Managing Business Changes When You're Short-staffed
If your employees are working from home, taking a leave, or temporarily laid off, your insurance agency may be struggling right now. Too much work combined with too little staff time for your insurance jobs can make business difficult. Combine this with the fact that there are new questions coming in about cancellations, payments, and changes in insurance policies, and you have problems. What are the best ways to manage a shifting, overwhelming business climate when you're shortstaffed?
Step Back and Set Priorities
Oddly enough, stepping back for a moment can be exactly what you need to do. Have an honest conversation with your employees about your priorities as a business right now. If you had plans to make changes that don't relate to the situation at hand, consider dropping them.
Look at your new priorities. What issues have come up again and again? What questions are people asking?
Now is the time to create clearly-articulated policies for your clients and phrases that your employees can easily communicate to clients. For instance, if clients are curious about trip cancellation and travel insurance, create updated materials for your website, a stock email, and a reference for employees to look at when they talk with clients about the topic. Taking time to make your policies and clients' options clear now can save you time many times over.
Make sure your employees' home computers have adequate security to avoid problems with data breaches.
Put Infrastructure in Place
If your employees have never worked from home before or if you're navigating a new normal of flexible schedules, you need to put infrastructure in place to allow you to be at your most efficient and connected. This includes:
Look at output rather than hourly work. IT Pro Portal states: "Don’t expect 9-5 from your employees. Focus on their productivity instead. Perceived activity is irrelevant."
Focusing on productive check-ins rather than gathering many people to meet.
Providing communication infrastructure for your employees.
Making sure that you have data security policies. Avoid adding to your existing workload with a data breach.
Incorporate Feedback and Coaching
As you implement new processes and technologies in your insurance workplace, make sure that your employees know how to use them. According to TEK Systems, "enabling and increasing the use of virtual/remote demonstrations, training, coaching, and continuous improvement with the use of collaborative tools" can help save a tremendous amount of frustration in the future. Also, some technologies, ways of meeting, and procedures may not work. As a manager, stay open to constructive criticism and be ready to accept that, reflect, and see how your agency can do better. Check-in with your employees on both a professional and personal level to see how they are doing and what you could put into place to help them manage more easily.