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?
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.
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.
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.