Great Insurance Jobs’ Cofounder Roger Lear is here to help you overcome obstacles to your career and job search. This month, he offers tips on why employees might choose to leave a company.
Q: I am losing a lot of my claims staff now that COVID-19 is starting to fade. Is this happening everywhere, and what can I do to stop these departures?
A: Simply put, COVID-19 has destroyed the traditional insurance workplace. It’s similar to when you get upgraded to first class on a flight—you never want to go back to coach. I think insurance employers have some big decisions to make on how they will evolve and create new, productive workplaces. If you are a claims manager, what does this mean, and how can you keep your current staff from leaving?
For the last 15 months, most industry employees have been working from home. Collectively, every single one has different views on staying remote, going back to the office, or doing something in between. Some used this time to prepare themselves to change their career paths to another industry. Others felt challenged at home since they had to compete with their families for privacy. While Zoom became the norm for meetings and communication, many adjusters also miss the social interaction. Also, many insurance companies with antiquated claims systems put themselves behind the eight ball. All told, claims adjusters had a long time to think about their careers and what may work for them in a post-COVID-19 world. There is no doubt they are looking for that “custom” environment.
If you are losing staff, then you are not alone. In most cases, employee migration is out of your control, just like the pandemic that caused it in the first place. However, it is a great time to figure out what needs to change to make claims professionals stick around. I spoke with eight adjusters who recently made a move and asked them why they changed jobs. This may give you some insight into why you are losing employees, which is presented in the order of importance:
1. Flexible work schedule. Companies are breaking tradition and will allow employees to work in the office Tuesday through Thursday and at home on Mondays and Fridays.
2. Money. Many adjusters working from home received no increase in salary the past year. In some cases, their caseloads increased significantly at the same time. Recruiters could find your employees and immediately place them at your competitor, offering more money and a manageable caseload.
3. Work at home. Many insurance companies have decided to keep their adjusters at home forever. For your employees who don’t care about casual office conversations, this is heaven.
4. Safe, clean offices. Some claims adjusters left their current companies because they have not made transparent policies on safety or any significant changes in the office setup. A great way to recruit future employees is to tell them about your new filtration system. It may be as crucial as your claims management system.
5. Poor management. Three adjusters left their jobs because their managers became micromanagers while working remotely during COVID-19. The challenge was that many managers didn’t have any experience or the technology needed to manage a remote workforce. However, if remote jobs are available at a competitor that is well managed, then it can be an easy choice for claims professionals to jump ship.
6. Employee Recognition. Working remotely is like working on an island. Employers that made a point to go out of their way to recognize their employees—things like sending them lunches, hosting Zoom appreciation calls, and giving pay increases—had a much better chance of keeping them. This required an extra effort during COVID-19.
The biggest challenge insurance employers face in retaining and attracting workers is realizing that one size doesn’t fit all. However, understanding why people are leaving should give you hope because, when addressed, it can make a huge difference.