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5 Tips for Attracting Top Senior Level Talent to Your Insurance Agency

Posted by Scott Tietz, CLU on Wed, Aug 28, 2019 @ 12:00 PM

Recruiting top talent to your insurance agency can not only warrant a higher multiple at sale but also increase current growth potential and cultivate a more stable investment. But it requires you to have a plan to create your magnetic offer for senior level talent. 

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First, it’s important to remember that attracting top talent at a senior level isn’t the same as hiring other employees. The two groups may view a position with your agency differently. An employee may be happy to have a job with little else to compare it to. But top talent in senior management has some experience under their belt (possibly at larger companies) and want to know what’s-in-it-for-them as any savvy prospective customer does. And anyone you wish to employ should be treated the same way you would treat a potential customer.

How to make your agency appealing to top talent

When it comes to senior management, the pool of candidates is much smaller and top performers have the balance tipped in their favor. Rather than them hoping you’ll hire them for the job, you need to prove your agency’s worth to them.

Here are 5 ways you can go about doing that.

1.       Offer incentives (in addition to salary) for achieving growth goals you’ve set forth. If this makes them more apt to hit those goals, it’s a win not only for them, but for your agency as well.

2.       Clearly outline a vision for the future and what that looks like for the candidate. Map out where they can go within your agency and how their role is integral in achieving the overarching goals of the company. And rather than say we "need" you, it can mean more to the employee if you express your respect for them as a professional by complimenting their unique strengths and abilities (doing this is free). 

3.       Develop a strong benefits package. This can mean different things to different people. It’s about crafting one that suits both you and the candidate. Some might need strong medical benefits, others may want to negotiate vacation days, holidays, or sick days. And still others have a greater interest in the retirement or bonuses. Creating flexible plans and allowing an employee to choose, might be the best option.

4.       Know what differentiates you as an employer so you can relay that to the candidate. When you’re dealing with top talent who have choices in where they accept a position, you need to lay out the value you bring and how that could translate to greater success for them.

5.       Let them know who else they’ll be working with. Are they well-known people in the industry? Movers and shakers who are getting amazing results? Many top performers want to be in the company surrounded by others who have  similar drive and accomplishments to their name. Together, they could do great things for your agency.


Planning out what you’ll present and how is time well-spent as the right candidate should bring unique strengths and abilities that can become differentiators for your business. As the industry becomes increasingly competitive, it can be critical to your agency's success.

Alternatives to using a high salary to obtain top talent

When it comes to entrepreneurial management, Peter Drucker said, “It requires building a top management team long before the new venture actually needs one and long before it can actually afford one.”

Which brings me to my next point…

Salary is often the first thing that comes to mind when considering how to acquire top talent. But what if you can’t afford to pay a higher salary?

The good news is, there are other ways to bring on senior level talent.

  • Stock ownership in the company. Consider whether you’ll do full ownership or partial and possibly include a vesting period as you determine whether they’re the right fit. Put tight guidelines in place that everyone understands and agrees to. Determine the buyout if the person leaves the company before a sale. If you have qualms about giving up ownership, ask yourself if it would be better to own 60% of a thriving agency or 100% of one that’s marginal or failing.
  • Distribution rights. This gives the individual an opportunity to make money along the way and in a potential sale in the future. You can vary the terms so that in some cases, the individual you hire would be given distribution rights only and nothing at sale or give no distribution but a piece of the pie at the close of the sale.
  • Clear advancement opportunities with a timeline and incentives tied to it. Have two different org charts available — one showing how it is today and the other projecting where you want to be in 2-3 years. With the right people in senior level roles, your agency can fill gaps and eliminate or minimize any existing weakness. Is there something stopping you from growing? It’s possible that current managers may need to be shifted from their role if you find someone better suited. It doesn’t mean they’re out of job but just more effective elsewhere.

Increase your agency’s value

Recruiting top talent is not a task you should overlook or take lightly. Without a strong management team, you may not be able to sell your agency at the price you want nor create an exit plan for yourself where your agency thrives even when you aren’t there.

On the other hand, with the right fit management team who shares your vision and aligns with your culture, you have the potential to double or even triple your agency’s value.

With top talent in senior management roles, this may provide an opportunity for in internal succession when the time comes for you to leave the business.To get information about specific ways to qualify senior level talent, book a call with me below.  

Schedule a Call with Scott Tietz

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