Agency turnover can be a major headache for insurance agencies and it can be especially damaging when it is the top producers who leave. Losing key agents not only impacts your bottom line, but it hurts morale and can lead to decreased productivity among the remaining agents.
In this article, we'll explore ways insurance agencies can motivate top agents and reduce your agency turnover rate.
- Soliciting feedback and conducting exit interviews can help identify the causes of insurance agent turnover.
- An open-door policy and employee recognition program improve communication, transparency, and foster loyalty.
- Incentivizing agents with higher commissions and rewarding top performers can help retain employees.
Understanding the causes and developing mitigation strategies
By their third year in an agency, 83% of agents have switched agencies—or worse, left the industry all together.1 The costs associated with that type of employee turnover can be monumental, including lost productivity and increased recruiting, hiring, and training costs. Luckily, once you understand the root cause of agency turnover, you can focus on rectifying the issue(s).
Getting to the crux of the issue is critical. Soliciting feedback (employee sentiment surveys, anyone?) and conducting exit interviews are only two ways of analyzing the issues affecting turnover rates within your agency. Once you’ve evaluated the feedback, it’s time to develop best practices for motivating agents and reducing attrition.
According to a 2022 Gallup poll, 67% of millennial-aged workers (the nation’s largest workforce) consider professional development opportunities a necessity.2 As the data shows, it's important to provide your top insurance agents with continued education, upskilling, and reskilling opportunities. Ongoing training not only keeps agents engaged, it also provides them with new skills and shows them that you’re invested in their success.
Consider offering virtual training sessions or webinars that can be attended from anywhere and can be more flexible than in-person trainings. Other options include investing in online self-service courses, such as those provided by Coursera, Udemy, or LinkedIn Learning.
A people-first culture
It's important to remember that agents are people too. They need time off and breaks throughout the day to recharge their batteries so they can give their best when in a meeting or on a call with a client.
Not to mention, having unhappy workers leads to decreased productivity, low morale—and increased turnover rates. Agents are more likely to stay with your agency if they feel they are respected and supported.
A survey by Boston College showed that 80% of workers value flexible work schedules and indicated a positive effect on retention.3 Prioritizing employee happiness not only improves the mental health and well-being of your agents, but it also decreases absenteeism and attrition.
To build a culture supporting a healthy work-life balance, consider offering flexible work hours or remote work options. If you don’t already, you may also want to offer mental health support resources, such as counseling services or stress management workshops. It's important to make it clear that you value their overall well-being.
An open-door policy
An open-door policy enables a culture of feedback and transparency. People generally want to feel that their opinions are valued and that they have a voice. An open-door policy improves communication between agents and management, leading to better decision-making. It can also encourage healthy discussion and foster a sense of loyalty to the agency.
You may want to consider holding regular meetings with your agents to discuss agency goals and to provide updates on performance. Additionally, consider establishing an annual or semi-annual employee satisfaction survey to continuously evaluate your workplace culture.
Insurance agents want to feel appreciated. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for motivating insurance agents, there are some things that can help guide your decision-making process.
The first step is understanding what motivates each individual person on your team. Once that's clear, it becomes easier to determine which type of reward package will best meet their needs. We aren’t just talking about keeping compensation and benefits current, fair and competitive—although this can hugely impact retention rates—but it's also about recognizing, respecting, and rewarding top performers.
Offering higher commission rates can be a great way of incentivizing agents to stay with your agency. Higher commission rates don't necessarily mean lower profits for your agency, either, as keeping top producers can lead to increased revenue. This works especially well if you have a commission structure that rewards more experienced agents with higher payouts than less experienced ones.
Employee recognition program
Employee recognition programs are a low-cost, high-value method for battling attrition. You want your employees to stay motivated and committed to the success of your business. After all, committed, engaged, connected employees with a sense of belonging simply perform better.
It's important that you recognize employees in real time and celebrate their achievements and efforts so they know you care about what they do. An employee recognition program can benefit the agency too, not just the employees, through:
- Increased employee job satisfaction
- A sense of connection to the agency
- Improved productivity (gamification is an option for those competitive types)
Recognition can come in many forms: verbal praise, public recognition, rewards such as gift cards or tickets to sporting events. The options are endless and flexible to fit your agency’s budget.
Retaining top performers is vital for agency success
Reducing agency turnover can be a challenge, but by implementing the right strategies, you can motivate your top insurance agents to stay with your agency. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, offering incentives, providing ongoing training, and creating a people-first workplace culture can create a positive work environment that encourages employee engagement and inspires retention.
And remember, clients also benefit from reduced agent turnover. A depleted workforce often leads to decreased customer satisfaction, client attrition, and a loss of sales and revenue (of which some businesses never recover). So it’s important to keep your workforce happy and engaged, so that your clients stay happy as well!
1 Travis Batiza. “Solving the insurance industry's turnover rate.” ALM PropertyCasualty360. Published 23 August 2019. Accessed 18 April 2023. https://www.propertycasualty360.com/2019/08/23/solving-the-insurance-industrys-turnover-rate/?slreturn=2023 0319145841
2 Samuel Thompson. “Four Ways Companies Can Improve L&D To Increase Gen Z And Millennial Retention.” Forbes. Published 5 May 2022. Accessed 17 April 2023. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2022/05/05/four-ways-companies-can-improve -ld -to-increase-gen-z-and-millennial-retention/?sh=2cd7396a43ce
3 Boston College Center for Work and Family. “Creating a Culture of Flexibility: What it is, Why it Matters, How to Make it Work.” Boston College. Accessed 17 April 2023.https://www.bc.edu/content/dam/files/centers/cwf/research/publications3/executivebriefing series-2/Executive