“It’s like if you are not making someone else’s life better, then you’re wasting your time. Your life will become better by making other lives better.”

This statement from actor, philanthropist, father and husband Will Smith is true for everyone – including you, me, employers! It’s especially true for two audiences that need to help each other – the supposed “unemployable” and the employers that need them; but they rarely ever get the opportunity to even meet without someone in a position to help guide the employment process.

There is a large gap in our workforce today between those less desirable or less qualified job seekers and employers looking for a “perfect candidate,” all the while frustrated that they are unable to find—let alone keep—qualified, dependable talent. Through our journey in talent development here in Colorado, PIIAC (Professional Independent Insurance Agents of Colorado) found that just because someone left a more traditional path to success, either by choice or circumstance, their value or potential in an insurance career should not be discounted.

PIIAC decided as an organization focusing on improving talent development processes and pipelines that it is time to take steps to better matching workforce candidates and the career culture into which they’re entering. We really don’t have a choice anymore. As of October, 2019, the unemployment rate in our nation was 3.6 percent, and the insurance industry is desperate to fill increasing vacant roles. There are simply not enough qualified prospects to do the jobs necessary to keep our Colorado agencies fully staffed especially as a very large number of baby boomers retire in the coming years. As a result of the great need for talent, we cannot solve this problem by using the same employment practice we have in the past. It’s time for innovation and inclusion.

PIIAC partners with numerous nonprofit organizations, including Colorado Homeless Families, Jefferson County Prosperity Partners, Hope House of Colorado, Mi Casa Resource Center and others, to bring in talent candidates who generally have no insurance experience or background but have broad life experience, an array of useful skills and a desire to enter into and maintain a life-changing, sustainable career.

The PIIAC Talent Development program aims to do the hard and necessary work of equipping the candidates we serve with not only the soft skills to enter into meaningful positions in PIIAC member insurance agencies but also to utilize the award-winning PAIRIN Survey, Assessment and Development tools to better bridge the gap between those candidates and the agencies at which we hope they will lead long careers.

As a facilitator of talent development for PIIAC Members, we are finding that no longer will employers be able to look at the history of the potential employee and then decide if they are “worthy” of hiring. Instead, our agencies must focus on potential – where someone could go and how we can be a part of the journey of developing them. Agencies must see how giving otherwise overlooked individuals a chance of employment could not only change an individual life, but also the future generations of those entire families.

As employers, we need to recognize that there are remarkable people all around us that we probably wouldn’t have hired in the past. Those that look different, sound different, have different backgrounds or little to no education. What we, as PIIAC Members, need to see is that this risk of hiring someone we would have previously not even considered, has more of a benefit for us and our company than not hiring them.

So how do we begin? And where can we go?

This is where PAIRIN comes in. PAIRIN helps workforce and talent development program leaders remove barriers to employment for those they serve. PAIRIN is an all-inclusive tool utilized heavily by both for and not-for profit organizations in Colorado that is making education more relevant and hiring more equitable by dynamically matching people to optimal job profiles and training programs, identifying individual skill gaps and providing tools and resources to help with developing skills to ensure each person reaches their full potential.

Using proven science to provide organizations with all the tools to assess soft skills, hire and place the right people in the right job roles, identify areas for development and track growth over time, PAIRIN is the most comprehensive and accurate workforce development tool in existence.

PIIAC’s talent development process will now include meeting with candidates from the workforce or our nonprofit partners, having them complete the PAIRIN Survey (which usually takes under 10 minutes), reviewing those survey results and charting an all-encompassing path to:

  • Quickly identify skill gaps for customized development planning
  • Provide a baseline for soft skills and a roadmap for coaching individuals to better development and success
  • Provide personalized online curriculum for each individual candidate
  • Help accelerate our organizational impact and guide career pathway planning for each individual

It is PIIAC’s goal that by utilizing tools such as PAIRIN, we are advocating for those who have been stuck in a cycle of poverty or frequent job transitions while also serving the best interests of our members who are looking for reliable, skilled employees with a desire to grow.

We believe the PAIRIN process will enable us to see a person’s true potential and watch his or her life change forever. Employment attrition rates will decrease and both employer and candidate satisfaction will increase productivity and revitalize the corporate culture. We will be able to measure PIIAC Member Agency key attributes and get a baseline of each agency culture and better match candidates to that environment. We will have viable data that will lead to proven program impact for our candidates and our PIIAC members! We not only want to fill insurance job vacancies, we want to do it with highly qualified, extremely motivated and well-rounded candidates whose goal is to be an instrumental part of cultivating an inclusive and diverse agency culture.

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