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Corporate Culture

Thinking Ahead…to Battle the Brain Drain

Heidi Buttolph
Heidi Buttolph
Business Development Consultant, Organizational Engagement

Ever heard of a Brainiac? A quick Internet search for a definition will turn up a whole lot of synonyms for a very smart person — “genius,” “intellect,” “whiz,” and the list goes on. What isn’t listed in your average dictionary or thesaurus is the Holmes Murphy logo.

However, I’m here to tell you, we have an abundance of “thinkers” here. For purposes of this blog, though, Brainiac is our affectionate term for the upcoming best and brightest who take part in our program called “The Brainery.”

I’ll explain what The Brainery is in just a minute…but first, let me give you some background information.

While Holmes Murphy is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, home of the country’s second largest concentration of insurance sales jobs, fifth largest concentration of insurance underwriting jobs, and the nation’s 10th largest concentration of insurance claims and policy processing jobs, we employ individuals in multiple states where we may not be as well-known as one of the larger employers or employers of choice.

Healthcare and insurance are the dominant industries in today’s domestic economy — and they aren’t going away anytime soon. Health spending is projected to grow to 20 percent of the GDP within the next few years, and insurance is the financing vehicle behind it all! This current state and future outlook open a massive opportunity to create new solutions for big issues facing every business in the U.S.

The Brainery for Corporate Health, Wealth, & Risk

Enter The Brainery! What is The Brainery, you ask? Formally, it is called “The Brainery for Corporate Health, Wealth & Risk” which sounds pretty sexy, huh? Who needs sex appeal when you work in the insurance industry, right?

But to get down to the nitty gritty, The Brainery is our response to the rapidly growing and changing field and our way of proactively building a pipeline of next generation leaders.

Our employee population has been approximately 1/3 baby boomers, 1/3 Generation X, and 1/3 Millennial. With the baby boomers starting to retire at a pretty consistent clip and the forgotten Generation X (I can say that because I’m one of them!), we decided to attract the generation expected to replace the baby boomers purely by numbers. We recruit the best of the best from colleges in our respective markets, create a class of employees with the same hire date, and provide a 10-week fast track technical learning and development program to better equip them to be consultants of the business. We believe our industry offers a little medical, a little legal, and a great deal of business, which adds up to great opportunities to solve clients’ problems.

It just so happens The Brainery has turned into quite the incubator for some pretty awesome talent at Holmes Murphy. Over the last two years (2015 was the inaugural year), we’ve hired approximately 60 individuals representing all of our markets to be part of this program. We’re seeing great success not only in this pipeline of talent but also the energy and enthusiasm it has created throughout the organization. The introduction of this program influenced other great changes in our organization.

The introduction of this program influenced other great changes in our organization:

  • Our business leaders are thinking more proactively and differently about their hiring needs.
  • Hiring managers now have the opportunity to view the “potential” of talent versus what they can do for us today.
  • The Brainery has increased the level of talent we hire into our internship program, all the while increasing expectations of our interns and providing future opportunity for them if they prove themselves as the best of the best. We hire approximately 30–35 interns a year.
  • The program has created a buzz within our markets and driven more people to our website to view the exciting opportunities we have available.
  • We’ve raised the game for current employees with the desire to learn, do, and be more.
  • The program has a focus in creating a reputable technical insurance training platform that can be leveraged by all employees.

And that’s not all! The Brainery was recently featured in two news publications with the potential of more on the way:

We believe we’re making a difference because we think and act differently. We sit at the intersection of innovation and insurance — two words that aren’t often linked together. And The Brainery is just one of our many exciting offerings!

If you’d like to learn more about the program, explore our webpage. I’m also available to answer questions at any time!

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