Building a strong team is an essential step for every insurance agency. But once you’ve hired your new staff, you face a new challenge: retaining your employees. Sadly, this is where many agencies fall short. And the problem is only getting worse.
We’re currently in a period that is colloquially referred to as ‘The Great Resignation’. People are abandoning their roles for better and brighter opportunities elsewhere. In fact, in 2022 alone, a huge 47.8 million people in the US quit their jobs. Like businesses in all industries, insurance agencies need to adapt to survive and thrive in this new employment climate. But what can be done to not only attract the best talent but to retain your insurance agency’s employees?
This article will explore some best practices that can help you keep a happy workforce at your agency.
Always Be Transparent
Transparency should be an ever-present force if you want to stand a chance of retaining employees. And it all starts in the recruitment stage. Currently, a portion of recruits are people that already have links to the insurance industry, including those with experience in auto insurance. A more transparent process can help unlock a wider pool of talent.
Consider steps that you can take to reduce biases. This could include conducting panel interviews and ensuring the hiring team is trained to recognize unconscious bias.
Once new recruits have signed up, it’s important to build a culture of transparency. Consider putting some of the following steps into action:
- Seek feedback frequently: Give employees the opportunity to express their frustrations and share their opinions. Once feedback is given, act on it. Demonstrate that you are listening to your team.
- Be open in meetings: Explain important decisions that you are making. Be open and honest about your mistakes.
- Emphasize trust: Avoid micromanaging. Give teams the space to make their own decisions.
Remember, to sign up new clients, leads need to trust your agents. Not only will a culture of transparency aid in retaining staff, but it will also help instill more trust in clients. Pay attention to the signs of quiet quitting among your employees, where they may disengage from work without officially resigning, and address their concerns proactively.
To retain great employees you need to hire them first! Help get your agency's hiring strategy working with these 10 best practices you can implement for hiring, training, and retaining top producers and staff.
As the insurance industry as a whole tends to skew older, many companies are looking to attract younger, new talent to avoid a “silver tsunami.” Younger employees have different priorities and concerns. Addressing these issues is key to retaining a younger workforce. At the top of these concerns is climate change. A recent study has shown that 67% of GenZs list the issue as one of their biggest concerns.
However, becoming more environmentally conscious means more than a few changes here and there. You should address it from the bottom up to demonstrate to your employees that you take the issue seriously. Below are some suggestions that can help build a greener business.
Thinking about your organization’s carbon footprint is a good place to start. What steps can you take to reduce your overall fuel use? You could introduce a carpooling system, allow space for bike storage, or add electric chargers to your parking lot.
Renovate your office
Take a moment to consider your office space. What steps can you take to become more eco-conscious? Replacing single-use items is a simple and effective way of becoming greener. For instance, you may choose to swap plastic cups for reusable ones. Another useful step is to introduce energy-efficient light bulbs.
Have fewer staff working in the office
Having more insurance agents working from home allows your business to show off its green credentials. People will be commuting to the office less regularly. This means you can reduce your carbon footprint, and use less power in the office.
To further enforce the green message, encourage remote workers to be mindful of the energy used in their home environment.
Embrace Hybrid Work
We’ve talked about the green implications of remote work. But there are other reasons that a hybrid working arrangement can help with employee retention.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that employees in all industries prefer some form of remote work. The insurance industry is no different. And the fact is, hybrid employees can function highly effectively with the right video conferencing equipment. According to McKinsey, the finance and insurance industry has the most potential for hybrid work—75% of activities can be done remotely without losing productivity.
Just ensure that employees are given the correct training to adapt. For instance, you may need to explain what is web conferencing or how to use a VoIP phone system. Don’t assume everyone knows how to use these tools.
Hybrid work offers the perfect balance. You gain the benefits of in-office working while offering workers more flexibility. You can also reduce running costs. Less staff in the office means you can potentially downsize to a less costly office space.
Have Effective Payroll Systems
It might sound obvious, but payroll management is a major factor in retaining employees. But despite this, too many organizations have outdated and ineffective payroll systems. This means that employees are often paid late, or even incorrectly, causing a great deal of frustration.
Be sure to invest in the best payroll service software. Try to choose a system that easily connects to other business systems and helps to ease the complications of tax compliance,for both your back office staff and the employees on your payroll.
Offer Opportunities for Career Progression
One of the major reasons that people resign from their roles is due to a lack of career progression. If an employee can’t envisage how they will grow within a role, they will probably leave. If you want to hire and retain skillful employees, offer them a clear route forward.
As people that first enter the insurance industry tend to be younger, you can provide early employment opportunities. This allows you to grow employee loyalty from an early stage by building links with schools. Why not offer apprenticeships, internships and graduate programs?
When it’s time to fill more senior positions, try to look internally when possible. By hiring externally, employees may feel resentment. They work hard and are often given few opportunities to progress. It’s important to invest in the talent that you have and give your staff a chance to prove themselves.
If you have an employee with a strong aptitude for handling data and numbers, for example, it’s worth researching the best data engineering certifications and offering them a chance to upskill. Encourage your staff to suggest relevant webinars or courses they’re interested in. If your staff feels like you’ve invested time and money into their career, they’ll be more engaged and positive about their future with you.
One way to show that you recognize your team’s work is by helping talent track their own progress. Verbally recognizing staff is important and can give a boost to morale. But employees want something more than verbal recognition. Offer development programs and chances to shadow workers in more senior positions as well as outline their potential career paths within your company.
Hire the Right People
A major reason for people leaving their roles is because they are ill-suited for the job or mistakes were made during the hiring process. This issue could have been avoided with a more thorough and carefully considered hiring strategy. Below are some steps you can take to improve hiring and ensure you’re getting the best talent.
People often apply for positions without fully understanding what a job entails. This usually occurs because an employer hasn’t given enough detail. When posting job openings, try to be as descriptive as possible. Applicants should gain a real understanding of your company. This includes its ethics, values, and history.
It’s a mistake to think that the best applicants will always come to you. Sometimes you need to reach out and contact people directly. LinkedIn is a fantastic tool for finding the right people, thanks to its advanced search feature. This allows you to filter a list of users that have qualities matching your desired candidate. Examples of filtering options include:
- Current employer
- Company size
- Job role
Narrow the list
Gaining plenty of applicants is always positive. But with lots of potential candidates, a good proportion will inevitably be of lower quality. To ensure the best shortlist for a role, narrow the list early. This can be done swiftly. Ask for cover letters to reduce the number of applicants who are apathetic about applying with your company. Look for resumes that lack details or contain spelling errors, and remove them from the list.
Prioritize Employee Happiness
The great resignation doesn’t show any sign of slowing. Insurance agencies need to adapt to avoid falling victim to the trend. And while you can’t stop staff from resigning, you can make them more comfortable in their roles.
Let’s recap some of the steps to better retaining employees:
- Transparency is key: Trust and openness should run throughout your organization. Think of ways you can introduce a culture of transparency.
- Become greener: Think of the steps you can take to make your business more environmentally conscious.
- Allow remote work: Employees want the flexibility of remote work. Why not retain the best of both worlds with a hybrid system?
- Ensure efficient payroll systems: Employees won’t thank you if you miss payment dates. Consider investing in a small business payroll solution.
- Offer a roadmap: Employees seek the chance to grow in their roles. Make sure you offer opportunities to progress and outline them clearly for your employees.
- Create the best possible shortlist: Avoid making poor hiring decisions by ensuring a strong pool of candidates.
Employee happiness is the key to retaining employees. Start making it your priority.