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3 Key Findings Connect Agency Technology to Improved Employee Morale

Posted on May 24, 2016 by Guy Weismantel

Digital Insurer blog header

Technology makes our lives easier.

Some might argue with me here, but I genuinely believe this to be true.

Do you remember the days before Google Maps? "Oh look, an unforeseen traffic jam or closed road, let me just pull out this fold-out map that only shows major cities and roads, that'll do the trick..." Or how about life before Netflix, when you had to go into a video store to check out a movie and then remember to return it in seven days? I mean what kind of magician is even capable of such a feat?!

I'd be willing to bet most of you enjoy the technology you use in your everyday lives (whether you notice it or not), and as it turns out, that appreciation correlates to higher job satisfaction in insurance agencies. I’d like to make the claim this discovery applies to every industry and every job (because it feels like an easy hypothesis to make), but I can only speak to the insurance specific research that we’ve done here at Vertafore. Then again, there are 187 million reasons supporting my hypothesis (no seriously, read the article).

Now that you're an expert on why every business decision is a technology decision, let’s get back to the topic at hand. Vertafore conducted a study with our partners at Hanover Research illustrating a fascinating connection between technology, job satisfaction, and morale in the insurance industry. As it turns out, insurance professionals using old, user-unfriendly software have lower job satisfaction, which can lead to higher turnover.

Wait, what? Higher turnover? Ok, so that's notable. Think of the impact on the bottom line of your business each time you hire a new person or lose an existing employee. The time (and opportunity cost of that time) you invest in finding, hiring, and training someone new on your agency management system is vitally important. Inevitably, projects will slip through the cracks when you lose someone who’s been with you for 25 years.

Pain of Same

Don’t forget that 25% of the insurance industry is set to retire by 2018.

When employees do retire…who will replace them? Someone who’s been training on outdated agency management systems for the last 15 years? No. I think you know my answer: Millennials. Ya know, people who grew up with iPhones. 

But enough about Millennials, we'll get back to them in a few weeks. I want to make sure we spend some time today digging into the research and provide some real valuable/actionable takeaways.

Here are the three insights we uncovered from our research with Hanover:

1. Software that's easy to use, facilitates multitasking, and is designed for the insurance agency enhances insurance employee job satisfaction.

Technology makes a difference at work. Think about how frustrating it would be to get your work done without email or how frustrating it would be if you had to track sales prospects without a CRM. Managing finances without QuickBooks or Excel just sounds exhausting.

Efficiency matters.

Recent trends (and customer-centered design) have made software easier and easier to use, meaning switching to newer technology also means switching to a more user-friendly system. Using better software speeds up work processes, allows employees to switch quickly between tasks, and also enables them to multitask. When employees can quickly and efficiently do their work rather than spend time waiting for pages to load or figuring out layouts that aren't intuitive, they can be more productive and even enjoy the work they do, leading to higher job satisfaction. Here's a deeper look at what the study found matters most to employees when it comes to agency software:

Hanover job satisfaction findings

2. Company culture, employee benefits, and career opportunities have a big influence on employee turnover rates.

Employee turnover happens when employees are unhappy with their current company or find a better opportunity. Keeping employees happy can be done in any number of ways but the best way to set your agency up for sustained success is to build these tactics into your company culture. By creating a positive company culture with open-door policies between management and employees and outlining a clear path for growth in the organization, you're showing people that you care about what happens to them.

You're effectively providing an answer to the question: Why should I come to work today?

We spend a third of our lives at work so we should enjoy coming to work. Offering employee’s benefits and career advancement opportunities also show employees that the company cares about them and their future, making the choice to stay with the agency an easy one.

3. In agencies with multiple offices, job satisfaction is 96% among those with more modern management software, compared to 85% for users of older software.

Modern agency management software leads to higher job satisfaction by over 10%. Modern software is especially important when employees are spread out over multiple offices since communication becomes a problem when teams are split up. Using up-to-date software to manage your insurance agency shows your employees you care about their work experience. Yes, everything will go much smoother with high quality conference calls, but even more importantly, employees have repeatedly made it clear through workplace studies that they appreciate recognition over money when it comes to the topic of motivation.

Your employees care that you care! And forcing them to work in subpar software on a daily basis…well, that’s just cruel and unusual torture in 2016. 

The Pain of Same is Worse Than the Pain of Change

Disruptive technology is changing the insurance industry for the better. By making employees day-to-day work easier and streamlining processes, both job satisfaction and productivity can increase through a pivot to new technology. Some might say that the hassle of switching to a new technology trumps those that come with just keeping the old, but the pain of the same is actually worse than the pain of change when it comes to the workplace. Remember, change is the only constant in life. We don't have a crystal ball that will tell us the future, but we do know things are going to change.

For more helpful insights and to learn how you can increase job satisfaction in your company, download our free e-book: Managing your workforce in the digital era.

Mr. Weismantel is the Vice President of Marketing at Vertafore. With 20 years of marketing and financial leadership in companies such as Microsoft, Business Objects, Baxter HealthCare, Caremark International, and Expedia, Guy’s career has focused on bringing differentiated products to market and providing the “compelling reason to purchase” for customers and prospects alike.

Guy has a Bachelors Degree in Accounting from the University of Notre Dame, and a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.


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