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Jack Burke Jack Burke , 3/5/2014
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Every agency owner I’ve met tells me that they have a difficult time finding and hiring “good” producers. Unfortunately, many of us who own businesses are the problem.  We don’t think long term. We don’t plan and implement recruiting strategies that might take years to bear fruit.  Instead, we react to immediate situations in a helter-skelter manner.  We forage for potential producers because we never forged a proactive policy of recruiting them.

Webster defines the verb “forage” as “to wander in search of food.” Forge, on the other hand is defined as “to form by a process of heating and hammering.”  If we succeed in foraging for producers, it’s a matter of luck.  If we forge a process, over time, luck has very little to do with it.

This process begins with a commitment to the educational system.  Start cultivating interest in insurance as a career by interaction with schools. Make yourself, an insurance executive, visible to the young people who will form our future.  Attract them to an insurance career, consciously or subconsciously, by acting as a role model. Show them that you’re happy and excited about your career, and have the time to serve the community and youth.

Here are a few suggestions for attracting young people: 
  • Sponsor a sports team and get involved as a coach or some other volunteer position 
  • Rather than just speaking to parents about teenage insurance at PTA meetings, bring together teenagers for a talk about responsible driving and the impact of a safe record on their future insurance needs.
  • Sponsor a Safe Driving Awards Program for high school juniors and seniors.
  • Teach a class on insurance at the local high school or junior college. Along with Auto, Home,     Health and Life insurance, explain how your career allows you to help people protect their future.
  • Start a scholarship program for needy high school or college students 
  • If your office is in a retail trade area, make the grounds available for a weekend fund-raising car wash by a local high school.
  • If you’re in a rural area, conduct a class on Farm insurance for local 4H Clubs.
  • Volunteer to teach Commercial insurance at local colleges that offer majors in business.
  • Participate in Career Day programs at local high schools and colleges.
  • Invite students to write articles for your client newsletter (if you have one).
These are just a few top-of-mind ideas on how you can help create a positive attitude toward insurance among students in your area. They won’t be ready to go to work with you tomorrow.  But a few years down the road, they just might remember the role model you presented to them.  

This approach will have a positive impact on you.  Spending time with students will keep you re-charged and motivated about your own career and life – and, as an employer, you’ll relate more easily to younger employees.  It’s a win-win!

Every successful person I know has a role model, guide, or mentor in their past.  Whether yours is a school, a teacher, a parent, an early employer, a neighbor –- or a combination of people – hindsight places a greater value on the lessons they taught 

What better way to pay back this favor than by paying it forward? Become that same role model to the youth in your community.  These “connections’ will pay dividends in future years.  Instead of foraging for your immediate needs, forge a process that will fulfill your needs for years to come.