The first was rapid corporate restructuring and the spread of COVID-19 across the world. Across industries, organizations were reshaping the way they do business. Nearly half of all American workers were working from home during the pandemic, according to a survey conducted by Northeastern University in early 2022.
More than two years into the pandemic, companies are restructuring again. However, the reasons have changed dramatically. That’s because employees demand it: A prudential analysis by the American Worker Survey found that 87% of workers who have worked remotely during the pandemic want it to continue at least one day a week. A surprising 68% would opt for a hybrid workplace model.
Particularly in the insurance industry, such news could become a competitive advantage when looking to fill vacancies. A flexible work culture is a sought-after commodity for job seekers, and a recent McKinsey report said the finance and insurance sector has the greatest potential for remote success since, as the report indicates, three-quarters of a worker’s time in this industry is spent on activities that can be done remotely without disrupting productivity.
The successful flexible culture
With this kind of data as an incentive, agency managers and insurance companies could well capitalize on the current upheaval caused by the Great Resignation, which to date has caused 33 million people to leave their jobs. The finance and insurance industry needs to fill 313,000 jobs, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These same workers are looking for more meaningful work in a more flexible work model.
Yet “flexible” is not limited to where employees work. Remote and hybrid models are certainly part of the flexible working model, but so is managing the new hybrid workforce. A complete reorganization of labor management is essential. Success in a hybrid work culture is not measured within the standard 9 to 5 model. Instead, success requires a new structure and a new style of management.
That might be a tough sell for many. But there is a simple solution: By measuring a worker’s performance on outputs rather than hours worked, agency managers can ensure that benchmarks are met and performance is not at risk. the train.
By basing productivity metrics on performance, your organization can quickly identify issues that individual employees may be experiencing and can just as quickly put in place mentoring or additional training or accommodations to help those employees improve their results.
Making the effort to adopt a better style of work and management is a big step forward for the insurance industry. Flexible working hours make employees happy. Research from Owl Labs found that employees who work remotely at least once a month are 24% more likely to be happy and productive than their counterparts in the office. Similarly, 86% of workers say remote work reduces their stress, according to data from FlexJobs. An Owl Labs survey found that 84% of remote workers say they are happier, 79% say they feel less stressed, and 79% also say they feel more confident and that their employer cares.
This resulted in higher productivity. In fact, a number of studies have shown a significant increase in productivity when workers work remotely. Stanford University research shows that employee performance increased by 22% when employees were able to work from home. Employees see it too – 90% of them report having the same level of productivity or more while working remotely compared to working in the office, according to a study by Owl Labs.
If that’s not enough, here’s the real benefit: offering flexible working attracts job seekers. A LinkedIn Global Talent Trends report found that organizations received 35% more engagement when a job posting mentioned flexibility. Companies have also taken into account the wishes of employees: since 2019, there has been an 83% increase in job offers mentioning flexibility.
For the insurance industry, this kind of data could help stem the drain of talent.
Create a flexible workforce
This makes the task of keeping some of these employees on the job and attracting new hires critical to the agency’s success. Agency managers need to move away from traditional management styles that work best for in-house staff and embrace new strategies that address the unique challenges remote workers face.
Employee management is no longer limited to the workplace. The successful organization attracts and retains employees by focusing on the entire work-life cycle. Issues to consider include establishing truly flexible work models and better productivity metrics, as well as prioritizing employee mental well-being, stronger relationships, and better communication.
Drop the 9 to 5
Do you really believe that requiring your employees to be at work for a set number of hours leads to greater productivity? When Microsoft Japan tested the idea of a four-day work week, the company saw employee productivity increase by 40%. The company’s sales per employee figures increased by 39.9%. An added bonus: utility costs and printing costs fell 23.1% and 58.7%, respectively.
Likewise, allowing your employees to work when they are most productive translates to additional productivity. At WAHVE, our employees work the hours that best suit their needs. As long as the work is completed, employees are free to work their own hours.
With the right productivity metrics, your organization can easily measure the performance of each employee. We recommend that branch managers build a process that includes regular one-on-one meetings with each employee. These meetings should be used to help the employee set goals, discuss productivity issues or challenges, and talk about anything on their mind, including personal details such as financial pressures or upcoming milestones. .
Keep a shared folder with your employee with notes on your discussions. Employees should be able to refer to the file, which helps them check their progress. If they feel they are falling behind, encourage them to reach out.
The whole employee
This same advice applies to the challenges your employee may face in their personal life. As mentioned earlier, your worker may be under pressure that could disrupt their productivity. For example, a survey by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans found that 76% of employers say an employee’s financial problems have led to increased stress, 60% say the problems have contributed to an employee’s inability to work. a worker to concentrate at work and 34% say that financial pressures have caused their employees to be absent or late.
Working with your employee to provide them with the resources they need – and provide them with support – can help improve their well-being, which, in turn, will improve their job performance.
A culture of relationships
Focusing on building collaborative teams is another investment that can improve the well-being of your employees. Start with weekly team meetings. In general, meetings should be short, have a stated purpose, and allow for feedback and discussion of issues. Let the employees in charge of each department run the meetings. Invite comments. Brainstorming to solve problems. Encourage team participation and the sharing of ideas in all discussions within the organization.
A healthy work culture is one in which employees have fun together. Be sure to celebrate milestones, reward accomplishments, call success. And even if your employees can’t meet in person, they can still meet for happy hour. Host virtual parties, enjoy a cocktail together, and host gaming events with prizes to make everyone feel connected.
Communication in the foreground
All this implies increased attention to communication. How do your employees get work feedback? How do you deliver it? Do you need the cameras to be on in your video meetings? Develop a plan that details how you and your employees will communicate, how often you will check in, how you will measure performance, and how you will resolve performance issues.
When you give performance-related feedback, follow up with your employee. Work with them to set goals or give them access to additional training or mentoring. A performance report without the improvement tools does not report anything. Feedback should help your employees overcome problems.
This feedback should be a two-way communication. Employees should be able to easily report issues, ideas or concerns to you. A clearly defined feedback loop — email, online suggestion box, even weekly meetings — gives employees the ability to reach out instantly.
All of this additional communication means that your agency’s leadership team needs to rethink its approach to employee engagement. Create a regular feedback loop in the workday. Communicate with your employees every day in one way or another. Acknowledge their performance milestones, birthdays, and other events. Be approachable. Ask them if they need anything. Set their success as your goal.
Today’s workforce model continues to evolve to meet the demands of employees and job seekers. With a strong emphasis on flexibility and communication, flexible culture is an intentional approach that reinforces and enhances your agency’s culture.
Letting go of traditional beliefs about how employees should be managed is quickly becoming a necessity to compete in a hot job market. Removing workplace boundaries for employees creates new challenges, but savvy organizations that embrace the new business model can create a healthy model for managing remote and hybrid workforces. It’s a decision that can help agencies win the war for talent, improve productivity, and create a successful work culture that retains your best employees.