The Real Cost of a Vacancy

The Real Cost of a Vacancy

At The James Allen Companies, every day, we see the real cost of a vacancy on your team. Money isn’t everything. I’m talking about longer completion times on projects and lowered productivity. Those lead to an inevitable drop in morale. When you have lost a member of your team, taking stock of the situation is the first step in the solution.

Calculate the dollars lost

There’s a formula you can use that will put a dollar figure to the open job position. Figure your former employee’s annual salary, divide by the number of productive days per year, and you’ll have your daily cost:

Annual Contribution / Productive Days per year = Daily Cost of Vacancy

That daily cost multiplied by the number of days that position is vacant will give you a good idea of the real cost, in dollars, of each open position. But that’s not the entire story.

Beyond the monetary cost

Your employees work hard to hit the goals you set for them. Their institutional knowledge and team mentality are big factors in your company’s success, and you want to do as much as you can to keep them motivated and happy. But if a vacancy goes unfilled for very long, kicking it into a higher gear starts to wear thin. People taking on additional duties start to get tired. The more tired the worker, the longer the road they’re walking looks, and that can lead to longer project completion times, missed deadlines, or additional unexpected openings. That means productivity is lower, and that feeds into a vicious cycle where employees are falling behind in their work and could despair that they won’t catch up. Not ideal.

How to head it off

Recently, we talked about how to address your turnover rate, and it is important to keep your retention rate as high as possible. Keep your top performers, and your overall picture improves. That’s a no-brainer. But when a vacancy does occur, it’s important to act quickly to minimize the overall impact on your organization.

At The James Allen Companies, we understand how much the real cost of a vacancy is to your organization—more than just monetarily, your entire team shares the cost of fewer hands at the same amount of work. Let us help you find the right person with the right skills and experience to join your team. Contact us today to get a conversation started.

Address your company’s turnover rate head-on

Address your company’s turnover rate head-on

Let’s be real. The insurance industry isn’t immune to turnover concerns. Rates vary industry-wide, but it’s important to address your company’s turnover rate head-on. At The James Allen Companies, we want to help you take a proactive approach, and that includes recognizing troubling signs and looking for fixes.

Looming concerns

The job market is tightening and Baby Boomers are set to retire, meaning a major talent crunch is on the horizon. This is nothing to ignore. In the United States, as many as 10,000 Baby Boomers will retire per day between now and 2030, and there simply aren’t as many workers coming up in the field to replace them.

More granular

Industry-wide, the trends are concerning. On a company level, you have options when it comes to taking steps to help guard against falling victim to the crunch. Your company’s culture is central to that strategic approach. 

Your company’s culture drives your employee behavior, and whether that culture is welcoming and supportive or not will directly impact your retention rate—and your bottom line. There’s a lot of talk about company culture, and a lot of factors feed into it, but at its core, your company’s culture is how the employees interact with each other and think about the company. The more supportive the culture, the more likely employees are to stay on long-term.

After the Baby Boomers retire, Generation X and Millennial workers will be filling positions. Workers in this age bracket tend to place a higher premium on workplace satisfaction, and culture plays a major role in that.

Another, related, factor

By far the most important factor in employee turnover in general is a chance to advance—so why not give your employees an opportunity to improve their skills while remaining employed with you? We talked last week about allowing education opportunities, and that’s a great way to demonstrate to your employees that you care about their personal and professional development.

Whatever your needs, whether motivating your existing team or bringing on a new team member who will help build your vision, The James Allen Companies can help. Our expert staff has more than 30 combined years of finding the professionals who will fit your organization’s needs, and in that time, we’ve seen a lot of how a good business operates. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help.

Motivate Your Team

Motivate Your Team

Employee motivation is incredibly important to team morale, but it’s not always apparent how to achieve it. Some companies put forward efforts such as adding game equipment or free snacks, but an air hockey table is not necessarily the most professional look for many insurance offices—and may become a distraction. 

But employee motivation and increased productivity don’t have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, one can often drive the other. Making a workplace into a professional, yet comfortable, ecosystem can help established employees thrive, and be a welcoming environment for new hires.

Fortunately, motivating your team can be accomplished in a few different ways:

Communicate, communicate, communicate

I stress this often with my own team. Without communication, you don’t have much of a relationship, and in this industry, relationships are paramount. Nine times out of ten, when there’s a problem, it can be traced back to a lack of communication.

To shore up your communication practices, start by showing employees the direct results of their efforts. If you have a client who tells you, even in passing, that your team member did something well that translated to success on their part, let your employee know. 

Be more observant, too. When you see your people doing things right, let them know. Recognize achievements, especially if they seem small. 

Tailor your management style

I tend to have a more hands-off approach to management, but that’s easier to achieve because my team members are all seasoned people who understand my expectations and have already set their own personal goals. If your team isn’t there, or needs a refresher, it’s important to provide more support and guidance. As a manager, your role is to be a resource for your people. And according to a recent Gallup poll, only 2 out of 10 workers strongly agree that their performance is managed in such a way to motivate them to do outstanding work.

Provide growth opportunities

If you give your people the chance to learn more about the industry or about techniques that can be widely applied, you’ll see a host of benefits. They’re more likely to see an issue with fresh perspective. There’s also less room for an employee to feel stuck. While there is always a chance someone might move on after receiving quality training, the worker will likely appreciate a workplace that invests in them.

At The James Allen Companies, we believe that a motivated team is a powerful force for your company. With some simple tweaks to your management style, and some attention to communication and recognition, you can help build morale in your company culture. For more information or for help in building a team of powerhouse employees, contact us today.

Creating a Company Mentor Program

Creating a Company Mentor Program

The hiring process can take a lot of time and energy, but once the hire is made, the real work begins. Helping new employees become acclimated to their new work environment is crucial to their success. Even the best of self-starters need a chance to be introduced to their new career or they’ll start to feel bored and insecure. To make this integration process easier, consider starting an employee mentor program that gives your new hires a guide for their first few months and helps them establish a firm foundation in their new role—and room to grow. 

Benefits to Employee Mentor Programs

Mentor programs have led to massive success in many organizations. In fact, 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies have some sort of employee mentor program in place. Mentors provide an in-depth look at company culture and answer questions that give new hires a head-start to understanding their new business.

Mentors can also provide ongoing support after the first few months of employment. Managers have a huge impact on their employees. Seventy percent of workplace engagement is influenced by an employee’s relationship with their manager; however, only two percent of managers provide the continuous feedback people crave. Mentors can give additional support, feedback and encouragement managers can’t always supply. This makes employees, especially new ones, feel comfortable, learn from mistakes quicker and develop a stronger team mentality. With a mentor behind them from the start, employees are more satisfied at work, more likely to seek new challenges and stay with the company for more time. 

Building Your Mentoring Program

Building a successful company mentor program takes a lot of trial and error. What’s important to remember is, every new hire is different. Some may want a mentor on a more permanent basis while others may only want a guide for their transition. Either way, successful mentor programs start with selecting the right people.  

Mentors serve as a bridge between organizational and individual needs so it’s important the people you assign as mentors are empathetic leaders who can help new employees establish goals and feel secure in their new role. Mentors should want the responsibility of being a guide for new hires, not required to so make sure you have interest from current employees before jumping in. 

Run a survey to get information about what each potential mentor would teach their protege, what their career goals are and how they plan to communicate with them. Ask new employees what they want to learn from a mentor and what their interests are. From your pool of potential mentors, match them to a mentee based on similar communication styles and goals. 

Give mentors clear expectations on what information they need to provide including company mission and policies, insight on day-to-day assignments, cultural norms and potential struggles. Provide a list of things for new hires to do in their first few months so they don’t feel bored or left out.

Encourage mentors to ask new employees about their interests, motivators and career goals. By connecting on a personal level, a good rapport can be established creating a better relationship, and providing support for any future conversations that might be more difficult. Also, encourage mentors to provide feedback so that mentees can learn quicker. 

Most important, don’t force a mentor and mentee relationship. Whether it’s because there is no personal connection between them or because a mentee simply doesn’t want the extra help, pushing relationships will only result in additional headaches. The relationship must be beneficial for both parties for your mentor program to succeed. 

At The James Allen Companies, we are proud to provide our clients with top-level candidates who make a difference in the insurance industry. We find candidates who will be game-changers in your organization, but it’s up to you to encourage them to stay. By implementing a company mentor program, you have a better chance of keeping the star candidates you hire. Give us a call and one of our experienced insurance recruiting specialists will help you get started.

Where, Oh Where, Have the Candidates Gone?

Where, Oh Where, Have the Candidates Gone?

Last week we addressed a disturbing trend that has taken the insurance industry by surprise. Ghosting, as it’s called, is what happens when candidates drop out of the hiring process without notice. However, instead of getting frustrated or ignoring the problem, insurance companies need to face it head-on by looking at the reasons why they’re losing candidates. One of those reasons could be the hiring process. Without the right process, you will lose more candidates than you gain. Fortunately, we at The James Allen Companies want to help.  

Where Your Hiring Process is Going Wrong

If you’re seeing candidates dropping like flies, there’s likely a problem with your hiring process. One of the biggest reasons candidates drop out is because the process is too long

When dealing with top-level candidates, many of them are only on the market for 10 days because they’ve either accepted a counteroffer or were recruited by another company, so you don’t have much time to win them over. If your hiring process involves lengthy applications, multiple interviews and long waiting periods, they’re going to jump ship. Studies have found 60 percent of professionals won’t finish your job application because it’s too long or too complicated. When dealing with passive candidates presented by a recruiter, the need for an application is minimal because already know they’re qualified, but if you still insist on an application, you could find yourself losing candidates.

Then there’s the interview process. On average, interview processes last about 24 days which means you spend almost a month of interviewing candidates. Eighty-seven percent of candidates think participating in more than two interviews is unacceptable so if there are too many interviews, you’re going to find candidates are turned off by your business and seek other options. 

That’s just how your process is upsetting your candidates. A lengthy process can also upset your bottom line. The more time you leave candidates on the line, the more money you lose because a job isn’t getting done. A long, convoluted process can also have a negative impact on how people view your business. In the professional world, word travels fast. When a candidate reviews a company, a negative experience during the hiring process may raise red flags to other potential candidates. 

If you’re finding candidates aren’t holding on until the end of the hiring process, don’t fret—there is a solution. By partnering with top-tier insurance recruiting agency The James Allen Companies, we can help you tackle these problems and keep candidates on the hook. We provide feedback on job titles and descriptions to help you attract more candidates. Our recruiters take the guesswork out of hiring by reaching out to candidates within our network of specialized professionals. We schedule interviews and keep candidates informed so they feel comfortable throughout the hiring process. Keep your hiring experience a positive one by contacting The James Allen Companies today. 

Dear Candidates…

Dear Candidates…

All right, candidates, listen up. 

Lately, we at The James Allen Companies have noticed a troubling trend that is quickly becoming more and more rampant: ghosting. 

The reason we bring this up today is simple: ghosting has crept into the professional world. More than ever, we’re seeing candidates dropping out of the interview process without a word or even accepting positions only to not show up on the first day. As recruiters, we’ve seen it all and we know the consequences of these actions.

“Ghosting” refers to abruptly cutting off contact with someone. This term originated among millennials in reference to romantic interests virtually disappearing without a trace; however, the term has gained so much traction it’s made its way into the dictionary

So, if you’re thinking about ghosting us (or even another person, which is also uncool) give us a moment of your time to learn why this is not a good idea.

Give us a chance.

It is our guess a lot of our candidates who drop out of interview processes without a word do so because they’re concerned, either about the position or about the company. Again, this is a guess since these people aren’t telling us. 

The most important thing our candidates can do during this process is ask questions. Give us a chance to address your concerns, ease your anxieties and be your advocate. If you are at all uncomfortable during the hiring process, we want to know why so we can inform employers if they’re doing something wrong or if we are. Give us a chance to help you make a career move that can better your future.

Be professional. 

Leaving someone “on read” isn’t cool in the dating world, and it’s definitely not cool in the professional world. Not showing up to an interview you agreed to or not showing up on your first day of work is not just uncool, it’s unprofessional. 

In the insurance industry, professionalism and honesty are traits you need to have; if you’re not interested in taking a job, be honest and say so. If you don’t, you tarnish your own reputation and burn bridges you don’t want to burn. 

Don’t burn bridges. 

When you’ve expressed an interest in making a career change, we take that seriously. If you tell us a position or company isn’t right for you, it’s OK. We want you to make a decision that works best for you and your family. However, if you drop out of the interview process without a trace or fail to show up for your first day on the job, you not only make yourself look bad, but you damage our reputation as well. That’s not something we take lightly. 

If in the future, you find yourself once again in need of a career change or are interested in a different position at the company, the chances for you don’t look good. Employers don’t forget being burned and we will take that into consideration before helping you again. You can’t predict the future, so don’t burn the bridges you’ve built by engaging in the interview process. 

Save us all the time.

Recruiters are passionate about what we do. We dedicate every available resource we have advocating for our candidates and helping them find new opportunities that can drastically improve their lives. Even after you’ve gone through interviews or accepted a position, we are at your side running follow-ups to make sure the transition is going smoothly. 

If we don’t hear from you, we get concerned and, the more you ignore us, the more curious we get. Just like a romantic interest would want closure, we do too. When you give us closure, we leave you alone. Save yourself from having to ignore our endless phone calls and emails and save us the time of having to make those calls and send those emails. Save our clients from the frustration of waiting on a response from a candidate they found interesting.

Ghosting isn’t cool, especially in the business world. In the end, the only person you hurt is yourself. At The James Allen Companies, we are dedicated to helping skilled professionals make career moves that improve their lives, but without proper feedback, we can’t help you. By vanishing into thin air, you miss out on opportunities that could be truly life-changing. 

If you’re interested in partnering with a recruiter who will be your greatest advocate and answer your questions honestly, please contact The James Allen Companies today. 

Building an Effective Insurance Team

Building an Effective Insurance Team

An effective insurance team is the key to a successful insurance business. To create a strong team, you need to consider more than technical skills. Teams that succeed have a plethora of technical skills and personalities. These elements result in a positive team dynamic and can help your business be more successful. 

Personalities You Need for Your Team

Personality determines your position on a team and, since there are a lot of different roles, there should be different characters as well. Having a balance of different personalities will create a more cohesive team that is ultimately more successful. 

Results-oriented people are naturally organized, self-starters. These individuals are energetic and will likely take charge of a project, ensuring every team member is focused on the common goal.  

Relationship focused team members are attuned to the feelings of others in the group and want to create personal relationships within the team. These individuals are often diplomatic yet approachable and will help address emotional strains within the team. 

Rule followers have incredible attention to detail and like to stick to the book. These people are reliable and organized, keeping the team on track. 

Disruptive thinkers crave innovation. They enjoy finding new solutions to old problems and challenging traditional methods. 

Pragmatic individuals are the most prudent and emotionally stable members of a team. They are good at keeping teams focused but may resist change. 

While these types of individuals can sometimes clash, it is imperative each is represented on the team. Having a balance of personalities results in better communication, new ideas and a higher level of performance. 

What is a good team?

With the right combination of personalities, you can create a strong team with the essential traits of a good team dynamic:

Appreciation: Team members have to respect each other and the common goal. Recognizing each other’s strengths and reveling in each member’s successes helps everyone feel they really belong. This appreciation goes a long way in keeping team morale strong. 

Purpose: Every team has a goal and every member serves a role in accomplishing that goal. Strong teams recognize how each member plays into that end goal.

Respect: While having different personalities on a team leads to greater success, sometimes emotions run high and personalities can clash. Good teams must create ways to tackle disagreement in a respectful way.

Dependability: Team members need to be able to rely on each other. It can be distracting for other members when one isn’t pulling their weight. Unfulfilled responsibilities can put the entire team behind schedule and result in unnecessary conflict. 

Teams with these traits are happier and, therefore, achieve more. 

Effective insurance teams aren’t just technically successful, but also have complementing personalities and a strong team dynamic. When hiring individuals to join your team, it’s important to consider more than just experience and competence. The James Allen Companies specializes in finding candidates with personalities to complement your culture and a track record of being successful team members. If you’re interested in developing your team, contact The James Allen Companies today. 

What Does a Recruiter Do?

What Does a Recruiter Do?

Growing the right team is a crucial part of running a successful insurance organization. When it comes to hiring the right people, there are a lot of options—posting a job online and sorting through a flood of unqualified resumes, internal promotion, employee referral, or working with a recruiter. When it comes to choosing the right solution for your company, you may find yourself asking “what does a recruiter do?” We can’t speak for the other guys, but at The James Allen Companies, we know our recruiting process works. We’ve decided to give you a sneak peek into how we partner with insurance companies to source the best talent out there. 

What We Do

The recruiting process is extensive and, depending on the recruiter, can include up to 30 steps! We’re not going to go into every stage of our process, but want to give you an idea of the amount of dedication we put into every search we do. 

Understand the client and the position

When we receive a search assignment, our first priority is getting to know the client, their business, their goals and what the position entails. To fully understand what candidates we need to find, we need to know what the client’s expectations are, the requirements for the position and how it fits into the goals of the company. We also need to know what the positions offer the candidates we’re sourcing. 

Find the talent

Without giving away all of our secrets, we have quite a few different methods for finding the qualified talent insurance businesses need. Unlike the average talent acquisition manager, we don’t simply post a job online and hope the fish will bite. This often results in too many unqualified applicants wasting your time. Instead, we do the heavy lifting, reaching out directly to individuals who will advance your team, and reviewing their credentials, resumes and successes. We only find and deliver the individuals that meet our incredibly high standards. 

We’ve developed our advanced talent acquisition methods over more than 20 years in the recruiting business. Our team has developed relationships with a network of tens of thousands of insurance professionals from underwriters to claims adjusters. With this network, we are able to identify highly-qualified passive candidates who, while not actively searching for jobs, will be an excellent match for your business. 

Coordinating and conducting interviews

Before you ever see a candidate’s resume, we’ve already vetted them to make sure they meet the requirements you’re looking for. We interview each and every candidate to make sure their skills line up with their resume and experience and that they’ll fit into your company’s culture. Whatever questions you need to be answered about a candidate before an official interview, we will get them answered. 

We only deliver the candidates we know will help your business. Once we find the right one, we coordinate the interview times so you can focus on running your organization. 

Serve as your advocate

Overall, our job is to represent your business to the best of our ability. We serve as a liaison between you and the candidate, selling your company and the position you’re offering. We keep candidates in the loop so they feel connected to you throughout the process. No matter the outcome of an interview, we share the results and provide your feedback. If you choose to extend an offer, we can help negotiate a salary, always keeping your business needs in mind. 

Follow up post-hire

Our job isn’t done when the candidate accepts an offer. After the candidate has started their job with you, we keep in touch making sure they’re living up to your standards. We also make sure the candidate is satisfied with the new opportunity. If for some reason a new employee isn’t impressing you, we will do our best to find another solution. 

Hopefully, you never again have to ask yourself “what does a recruiter do?” With more than 20 years in service, The James Allen Companies recruiters have the expertise, skill and network you need to complete your hiring goals. We make your hiring process easier and faster, dedicating every resource in our inventory to ensure the candidates you see are the best ones for the job. Whether you need an executive, key hire, temporary or temporary-to-full-time search, we can find the best candidates faster. Contact The James Allen Companies today to see how our recruitment team can help strengthen your insurance business. 

Empathy an Essential in the Insurance Industry

Empathy an Essential in the Insurance Industry

Insurance professionals need to be a lot of things—experienced, detail-oriented, team players, patient, problem solvers…empathetic. Since policyholders are nearly always experiencing loss when filing a claim, the individual helping them must provide support beyond financial. And the numbers back this up: in fact, 91 percent of CEOs believe empathy in insurance has a positive effect on financial performance. 

With profitability as the main goal, it can be easy to get caught up in daily tasks, but at the end of the day, it’s important to remember that insurance is about people. Unless you insure robots, policyholders have feelings and it’s important to understand that. Empathy in insurance is essential for that reason. Everyone, from managers to adjusters, needs to have the ability to meet their employees and clients in a space where they feel their concerns are valid. 

How to Be Empathetic 

Insurance is a complicated business. While the ultimate goal is to make money, it is crucial you don’t forget this is a human industry. When you’re speaking with policyholders, it’s usually because they’re having one of the worst days of their lives. Maybe their home was destroyed by fire or natural disaster, or a pipe burst while they were on vacation—flooding their belongings, or maybe a car wreck has totaled the vehicle they need to get to work. Whatever the reason they have to talk to you, it’s imperative that you remain focused on them, and not just the policy. 

There are a lot of ways to express empathy in insurance: 

Listen: When a policyholder calls and is explaining their situation, don’t get caught up in efficiency. While they want to know what their settlement will be, they also need an ear to listen. Listen completely, don’t multitask. If you’re face-to-face, look them in the eye, keep your body language open and don’t interrupt them. 

Be genuine: Ask questions about how they are doing before getting into the nitty-gritty business; it will help you grasp just how they’re feeling so you can proceed in a way that makes the most sense. 

Explain, explain, explain: When it comes time to discuss the policy itself, it’s important to explain the claims process, what their policy states and make sure they understand completely before proceeding. 

Put yourself in their shoes: Remember, this person is facing a crisis. If you were in their situation, what would you want to hear? How would you want to be treated? What kind of support would you need? 

You probably learned about empathy from a young age, except you may have heard it in the form of the Golden Rule: treat others as you would like to be treated. This is important to remember in the insurance industry. When it comes to hiring new employees, especially management, empathy needs to be—if not the highest priority— one of the first soft skills you look for. 

If you’re in need of individuals who can balance making a profit while taking care of people in a positive way, partner with The James Allen Companies. Our team of recruiters recognize talent and skill, but also recognize if someone has what it takes to treat policyholders and other team members with empathy and value. Don’t let your company’s reputation suffer from a lack of empathy—contact us today to see how we can help your business. 

How AI is Helping Proactive Risk Management

How AI is Helping Proactive Risk Management

The insurance industry is traditionally a reactive industry viewed as a necessary evil to most consumers. Consumers hope they never have to talk to their insurance company because it means they’re having a really bad day. In fact, 10 percent of consumers have never interacted with their insurance company because the only touchpoints insurers create are setting up a policy and renewing the policy unless a claim is filed. 

However, new trends in the industry may better the relationship between insurer and customer. Within the next 10 years, it is possible that a proactive risk management approach may take over the insurance industry. This approach could integrate Artificial Intelligence (AI) and traditional human methods to prevent non-natural-disaster-related incidents typically covered by insurance policies. A proactive approach to insurance could help consumers view their insurers as partners in asset protection instead of just a necessary evil.

What is proactive risk management?

Proactive risk management is the process of identifying and remedying potential risks before they become legitimate problems. 

Think about this: approximately 14,000 water damage claims are made daily totaling about $123 million in claims damages every day. If insurance carriers introduced preventative measures such as arranging for plumbers to inspect plumbing on a regular basis for their customers, issues could be identified and fixed before they become a disaster. This could also apply for preventing electricity fires, roof leaks and other problems. 

Proactive risk management is a popular idea. In fact, 34 percent of people said they would consider switching insurance companies if a company offered preventative loss and protection services. 

How can AI help?

Integrating AI into the insurance industry could save insurers $390 billion by 2030. Whether you realize it or not, AI has already begun to sneak into the insurance industry in the form of tools to enhance customer service. With chatbots, data is recovered more quickly so questions can be answered efficiently. AI is also able to streamline claims management making those returns that much faster to process. 

With the growth of the Internet of Things and smart devices, AI can help with proactive risk management. Already companies are introducing smart water management that can shut off the water in the event of a problem, and smart smoke detectors that identify types of fires and carbon monoxide. 

Many insurers already offer discounts or prevention monitoring for their customers. A number of insurers have partnered with home security companies and offer discounts for customers that install one. Insurers could use that information when underwriting home-insurance policies. The same can be done for car insurance firms that already offer programs that collect and analyze telemetry data about the driver. 

All of these AI forms can be used to collect and analyze data that prevent hazards and add to the prevention of large payouts. 

Providing a proactive approach to the risk management aspect of insurance might be the future of the industry—and getting ahead of the curve is good for insurance companies. Staying ahead of the game can keep your business at the front of the line of innovation, but to do so, you need a strategy. If your company is interested in growing in the proactive risk management sector by integrating AI or traditional methods, you need a good team of people to lead the way. 

At The James Allen Companies, we know a thing or two about the insurance business, having been in it ourselves. We are committed to finding technology specialists who want to accelerate your business into the future. We recruit the candidates who are knowledgeable in AI, risk management, sales and more to make sure your business stays ahead of the trend and is ready to serve your customers. 

Give us a call today to see how we can help your business join the future of insurance.