What Actions Carriers Can Take to Address the Diving Labor Participation Rate

The COVID-19 pandemic saw labor participation fall to a 36-year low in North America, with the unemployment rate following a similar trend.

As we begin to make our way through recovery, it’s critical for carriers to address how they can shape an improvement in retention, participation, and employment within their own organizations.  

Addressing these challenging trends must start at home for carriers, as even though the unemployment rate has improved from 10% (start of recovery) to 6.1% (current rate), we are not seeing a matched increase in labor participation.  

In fact, the latest data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics demonstrates that the labor participation rate has actually worsened from 65.2% (start of recovery) to 62.8% (current rate). This new low has been concerning for us to observe at Gallagher Bassett, and we know it’s also concerning for the carriers with whom we work. 

Dawn Griffin and Ajay Sinha shared the top three actions carriers can take to address this before it continues to impact performance: 

1. Reimagine recruiting 

The war for talent is more than a hot topic we’ve all heard about this year — it’s going to be a defining factor for the future of our industry. We all need to think outside the box when it comes to our recruitment and hiring processes to ensure we’re reaching a broader, more diverse group of potential talent. This may not expand the types of skills among your team, but bringing people of diverse backgrounds and experiences will help your organization build the adjusting force of the future.  

At GB, we have tripled the size of our recruiting team and introduced double referral bonuses for our teams. This has dovetailed with the dramatic expansion of our GB University program, which will welcome 20 new people per quarter to ramp up our personnel in general liability, auto liability, and workers’ compensation. Our program helps develop the next generation of claims professionals and instills them with the skills, values, and drive to propel our industry forward. 

It’s likely your recruitment team is feeling a sense of burnout, poor well-being, and fatigue from the past 18 months, so make sure you consider how you can incentivize and reinvigorate them to perform.  

2. Develop compelling value 

Pulling workers back into the labor market takes more than a competitive paycheck. We know public sentiment now has turned from who pays the most to who will take the best care of the employee.  

Of course, competitive packages are still important, but it’s even more critical that your organization is presented as a place where employees are valued, empowered, and supported in achieving their career goals. Whether it’s enabling flexible work where appropriate or implementing culture and engagement mechanisms that encourage your team members to bring their whole selves and their whole energy to their role — you need to build a strong and compelling foundation that will attract and retain talent.  

At GB, we have enabled flexible work arrangements among our labor force for decades to better support parents and caregivers who wanted to maintain their careers while caring for children and sometimes their aging parents – as they should be entitled to do. The pandemic showed us, and everyone else in our industry, that this flexibility should be extended to more people to ensure we can find the best talent — no matter their location or needs. 

 3. Build engaging processes 

Once you have addressed your recruitment and employee value proposition challenges, carriers must review and refine their management practices and procedures to ensure productivity and accountability.  

As we all shift into managing hybrid teams, your processes and training programs must be tailored for remote workers to ensure they don’t fall behind or become disengaged. The right tools and technology will be critical in achieving this, while the quality of your customer service will benefit as a result of your team not being impaired by slow, inadequate, or dysfunctional technology. 

Through building a strong foundation, you can help navigate your organization through the challenging times ahead. As a partner to carriers across the world, GB is taking the lessons we have learned and applying them to deliver positive outcomes across a variety of sectors.  

To find out how we can help you address the war for talent and other resourcing challenges, connect with our team of experts today.  

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