Posted by: yacmichigan | December 21, 2015

Hire Interns to Promote Internal Diversity

Hire Interns to Promote Internal Diversity

In many industries, career opportunities and development rely heavily on who you know. Insurance is no exception.

Many of us had a friend, family member or acquaintance who inspired us to enter this business. So how do those without such close ties come to know about the benefits of this career path? How can we help them embark on the journey toward becoming a successful agent?

In the office I oversee, the answer to this question was starting an internship program, which has attracted both students and career-switchers from across our home state of California. Our interns come from a variety of backgrounds, but nearly 40% of those we’ve hired have been either women or minorities.

In an industry mostly dominated by white males, a program that helps us cultivate, train and often retain professionals from diverse backgrounds has benefited everyone connected to our business. Here’s why:

Benefit to the intern: Internships not only look good on a resume, they can also help students test whether or not a certain role and an industry is truly a good match for them. An internship also typically involves a built-in community of mentors and other interns to make the process smoother and more meaningful. In an entrepreneurial career like financial services, this exposure can help build confidence to ensure success early on.

Benefit to the agency: For your business, instituting an internship program is a great way to test out potential agents before making contracted decisions. And if the program attracts women and minority agents, as it did for us, this could help your firm tap into new markets. Recruiting more female agents has allowed us to connect with more clients in the generally female-dominated health care and educational marketplaces. We’ve also retained several Latino and Latina advisors who have helped us approach that ethnic market.

Benefit to the client: Thanks to extra manpower, clients can benefit from an internship program through additional touches from both interns and their advisors in terms of phone calls, face-to-face meetings and other support. We also know it’s important for clients to feel like they can relate to the individuals providing them with financial guidance and planning. This is where heightening diversity in a firm can be most impactful.

Celeste Gurule is managing director of Advisor Based Sales for broker-dealer and registered investment advisor Lincoln Financial Advisors in San Francisco, a division of Lincoln Financial Group. Lincoln Financial Group is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation and its affiliates.

The Higher Education Hurdle

When looking to hire college interns or recruit recent grads, it’s possible that your outreach may be falling on deaf ears. Some institutions appear to place very little emphasis on steering students toward entrepreneurial career paths—so much so, in fact, that some schools may reject job postings that cannot provide a base salary. This is why meaningful contact and education are imperative in recruiting the next generation of successful agents. —C.G.

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