When you run an insurance agency, you have tremendous responsibilities. That includes hiring the right people who can help the company grow. Also, you want to provide your staff with training so they can consistently hone their skills and give them the tools and systems they need to perform their jobs optimally.
Unfortunately, there’s another responsibility that no business owner or manager enjoys: terminating employees. Regardless of the industry, that’s tough. However, if you’ve done everything possible to help a person change, but they still fail to meet the agency’s standards, you don’t have any other choice.
If you own or manage an insurance agency, that would include all support staff, managers, and the agents themselves.
The Right Time to Terminate
So, how do you know when you’ve reached that point? The following are some examples that show when it’s the right time to fire an employee.
Especially in the insurance industry, the only way for your business to grow and thrive is to have dedicated agents who work hard to sell new policies and renew existing ones. If someone’s constantly late to work, they’re doing your business a disservice. If you’ve spoken to the agent and given them more than one warning but don’t see any improvement, it’s time to let them go.
Tardiness among the support staff in your agency is just as big of an issue. For example, a receptionist who’s supposed to start work at 8 a.m. but doesn’t bother to show up until nine or later creates two problems. First, there’s no one available to answer incoming calls. Second, that means one of your agents has to pick up the slack. So, instead of selling policies, that person is fielding phone calls.
To sell insurance, you want agents on your team who aren’t timid, afraid, or shy to assertively sell policies. When hiring someone new, there’s no way to tell how they’ll do in an actual work scenario. Unfortunately, the only real way to gauge an employee’s performance is to watch them after you’ve brought them on board.
You might have a brilliantly minded and creative agent who comes up with some incredible ideas. This person also works hard and genuinely wants to do a great job. Even so, they also have “stage fright.” For them, meeting with prospects and existing clients is beyond awkward and scary. For an employee like this, you want to provide them with every opportunity possible to improve.
However, if you’ve sent them to training, given them plenty of pep talks, and even tried to find another position in your agency for them, all without luck, you’ll need to let them go. As sad as it is, this scenario is not that uncommon in the business world.
Unacceptable Behavior and Attitude
Your employees are a direct reflection of your insurance agency. One person’s poor behavior and attitude could prove devastating to your business. You want team players, people who get along and respect each other as well as their clients. An employee who acts out can quickly and dramatically affect employee morale. In turn, that can have a significant impact on sales and the client’s satisfaction.
Drama King or Queen
As the owner or manager of an insurance agency, you want to show empathy to your employees. After all, everyone is human, and sometimes life deals some pretty hard blows. So, you can expect someone to bring their personal life to work from time to time. However, when you have an employee who’s a bona fide drama king or queen, it’s time to terminate them. Typically, this shows that the employee is more interested in themselves than your agency.
Failing to Abide by the Agency’s Standards
You know you need to fire an employee if they blatantly disregard the standards you’ve established for the agency. These rules and regulations serve multiple purposes. For instance, rules streamline operations, and they can prevent your business from getting penalized by an employee who violates the law. You can’t afford this kind of liability.
Set Your Employees Up for Success
To run a successful insurance agency, you need to do everything in your power to provide your employees with what they need to achieve great success. Again, that consists of hiring the right talent, providing training, having honest and open communication, and giving them the necessary tools and systems. A perfect example of this is an insurance agency management software program.
This type of insurance agency software benefits support staff members, insurance agents, and clients. When you select the right software, you’ll find that your business operates far more effectively and efficiently. Most important, choose a system that your employees can learn to master quickly and go with a reputable source that offers tremendous support during the learning phase and after.
After doing all this and giving an employee ample notice that they need to correct something but to no avail, it’s your responsibility to fire them. Although this might require some firmness on your part, terminating someone doesn’t equate to acting mean or judgmental.
No, firing an employee is never what you want to do, but there are times when you’re left with no other choice. The bottom line is that you have a business to run. If you want to see it thrive, you need an outstanding group of employees who work as a team and respect the agency as a whole.