The Connected Business of Insurance
March 16, 2017
KFSA Insurance Agency has grown to be one of the largest insurance agencies in the state of Kansas, with four offices and more than 60 employees. At KFSA, we work hard to create a culture based on continued education and a constant commitment to leveraging technology innovation. But with adopting the latest innovation comes change, and there’s no way around it – change is difficult. And I think every agency leader would agree.
It’s critical to change and adapt to keep pace with today’s consumer habits and technology demands. When evaluating implementation approaches and methodology, it’s important to focus on the best steps to champion change for a successful technology transition. When we switched agency management systems last year, there were a number of programs put in place to facilitate successful change management, from hands-on training to fun activities. Managing change can only be truly successful when you work alongside a dedicated technology partner to ensure you gain the most value from your software.
Here are a few pointers that really helped us when we implemented new software to become a digital agency:
- Acknowledge that change is difficult – We cultivated a culture that said “this is a change that’s coming.” And then we helped everyone prepare for it. Employees truly saw the advantages of moving to digital agency technology like a single management system. You have to believe in the technology you’ve purchased and transfer that belief to your employees.
- Management support – I can’t stress enough that top-down support is crucial for a successful technological change to take place. Our management team supplied the resources we needed for a successful management system change.
- Prepare with hands-on training – We created a hands-on training lab with older computer equipment for our employees. Anyone could go into the lab and use the demo database to work through examples and try different things. In order to be prepared for the data conversions – interactive learning is critical. Hands-on training makes employees more confident, and when your staff is confident in the system, it’s going to work better. Remember to keep your employees engaged with different types of training experiences that work for all types of learners.
- Create a fun environment – We created a scavenger hunt within our management system. For example, employees would be asked to look for a client, set up a new client or bill a policy as part of the scavenger hunt. As we got closer to migration, employees could take an activity all the way through. And as we approached go-live, it wasn’t foreign to them. We also had a transaction party. All of accounting sat down and realized that our current billing methods weren’t going to work with our new system. So we all played with the data and tried billing different items to see how it would flow in the new system. The training at the transaction party was very successful. It helped us to write and establish various procedures that we still use today in the system.
- Take advantage of online learning – When you have access to online resources, take advantage of them! Applied University was an amazing resource for us. There are more than 30,000 hours of education course work available in the University and more than 3,000 instructor-led courses. Giving your employees access to this type of knowledge is invaluable.
- Be positive – We were highly focused on creating a positive change culture. You have to make your employees feel that the change is manageable, and then it will be.
Change doesn’t have to be scary – it’s all about the culture and employee attitude. The reward is in the way our employees work today. To thrive today in a time of digital transformation, agencies must seriously consider their technology options and become a digital agency. It’s no longer viable to remain un-automated and consumers expect mobile and self-service technology during all interactions. Digital technology has given our employees access to every customer, from anywhere at any time. And that amount of insight and ownership of their day-to-day has led to happier employees.
Have you lead a team through change management?
Comment below to share your thoughts and insights about the process and your tips for success. Are there any specific programs or strategic advice you can offer to other agents and brokers?
Kris Regier, director of operations for KFSA Insurance Agency, has been with KFSA since 1976. Over the last 40 years she has had held of number of positions within the agency. Currently she oversees the operations of KFSA offices with concentration on procedures and workflows of the agency. Kris obtained her Certified Insurance Representative designation in 1988 and her Certified Insurance Counselor in 1992.