Young Talent: Keeping a Business Relevant – Insights from Higginbotham CEO 2023
With widespread talent shortages among the most pressing concerns for businesses across all industries, it’s important not to overlook inexperienced candidates who can bring fresh ideas.
For Higginbotham Chairman and CEO Rusty Reid, that means attracting young talent on the precipice to carve out a niche among professionals who can bring enthusiasm and diverse perspectives to the workplace.
“We’ve always brought in youth, and that’s what keeps the business relevant,” Reid said. “They bring freshness to the industry and can help innovate new ways of doing business through unique perspectives.”
When making decisions to welcome new members into the workplace community, the onus is on executive and management-level employees to keep all employees engaged in their work while creating a pathway for upward mobility.
“I tell our team all the time, when you’re 20 years out of your career, start thinking about who’s the person that’s going to come under you and then who’s the person that’s going to replace them,” Reid said.
“As a result, these younger employees really see that this can be a place where they can spend their careers and be handsomely rewarded,” when longevity is factored into the hiring process.
For Reid, celebrating the company’s 75th anniversary was both surreal and a reminder of his own brand’s business approach.
For Reid, the active involvement of employees is paramount so that they can feel satisfied with their performance and strive for greater success through a long-term commitment to the business.
“Everything you do as a company has to start with employees, and you have to be intentional about hiring and training,” Reid said.
“You have to keep them excited to join you”
Having worked at Higginbotham since 1989, Reid has seen firsthand the importance of creating a workplace culture that continually engages employees at all levels in their professional responsibilities.
“You have to keep them excited to join you,” he said.
This is especially important during the recruitment process, when a business needs to scrutinize candidates with a keen eye.
“Working in this industry is more of a marathon than a sprint, nothing will be easy at the start – insurance is not a get-rich-quick hustle,” Reid said.
“Communicating this during the hiring process sets the right expectations rather than making empty promises. I’d much rather make a promise and deliver.”
To further attract like-minded talent, Reid follows the “Thanksgiving Test” created by Higginbotham board member Jim Hubbard.
“If you can’t hire someone you want to spend Thanksgiving dinner with, why hire them at all?” he said.
“It may seem ridiculous, but it’s much better to find that great partner that comes along than just a warm body, because in the long run it will pay off much better.”