February 3, 2020
Three Strategies to Retain Newly Hired Insurance Producers
by Chris Winterboer
A study by the Society for Human Resources Management, Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success, found that “69% of employees who participated in a well-designed onboarding program were more likely to stay in their jobs for up to three years.” ~This is Why Employees Quit Within Their First Three Months (and What You Can Do To Stop It), Thrive Global, October 2019
Three years huh? How ironic that is the same length of time agencies give an insurance producer to validate. This means onboarding makes or breaks the entire producer’s potential to validate. If you want to retain new insurance producers, you need to rethink strategies for the first 90 days of employment.
1. Create Mentoring Relationships Outside of Management
Pairing senior baby boomer producers with younger millennials is hugely successful for insurance agencies. They learn from one another and are often spurred in the spirit of competition to increase new sales.
Big Key: You must provide incentives to both parties. By nature, salespeople are individualistic. They need to see value in co-selling. No junior producer wants to make a ton of calls, do all of the work, have someone else “close” the deal, and then take all of the credit and financial reward. Instead, create a system that is fair with commissions splits, especially in a tiered system that may descend over time.
Big Goal: The hope is that after a year or two the junior producer is on their own anyway, but along the way the more experienced producer enjoys slaying the new business dragon, makes some extra money, and helps create the next group of leaders within the agency.
2. Encourage Organic, Cross-Department Engagement
Many moons ago, I reached out across the aisle as a young and green producer at a large agency. My boss suggested that I invite three people from other departments to lunch and ask them about what a typical day looked like for them. At first it was incredibly awkward, but it became very rewarding over time.
Big Key: Create a formal program to make it easier for new producers to engage with tenured employees in multiple departments. They gain more internal resources and broader perspective on how to drive sales.
Big Goal: This plan creates a system of accountability and future leaders. Make sure you have a mentor, leader, or executive checking in weekly with producers to gauge progress in these conversations.
3. Be Visible in Surprising Ways
A producer told me the agency’s president brought him coffee on his third day of employment. Apparently, the president stepped in to make coffee for the team when his assistant was on vacation. It was a simple gesture with a huge impact.
Agencies have also created lunch and learns, individualized times to check in, after-hours events, and much more to interact socially and professionally with new hires.
Big Key: Be intentional with these moments in time. Leaders must ask specific questions of the new producers that check in on how they are settling in. This sends a strong message that from the absolute top down that the entire organization is invested in their success.
Big Goal: The new hires continue to see the hiring managers beyond just the interview phase. It continues the relationship formed during the search process.
The bottom line is that retaining new insurance producers doesn’t fit into a cookie cutter process. It evolves over time and should let your culture shine.
For more on ensuring successful new producer hires, check out Sales Presentations Guarantee Successful Producer Hires and How Agencies Design Proformas to Boost Sales Hires.