Make sure that your new employees are ready to help you expand your agency's digital capacity.
Transitions in the world mean that your employees will have transitions at home too. During a time when uncertainties challenge people to juggle home-related responsibilities and their insurance jobs, some of your employees may not be able to manage both. This may leave you with a void in your agency team. But if you need to hire during the COVID-19 crisis, how can you streamline your hiring process?
KNOW YOUR JOB DESCRIPTION
Business Management Daily points out that "job descriptions are the cornerstone of communication between you and your staff." Before you hire someone, do yourself a favor and look through the job description they're inheriting. Is this who you need to hire right now? Are there any additions or deletions required in the job description? By knowing who you actually need, you'll avoid hiring someone for a job description that may actually be outdated and in need of a renovation.
ARTICULATE YOUR AGENCY'S CULTURE
Before you hire someone new, articulate what makes a new hire a successful cultural fit with your agency. This is especially important if you're hiring someone who will work remotely and then have to integrate with a team. If your team is used to working together closely and communicating frequently, for example, then you need to find a new employee who loves to work in a tight-knit employment environment.
HIRE FOR SOFT SKILLS
In addition to the core skills that your employees need to accomplish their specific insurance-related job, look for people who have the personal qualities needed to manage through a crisis. These include:
Resilience – people who can manage the pressure of a constantly shifting and sometimes overwhelming insurance field.
Flexibility – people who are able to rapidly adapt to new circumstances.
Organization – your employees must also be able to look ahead, prioritize, and organize their time, particularly when they are working remotely.
Compassion – people who are able to react with empathy and thoughtfulness even when clients are angry and frustrated.
Communication – skillful communicators can speak in plain language that clients understand, helping navigate through client and colleagues' questions.
These skills are not only useful in the COVID-19 crisis. They're helpful at any time. Hiring for these soft skills will help your agency succeed in the long term.
LOOK FOR DIGITAL SAVVY
The jump into working from home and more online shopping could influence people for years to come. If you're trying to find someone who can help move your agency forward into a digital future, look for people who have proven skills in remote workplaces and comfort with the programs that you use. Most importantly, make sure that your new hires have the competence to receive remote training and act in a self-directed manner while working from home.
References are especially important when you can't meet to interview someone in person.
RELY ON REFERENCES
If you can't meet to interview people in person, consider doing even more thorough reference checks to connect with past employers. Employment Crossing states that reference checks help "employers get additional information on the candidate's performance, behavior, attitude, and other traits, which makes the hiring decision smoother." Thorough reference checks allow you to get a deeper sense of a prospective employee's past and future job performance and fit.
At American Agents Alliance, we are here to support independent insurance agencies like yours through times of challenge and times of growth. Contact us today to learn more about our membership benefits.