The insurance industry has changed over the past 20 years. Paper files and phone calls have given way to digital processes, email, texting, and more. Your insurance support team’s needs have changed, too – or so we hope.
The average insurance agent is 59 years old and only a few years off from retirement. To keep your team fresh, you need to bring in younger agents. Soon enough you’ll have no choice – Millennials and Generation Z will account for 58 percent of the workforce by 2029. You need to “get with the program” to attract and keep young talent – but how?
How to Attract Young Hires….
Technology usage is the first thing new hires will notice. Members of the young workforce are used to using tech for business and leisure. They’ll expect you to provide more than a laptop and cell phone; they’ll look for paperless processes, modern communication and collaboration tools, and opportunities to get work done virtually.
Read more on going paperless – why your customers want it and how to get started
Young hires expect information to be found and shared easily through a centralized location. Leverage your agency management system to bridge the processing gap. Tap into your system’s ability to store files, capture emails, and add tasks among other capabilities. And, make texting part of your communication strategy, both internally and externally. This is an area where young hires will be savvy – they’ll expect to use texting for communicating with their team, lead generation, and closing deals.
The best thing you can do to attract and keep young talent is to embrace virtual work systems. Sales hinges on creating and growing relationships, so a virtual sales team may seem counterintuitive. However, as a virtual team your agents can connect more efficiently. Virtual work allows them to connect from anywhere, making it easier to bring meetings to clients and get work done while they wait. In less than ten years, it’s estimated 73 percent of businesses teams will have remote workers. Offering virtual work opportunities is not just smart; it’s inevitable.
Get more resources on how to make your agency virtual, yet personal
…And How to Keep Them
Getting Millennials and Gen Z to apply is only the first hurdle. Once you have a quality candidate in the door, how do you get them to say yes for years to come?
Start by updating your interview process. The work has changed, the workforce has changed, so how you interview needs to change, too. Focus more on how candidates work in a team and their ability to understand and leverage technology. Be sure to talk about how you’re team-focus and tech-adaptive, too. And, focus more on culture. One author found millennials were willing to take an over $7K pay cut to gain a better workplace culture. Now that’s leverage.
You’ll also need to update your onboarding. The first few months in any new position are challenging, so the smoother you can make the ride, the better. Culture again plays a key role. Be intentional about introducing new hires to team members, setting aside time to outline the processes and tools used within each environment.
Provide training + mentorship. Pair new hires up with someone to walk with them through training, serving as a guide to answer questions along the way. This pairing provides a double benefit to you: new hires feel connected, and veterans get a refresher on your tools and processes. Assuming they have a positive experience, new hires can later pay-it-forward to the next fresh team member.
Don’t forget about your long-term employees – help them transition to new tech and processes, too
Helping Your Team Grow
Growing your team is about more than adding new people to your staff contact list, it’s about listening and providing people what they need to improve. Meet up regularly with old and new team members, both individually and as a group. This simple act shows you care – and that goes a long way.
We know how important it is to listen and connect because that’s what we do at SIS: listen and learn to mutually grow. Through our workgroups, Regional Learnings, and forums, we focus on staying in touch with our Partner Platform community. Like any community, when our clients grow, we do, too.
Find out more about the Partner community– read our client stories and connect with us at 800.747.7005, Option 6 or
Agency succession is coming. You have two choices: make it happen or let it happen to you.
As an independent agency owner, you know the first option is the best. Taking control of your succession planning means you’re ready when the time comes. To prepare, you need to do things like choose a successor, determine your agency’s worth and have the right insurance agency support procedures in place. In short, you need to think about three areas: People, Profit, and Process.
The average insurance agent is 59 years old. That means they’ve lived through multiple insurance agency systems, having been in the workforce through the advent of PCs, the rise and fall of CD-ROMs, the introduction of email and Google, and a whole host of other major technological changes. And it’s time to embrace another.
It’s been said, “when you know, you know.” This is true for all major moments in life: getting married, having kids, buying a house, and even when you’ll retire. But, when it comes to insurance agency perpetuation, you need to think ahead for that “the time is now” moment.
When it comes to agency perpetuation planning, you’re likely somewhere between square one and planning your retirement party. Let’s hope, unlike some of 2016 Future One Agency Universe Study respondents, you’re closer to a beach house and a cold drink. The study found 23% of agencies with one principal over age 66 said perpetuation was more than five years out. Age may bring wisdom, but it should also bring retirement before 70!
Are you looking for the secret to a successful agency perpetuation? We’ve got it in three simple steps:
- Plan ahead
- Plan ahead
- Did we say plan ahead? As in…NOW!
Whether you’re handing off or taking over an insurance agency, it’s never too soon to start thinking about and planning the transition. A large part of that planning is deciding who will be taking over.
Many decide to perpetuate internally, thinking it’ll be easiest to pass on operations to a family member or long-time employee. But, as any owner knows, running an agency requires more than logging hours. It’s what you do with those hours that counts. Here are three real steps you can take towards a successful transition with your successor.
Is internal perpetuation right for you? Read our post on internal vs. external perpetuation to find out
1) Find the Right Person
Don’t get us wrong, long-term investment in the agency is a good indicator for a potential successor. A good successor knows your agency and its culture. Though they won’t run it the same as you, knowing the history and the spirit of the business is huge.
You’ll also want someone who is up to the challenge. Taking on an agency is a big undertaking. Look for someone who deals well with uncertainty and thrives on possibility.
Finally, leadership is essential. A great successor will be able to bring the team together and clearly communicate mission, vision, and goals. They’ll be able to motivate employees to take on the transition ahead, celebrating successes and keeping the team positive through challenges.
Are you asking these five questions as you prepare for perpetuation?
2) Get Them Involved
Once you know who will be walking the transition journey with you, get them involved in the process. Include them in strategic agency planning and get their input. The more your successor knows the better. Give them insight into why things are done a certain way, how decisions get evaluated, and their implication on the agency. Sharing these elements with your successor helps them build a broader perspective for when they take over the agency.
You should also include your successor in all perpetuation planning (you’re starting now, right?!) going forward. Again, the more they know, the smoother it’ll be to hand things over. Part of this planning includes being clear on how you want to be involved post-transition.
Read the dos and don’ts of taking on the family business
Lastly, be intentional about bringing your successor into the key relationships involved in your agency. As an owner, you’re well aware the important role each of these relationships play. Introduce your successor to industry group members, board members, carrier contacts, and your agency management system contacts among other key players.
3) Lean on Your Management System
One of the most challenging pieces of your #agency #transition is exchanging information and knowledge. Your agency management system is an asset here. Be intentional about using it to store data and create a comprehensive picture of where your agency stands. Work with your successor to create and understand financial and other reports and map out best practices for use.
Find out more on how to leverage your agency management system
It’s helpful to get a re-training from your agency management system provider. Use these sessions to introduce your successor to the ways an owner can maximize system use and get your employees on the same page about workflows and best practices.
The dedicated service team at SIS has been part of numerous agency transitions, walking with owners as they navigate the seemingly murky waters. Our team has been praised many times over for their aid during transition, and our PartnerNet portal acts as a 24/7 resource for our partner agencies.
If you’re thinking about making a change in your agency, get in touch with us. Contact the SIS team at firstname.lastname@example.org to get connected today.