"Ouch!" If that's something you say inside your head when you look at your workplace dynamics, it's time for a change. While work colleagues will grate on each other from time to time, if your workplace is one that does not feel positive, this can impact your customer service and your workplace efficiency. How do you make sure that those in your insurance jobs are able to engage with clients in a positive way? Strengthen your internal workplace environment.
If you're having troubles with a "bad" employee, have you effectively modeled what good behavior looks like? Does that individual know about all of the expectations of the job, particularly those expectations that are part of your corporate culture but are unspoken? Sometimes, friction at work is due to people who do not feel like their colleagues are living up to the job expectations, yet those colleagues are uncertain as to what they are doing wrong. This is an opportunity for leadership. According to Inc, "bosses tell people what to do, but leaders take charge of a situation and find a solution."
Offer Opportunities for Feedback
As you work toward a more positive environment, make sure that your employees feel safe giving you feedback about how your business runs. Some people are very forthcoming and will step forward with feedback at any time. Others need prompting, and they might do better with one-on-one check-in meetings. Give employees a variety of methods of providing feedback, and connect back with them to talk about the results of their request.
There is one caveat; some people love to give feedback about how the company and others in it could change, but they aren't as open to receiving that feedback themselves. Make it clear that you expect everyone in the company to contribute to positive change, and this not only means making suggestions, but it also means pitching in to create these changes in themselves and in their own work practices.
Create Conflict Resolution Practices
Smaller workplaces don't always have formal conflict resolution practices. If you don't have these and you notice that conflict is an increasing concern in your insurance agency, consider creating a process and discussing this process with your employees.
That process could be quite simple. For example, you could ask your employees to speak with the person involved first instead of talking about that individual to others at the company, and if they feel uncomfortable, they could come to you for help. Blink mentions that it is important to "focus on behavior and events, not personalities." That way, you can preserve connections between people while addressing the behavior. Whatever your conflict resolution practice, make sure that your employees know that conflict is an opportunity for growth and learning, and by learning through conflict, they can help your company improve its practices and customer service.
Place Employees in Areas of Strength
If an employee is weak in a specific area, this is a training opportunity. However, people also come with soft and hard skills in specific areas, and part of creating a positive work environment is to honor those skills. When you can, evaluate each employee's strengths and weaknesses and look at ways to place each person in a position that plays on those strengths. For instance, if you have someone who doesn't work as well with people but is exceptionally detail and research-oriented, is it possible to shift positions to create a work team that relies on this individual's detail orientation and research abilities?
At American Agents Alliance, we offer networking and posting opportunities for your insurance jobs. If you're running an independent insurance agency, we can help make your work life simpler. Contact us about your agency's needs today.