The insurance industry can be very demanding as employees try to juggle client, company and coworker relationships as well as process large amounts of coverage and business information all at the same time. Trying to manage all these different aspects within a job can be extremely stressful. According to a 2017 study, a job in insurance ranked #2 in a list of most stressful careers (study completed by Robert Half staffing firm).
When stress levels rise, the opportunity for job burnout goes up quickly. Job burnout will lead to turnover. Given the low unemployment rate, the hiring game is very competitive, and no one can afford to lose good talent.
The good news is that there are things that can be implemented in your agency to reduce burnout and instead get employees fired up about their work.
Provide Clarity –
Elizabeth Scott, MS notes in 9 Simple Way to Deal with Stress at Work, one of the top causes of job burnout is unclear job requirements. Employees are not clear on what falls into their role. Creating clear guidelines regarding duties and expectations helps ensure everyone is on the same page. If you do not have one already, make sure you take the time to formalize job descriptions for all roles in your agency. If you have them, make sure they are up to date. Once you have these ironed out, make sure every employee has a copy and fully understands the expectations of their role.
Be Cognizant of Workloads –
As noted above, there are a lot of different responsibilities to take care of on any given day when working in insurance. Clients, carriers, coverage. The three C’s that can create a perfect stress storm. Make sure you are aware of what employees have on their plates. Use tools in the Agency Management System or another work tracker to monitor tasks, especially those that are aging. If performance is slipping, reach out to the employee to try and understand what may be going on. Employees are not always willing to raise their hand and ask for help, even when they feel overwhelmed. Approaching the situation the right way will go a long way so that you can fully understand the challenges, build trust, and find collaborative solutions.
Be Diligent About Communication-
Effective communication is critical and can be a struggle for many agencies at any level. Hours and days can fly by very quickly with everything else that needs to managing within an agency, and communication can quickly slide by the wayside. Employees will feel this.
When it comes to creating strong communication strategies, do it and don’t overthink it. While transparency to whatever level is appropriate is important, consistency is critical. Make sure to pull teams together regularly to connect, discuss pertinent topics, and collaborate on challenges that may need attention. These discussions don’t have to be formal, but should happen regularly. This type of intentional communication helps to continue fostering the team environment.
And as a leader, keep your door open. Let employees know when and how you are available to them and be a good listener. Communication is a two-way street and requires both parties to be engaged.
Stress in any job is not completely unavoidable. Taking these steps will help minimize stress and prevent job burnout. When this happens, employees, leaders, and agencies win!