At Insurance Management Group (IMG), we experienced a radical transformation when we began giving extra attention to building a company culture of appreciation and inspiration. Our mission statement is to protect and inspire our clients, communities and co-workers one interaction at a time. We aim to live true to this internally by helping our staff achieve their goals and putting a greater emphasis on their needs. This has resulted in happier employees – and subsequently, happier clients.
What I’ve learned over the last 10 years is that people want to be a part of something meaningful. It’s so easy to get lost in day-to-day policy changes and transactions, so it’s really important to keep your operating principles and values front and center. Doing so has helped IMG attract the right people, find the right partnerships and grow our footprint.
The more lives we can impact, the better – and the more we grow, the more we can provide to our employees. Here are three ways we’ve worked to create a better environment for our staff.
Invest in building your work family
We’ve put together a variety of programs and events that are aimed at building a core foundation of strong relationships throughout the team.
We started by simply creating the space and time for us to be a more tight-knit work family; we got more social and began creating intentional time outside of the office together. And soon enough, our co-workers became our friends both inside and outside of work.
We regularly get together for “Mingle Mondays,” where the executive team leads different events that employees can sign up for. We’ve done concerts, laser tag and even piemaking with guidance from one employee’s mother (who makes unbelievable peanut butter pie).
On top of that, we have monthly mixers and gatherings that help to reinforce our relationships. And we always have large company events for holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving, where it’s easy to gather everyone together and show our appreciation for our staff.
Empower your employees to thrive
Implementing opportunities for growth has also been an excellent motivator.
We have a process called “The Three ‘E’s” – education, experience and exposure – where everyone writes out goals and makes a vision board that indicates each person’s focus on growth and development, both personal and professional.
From there, if there’s someone interested in making an upward or lateral move, we allow them to do some shadowing to learn the role before they dive in and try to do some of the work themselves.
Additionally, we give out rewards for going above and beyond. Our four operating principles are “we grow,” “we team,” “we wow” and “we serve.” Any time someone sees a co-worker living out these principles, they can give out a sticker – and each month, we gather and offer awards to the person who has embodied those principles the most.
But improving workplace culture goes beyond making your employees feel appreciated. You also have to ensure that they feel listened to.
Giving each co-worker a voice and providing them flexibility goes a long way when it comes to employee retention. We have a system where any employee can anonymously submit feedback, and it’s been really helpful both for generating new ideas and for understanding how we can provide our co-workers the environment they need to succeed.
Become a part of your community
Before we made any changes to our agency, there was one area where we already saw our team connecting strongly with one another – and that was through community volunteering.
We continue to work together as a group and find projects to take on, and we offer our employees time off to volunteer for certain nonprofits. We’re truly blessed to be part of a great industry that allows us to have a major impact in the community that we live in.
I think that locally owned agencies do an incredible job of providing for their communities, and I’d encourage any agency to continue down that path, because it’s important and it makes a major difference.
By working hard to improve our company culture, I’ve found more fulfillment as a leader, and our team has been more connected than ever. We’ve tripled in size since 2015, we were named 2021 Agency of the Year in Indiana by the Big “I” and we’ve been included on the Best Places to Work in Indiana list for the past few years.
When everyone in the agency started to buy in to the changes we implemented, we could feel it in our relationships with clients as well – and I strongly believe that’s what has driven our growth. If you take care of your employees, they’re going to take care of your clients.