Scott Hudson gave one of the key note speeches at the Workers’ Compensation Institute’s annual educational conference Monday.
Hudson is the CEO and president of third party administrator Gallagher Bassett.
He surprised the audience in the Grand Ballroom, I think, by talking about something that is rather taboo in our industry - us old farts are dying and no one is coming into the industry willingly to pick up the slack and as a consequence our industry loses out talent to other industries such as banking, finance, technology and perhaps beer making.
And Hudson, in my opinion, is absolutely correct about the dearth of talent targeting workers' compensation as a career path.
Think about it - how any of you graduated from college and said to yourselves that workers' compensation is a cool industry that does great stuff for people and you want to make a career out of it so you can do good things for the world?
Right - not a one of you!
Why is that? Why is workers' compensation so off the radar screen for the next generation? Why can't we attract top talent into our industry? Why can't we have the big thinkers, people that go outside of the box to solve our problems, to bring good things to life?
Workers' compensation is, after all, as much of a people business as any industry and if you've been in the comp world for more than just a few months you absolutely know that it's all about relationships.
People make things happen in workers' compensation because the industry is all about taking care of people. This industry starts with people and ends with people.
We are as much about humanity as any other industry - we are charged with solving a huge social problem: doing as much as we can using the tools we are given to help people recover from bad things in life and carry on.
Hudson talked about rebranding the industry and that starts with the way we talk about our selves. And I will admit that I'm probably just as much to blame as anyone else.
It's easy to publish bad news and it's easy to criticize what's wrong in the industry. It's much, much harder to talk about the good things because we get so consumed with what's wrong.
But we do make a difference and we do very, very important work.
I guess that last part gets lost in the conversation too often. When we're at a cocktail party and mention to some guest that we're in the workers' compensation business we often do so shamefully.
Like we're embarrassed that we help manage the largest privatized social benefit system in the world.
Or that we help people get back to work, help business manage safe practices, help the economy by spreading potentially catastrophic risk and keeping payroll tax dollars flowing.
"The way you define me is not how I see myself," Hudson said, and it's so true.
Get down to the basics: Our job is to provide comfort to injured workers, to get them healthy, to get them working again because work in the most primal way defines our existence (and this has been proven time and again through psychological studies).
WE DO GOOD THINGS.
There, I said it - we really do good things.
The trend in our favor is that the millennial generation is looking for meaning and social importance in their lives and careers, and that is what comp is all about.
But people don't know that. Even people in our own industry don't know that.
If we are going to attract top talent into this industry we need change the perception of work comp and the mindset of the public.
We need to be ambassadors of our industry and we need to share our stories of success, of helping that injured worker, of assisting that beleaguered employer, of making things right in this world within our own special way.
We are a caring industry and we should celebrate all that is right with workers' compensation.
In that vein I have urged my staff and colleagues to create something wonderful, something that celebrates the good in workers' compensation and recognizes the deep care and understanding that incredible PEOPLE bring to the lives of others.
I hope you will join me and WorkCompCentral to nominate recipients for the WorkCompCentral Comp Laude(tm) Awards.
Though nominees are limited to the State of California at this time, anyone involved in the workers' compensation system, inside or outside California, can nominate an individual or a company in one of eight categories.
We are going to be recognizing injured workers and their employers, case managers, claims adjusters and managers, risk managers and Third-Party Administrators (TPAs), doctors, attorneys, educators and others who have demonstrated to their nominators, and the industry, a high degree of integrity, understanding, education and commitment to doing good things for people via the work comp industry.
Start nominating qualified people and organizations now by selecting one of the categories listed at https://ww3.workcompcentral.com/events/nominations. You can also just call (805) 484-0333 and a WorkCompCentral account representative can take your nomination.
Nominations are due by October 12, 2014. Awards will be presented on Saturday, December 6 at the 3rd Annual Comp Laude Awards & Gala at the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel. I hope you can join us to celebrate the good we do.
The next generation will join us if they see an industry of care. Let's show them we do.