By Corina McCall
Unemployment continues to follow its downward trajectory, according to October data from the Bureau of Labor statistics that show 5 percent of the population was without a job. The insurance industry played a significant role in the job market recovery, hiring hundreds of thousands of professionals over the past five years. Looking solely at insurance agents, more than 95,000 were hired between September 2010 and July 2015 (representing a 15 percent increase).
New agents who joined the insurance industry since 2010 should be confident they made the right career choice, as they have seen the industry continue to grow. And, while many insurance professionals may find themselves in stable sales positions, many may be asking whether they selected the right employer, or if they would have better career options at other insurance companies.
For Hispanic agents mulling this question, there are unique variables they need to consider when asking themselves if they are at the right organization. The Hispanic community is known for being vibrant, motivated, hard-working and family-oriented, as well as being bilingual and bicultural. Since their culture plays a key role in the type of employer they will want to work for, it’s very important that agents in this community who are considering a career move proactively seek out a “Hispanic employer of choice.”
Identifying an “employer of choice” is no easy feat. Nevertheless, there are a few things job seekers should take into consideration to ensure an employer is truly dedicated to the Hispanic community and a potential fit.
Here are five attributes Hispanic agents seeking a career move should seek from potential employers:
- Provides work/life balance. Does the employer aim to create work/life balance in the workplace? Family is a high priority in the lives of most Hispanics and a healthy work/life balance would definitely be factored into their job search. They want to work for an employer who’s not concerned only about business and profits, but who also shows concern for their workers’ lives and families. This typically is demonstrated through compassionate policies, such as an allowance for sick days or personal time, as well as benefits for employees and family members.
- Creates environment of empowerment. Hispanics, like many other ethnic groups, look to be empowered in their job roles and responsibilities. Hispanics look for employers who empower their workers, as well as the communities in which the workers live. An employer of choice also creates an environment where employees feel they are valued and can provide input that makes a difference internally and within the community environment. This leads to a positive attitude and heightened on-the-job productivity.
- Builds and supports relationships. As natural connectors, relationship building is core to Hispanics. In a sales-related field, meeting and connecting with clients and prospects in a meaningful and relatable way is important for success. Agents must ask pertinent questions and do additional research if needed to ensure that a prospective employer is committed to maintaining an ongoing relationship with their clients.
- Shares goals for success. Does the employer seek solutions to barriers that may hinder your success? Qualified employees are often eager to advance quickly to a management track. They will want opportunities for ongoing education and training that will help them succeed in advancing further. Language is often one of the greatest barriers. Despite the language barrier, bilingual salespeople are a rare commodity and can bring incalculable value to any business that seeks a more diverse customer base. Agents shouldn’t hesitate to ask a prospective employer whether they are willing to provide the right resources to help them advance and successfully serve the community.
- Invests in employees. An employer of choice recognizes that there is a need for time and resources to help new employees get off to a successful start. This begins with comprehensive sales training, possibly with a bonus paid upon completion of training. In addition, an employer of choice will offer a guaranteed income for a certain period thereafter when the individual succeeds in meeting specific minimum production requirements.
Agents should do some research to learn about prospective companies, their policies and reputations to identify potential employers of choice who have strong diversity programs in the field of insurance sales and management. In addition to visiting websites, speaking with employees of potential companies, as well as your own family members, neighbors, and others in the community can help to reveal which employers are most invested in the Hispanic community and the success of their employees. Pursuing these “employers of choice” can position eager and ambitious job-seekers to experience success in their current search and beyond.
Corina McCall is national Hispanic recruiting program manager for Combined Insurance. Corina may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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