RPS president Joel Cavaness reflects on the qualities of a premier insurance employer
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Risk Placement Services (RPS) president Joel Cavaness is proud to lead an organization where people enjoy their days and are optimistic about their future. This is the result of RPS’s strategy of nurturing new talent and sustaining the long-term growth of its employees.
For its recent achievements in collaboration and creativity, RPS has been named one of the Business Insurance AmericaTop Insurance Employers in 2023.
In this interview, Cavaness shares the elements that make RPS such a respected workplace.
“[S]since the beginning of RPS, we have always focused on developing our own talent. I liken it to the farm system [in baseball]the system of [developing] young talent [so that] hopefully one day [they can] go to the big field,” said Cavaness.
A path towards this collective goal is an internship program, which in the latest edition welcomes 90 participants from all over the US. During the nine-week “trial run,” the interns had the opportunity to work with other RPS employees. After this training phase, the interns will continue in an advanced program where they will learn various business functions, such as sales and underwriting, for two years.
Deliberate training and hiring policies
Cavaness emphasized the importance of making RPS employees “more valuable than ever.” Advancement through education or in-house training qualifies them for full-time employment in the areas they choose to specialize in.
As for choosing the right talent, Cavaness said that RPS considers people and not necessarily their education, even through the company has succeeded in hiring those with degrees in risk management. He believes that if the company hires people from a wide range of competencies, it will always place them in the right roles.
What young talents want in an employer
The wants of prospective employees have changed dramatically in recent years, Cavaness said. Among the qualities they look for in a company are greater flexibility and the potential to work remotely either part-time or full-time. This is why a good fit is important.
“[W]When we look at the candidates or the candidates look at us, we must have a clear picture of what they want, and what we are ready and able to provide,” he explained. “And the matching that, I think, is very important. If they don’t match, there’s no reason to continue because expectations won’t align. “
The meaning of a healthy RPS culture
Workplace culture – developed through DE&I practices, community service, or events that bring people together – is central to employee happiness.
Cavaness said RPS maintains a healthy culture characterized by a “level of execution that balances empathy and investment,” allowing people to clearly see the opportunities available to them. This culture also includes an element of charity, “giving back to our communities.”
Finally, a good workplace culture does not happen by chance, but it is achieved through the efforts of team members and the impact of their decisions, he explained.
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