Poor morale can occur for several reasons. It also manifests in ways that cause problems for the insurance agency. While every agency faces challenges, low morale within an office is near the top of the list. Without a doubt, this applies to any business, including insurance.
Causes of Poor Office Morale
For anyone who owns or manages an insurance agency, it’s important to understand the different things that lead to low morale. That makes it easier to spot potential problems early on, which helps remedy situations before they spiral out of control. Here are the top reasons why low office morale may occur:
- Lack of communication
- Poor or inadequate instructions
- Little to no trust
- Dishonest practices
- Unrealistic expectations
- Lack of appreciation
- Poor staff bonding
- No leadership accountability
- Inadequate or ineffective training
- Disrespect (especially coming from owners or managers toward agents and staff)
- Poor management
Without a good leadership team and a strategic plan to run an agency, this is what happens. The threat of low office morale is that it’s contagious. Simply put, if just one or two people begin to feel unappreciated, disrespected, or taken advantage of, it won’t be long before others feel the same way.
Consider disorganization. Running around frantically trying to get information on a particular client is incredibly frustrating. For this and many of the other causes of low morale, there’s a simple solution. Implementing an insurance agency management system helps streamline operations and makes everyone’s job much easier. Most importantly, higher morale enhances the client’s experience.
The Fallout of Low Office Morale
Just one of the above mentioned issues is enough to create unnecessary chaos in an insurance agency. Below are just a few examples of the effect of low morale.
- Agents and staff stop communicating effectively
- Absenteeism increases
- Production and quality of work decreases
- Client complaints roll in
- Damaged reputation
- Loss of revenues
Proven Ways to Boost Low Office Morale
The good news, there are many ways to boost morale. By choosing the right solutions and implementing them correctly, things typically turn around fast. Using five of the causes listed as examples, here are solutions that insurance agency owners and managers should seriously consider.
Lack of Communication
It’s a bad sign whenever people working for the same agency stop talking. Keep in mind that communication is not just oral but also written. There are two great options to fix this. However, this requires an owner or manager to set the tone so that everyone knows they can and should communicate.
First, it’s important to have regular staff meetings. This provides a platform for agents and staff to discuss concerns, as well as achievements, openly. It also puts people in the same location (whether physically or virtually), which encourages better communication.
Second, implement an insurance agency management system, as previously stated. This gives everyone quick and easy access to the same information. It also prevents disorganization. For instance, say an unhappy client calls with a question. With this system, the person answering the phone can identify their agent and connect the call within seconds.
Poor or Inadequate Instructions
For an insurance agency to run seamlessly, everyone must be on the same page. When bringing agents or support staff on board, they should receive an “employee” manual that outlines job descriptions, processes, policies, and so on. A insurance agency management system to manage an agency also helps since it serves as a reference point.
Without question, one of the most frustrating things for any office worker is to have someone micromanage them. After providing agents and staff with proper training and the tools needed to do their jobs, a leadership team needs to step back and trust them to perform.
However, when micromanaged, several things happen. For starters, having someone constantly watching and asking questions becomes incredibly frustrating. That can make it difficult to focus. As a result, an individual begins to make more and more mistakes. With all that combined, they could start to feel resentment, which clients pick up on.
On the list of the things that cause low office morale is improper or inadequate training. That kind of goes hand in hand with micromanagement. Thus, if an insurance agency provides the right training and tools, there’s no need to micromanage.
Another way to fix this is to give agents and staff different opportunities to grow. One example is podcasts hosted by insurance industry experts. That way, agents and staff members can learn new things while honing the talent they currently possess.
There’s no place for disrespect in any business – especially insurance. This is especially true if it comes from a manager toward an agent or staff member. For this, insurance agency owners need to make sure they have the right leadership in place. Great managers are also mentors, supporters, and team players.
They also have positive attitudes and open-door policies. It’s not that they’re superior, just trained or educated more and held to a higher standard.
If someone within management shows disrespect, perhaps it’s time for some house cleaning. It’s amazing how one person can set the tone and pace for everyone within an agency, good and bad.
However, great managers also know how to balance discipline with praise. In other words, if they need to address an issue with an agent or staff member, they do so to yield positive results. Rather than judge or make a person feel uncomfortable, they work together to find a viable solution.
Lack of Appreciation
Look, everyone needs kudos from time to time. That doesn’t mean an insurance agency owner or manager has to go around patting everyone on the back every hour. Yet, they need to acknowledge when they see improvement, effort, and achievement.
For instance, an agency has a professional website designed and developed. If the agent or staff member who oversees the site does a great job of keeping information current, useful, and enticing, they deserve acclimation.
Boost Office Morale to Achieve Greater Business Success
The bottom line is recognizing low office morale quickly, followed by taking the appropriate action, will go a long way to achieving a higher level of success. Among all the different solutions, it’s vital to have an easy-to-use yet robust insurance agency management system in place.