Great Insurance Jobs’ Cofounder Roger Lear is here to help you overcome obstacles to your career and job search. This month, he offers tips for those adjusting to workplace challenges.
Q: I am struggling with many changes in my claims unit, including new management, larger caseloads, and being told to return to the office after working from home for the last two years. I like my company and am not sure what to do. Can you help?
A: One thing is for sure, many insurance professionals have similar questions about their futures with their current companies. We all have the pandemic to thank for shaking up one of the most stable industries on the planet. Since the “flattening of the curve” in March 2020, human resource departments have been doing double duty and are one of the true heroes of the business world. They were tasked with answering health questions, setting up remote worker policies, hiring freezes, retaining employees, safety uncertainties, mask mandates, and more. Today, many insurance companies have decided to bring workers back to the office. This added task has been met with resistance from already stressed-out human resource departments, which is what you are feeling.
During the last 12 months, many departments have lost key people, which left talent acquisition teams scrambling to find replacements at all levels. For insurance professionals, the pandemic allowed everyone to discover numerous opportunities that were unavailable just a couple of years ago, with many of them being remote. I can see why you wonder what to do in a post-COVID-19 world! Today, employees are screaming for work-life balance and healthy, safe work environments. The pressure to find solutions once again falls on human resource departments. Before you make any decisions, consider the following:
Ask, and You Might Get. Over 80% of the insurance workforce were forced to work from their homes during the pandemic. Many never want to go back to the office. If you want to stay remote and your company isn’t offering it, the good news is that you can now search the entire country for a remote claims job. However, since you like your company, sit down with your manager and ask if there is any possibility of a hybrid or remote position in the future. Since companies are changing work policies every day, before you start looking for another job, verify 100% that they are never going remote or hybrid.
Request Face-to-Face Time. If you have only seen your new manager remotely, request a face-to-face meeting to get to know them. Zoom and Teams have become excellent tools, but it is hard for managers to build rapport with their teams. In your meeting, express your concerns, and hopefully you will get the reassurance you need to stay. Watercooler talk builds rapport and is missing in this digital world.
Expect Burdens to Ease. Don’t get too concerned about caseloads if you have worked at your company for a few years. You have an excellent track record, and unless your company has new technology to help make you more efficient, this will pass. Your claims unit is likely missing team members, and you are picking up the extra work until those jobs are filled.
If you decide to make a job change, your odds of scoring a new gig couldn’t be better. But be careful—the grass isn’t always greener. Since you have a good job now and don’t have to make a change when you interview, you can ask all of the tough questions. These include questions about technology, caseload, types of claims, authority levels, and expectations. If remote is an option, ask them about equipment and office expenses. Also, since you have a job, you are in a power salary negotiating position. If it is a good job, get yourself a nice raise!