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Create a Flexible Agency Culture

Creating a Flexible Agency Culture

Create a Flexible Agency Culture

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The Harbor/Brenn agencies pay a lot of attention to their company culture. On a management level, they spend a lot of time and effort on keeping staff engaged. The result? “We have a very low turnover,” says Ashley Brower-Whitney, president of Harbor/Brenn Agencies. “Our staff tend to retire out of here rather than leaving for other agencies.”

Brower-Whitney attributes a lot of this employee loyalty to the conscious efforts Harbor/Brenn has taken to create a flexible, engaging work environment.

“You have to take care of your people,” she says. “There are a number of ways to create a positive work environment that encourages engagement and accountability that are not salary driven.”


Company culture impacts your bottom line

Watch our video interview with Ashley Brower-Whitney to learn how you can leverage technology to create a positive and profitable agency culture

For example, she provides her staff with flexible work schedules, mobile technology, the opportunity to train or attend courses, and community involvement opportunities.

“We encourage, promote, and allow time for our workers to get involved in the community, whether it’s being part of a Rotary group or a young professionals’ organization locally,” Brower-Whitney says.

Sometimes these volunteer activities take them out of the office during business hours, but Brower-Whitney ultimately feels it’s worth it. “You can’t just say you want your staff to be more involved in the community, you actually have to give them some time off to do it,” she says. “It’s worth it in the long run. It gives them a sense of importance as people and a purpose that translates into higher engagement and greater job satisfaction.”

Making a cultural shift is obviously easier when you have the right tools in place. Digital technology gives agents the flexibility to work at the office, check in from the road, and catch up with whatever needs to be done from wherever they are. “I will say that the flexibility has increased significantly over the last five or six years,” says Brower-Whitney. “I have customer service reps who are parents. Today they can work from home two days a week, and get calls transferred to them just as if they were sitting in the office. The client gets the same experience and our CSRs gets more flexibility in their lives.”

Digital technology and robust management systems give today’s independent agency plenty of tools for creating a truly mobile office, but Brower-Whitney thinks the most important part of creating a positive work culture comes from a new way of thinking, not new technology.

“Listen, mobile technology is great, but that’s only part of the solution,” she says. “For example, we let people bring dogs to the office. I honestly think that’s the main reason why my most recent hire joined our team. Stuff like that really makes a difference, but it sometimes requires a deliberate change towards a more flexible mindset.”

Want to learn more about how you can use technology to create a positive company culture? Dive deeper with Ashley Brower-Whitney in our 5-part video interview series on managing your workforce in the digital era. Watch the videos here.


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