Understanding millennials - the new agency force shaped by digitalisation

| 25 Jul 2017

Millennials or Gen-Y, those born between 1980 and the mid-90s, are now reaching the age where they are joining the business world. Driven by digitalisation, they possess traits different from Gen-X. Career-wise, they are looking for a way to be their own boss or at least a way of being in control of their life. Speaking at the recent inaugural International Training Summit for Life Agents and Financial Advisers, Mr Nick Wilson, Senior Consultant and Global Master Trainer, LIMRA talked about some millennial qualities which agencies today should understand for recruitment.

  • Smarter, quicker, faster, multitasking

Millennials are more educated today than their predecessors as they have been pushed to pursue tertiary education. They are smarter, have more knowledge and communicate at a different level. A meeting among millennial friends could consist of this tech-savvy generation sitting and "chatting" via their mobile phones.

They are hyperconnected, multitasking and on their devices all the time.

  • Seeking the underlying meaning

They work a lot on feelings, intuition and “sensing” what is going on. Even as they seem to be interacting with everybody at the same time, they are listening, but in a different way from their predecessors, as they are listening to the message behind the ostensible message.

They judge differently because so much information is on the Internet. Some of it is incorrect, some correct, but all are readily accessible to this millennial generation, who shape their perspective based on all this information.

They are evaluating you, their bosses and supervisors, as you evaluate them.

  • High level, not seeking details

in dealing with millennials, one should keep things strategic and at a high level, as they pay little attention to details.

  • Decisive with no remorse

Ever watch a young gamer play a video game and make his/her next moves? In the same resolute fashion, millennials make their real-life decisions fast and move on from there whatever the outcome, whether positive or negative.

  • No boundaries

Millennials, with their use of social media channels like facebook, are less likely to see traditional “boundaries” such as culture, religion and nationality. All they see are people they interact with online—this means they have different values compared to their predecessors (yes, we are more ruled by social mores).

  • Want it now

They are impatient and expect quick responses. Do not make them wait too long!

  • Everything online

There has been a lot said about digital and social channels like Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin, which millennials use heavily and which agencies should use, and are already using to market their business.

Mr Wilson cited feedback from an insurance counterpart who said she had trouble getting young recruits to come in early for briefings. Why not adapt to them? Move meetings to later in the day, or even organise them on webinars and skype—these would undoubtedly be more appealing to the new generation, and engage them better.

He noted that digitalisation has also created new roles in insurance, changed the way of doing business by expanding one’s customer base and enabled agents to secure policy-purchases on the spot with an app. However, despite the widespread and inevitable impact of digitalisation, he offered this word of advice:

“You can’t digitalise human traits--creativity, imagination, leadership, coaching and guidance. What we need to do, is to pick up on these things and use digitalisation to help us entice, attract, develop, progress our people.”

The inaugural International Training Summit for Life Agents and Financial Advisers held in SIngapore was organised by Asia Insurance Review and sponsored by LIMRA and RGA Re and featured master classes in addition to speaker presentations.