Most insurance brokerage partners, principals and owners would agree that their best producers are constantly on the hustle, discovering and chasing down new clients and business opportunities.
But how can producers keep up this pace in an age when consumers are demanding 24-7 service from their insurance brokers? The directing minds of the brokerage should be aware of the possibility that their top performing producers might burn out, according to the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers in the United States.
“In our industry, most young, successful producers live and breathe their jobs,” Julia Kramer, senior vice president of leadership and management resources, writes in the most recent edition of the council’s newsletter, The Leader’s Edge.
“They put in long hours at the office or on the road, their social lives revolve around networking and referrals, and their family and friends too frequently take a back seat. Leaders of their organizations may support the behaviour, chalking it up to the inevitable personal cost of doing business. Financially dependent spouses may also be on board.”
But over the long haul, it may be too much. “After a few years, many producers experience varying degrees of burnout,” Kramer writes.
Kramer offers a number of tips for brokerages to help their producers pace themselves in a way that maintains a healthy work-life balance.
• Producers need to know it is okay to take time out occasionally. “Producers sometimes feel that occasionally coming to work a little late so they can attend a parent-teacher conference, leaving a little early to celebrate an important event or taking a real vacation will be frowned upon,” Kramer writes. “They fear that time off may indicate that they are not driven or ambitious. Do your producers and your organization a favour, and create a culture of give and take.”
• Support your producers’ physical fitness. “To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it,” Kramer cites Mother Teresa as saying. “So true when a producer is burning the candle at both ends trying to balance work and home demands. One of the best lamp oils is physical exercise.”
• Keep producers healthy. “Help producers stay fit by offering healthy snacks in the vending machines and beverage alternatives during the day and by encouraging group activities or walking programs,” writes Kramer.
• Talk to producers about a healthy work-life balance. “In an attempt to balance work and personal lives, many producers pile on responsibilities and ‘leisure’ activities,” Kramer writes. “It’s not uncommon to hear a producer talk about their prospects, clients, staff, wife and three kids, church group, volunteer work, soccer coaching, competitive athletic program, travel and parental care all in one breath. No wonder they are burned out…”