Here’s how to have the best employee coaching session at your insurance agency.
Employees are the greatest asset to any organization. Businesses must take employee coaching and development seriously because when employee performance lacks, the success of the department and business can be jeopardized. This is especially true in smaller organizations such as insurance agencies. Take, for example, a sales producer. A poor performing sales producer who becomes visibly frustrated will likely have a negative effect on surrounding employees. This affects the overall workplace culture, thereby decreasing employee performance.
Positive workplace culture drives positive employee performance and efficiency. Negative workplace culture drives negative employee performance and efficiency. In order to ensure both positive workplace culture and employee performance within your insurance agency, you or your managers need to hold employee coaching sessions. In fact, over 70% of employees who receive coaching benefit from improved work performance, relationships, and communication. Employee coaching is clearly a no-brainer, but how do you have a good employee coaching session? Here’s how:
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1. Reinforce and Acknowledge Positive Performance.
Let’s say you’re having a sit down with a sales producer who is lacking sales results. The first thing you should do is simply ask open-ended questions like:
“How are you?”
“How’s everything going at work?”
While you’re not a therapist (and shouldn’t act like one for legal reasons), perhaps if they open up, you’ll discover their performance is lacking because of external reasons like their home life or even financial woes. Take this time to understand their issues, and, if it’s out of your control, help them seek the resources they need to get back on track.
As the conversation continues, be sure to address specifically where your sales producer performs well. Coaching is not meant to be a hostile conversation, but rather, positively engaging. Remind your sales producer that you appreciate the things they do best while addressing the problem.
2. Address the Problem.
As you address the problem, make sure you’re prepared with ideas in mind to help the employee succeed. Could your assistance be a sales class, training, or weekly sales coaching session?
Before you propose solutions or even address the problem, there’s a good chance that the employee is aware that their performance is lacking. Sometimes hearing the problem by the manager reinforces that the issue is real and will motivate the employee to make a change.
If your employee is unaware that their performance is lacking, they may need a reminder of departmental and individual sales goals.
3. Use Technology.
One of the most underused aspects of employee coaching is technology. For example, in the sales producer scenario, perhaps sales call performance is lacking. The ability to pull and play call recordings from your phone system is valuable coaching material.
Maybe your employee is lacking enthusiasm during calls. Not only should you have the sales producer listen to their calls, but have them listen to a few great sales calls from other sales producers. This allows employees to recognize the problem with their performance and make a change.
Other phone features many sales organizations use to coach employees are employee monitoring tools. These allow the supervisor to listen in on live calls and even chime in with whisper coaching or use internal chat to instantly communicate with employees.
4. Have a Plan and Schedule Another Meeting.
As the coaching session concludes, be sure to have another coaching session scheduled. The next session should touch on what was discussed in the previous meeting. You should also have a goal in place for the employee to work towards. Are they not making enough calls? Set a numerical goal for the employee to strive for.
If your sales producer makes improvements, that’s great! If not, consider creating a plan (or in management terms, a PIP, otherwise known as a “performance improvement plan”).
A PIP details specific written procedures for an employee to improve performance. Typically, these plans are for a 90-day duration and include meetings that involve the employee, manager, and sometimes HR. PIPs usually have meetings scheduled at the 30, 60, and 90-day periods. If goals are not met at the end of the 90-day period, the employee will be terminated. No one wants to face termination, so be thoughtful in these plans and take them seriously.
5. Look Internally at Yourself.
As a manager, if you see your employees’ performance suffering, consider internal changes you can make for better results.
Is sales performance flat because of a lack of training or employee onboarding? If this is the case, consider working with your team to review and revamp those processes.
Are sales producers having trouble following up with quoted prospects and leads? Perhaps they need a sales software to help automate follow-up tasks.
Are not enough phone calls being made? An autodialer like Call Logic could be the solution to boost outbound call numbers.
These are just some of the things to consider as you internally review your management decisions and business processes.
Along with hiring the right candidate, employee success starts with management laying the framework for an employee to succeed. Hire candidates that fit your company culture and do your part to ensure that they’re set up for success. Then, employees will have the framework to flourish.
At the end of the day, performance is up to employees. As the old saying goes, “you can lead the horse to the water, but can’t make him drink.” In other words, you can arm employees with all the tools and words of encouragement, but they have to take steps to improve their own performance.
The last thing you need is to deal with is a high turnover rate. Especially since the replacement cost for one employee averages around $15,000 per year! Not only are coaching sessions useful for building productive employees, but they also prevent you from losing money in your business. Management is a difficult field to be in, but it can be a rewarding one as you encourage your employees to perform at their best. Employee coaching is a critical component of a business’s success, so don’t overlook this asset.
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