Its top of the 9th inning and your team is down by 4. You’re convinced they’ve given up hope and can’t come back, despite the rally hats in place. If you’re operating your agency with a similar “this is impossible” attitude when it comes to recruiting the new, young talent you need to grow your company, you’re not alone. Talent acquisition doesn’t have to be impossible, nor does talent retention have to be difficult.
While the days of teachers flocking to agencies has subsided, new talent is out there and may be coming from an unlikely source. I was recently reminded of this when my son shared with me his passion to be an advocate and get in front of people to provide them with solutions to their problems. This is what your agents are doing daily. As of today, my son who is also a high achiever, isn’t convinced he can see himself in a full time desk job and he’s not alone. Top millennial graduates want to work for companies that offer flexible schedules and meaningful work. They’re motivated by careers that have a higher purpose, and aren’t just a cog in a machine. They seek opportunities to make processes more efficient and enjoy collaborating with their peers. They thrive off regular feedback and want to do a good job while continuously improving. Your challenge is to find ways to make your work culture supportive of the millennial generation to build sustainability for your company.
Bottom line – more and more of the top graduates want to be recognized and rewarded for the contributions they make. What better way to reward your agents than with set conditions that set them up for success, while ensuring you reach your annual sales goals. We all know most agents want to be recognized among their peers. If they personally don’t feed off this recognition, having their significant other or family present for this recognition may be the next best thing. When family is involved in public recognition, studies show they provide greater support and encouragement for the agent to produce at the same or higher level the next reward period.
Finding the perfect time to rewards agents is key. I’ve talked down BD presidents from giving away rewards – and there’s a reason why. To truly set up a motivating reward, you must announce it first, have an ample sales cycle, track and report progress, and create the reason for an agent to want to achieve the reward. When I learn of a company that doesn’t have a set reward system in place and they want to automatically offer the producer a reward at the end of the year, I strongly recommend against this. It sends the wrong message to an agent and lets them know they can just do “good” and they’ll get more than they signed on for. What is the motivation the next year to see incremental sales from the agent? There is none. They also become among your most demanding agents.
Let’s face it – the reason you reward your agents is not simply to provide a solo reward for the production they gave you in the prior sales cycle. Instead, the reason is to ensure you create a path for talent retention and encourage them to help you achieve your goals year after year. You are never going to be satisfied with the same sales year after year, so you must create rewards that make it easier for you to hit your sales goals. Having great reward options also vastly improves your chances for agent acquisition. Your competitors are offering reward packages – you’re essentially penalized and lose the opportunity to recruit quality agents if you don’t. Let us help you identify the most effective reward structure to fit your goals that can help attract and retain talent. Look for ideas of proven reward strategies in part 2 of this series in next week’s blog post.