Growing Pains

June 30th, 2016

We all go through growing pains at some point and have to ask ourselves some important questions.  When is the right time to hire a new employee?  What position do I need to hire first?  Who’s the right person for the job?  What responsibilities do I give them?  How much do I pay them?

First, determining if it is the right time to hire a new employee. On one hand, you want to keep staffing as low as reasonably possible. The more people you bring on, the less money available to cover your own contribution or to invest back into the business. However, put off hiring too long and you can hamper growth and damage relationships with customers because you become unable to keep up with business.  No one from the outside can tell you when you should hire more employees, but recommends asking yourself 8 questions before hiring more employees.  Questions that will help you analyze your growth, what help you really need and if you are ready for the financial impact.

Once you have determined that your business is booming, you have reached your productivity capacity and are prepared to accept the financial burden of a new employee, you now have to determine what position do you hire first for you agency and who’s the right person for the job.  Which one comes first, producer or CSR?  It’s a classic “Chicken or Egg” question.  HometownQuotes said it best in “Staffing Up Your Agency;”  hire to your weaknesses.  If you are great at sales, but not so much into service or paperwork, consider hiring a CSR first or if you are better at paperwork and need assistance with sales, hire a producer first.  Further along in your staffing and you may need to also consider the ratio recommended by Insurance Journal of 2 CSRs to 1 producer. 

After deciding which position you need to fill next in your agency, you have the important task of finding the best person for that position.  Although a challenging task, SIAA has made it easier by partnering with PeopleSense Consulting to offer assessments, a producer hiring manual and several hiring tip videos guiding you through the hiring process. 

Allen Hall offers up his 7 C’s you should consider when hiring new employees in a Forbe’s article called, “How to Find and Hire Great Employees” and Insurance Journal offers advice on “Hiring That First Good Producer,” and “Defining the Perfect CSR.”  All of which are great resources.

One of the other important questions during the hiring process is, how much will you pay your new hire?  SIAA offers a producer benchmark spreadsheet to assist in choosing the appropriate pay structure for your new employee.  Insurance Journal also has suggestions regarding compensation in an article titled, “Who’s Worth What in the Agency System,” but ultimately it comes down to the position you hired, your agency location and what structure and amount works with your budget.

Every agency is different and will experience different pains at different times throughout your growth, but one thing is for sure, you will experience them and Assure Alliance/SIAA is here to help.  From our partnership with PeopleSense Consulting, our own staff experiences, to other resources we have available and can direct you to, there is not a growing pain we cannot help you navigate through as your “Partners in Success.”