One of the most common challenges I hear from agency managers is their inability to retain and hire staff. My approach is universal and can be used by anyone, regardless of where they are located or what job they are hiring for. In the following 3 steps, I will explain some of my theories.
People are everywhere and you need them. It sounds simple and obvious, but don’t lose heart. Let me elaborate. Let me elaborate. I believe the way we staff our businesses needs to be adjusted to the many changes that are affecting the world today. There are two options for finding employees: contact a recruiter or post the job. This is the tried and true method of recruiting. However, most people reading this will already be very skilled in these skills so I suggest that you consider a different approach to your recruitment process. This technique begins with realizing that you are constantly meeting potential employees, as you must interact with people every single day. It is worth taking the time to get to know these people and assessing their potential value.
Let me break it down into steps, and give you some examples.
1. Describe what you want from your next CSR. It sounds easy, right? This step is simple, but I recommend you take a bit more time. It will not only help you to find the right person for you but it will also allow you to encourage growth in your staff. Consider what your ideal customer service representative is within your agency. Next, take out a notepad (some old-school practices still work well for me) and list the attributes and skills that you would like your CSR to possess. Then rank them in order of importance. Below is a simplified example.
1 Honesty2 Positive Attitude
4 Problem Solver
7 Years of Prior Insurance Experience
9 Quick Learner
11 Professional appearances
The first step in finding the right person for you is to define what you want. This step will help you not only find the right employee, but also help you to restructure your expectations and approach towards your staff. Write.It.Down. This is essential.
2. You are the potential employee of people you meet every day. Once you’ve identified the job you want to fill, it’s time for the fun part. Fun? Yes. This shouldn’t be a tedious process. You want to find someone you can spend a lot of time and energy with in your workplace. Do you not enjoy getting to know people? I hope you will. Even people who don’t like getting to know other people can recognize the value of this process, as I explain in this article.
Every day you meet new people and these are your potential workers. You can run errands and buy groceries. People meet you and you can observe them differently to help you begin a preliminary interview for a potential new employee. Here’s an example:
Imagine you’re at a restaurant with friends and your waiter is in a poor spot. The restaurant is packed and there are only 2 staff. The waiter’s manner of handling the situation makes the experience not so bad. Perhaps he communicates well, offers you an appetizer so you are satisfied until your food arrives. He also leaves the water pitcher and maintains a positive attitude, despite the difficult situation he’s in, because his coworkers weren’t there. Your potential employee demonstrated that they have a positive attitude, are adaptable and can solve problems. This is three items off your list. If their appearance is acceptable, maybe four. It might be worth speaking with them a bit more. You might be able to find a CSR by having dinner at an unstaffed restaurant. This is so simple. Do you have a favorite dry cleaner attendant that you look forward to every time you drop off your clothes? Why? What are the characteristics that could make this person a great employee? Recall all the interactions that you had during your week’s day to help you remember. You are likely to recognize some of these examples.
Another great thing about this approach is that it allows you to figuratively dip your feet in the water, without actually jumping in. Engage the person, ask some questions and see if there are any additional qualities they might have. If you like what they have to say, invite them to visit your office and ask if there is an interest in working together. Some people will not be the right match, or even be interested in working with you. This is similar to posting an advertisement, but you have a better chance of finding the right person for your office.
3. Define your expectations for the role of the new employee. Now, let’s say you have completed steps 1 and 2, and are now ready to hire a CSR. To ensure that you both communicate well, it is important to organize the first phase of bringing someone to a new workplace. It is important that you clearly define the expectations for the new employee. Let them know your priorities and what they can do to meet your needs. You should set a time limit for training new employees in daily, weekly and monthly increments. Make it a priority. Engage in constructive conversations with your supervisors and new hires to help them feel like part of the company. Keep the ultimate CSR list in your pocket and help your employees to improve their performance. You can sign them up for classes and give constructive criticism.
You need to communicate clearly and frequently your expectations with your employees in order to create a company culture that is truly suited for your company.