The idea of change in the workplace, or change management is a popular topic of discussion, but not quite as popular from an implementation standpoint. Change is part of our daily lives and certainly applies to running a successful insurance agency. The rate of change in the insurance industry is at an all-time high, and agency leaders know they have to adapt. Most commonly used change management tools assist in understanding the core principles needed for insurance agency change management.
However, this can be easier said than done. Whether it is a reorganization of the company structure, staffing changes, or evolving technology, the insurance landscape looks a little bit different each day.
Knowing that humans are resistant to change, of almost any kind, how do you lead your teams through change?
Be a Promoter of change – One of the responsibilities of every leader is a willingness to be a leader of change. To do this effectively, you must speak positively about the changes, regardless of your opinion on the matter. There is nothing that derails change faster than a manager creating doubt with statements like, “I don’t like it either, but this is the direction that the company is going.” Maintaining an optimistic attitude will go a long way in terms of building employee confidence in times of change.
Provide Clarity – The idea of change, whether minor or significant, generates uncertainty and questions from employees. Whether it’s a change in process or a software overhaul, there’s bound to be concern among employees wanting to know how this will impact their jobs. Provide as much specific information as possible so that employees know what to expect. Whether it’s high-level information about how the update fits the overall company strategy, the roll-out plan and how long the process will take or how individual roles will be impacted, these are all important topics you will need to address. Some will require more detail than others to help employees get on board.
Keep an Open Dialogue – A conversation about change is not a once and done issue. It is an ongoing matter that will require continued attention. As your agency works through adjustments of any kind, there will be additional questions, unanticipated challenges that pop up, and more questions from your employees. Keep them updated as more information is available and keep the conversation rolling, ensuring that they understand you are there to help them through this transition.
Be Consistent – Implementation of changes will go smoother some times more than others. Some employees will challenge changes more than others. This should be expected. The important thing when navigating these waters is to be consistent. Be consistent in the way you communicate with others, be consistent in the overall messaging. This will help make sure that everyone is getting the same level of information, and no one is feeling left out in the dark.
Change remains the only constant. Once we accept that as leaders, we can then improve our skills that are needed to better manage the process and conversation around change. When that happens, we will be more effective at leading teams through it.
One of the best changes an agency can make is switching to online insurance training. One such resource is Total CSR located in southern California where they provide a full suite of online training tools. Check out Total CSR, click here for more information.