5 Ways to Improve Your Connection with Your Employees in 2017

5 Ways to Improve Your Connection with Your Employees in 2017

Insurance jobs can be difficult. At least some of the time, you're working with people who are under stress due to a life change or a disaster. Your employees create the environment for these customers, drawing them into your business. Your job is to create a work environment where these employees can thrive. This year, work to improve your connections with your employees, and you'll find that their ability to engage with your customers improves as well.

1. Let Your Employees Know That You Respect and Value Them

It's easy to get caught up in the day to day work of running an insurance business. You need to follow up on that phone call or deal with that overdue bill. Amidst all of the urgency and busyness that happens every day, take time each day to acknowledge at least one thing that an employee has done. You could send an email to all employees letting them know that you appreciate their hard work on a difficult project last week or give a verbal thank you to a specific individual. Truly acknowledging someone's idea or thanking that person for a contribution goes a long way to creating a healthy working relationship in which everyone feels respected.

2. Make Your Employees Feel Safe

Is your agency constantly worried about losing clients? Are you a driven person who likes to push your employees to perform? While it's good to have ambition, insurance jobs can be dismal if your employees feel like they're constantly under pressure to perform – or else. If you've learned your leadership from someone who used threats as an incentive, practice giving constructive feedback rather than getting angry with employees. Work on your own leadership skills so that employees feel that they're safe in their job. People who know that their job is committed to them in the long term are more likely to contribute to that working environment.

3. Break Barriers

What hidden barriers exist within your company? Perhaps you've always felt like you're under a financial strain, so you've quietly discouraged employees from suggesting changes that come with a cost. Maybe people know that there are a few ideas that you've declined in the past, and they're worried about bringing them up again. This year, give employees a worry-free venue to bring up suggestions and new ideas. This doesn't mean that you have to accept all of the ideas, but the more you can integrate valuable employee suggestions, the more connection you will build between your employees and the outcomes of the organization.

4. Be the Leader Your Company Needs

Who are you as a leader of your agency? Whether you see yourself as an educator and mentor or as a future-oriented visionary, your employees look to you for cues. If you want to improve your connection with your employees, consider what organizational culture you are setting with your personal attitude toward your company. You could choose to be:

  • Inspiring

  • Visionary

  • Nurturing

  • Encouraging

  • Grounded

  • Responsive

Consider how you'd like to be perceived as a leader and how you'd like to connect with your employees. Take and integrate feedback from your employees about your leadership style, and you'll improve your connection with your employees.

5. Give Your Employees Opportunities to Grow

Make employee education a backbone of your insurance company. Not only will your employees be better able to serve your clients, they'll also be able to bring new ideas to your company as a whole. If external training courses are beyond your agency's budget, you can look for educational opportunities like conferences, or you can give your employees time to work on online courses that will also extend their skills. You can also host employee sharing sessions that help employees share their skills and experiences with each other.

We understand the insurance business. Our members are independent insurance agencies just like yours. Talk with us about our many membership benefits and meet other insurance employees and employers at our annual American Agents Alliance Insurance Convention & Expo.

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