S4 EP19: Recruiting rockstars and training the technical – with Karen Boyle, SVP Human Resources, Graham Company

“We really look for a person that lives the Graham values versus having insurance technical expertise. Of course, there’s times where you really need that but if we’re proactive and know how we need to hire, what our growth goals are, how we’ve historically performed, then we’re going to prefer to grow our own, even if they have 15 years experience”, says Karen.

Sharing her 15 year career journey from HR Assistant to SVP Human Resources, Karen discusses the growth of Graham Company over the past 60 and the company values that hold strong today.

She discusses how the firm’s positioning as an outsourced risk management function working with higher complexity organizations has impacted talent attraction.

Karen highlights how Graham Company are developing and training their own to mirror the values of founder, Bill Graham.

With small cohorts progressing through both technical and supplemental training, everyone gets the same.

“38 years ago, we started our training department. Bill always said, let’s hire the right person and we will teach them insurance. We will teach them our way of providing and servicing our clients. Today we have 8 full time people responsible for technical training.”

Karen emphasizes how this ongoing investment has reduced staff turnover and allows people to create their own destiny.

She encourages senior and leadership talent coming to interview to “Be yourself. Don’t put on front.”

Highlighting how Graham Company are using tech to aid the recruitment process, Karen says, “We’ve been using AI for help with job descriptions. It’s a huge time saver, especially if you have a position that you’re filling that you haven’t had to fill in a while.”

Sharing the one lesson her job has taught her, Karen says “If you’re in a support role, learn about the business as a whole. Ask questions. It will help you make a bigger contribution to the business as a whole.”

As closing advice, Karen shares the importance of having a mentor.

“If you don’t have a mentor, get one. Find someone that you connect with, that you really respect. If your organization doesn’t have a formal mentor program, go find one because it will be valuable to you.”

Connect with Karen Boyle on LinkedIn or find out more about Graham Company

The Insurance Coffee House Podcast is hosted by Nick Hoadley, CEO, Insurance Search, the Executive Search Consultancy for growing Insurance and Insurtech businesses around the globe.

To discuss identifying & attracting the very best talent to your team or being a podcast guest, reach out to Nick via nick.hoadley@insurance-search.com

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