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Feedback-It’s Not Just at Review Time Anymore

One tool I use quite often is my agency assessment. This is a 300 question anonymous survey I provide to my clients. Trust me, I find out all sorts of interesting things (the open ended questions are my favorite). One question I always have to stop and focus on is, “How often does the team feel it gets feedback?” Too often the response I see is “If I do something wrong.”

Now, as an insurance consultant, I can tell you if you are only providing feedback when people do something wrong you are setting yourself up for complete failure. The team is going to be terrified meeting with you and well, quite frankly, how does that really help? If you are an agency who avoids annual reviews, shame on you. Every good employee wants to know where they stand in your eyes. The ones that shy away from feedback, you may want to relocate to outside of your agency.

So why don’t we give more feedback?  Here are a few reasons I have found:

  • It’s way easier to ignore it
  • There may be tears involved
  • We don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings
  • We don’t realize how much positive feedback can fuel our team
  • We worry they will quit and, ugh, we will be stuck hiring (ick!)

The bottom line is this, your team needs to be managed. In insurance we have a very laid back atmosphere, too laid back if you ask me. We need to manage, coach and develop the team to be super stars because trust me, it doesn’t happen on its own! Feedback should be given in equal doses of positive and constructive.

Agency Performance Partners has created the ideal agency feedback model:

  • Annual review based on their performance of their job description. You should also use this opportunity to provide updated job descriptions annually.
  • 90 Day Meetings with every team member: They talk, you talk, everyone communicates.
  • Monthly team meetings:  Where are we going?  What is the goal?  Share performance numbers.
  • Open door policy:  Everyone should feel comfortable talking to their manager and vice versa.
  • Addressing issues in writing:  When something happens document, document, document

Now if the team has been largely self managed you can expect some discomfort when you move to a model of greater management. It’s only a small rain shower. Many team members want to know your clear expectations but the transition from loose management to more over site can leave some concerned and fearful. Be the coach and show them that you care and this new feedback loop is meant to better serve them and the clients.

Curious on how your agency performs? Take our 10 question mini agency assessment!

2 thoughts on “Feedback-It’s Not Just at Review Time Anymore

  1. Brilliant! it’s like a parent with young children….you can’t be their friend. They need structure and it brings them closer to being aligned with the culture.

  2. Awesome advice! In my over 30 years managing—first in retail, then as a Mortgage Banker—I have found the communications should be clear, succinct, and should feature positive, constructive, as well as negative feedback. Too many managers—especially newbies—jump on the “Drill Sergeant” bandwagon; this isn’t helpful to anyone, least of all the organization. The reason we use the word “team” is to delineate that we’re all pulling together, including managers, on an even playing field. Feature your positive and constructive feedback for your team just as prominently as the other, less positive type.

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