When we take a look at our industry and the landscape ahead, one can wonder who might be better equipped to handle the rigors of a rapidly changing industry: the seasoned, been-around-the-block adviser or the young and energetic newcomer who is ready to impart fresh ideas. Clearly, a younger person's thought process can be very different than a seasoned employee or adviser. This has its advantages and disadvantages. And it raises the question of how a younger adviser could help or hinder our industry.
What the youth lack in experience, they might be able to compensate by having no preconceived notions or being stuck in "how it used to be" mode. In addition, generally speaking, they tend to be more knowledgeable in certain areas of technology and how to maximize social media.
Although there are advantages to hiring young people, there is no denying that, in order to effectively carry out a benefits adviser's role, certain industry specific knowledge is key - and that knowledge takes time to learn. Having said that, what a young person may lack in experience and knowledge of corporate culture, they may offset with fresh perspectives on how to evolve the employee benefits advisory role into the next decade.
How can we encourage more youth to enter the benefits industry?
This summer we have a Yale intern for several weeks. We hope to foster an interest in our industry directly with the intern or with others he knows. Also, our management team has volunteered to participate at the Collegiate DECA International Career Development Conference.
I am spending time on college campuses as a guest lecturer talking about the role risk management plays in the financial solvency of business.
Once they understand that you are not just a salesperson but a consultant, it begins to change how young people view the industry.
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