As the economy slowly improves, people are beginning to consider new job opportunities. But more opportunity for employees presents the insurance industry with a multi-faceted challenge: how to handle an experienced employee population that is aging out and retiring, while also trying to attract new, tech-savvy, sales oriented recruits.
Agency principals are left to wonder, “How do I keep my most talented employees when competitors come courting with attractive offers?” Complaining about how a competitor stole a valuable employee is easy. The hard part is finding the right combination of incentives and development opportunities so your top performers resist other offers and stay put.
The goal is to keep top employees from even entertaining, never mind seeking, other employment. You want them to be confident in the opportunity to grow professionally and financially with you. To accomplish this, you need to invest in your employees. Research and practical experience shows that investing in employee development and training consistently yields positive returns on investment. Likewise, increasing monetary incentives for excellent performance, such as more sharing of profit, results in better productivity and improved results.
Try the following suggestions and steps in working with your most talented people — employees you absolutely do not want to lose:
- Ask employees what performance rewards they would prefer, keeping in mind that individuals value rewards that aren’t always monetary. For example, some may want to be rewarded with time off, flex time, vacation packages, charitable contributions or education and training opportunities
- Consider using instant rewards that you give to an individual or team for accomplishing a significant task or securing a large binder.
- Provide opportunities for professional development and encourage employees to take advantage of them. Offer to pay for memberships in professional organizations, for example, and accommodate attendance at industry meetings.
- Design a tuition assistance program that pays employees for attaining professional certifications, taking insurance classes and earning insurance designations. The Kaufman Institute, for example, not only allows employees to take courses and certifications online, it covers the cost of those programs.
- Most importantly, measure the pulse of your organization. Conduct a formal employee satisfaction survey, hold regular town hall meetings or find other means to get a sense of employee wants and needs.
The more satisfied and engaged employees are, the more productive they tend to be, and the greater personal pride they will take in your organization’s results. Investing in your employees is a proven path to greater growth and profitability. Plus, keeping employees in the fold supports organizational stability, lending consistency to your customer service and quality. If you’re seeking ways to improve near-term results while ensuring a strong, profitable future, invest more in your employees.