As an insurance consultant I hear it all the time, “My team seems so stressed, I can’t put any more stress on them” or “Seriously, they don’t have time.” The challenge is that these are all feelings and in some agencies the feelings are reality. But not all the time. When we start unpeeling the onion we find many opportunities for improvement.
No one wants to run a stressful operation. We all want people who are happy, healthy and excited to work for the agency. None of us wants people who are upset, stressed and short with clients. We need to start by understanding the following philosophies on agency stress:
- People may be stressed in the moment rather than as an overall way of life.
- Everyone’s stress level is varied. For example, having 5 unread emails can be stressful for one person but not for another.
- Stress can be a bonding activity. Where even when people aren’t stressed they say they are busy, up to their eyeballs, etc. because that is what everyone else says.
- Stress is an excuse. When the team appears stressed they know the ownership will lay off of them a bit.
Your goal as an agency owner is to balance out the stress. Knowing the number is very important. Check with your carrier reps and associations. However, the magic number in personal lines is 700-900 accounts per Account Manager. Remember you can add on extra capacity by having someone handling processing tasks as well.
Another number you should know comes from our Agency Performance AssessmentTM.
- 71.43% of agency team members feel stressed once or twice per month
- Only 18.25% feel stressed all the time
This indicates that stress level is really a perception not a reality. Everyone should feel stress in any work environment a few times per month! What is very interesting is how team members perceive the stress of the other team members:
- 64% of agency team members think their co-workers are stressed once or twice per month
- 29.6% of agency team members think their co-workers are stressed all the time.
What this tells us is that there is a gap in understanding stress levels within agencies. Team members and owners perceive a higher stress level than what really exists! When you are looking for insurance training or launching a new insurance strategy, let go of the concerns about the team being too stressed. Change brings stress. Remember, based on these numbers, it’s most likely a perception not a reality!