In the insurance industry, like any competitive industry, there are only two advantages that cannot be duplicated: client loyalty and employee loyalty. Simply put, the success of your organization relies heavily on loyal colleagues serving your valued clients.
Loyal employees make all the difference because they truly care about their customers. They do whatever it takes to ensure that clients have great interactions with your firm. They individually and collectively improve your clients' experiences. For these reasons, it is crucial that you hire well, bridge the generational gap, engage your employees, and find ways to improve the corporate culture
As a professional service firm, First American is committed to helping our clients grow. We strive to be the best company to work with - but we also strive to be the best company to work for. Our unmatchable service is entirely due to the hard work of our people. It is for that reason that our recruiting, hiring, and professional development programs are designed to attract and retain the best of the best.
Over the years we have received many nationwide accolades from the likes of Fortune and Entrepreneurmagazines for our culture and employee loyalty – but it has not been easy. It can be a challenging journey to draw the right people into an organization, and we have learned many lessons along the way. We wanted to share with you five lessons that have helped us with our recruiting and development of talented team members who are dedicated to enhancing the client experience.
1) Current employees are the best recruiters.
When you need to add employees to your organization, start by asking current employees for referrals. Just as delighted customers lead their network to brands they trust, loyal employees refer candidates to employers they trust. During a recent company wide meeting, we shared our recruiting goals and asked for referrals. Team members were engaged – they shared our open positions on social media and began reaching out to their networks. Since then, the number of applications received has dramatically increased.
2) Invest in your culture.
Benefits and employee perks are important for most people. But professional service firms need to understand what is truly meaningful to our teams. What is it about the organization that inspires loyalty? In order for employees to feel comfortable referring friends and business partners to their employer, they need to believe in their company. That is why it is crucial for firms like ours to focus on culture. Try surveying current employees at least once annually using a tool like the Loyalty Acid Test in the Harvard Business Review press book, Loyalty Rules by Frederick Richheld
(Download it for free here: http://www.loyaltyrules.com/loyaltyrules/acidtest_overview.html).
The key is to ask hard questions, take a hard look at the answers, and incorporate real changes. That will help earn employee loyalty.
3. Forget everything you think you know about millennials.
Do not be afraid to hire early career professionals. Millennials have become the largest segment of the workforce, and will be important in the long-term success of your firm. At First American, we have found the millennial generalizations to be widely untrue. When the expectation is that all players are responsible for their growth in a firm, and everyone has access to the tools they need to succeed, it is amazing what can be accomplished at any age. It turns out that work ethic and ambition have little to do with age and everything to do with personality and internal drive. Giving high performing individuals an environment that fosters healthy competition and teamwork while empowering them to unlock their potential can help bring out the best in everyone.
At First American, we seek early career professionals to fill many roles within our organization. We have found that their enthusiasm and commitment to improve the culture and office environment has helped keep our strategies fresh and our workforce more dedicated to our mission.
4. Local universities are our friends.
Establishing relationships with local colleges and universities allows firms like ours to develop another channel for effective recruiting. At First American, we open our doors to college students and recent graduates as interns and in entry-level support positions. We make it a priority to get to know college career centers and university professors. We look for opportunities to speak at and sponsor campus events to help foster those relationships and attract new talent. Sharing our award-winning culture with students and giving them the opportunity to participate in our success is a win-win situation.
5. It is okay to be picky.
Establish guidelines for each open role in your organization, and then take your time finding a great fit for the role and the culture of your firm. First American’s hiring process seems intense to some. Every candidate goes through multiple interviews and undergoes two assessments that measure cognitive abilities and personality tendencies. By and large, we have found this process to be successful in identifying whether or not a candidate will be a good fit long-term at First American. Our culture and employees are our best assets – it is how we are able to serve our clients at the level we do – so it is important that new employees positively impact our culture.
First American is a professional service firm that is dedicated to delivering exceptional service to create a remarkable client experience. For professional service firms, it is crucial to recruit, hire, develop, and retain high achieving professionals with a passion for growth. We need to constantly evaluate and improve upon our human resource strategies. The client experience starts from within – and if our employees are loyal and feel empowered to fix client pain points and initiate customer-focused innovations, it could truly be a game changer.