Managing the insurance workflow process in an agency is complicated and very detail oriented. Agencies have invested heavily in technology tools to help them streamline the process. Most agency management systems have tremendous capability. However, these systems can be so complicated that very few agencies use anywhere close to their full capacity. This is a shame.
Investing in training is one thing that will help. Yet, it seems like training is the first item that gets cut from budgets. This is counter-intuitive, as agency productivity and effectiveness suffer because of the cuts.
Younger people are especially interested in receiving training. They seem to understand, in a way that many who have been in the industry for a long time don’t, that training is an important element to doing their job well. Training also keeps them engaged with their job in a different way. And it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or staff time.
Every agency organization needs to create a “Learning Culture.” Every employee, regardless of age, needs to be a lifelong learner. Staff should be aware that their personal development is important and should be given every opportunity to attend courses to develop their functional skills, as well as their management skills.
- Use internal talent. Staff can be persuaded to regard teaching as a career advancing/enhancing step. Choose those who have an expertise in one area to train others. You may even have some ex-teachers/educators as part of your staff. Also, be aware that some people feel more confident delivering a training session with another co-worker. This is fine; they just might need coaching in advance.
- Invest in a “Train the Trainer” course. This works better for larger organizations that can identify staff who should be considered to lead additional training. This improves confidence and presentation skills, and a good course will also enhance attendees’ abilities to put themselves in others’ shoes.
- Promote information sharing. Lunch & Learn sessions on market conditions, new and updated products or workflow processes, or problems people are having are just a few topic suggestions.
- Offer skills practice sessions. These could include closing for producers (get a successful producer to lead the session), new management system enhancements, social media marketing, etc.
- Add training for other software and technology products used by the agency. This could include training for Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
Agencies that have a dedicated training process, and/or an individual within the organization who is responsible for training tend to have much higher utilization of the tools that the agency has invested in. If you want your organization to be more productive and effective, don’t skimp on training programs. Money spent on training will pay big dividends in the future.