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.
Too many organizations rely on “hope,” or just play the numbers game until they find their next top performer. If you work for a Fortune 1000 company with plenty of financial and human resources, this may be an acceptable practice. However, if you are a small insurance agency, you can’t afford to roll the dice and hope for the best.
Every hire you make is a strategic one for growth when you are small or growing. The truth of the matter is it doesn’t matter if you work for a $1B company with 10,000 employees or a $300,000 company with a team of 2, hiring your next top performer is crucial to the continued growth and success of the company.
The difference between hiring excellence and hiring mediocrity is the selection process and, mainly, the interview process. However, the focus and attention for most agencies, and frankly the “talent” industry, is not focused on the interview and hiring process.
Hiring is one of the toughest processes to get right. It’s never an exact science, even for insurance agencies with vast resources. In a previous blog, “Culture Club…” we discussed how a hiring mistake can be extremely costly to your insurance agency. It’s not just the hard cost of wages and salary, but soft costs which can be much more damaging to an agency.
However, agencies large and small often make critical hiring mistakes that can be avoided. The first step is to be aware of these common mistakes. Below is a list of the 13 fatal hiring mistakes agencies commonly make. These mistakes are made across the spectrum of all agency sizes, and hiring manager experience. Do some of these look familiar to you?
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.
Hired Gun - "An expert brought in to resolve complex problems or to lobby for a cause." - Google
A few years ago, a friend of mine accepted a position as the VP of business development for a small agency. On the surface, it seemed like a great investment for both sides.
Recruiting and hiring great talent is crucial to growing an insurance agency. Whether you are new or growing, you may have already felt the pain of the recruiting process. How do you squeeze in recruiting when you are busy selling, servicing, and running the operations of the agency? How do you fill a critical need for another producer, CSR, or account manager, when you don’t have the resources to assist you to identify and screen good talent? That’s often where recruiters come in.