Talent Management at American Income Life
Imagine you arrive at work one morning to the evidence of a burglary.
A brand new server, printer, or fax machine has disappeared. You call the building security officer and the police. Then you launch your own investigation. You are determined to find out how this happened and who is responsible. You will not rest until the case is solved. And you immediately increase security measures—no more property will be lost.
Now think about the last time one of your most talented agents was stolen by the competition or just walked out your door. What kind of investigation did you launch? What measures were implemented to prevent it from happening again?
Maybe the loss of a $40,000 – $200,000 asset set off no alarm bells because no one ever really assessed the cost of losing talent.
While there’s really no silver bullet for keeping everyone we hire, there are a few steps you can take to increase your talent retention.
Keep your best people in front of the line, you’ll have significant payoff. The best American Income Life agents solve customer problems and capitalize on opportunities to up-sell products or services. These high performing agents build your service reputation and help you combat negative feedback.
Losing high performers could cost your agency tens of thousands in immediate growth not to mention the time you’ll have to spend in recruitment, training and learning curve costs to replace them. Yet most agencies don’t differentiate among agents who voluntarily choose to leave, and our turnover statistics only summarize the total of terminations in that month, quarter or year. A much deeper dive is needed. Start with exit interviews and find out why they are leaving. You will learn that most of the time they are not leaving the company, but they are leaving a bad manager.
We need to develop a talent mindset and part of this includes tracking terminations by performance. It should be a cardinal sin to lose a top performer. A senior manager (if not an executive) should call top performing agents who voluntarily terminate. This will help our managers to focus on retaining the “rock stars” of American Income Life.
There’s no magic bullet for keeping your best people. Talent Retention involves doing a number of things well. Although turnover is most often attributed to income, 70% to 80% of the reasons people leave are related to supervision: they leave their managers. So clearly, training our managers not only to recruit but also to motivate and inspire talent is a retention factor you cannot overlook.
A missing link in many agencies, especially as they grow larger, is the human touch. Your top talent wants to be treated important in the organization. Little things make a big difference. American Income Life’s great founder, Bernard Rapoport, always made an effort to know and remember the top talents’ names in the company and recognize them when in front of them. That little recognition was often more important than a bonus check for many of us. How can you feel anything but disengaged when you feel like a number? Agencies that find ways to value their talent and focus on retention as well as recruiting will be miles ahead in the upcoming growth journey we have started many years ago.