Let's work together. Let's share. If these exhortations sound too much like kindergarten, think again. When your employees can collaborate well, your business can grow in a healthier way. You'll improve employee retention and enable divergent thinking. When you're trying to build a collaborative workplace, look to these four ways to create workplace change.
1. Set Goals Together
You have goals for your insurance business. Your insurance agents have personal and career goals. How do these intersect? Instead of giving your agents top down goals, invite them to participate in developing your company together. Move through a facilitated process to examine what employees' desires are for their positions, what their visions are for the company, and how they can work together to contribute to your shared plans for the future.
2. Encourage Creativity Without Judgement
What a stupid idea: have you ever felt that implied in a conversation? If so, it's likely that your desire to contribute to that conversation plummeted. What if your ideas, basic or brilliant, weren't judged at all? In workplace conversations, encourage employees to question their own and others' ideas, reconsider decisions, and actively work on creative but possible solutions to problems. Whether they're working on an advertising campaign or a new way to manage customer queries, if the old way isn't working, the new ideas may not be perfect but they're worth considering.
3. Know Each Others' Strengths
A good team fits together like the pieces of a puzzle. No one individual needs to create the entire picture; rather, each piece has its place and complements the others, working toward a cohesive whole. When you're trying to encourage a collaborative workplace culture, let people know that they don't need to be and do everything. One of your front desk employees might have a flair for graphic design, another for developing computer systems. Within these insurance jobs, each person can find his or her place, making a contribution that benefits the entire team.
Build group cohesion through communication processes. Your employees shouldn't be surprised by the latest company direction. They should have an active part in developing it. Agree on a meeting schedule that allows for optimal time working on individual projects and learning from each other. Develop designated check in times so that everyone knows what people are working on and what challenges they are facing.
Work on listening as well: as a manager, if you have your ear to the ground you'll hear what frustrates and worries your employees, and you'll be better able to initiate conversations about these concerns before they reach a boiling point.
Developing a more collaborative workplace is a process of cultural change. How can your insurance jobs play a role in shaping your future workplace? As you work to hire employees who belong in your collaborative work environment, turn to the American Agents Alliance. We can help you hire employees who work for you, and our networks allow you to build your understanding of the insurance workplace. Learn more about our membership benefits today.