Insurance Agency Job Descriptions: Your Building Blocks for Growth! Part 1
One thing that most agency owners share is that we all like growth, right? Talk to any agency executive – it’s all about the growth!
But another commonality is that because most of us are entrepreneurial in nature, we generally dislike some of the disciplines and details that help us attain growth. Take creating job descriptions, for example. If there’s one thing that Agency Performance Partners (APP) has learned while working with hundreds of agencies throughout the country, it is that creating job descriptions is among the most detested and procrastinated tasks of all.
Job descriptions are vital building blocks that contribute to the growth and success of any insurance agency — they should be a top priority!
What makes creating agency job descriptions one of the most dreaded duties that agency executives face? Executives tell us that writing them can feel burdensome and needlessly administrative. Some agency executives say they just aren’t good at writing them, some say they just don’t know where to start, and others say that despite good intentions, job descriptions keep falling to the bottom of their to-do list because there is always something more important to do.
Whatever the reason, they just don’t seem to get done!
Maybe part of the reason they get overlooked so often is because many of us didn’t start with a good job description ourselves. Many of us work in family-run agencies that evolved over time. Our own job descriptions encompassed pretty much everything from selling and servicing policies, to answering phones and fixing the coffee maker in the kitchen. Did something need to be done? Then it was in our job description!
But as our agencies grow and evolve, it’s important to put more discipline in the process. Love them or loathe them, job descriptions are quite important to your insurance agency’s mission.
Take a few minutes to learn:
- Why we think job descriptions tailored to your insurance agency are so important.
- How to create job descriptions and what you should include.
- How to use job descriptions to motivate your employees and measure your staff performance.
- How you can make writing job descriptions fun by using affordable tools and templates that APP provides to make the whole process much easier!
Why Insurance Agency Job Descriptions Are Vital
Job descriptions are so important that we’d like to open you up to a new way of thinking: Think of creating job descriptions as laying the foundation for your insurance agency’s growth and success, much like creating a new building requires first building a strong foundation and base. And once that foundation is laid, job descriptions become vital tools for running your agency. They help you manage your existing staff, as well as successfully attract new staff who will be “keepers” in an industry that has a particularly high turnover rate for new hires. They are tools for measuring staff performance on an ongoing basis. When done well, they are critical building blocks for future agency growth.
Here are ways that solid job descriptions benefit your agency:
Recruiting top-tier talent. Your insurance agency’s job descriptions are the cornerstone in recruiting. If you want to attract qualified candidates, you need to start with a clear and compelling job description, which will:
- Help you hire the right people for the right jobs by outlining minimum requirements, competencies, licensure, essential duties, and other necessary requirements and skills.
- Provide an accurate snapshot of the position so that candidates can better self-select.
- Reinforce your agency’s mission, goals, and values so that candidates get an early introduction into your agency’s culture and can determine if it will be the right fit.
- Help you to screen out unqualified candidates.
- Jump-start your onboarding process by introducing prospective hires to their roles and responsibilities.
Benchmarking performance. Solid insurance agency job descriptions also provide a benchmark to measure, maximize, and improve employee performance. Establishing clear standards is vital for accountability and for accurately and consistently measuring employee performance. They provide a structure for you to give meaningful feedback that will help an employee meet their full potential. You worked hard to recruit the best employees and it’s equally important to retain them. Measuring and providing feedback on key performance indicators helps employees achieve agency and team goals and grow professionally. Job descriptions will:
- Serve as a benchmark for holding employees accountable and measuring performance to determine pay increases, bonus eligibility, and potential for career advancement and promotions.
- Be a tool for giving performance feedback and helping develop potential.
- Set clear expectations and establish metrics that can be used to improve performance.
- Offer an accountability yardstick that measures growth in achieving goals.
- Serve as a tool to help employees create the right customer experience.
- Help employees prioritize their time and efforts.
Providing a solid agency foundation. Within your insurance agency, job descriptions are not only important for clearly delineating the specific roles and functions of each individual position, but they are also important building blocks in your agency’s overall organizational chart. Think of them as building the foundation to keep your agency on track. As your insurance agency grows, you may need to modify or add to the bank of job descriptions you build to encompass specialists. Job descriptions help to:
- Keep you and your management team on the same track for goals and people management.
- Define agency workflow and map out processes.
- Reduce misunderstanding of role responsibilities and potential conflict between staff.
- Create new, specialized roles as your agency grows (for example, hiring a claims specialist).
Reducing potential liability. Good job descriptions can help ensure regulatory compliance and reduce potential liability in areas such as job discrimination and wrongful termination. They can help ensure fairness and consistency. Insurance agency job descriptions should:
- Comply with state and federal laws such as Fair Labor Standards Act and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for physical requirements of the job.
- Clarify whether an employee is exempt or non-exempt from overtime requirements.
- Provide a basis for performance tracking any problems and defending any terminations.
Watch this space in the coming weeks for part 2 of this article where we will explore how to create an accurate and detailed job description.
Kelly Piro-Donahue is a game changer in the insurance industry. As the Founder and President of Agency Performance Partners and Co-Founder of the sister marketing company, Agency Appeal, she’s an in-demand speaker at regional and national insurance conferences and a social media and digital marketing trailblazer. In her years of consulting, marketing, training, and public speaking, she’s worked with more than 1,000 insurance agencies of all sizes, as well as with noted industry organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada, earning accolades like “insurance visionary,” “a total rock star” and “the real deal.”
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