It’s no secret it’s extremely difficult to find and hire top talent, especially if you are a small agency. However, it is often times even more difficult to retain these great employees once you’ve found them. Smaller agencies have the same challenges every other business has: competition from other companies, better salaries, benefits, positions, etc. Unfortunately, they also face additional challenges due to the lack of resources, and frankly, their size.
So how do you keep great employees from leaving when you don’t have the big bucks like the larger agencies or companies?
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes, there are those amazing opportunities that come around that you wouldn’t even turn down. When those come around, there is little you can do to keep that employee from leaving. However, aside from these opportunities, an agency owner has the ability to retain their top employees if he/she focuses on the following key steps.
If you watch Food Network, Travel Channel, or other similar channels, you have probably seen one of the shows where there is a struggling business, often times a restaurant, bar or hotel, and an expert is brought in to fix the problems and turnaround the business.
When I watch these business makeover shows, I always notice a common theme on why they are failing. Week after week, show after show, the problems are always the same. These businesses always seemed to lack the same things: Leadership, consistent processes, and marketing. These businesses struggle with low revenue, which are exasperated by poor customer satisfaction and employee morale. Not too different from real life. Think of the businesses you avoid going to. What do they have in common?
Poor customer service?
Bad service or products?
The business is just "meh," and doesn’t stand out?
Who is to blame for the business’s failure? Is it the staff?
Too many years ago, when I was in high school, I played sports like basketball and volleyball for the school teams. As much as I loved playing the sports, being 5'9" made it quite a challenging to succeed in tall people sports. In spite of this, I found some success and even made varsity.
However, as I played on these teams, I never truly felt the sense of “team”. Don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of fun. But many times, it felt like we were several individual players playing the same game, instead of a team trying to achieve a common purpose.
The activity that brings me the fondest memories and also taught me the most about teamwork, mindset and winning, was not playing sports, but being in the marching band
People leave bad leaders, not companies.
Finding and hiring great talent is tough. Keeping great talent is even more difficult. In fact, one of the top reasons why people leave positions is due to bad leaders. As great as a company or agency can be, a bad leader can cause the organization to lose great talent it should have retained.
Almost 15 years ago, I walked into the sales office in Los Angeles of my new employer on a warm and sunny March day. I was enthusiastic, wide eyed, and eager to take on my new job as the new district sales manager for the struggling sales team.
I knew the team finished at 58% of quota the previous year and was ranked second to the bottom in the nation of over 160 teams. However, I was confident I could turn things around. After all, that was what I was hired to do. When I walked through the door, all of the enthusiasm and energy I had all morning almost immediately left my body. My first day nearly became my last.
When your insurance agency is starting out, culture is not something you really have to worry about. For most new agencies, it’s just you and maybe a friend, family member, or colleague you’ve known for some time. However, as you start hiring additional “outside” staff, the agency culture will shift and change over time. This is also true for established agencies. The culture you started off with may be drastically different 5 years later.
This week I have the honor of inviting my mentor, former manager, and friend as our guest blogger. Miguel de Jesus is a highly accomplished leadership, marketing and personal development executive, with over 30 years leading business management, global sales/marketing with two Fortune 500 companies. He is currently an executive coach, sales leadership training professional, and digital marketer, helping to develop business leaders, to making better decisions, and getting better results.
Learn more about Miguel and how to connect with him below. Miguel has also, created a special offer for the Insurance Agency Advisor community, to get a jumpstart or restart, on your 2017 personal and business objectives. Just follow these message instructions, to learn more:
Send a test message to: 44222
When Should Your Leadership Style Change?
Miguel A. de Jesus, Certified Professional Coach
Purpose & Action, LLC
But how do you know when your leadership style needs updated?