Why social purpose matters when attracting and growing talent for insurance

12th January 2022

After 10 years in the sector Alex Guerin, head of office for London Corporate at Marsh, reflects on how individual performance is now less important and working with charities and volunteering can provide fulfilment.

My 10th year in insurance has coincided with other significant changes that have enabled reflection on both collective and individual purpose. Starting a family and taking on a first leadership role have forced a change in thinking and approach; for the first time, individual success has been decoupled from individual performance and in what appears a 180 degree volte-face, personal satisfaction and success is now enabled and measured by the success of others. Being in a position to help others grow and develop has been the most rewarding experience of life to date.

In a similar vein, engagement with charities and volunteering provides a fulfilment that it is hard to replicate in the day-to-day of corporate life; seeing the impact one can have on the lives of those less fortunate by sharing experience gained, a helping hand through volunteering or financial support has re-affirmed the long-known fact that giving back is an essential part of what helps make us happy and fulfilled as humans.

Having been lucky enough to join a company that places giving back and volunteering at the heart of the employee experience, it is something that risks taking for granted. However, it should be a key part of what the industry looks to offer its younger members as we seek to broaden our appeal beyond the traditional recruitment pools to address the many and diverse challenges of our clients and partners. Furthermore, given the wider attention that many topics have received in the media, younger people are quite rightly demanding action and publicly calling out those not pulling their weight. In short, this matters.

The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation offers an industrywide opportunity to make sure we are doing our bit so that we can be a force for good. Through grant-giving, volunteering and more, it supports local charities to help people across the country gain skills and confidence to excel at school, find meaningful employment and make a new start in life. This has been particularly important through Covid-19 and the Revitalising Communities Fund has enabled the IICF to provide funds, equipment and practical support to people in need and the charities it supports.

Through the Week of Giving and other initiatives, IICF offers a ready-made opportunity for companies within our industry to engage with their wider community and demonstrate a commitment beyond the office to employees as they compete for talent in a crowded field. Furthermore, and just as importantly for our younger colleagues, it offers a fantastic opportunity to gain experiences outside of work that can help develop skills and connections that augment an employee’s experience and progression. Through the associate board, younger members of the broking and insurance community have a wonderful opportunity to develop first hand leadership skills and grow a fantastic network of like-minded industry members. Similarly, for the board of directors, this experience can be shared with senior leaders and those keen to give back.

At a time of year when everyone naturally pauses to reflect on the past 12 months, there has never been a more compelling case for action over rhetoric; on an individual and company level. As an industry, we have a fantastic opportunity to deliver and showcase our social purpose. The IICF brings this purpose to life by creating unique opportunities for charitable giving and engagement – giving employees a sense of purpose and enabling companies to attract future, diverse talent, creating an irrefutable case for action.