Thought Leadership

Unlocking the Heart of Insurance Recruitment: A Journey of Culture Fit

February 15, 2024 | Brown & Brown Insurance | Thought Leadership

Unlocking the Heart of Insurance Recruitment: A Journey of Culture Fit
by Julie Turpin, Chief People Officer at Brown & Brown Insurance

In the next decade, nearly 50% of the current insurance workforce is set to retire. Leaving more than 400,000 positions open, “all facets of the insurance industry will struggle to replace workers at every level,” says a U.S. Chamber of Commerce report. This is because less than 25% of our industry is currently under the age of 35.

This Insurance Careers Month, we need to ask ourselves: How do we approach recruitment in 2024? Are we seeking a mere team member, or are we hunting for that “culture fit” or “culture add?”

Culture fit and culture add are about how well teammates align with a company’s vision, goals and beliefs — and how new perspectives can be a plus one to the existing culture. When teammates click as a good culture fit, they bring the right mix of skills — both hard and soft — that gel with the rest of the team. They’re seamlessly on the same wavelength as the company’s mission and values.

But culture fit is not easily found. After just 30 minutes with someone, making a hiring decision can feel like threading a needle blindfolded. How can we be confident we’re making the right choice when asking the same conventional questions?

Seven years ago, Powell Brown, CEO at Brown & Brown, tossed out a handful of interview questions that shook the very foundation of my hiring process. I shared these gems with our recruiters during one of their visits.

A few questions, in particular, struck a chord with me:

  • “What experiences do you feel had the most impact on shaping who you are today?”
  • “Give me an example of how you’ve taken control of your career?”
  • “What does it take for you to give more than you think you can?”

These are not just any old questions; they are a gateway to intimacy in the interview.

In a Brown & Brown interview, we’re not looking for polished résumé highlights; we crave stories that reveal the essence of a person.

So, why do we dwell on these deeper questions?

Because they unveil layers of someone’s personality that traditional queries fail to penetrate. When a candidate hesitates, pondering whether to divulge a personal or professional tale, you know you’re onto something profound. It’s about understanding who they are beyond their skillset.

How do you find teammates who will be a culture fit or culture add?

Here are three tips for leaders to enhance their hiring strategies:

1.      Dive deep and ask gritty questions

Don’t shy away from the tough stuff when crafting your arsenal of interview questions. Embrace the gritty questions like old friends. They’re not just conversation starters; they’re windows into the true essence of a candidate. They can provide insights into a person’s willingness to solve problems that may arise — a key factor for those working in the industry — and grow within your organization by exploring the different paths within it. They’ll also help you understand their journey, hurdles and what drives them to surpass their limits.

2.      Seek out candidates who add to your culture

Recruitment blunders often boil down to one crucial misstep: overlooking cultural synergy. It’s not enough for a candidate to tick all the skill boxes; they must add value to your culture.

Remember, insurance isn’t just about policies and claims; it’s about solving problems. Seek candidates with an innate knack for problem-solving and a willingness to participate in rotational programs. It’s the lifeblood of our industry, from underwriting to customer service. If a candidate isn’t a born problem solver, insurance isn’t going to be a culture fit. Seek candidates who won’t just learn from their mistakes but actually consider them gifts.

3.      Track what is working well

What motivates your team? What fuels their passion? And, most importantly: What does it take for them to give more than they think they can?

These insights aren’t just HR data points but the building blocks of enduring relationships. During annual reviews, be sure to ask: “What inspires you?” Maintain a record of team members’ needs and sources of inspiration, then provide them with the tools to do their job well.

Genuine interest is the currency of connection

As I’ve navigated the path to leadership, I’ve learned that genuine interest is the currency of connection. Take Powell as my leader, for instance, when he asked about my improv escapades last year. His sincere curiosity about my experience spoke volumes and transcended mere small talk in our conversations. It wasn’t about grand gestures; it was about being present and genuinely caring.

February beckons those of us in insurance to unravel the mysteries of culture fit and seek teammates who resonate with our mission. Let’s not just recruit; let’s weave narratives of belonging together, where each teammate adds depth and helps drive the growth of our businesses.


PurposeFULL Leadership
How Personal & Professional Growth Can Help You Lead A Fullfilled Life
by Julie Turpin, Chief People Officer at Brown & Brown Insurance

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