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Hiring the Next Generation of Independent Insurance Agents, explored hiring practices in independent agencies and how agencies can recruit young talent.
That report touched on the importance of healthy workplace cultures in attracting job seekers. Of course, getting employees in the door is only the first step in building a great team. Great workplace cultures are also key to employee retention and effectiveness.
The impacts of COVID-19 broke down the perceived separation between work life and home life. As business leaders navigate changing employee expectations, many are focusing on building more inclusive cultures. Inclusive cultures embrace and celebrate the unique experiences, perspectives and ideas of every employee.
It takes intentional effort to create workplace environments where employees feel they are valued and belong as their full selves. But studies show that workplaces with inclusive cultures have more engaged and productive employees.
The 2022 Agency Growth Study
At Agent for the Future, we want all independent insurance agencies to succeed far into the future. Creating inclusive workplace cultures that increase employee retention will help agencies thrive.
The research team at Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance surveyed more than 730 independent insurance agents to learn about their strategies for growth. The 2022 Agency Growth Study covered how agencies are using digital tools, which emerging trends they think will have the biggest impact on their agencies, the tactics they are using to grow and much more.
As part of the survey, we asked agents about their workplace cultures and what makes their agency a great place to work. We also asked larger agencies (those with seven or more staff members) how they engage with diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in their workplaces. In this report, we’ll explore how agencies can build cultures of inclusion and belonging that will help them retain top talent.
Healthy cultures are good for business
Every workplace has a unique culture made up of a set of values, attitudes and behaviors that shape how employees experience the work environment and how the company does business.
Company cultures have a huge impact on employee retention. According to an MIT study of industry attrition rates during the “Great Resignation,” a toxic corporate culture was the strongest predictor of turnover. While compensation is often a large factor for why people quit their jobs, the study found that culture was 10 times more important than compensation in predicting turnover.
According to the study, the main elements of toxic cultures include a lack of respect and consideration, unethical behavior and failure to promote diversity, equity and inclusion.
On the opposite side of this, companies that foster cultures of care, inclusivity and integrity are better positioned to attract and retain top candidates.
Good workplace cultures encourage collaboration and innovation, because when employees feel they belong and are supported, they are more likely to be engaged at work and more willing to share their ideas. A study from BetterUp found that workplace belonging leads to a 56% increase in job performance and a 50% reduction in turnover risk.
Bridging the gap
This suggests that agency leaders may need to reassess their agency cultures, model inclusive leadership and create more transparency around compensation structures.
When taking stock of agency culture, it can be helpful to start by looking at the business’s core values. Clearly defined values help define the deeper purpose behind the agency and serve as a compass for how the staff interacts with clients and with each other.
Building more human-centered company cultures – built on values such as transparency, empathy and collaboration – can help employees feel safe to be their authentic selves at work.
It’s important for agency leaders to model this by leading with vulnerability, showing genuine interest and empathy and challenging the status quo. Research from Harvard Business Review found that teams with inclusive leaders were 29% more likely to report behaving collaboratively, 20% more likely to say they make high-quality decisions and 17% more likely to report that they are high-performing.
Leaders should also do an audit of pay structures, employee benefits and methods for performance reviews. Forward-thinking leaders recognize that traditional ways of doing things may no longer serve their agency going forward.
Agency leaders can also open up conversations with employees about company culture, whether directly or through anonymous surveys. Leaders can ask employees what they like about working at the agency, what they wish they could change and what would make them feel more included and engaged.
What makes top agencies stand out
Our research found that the most forward-thinking, growth-focused agencies have different approaches to workplace culture and retention.
When we asked survey respondents about their agency’s plans for growth, roughly one-third said their agency is aiming for aggressive growth, such as doubling the agency size in five years.
Our research reveals that the agencies aiming for aggressive growth are growing at a rate more than double that of agencies that are planning for slow and steady growth – with an average revenue growth of 22% year-over-year, as opposed to 9% growth for those aiming for slow and steady growth.
These growth-focused agencies stand out from the rest in their hiring strategies, digital use, workplace cultures and more.
When asked what makes their agency a great place to work, those in growth-focused agencies were more likely than other agencies to highlight culture, career growth and flexibility.
To learn more about how you can become a part of our growing team at ANI, please visit us at www.anifranchise.com.