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How a 92-year-old insurance brokerage transformed and scaled its employer brand

In 2015, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (indeed, the entire insurance brokerage industry) faced a glut of upcoming retirements; it was about to fall off a metaphorical staffing cliff. Gallagher needed to change, and quickly. As one of the largest insurance brokerages in the world, the company had to scale out a new functional team that could bring in fresh talent. In the process, they also had to shift attitudes about recruitment—from a transactional service to true candidate marketing. This would be the first time in the company’s history to make such an investment.

Gallagher Global Vice President of Talent Acquisition Kathleen Battle brought on Mary Kay Baldino to build out global talent acquisition operations in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and India. Baldino, as the Senior Director of Global Talent Operations, turned to Textio as a key technology that could help the growing TA team.

With Textio:

  • Gallagher recruiters are armed with the data and guidance to be talent consultants for the rest of the company
  • Gallagher can scale a more approachable employer brand on a writing platform that is enjoyable and easy to use
  • The Gallagher team intentionally selects more compelling language and balance biased language to engage more candidates

Using Textio to build trust and credibility with hiring managers

At first, hiring managers at the company were unaccustomed to in-house talent acquisition. The recruiting team had to build trust. At Gallagher, it was important that the TA organization acts as dedicated talent advisors, helping people adopt best practices and technologies, rather than forcing change through a codified process.

“We push for professional excellence,” Baldino explains. “We try hard to give [our recruiters] products and services that empower them to be a true value add, so they’re not just mechanically processing position postings.” With Textio’s suggestions, Gallagher recruiters could point their hiring decision-makers to the specific places where job posting language could be improved to better appeal to a specific market—by industry and geography.

The Textio Score and gender tone meter showed how they could measurably improve their job description language from initial draft to final product. As a result, usage caught on quickly.

Graph of Average Textio Score in Gallagher library, by document state, showing increasing Textio Score as documents move from Draft to Shared to Finished

By April 2019, Gallagher had written more than 1,600 job posts and nearly 5,000 recruiting emails with Textio, across the US, Canada, UK, Australia, and India.

Global map image labeled "Gallagher Textio user logins, globally" with highlighted areas the US, Canada, UK, Australia and India

Scaling strong, on-brand language and best practices

When Gallagher first started with Textio, its job descriptions sorely needed an update. They often started with a long description of the company and contained directive language that made the company sound inaccessible.

“We have started using more approachable, less directive language [since writing with Textio],” Baldino says. “We’re not putting five paragraphs about ourselves before the job description anymore.” Instead, her team uses marketing techniques to focus on what the audience cares about. Textio’s data shows that adding a few engaging questions and describing benefits help fill a role faster.

Baldino cites Textio’s low barrier to entry and ease of use as a major factor for its success. “Textio helps us get adoption and scalability in terms of how we want our brand represented across countries, in a way that people enjoy and want to use,” Baldino said. “It is the one product whose user interface everyone likes.”

In fact, every day Gallagher writers use Textio’s suggestions and highlights to replace corporate clichés and choose language that statistically improves time to fill.

Visual of the changes in Gallagher's word choice patterns over 3 months

Gallagher was also able to address the masculine bias in many of its job descriptions. “We were noticing that they all skewed fairly heavily towards a masculine tone, so that’s been helpful to raise people’s awareness internally that, ‘hey, [masculine bias] is baked into our job descriptions, but it doesn't have to be that way,’” says Baldino.

Since writing with Textio, Gallagher has begun balancing its masculine-tone language with more feminine-tone words and phrases to reach a neutral tone that reaches the broadest audience.

Visual showing 2017 vs. 2019 change in phrase usage in Gallagher's job posts, shows increases in phrases "encourage," "striving," "transparent," and "our team."

Transformation at Gallagher

For Gallagher, language and brand were at the center of building out an entirely new talent marketing organization, and integral to the cultural transformation of a traditional insurance company. With an eye to their audience and a commitment to intentional writing, Gallagher’s TA team is using augmented writing to help bridge the gap between recruitment and marketing for the first time in nearly a century.

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