There’s no question that COVID-19 drastically reshaped our work lives – many of the changes are here to stay.
We have entered a new era of work. As we emerge from this time of uncertainty and start planning for 2022 and beyond, it’s clear that workplaces cannot return to “business as usual.”
Future-thinking insurance agencies are adapting the way they attract and retain talent, build cultures, structure their offices and lead their teams.
Here are some of the things agents should do to prepare for this new era of work:
Get comfortable with hybrid work
At the height of the pandemic, 77% of insurance agents said some or all of their agency’s employees were working remotely, according to a survey conducted by Liberty Mutual and Safeco insurance. Roughly half of the agents surveyed anticipated that employees would continue working remotely after COVID-19.
However, many workers found they enjoyed the flexibility of remote work. Accenture found that 83% of workers prefer hybrid working arrangements, with many wanting the option to work remotely at least a few days a week. In fact, Bloomberg reported that 49% of millennials and Gen Z workers would consider quitting if their employer weren’t flexible about remote work.
It’s clear that hybrid work is here to stay. Rather than trying to force everyone back into the office full-time, forward-looking insurance agencies are brainstorming with their teams to create working models that set everyone up for success.
Invest in technology
COVID-19 accelerated the pace of digital transformation in the insurance industry and pushed technology forward in important ways.
Technology tools are only becoming more essential to help insurance agents connect with their colleagues and customers.
They’re also proven to help agencies grow. Research from Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance found that highly digital agencies grew revenue 60% faster than agencies that hadn’t adopted as many technology tools.
Future-thinking agencies know that investing in technology is key to meeting the ever-higher expectations of consumers.
Lead with empathy
The past few years brought many hardships and challenges in people’s professional and personal lives, leaving many workers feeling burnt out.
It’s paramount that leaders care for their employees and lead with empathy. The focus on human-centered workplaces is here to stay – 78% of employees strongly believe their employer is responsible for helping them become net better off, according to Accenture. And TELUS International found that 80% of employees would consider quitting their current position for a job that focused more on employees’ mental health.
What does it look like to build great agency cultures? Agency leaders suggest focusing on the business’s core values, giving staff a voice in decision-making, implementing more frequent check-ins, and building structures that encourage a healthy work/life balance.
Invest in DEI
The global workforce and population is becoming more diverse, and both job seekers and customers expect businesses to reflect that diversity.
Glassdoor found that 76% of job seekers say they consider a diverse workforce an important factor when evaluating job offers. And according to The Harris Poll, 8 in 10 Americans say they expect a company’s leadership to support racial equality.
Agencies that want to thrive in the future are working to diversify their talent pipelines and engage their employees in diversity, equity and inclusion work.
After all, studies have shown that diversity is good for business. Companies with more diverse workforces are more profitable and innovative and better positioned to enter new markets.
Create more growth opportunities
2021 brought about what many called “the great resignation.” PwC found that 65% of employees are looking for a new job. Many of the employees who are considering quitting cited a lack of growth opportunities as one of their top reasons. According to Robert Half, 38% of employees said their career has stalled since the start of the pandemic.
To retain current employees and attract new talent, insurance agencies need to show that they can offer opportunities for growth.
Forward-thinking agency leaders invest in their employees and keep an open dialogue about employee goals and growth opportunities.