.Crowe said that this would show millennials that you care about their futures, with initiatives such as sending a personalized note to a young staff member informing the person that “something is in the pipeline and [you are] happy to talk.”

Crowe ended with a plea: “Please don’t hate millennials.”

“We’re really not that bad,” she said. “We have a lot to learn from you all, but it is really important to provide opportunities for us to move up. We need to have the abilities and skills to manage that outside of being able to understand how to write a policy or write certificiates of service.”