Three ways your small agency can win the talent game

April 20, 2018 /

Like any small business, independent agencies often struggle to attract and retain top employees. It’s hard when you’re competing against “Big Name” agencies, but it doesn’t have to be a losing battle. In fact, there are several reasons why employees in general, and insurance producers in particular, may prefer to work for a small agency like yours. Being aware of the advantages you can and do bring to the table can help you leverage these in your recruiting, hiring, and retention processes.

Learning and advancing from within: As a small organization, your employees wear many hats. How often do you hire someone for one thing and soon realize they bring something unexpected to the table?  As a small company, you have more room to cross-train and promote your employees without the bureaucracy of a large firm. For example, a producer who focuses on health and life but shows interest in expanding into home and auto can learn and train in those areas while still performing his or her current role. Investing in your employees’ growth can pay-off not only by giving you a higher-selling producer, but through the loyalty to your company that comes when you help someone develop.

Ability to try, fail, win, and grow: It’s not that you want your producers to lose accounts, but it’s a fact of life that no one wins 100% of the time. As a small agency, you’ve got opportunities for your producers to wear training wheels—and fall off a few times—on their way to larger successes, without detrimental effects on your business. Your employees can experiment with different tactics and see what works best for them, developing their own sales style along the way. This is a win-win for your producers and your company, because as they improve and win more, and larger, business, you reap the rewards financially as well as gaining points for providing a great place for a producer to cut his or her teeth.             

Company Culture and unique perks: Some of the largest companies tout their culture as a selling point but there’s no reason why yours can’t compete with the best of them. This point, in particular, speaks to attracting and retaining proven producers, and not just growing new ones.

Employees value a workplace that aligns with their personal values. So, whether your culture emphasizes “work hard/play hard” or “thinking outside the box,” or something entirely your own, make sure you embrace it and use it to attract employees that will be a good match. They’ll be less likely to jump ship, even if offered higher pay, when they love what they do, and who they do it with.

Along the same lines, your business may provide benefits that a larger company (with larger pay) cannot.  A small-town location where an employee can raise a family, an easy commute, and affordable housing prices are just a few areas where your agency may outshine the larger competition.