In today’s insurance environment, agencies are experiencing rapid change like never before. Globalization and the constant innovation of technology have resulted in a continuously evolving business environment. Change management, the approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations to a desired future state, is a structured approach in an agency for ensuring that changes are smoothly and successfully implement to achieve lasting benefits.
Managing change successfully is not an easy task, nor should the efforts to do so be taken lightly. Companies that refuse to change get left behind by those who embrace it. Successful agency owners need not question whether or not change is necessary, but focus on how to successfully manage change to ensure the success of the business.
Jeff Yates, the Executive Director of the Agents Council for Technology (ACT) recently published a thought-provoking article entitled Agency Strategies to Manage Change Successfully. In his article, he provides six perceptive ways for an agency to successfully manage change and in turn grow their business.
Yates emphasizes that “Agencies can position themselves to prosper in this rapidly changing environment by creating a culture that embraces innovation and implementing a defined change management process.”
- Management Sets the Tone
It is the agency management team that plays a pivotal role in building a culture where “innovation is prized as a core value of the business.” Encouraging ideas on how the agency can do things better from employees and clients, surveying clients regularly, and setting up client advisory councils will provide the ability to test new ideas and generate fresh thinking.
- Keeping up with Innovation in Other Industries
Keeping up with the innovations occurring in other industries is essential to success. Though agility is important in reacting to competition, being “anticipatory” will allow agencies to become the competition instead of simply trying to keep up with it. In order to be the “anticipatory” firm, changes need to be made immediately enabling themselves to be where consumers and competitors will be in the future.
- Employee Involvement & Training are Key
Encouraging employee involvement in the shaping of necessary changes will also enable agencies to successfully implement change. Empowering and rewarding employees that are innovative will encourage employees to work through any issues and pursue problems until they are fixed. An innovative agency has the right employees in the correct spots, such as those willing to embrace change and ask the right questions to get their jobs done correctly. Many agencies encourage diverse thinking and a deeper understanding of the various client segments by maintaining a staff that reveals multiple generations and ethnic groups. Providing employees with the training necessary for them to become more effective and increase overall job satisfaction is important as well.
- Slow Down in order to Speed Up”
Coined by Paul Fuller from here at SIS, this phrase emphasizes the importance of taking the time to ensure the change being considered is worth pursuing. This applies to many facets of the business, from technology to workflows. Opposed to automating a previous workflow that was created for a paper environment, agencies need to rethink these workflows and how they might need to be reworked in a paperless environment.
- Willingness to Experiment
In order to successfully manage change, agencies must be willing to experiment and tweak new technologies while listen to the feedback from clients and others. Great examples of these technologies are mobile friendly websites and mobile apps. “There is no question mobility and the ‘connected’ consumer are both ‘hard’ trends that will increasingly affect us.” Internet marketing is also a new technology that many agencies are “experimenting” with. The necessary steps to becoming an innovative agency are experimentation, measurement of the effectiveness of any changes made, and refine implementations when needed.
- Innovations Save Time & Money
Let’s discuss time and money, which many of us know can make or break an agencies based upon utilization of each. Efficacious innovations often save time by decreasing the time needed to accomplish certain tasks. By implementing certain innovations, what once took an average of 23 days to complete can be reduced to 2-3 days.
Yates’ closing statement emphasizes that though there are many available technologies that will enhance your competitive position, there are four key steps agencies must take to manage change successfully. Agencies that embrace innovation, keep up with trends and opportunities, empower their employees, and implement a defined change management process “will continue to experience rapid and profound change.”
At SIS, our agency partners’ success is our success and we are committed to helping them grow and expand. Understanding that innovations save both time and money, and contribute significantly to growth potential, we view it as our responsibility to stay ahead of the curve.
To that end, we build our goals and expectations on continuous improvement and adaptation to provide the best service possible. We listen to what clients want and incorporate their feedback into product enhancements. We have a strong user group that helps drive productive innovation. Clients benefit from a management system partner vested in their success and we benefit from the exceptional insight we gain from the people who use the system day in and day out.
We welcome a partnership with you and would like to talk about how we can work together to develop innovative solutions. Our goal is to make our agency partners’ job simpler by consistently working to build a better agency management system, providing exceptional training, and always looking for the next “best way” we can help you succeed. Contact us at 800-747-9273 or fill out a quick contact form and we will be in touch.