By Ann Gergen, Executive Director
The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for pools in many ways, and some have made the difficult decision to furlough or lay off employees. However, for those pools fortunate enough to be hiring new talent, the current employment market provides something of an opportunity: Plenty of qualified professionals are now seeking jobs.
Historically, the insurance industry has added jobs back more quickly than have other sectors following a recession. This suggests it would be wise to hire slightly ahead of an economic rebound, if you can.
If you do open recruitment for a position, be prepared for a large number of applicants. One pool searching for a new executive received more qualified candidates than expected: Recent uncertainty in the insurance sector led experienced executives from mutual insurance companies (people with a similar “member mindset” as required in pooling) to apply for the role. Qualified consultants who had worked with the pool in the past also applied, citing both the pool’s work environment and its predictability as attractive.
Several pools report they are open to adding employees on a remote work basis – even beyond the pandemic. This approach allows pools to consider a broader set of candidates for a position. In light of changing schedules, pools are also rethinking their work and vacation policies to allow for more robust flex time. I know of at least one pool evaluating an unlimited PTO policy, which would certainly be attractive to job candidates.
Finally, this period of crisis and uncertainty is a good time to emphasize the social purpose of pooling. We know younger generations appreciate mission-driven roles like those offered through local public entity risk pools. Current events may make applicants’ connections to local communities and services stronger than ever. I’m told of one recent job candidate who talked about how much she had come to appreciate her town in the last few months and how excited she would be to support local government by working for the pool.
Even the largest pools are small enough to be nimble when it comes to recruiting new talent. So, if you’re replacing a longtime employee who is retiring or backfilling for an internal candidate who has been promoted, consider broadening your recruitment efforts. As you do so, highlight your pool’s mission and capitalize on the working environment you offer. Don’t assume qualified talent will be hard to find – recent experience among AGRiP member pools suggests it is a great time to be hiring.
Ann Gergen is AGRiP’s executive director and a former pool administrator. She has worked closely with and for pools, public entities, reinsurers and related service providers throughout her career.#PoolingPerspectives