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Agent to Agent: Hire the Right People for the Job and Success Will Follow

By Joseph Cunningham Jr.
President & CEO 
Cunningham Financial Group

As an independent insurance agency, we understand the problems that agents face on a daily basis – from rusty leadership skills to resisting the need for change. While it takes time and effort to come around and embrace that the industry is changing, that does not mean agency owners like you and I cannot get started TODAY! Making small changes here and there will ultimately lead to greater success.

One common issue that agency owners have been facing for YEARS is hiring and keeping the wrong people in the business. The insurance industry can be tricky and taxing – and if the wrong person is in the industry, an entire agency could suffer.

Why do we hold onto toxic employees? Generally, agencies retain the wrong person simply due to loyalty, tenure or even empathy. While it may seem hard to let go of a colleague or possibly a close friend, it is crucial to do so. The wrong employee for the job may:

  • Hinder production
  • Have a bad attitude
  • Pollute company culture
  • Stunt the growth of your agency
  • NOT produce results!

Yes, it is a tough decision to make when you consider firing an employee, but sometimes the toughest decisions are the right decisions. In the insurance industry, it is CRITICAL to hire enthusiastic employees with a passion for insurance. You want to hold on tight to employees who have a thorough understanding of the industry and have an ongoing interest. Trust me – having the right people in your agency will eliminate a large amount of drama that may distract you and others from growing your business. So how can you find the RIGHT people for the job? You need a powerful combination of training and effective recruiting. You may also want to consider:

  • Revamping your interview process;
  • Hiring a recruiting manager/HR person;
  • Improving job descriptions to target a specific candidates with specific qualifications;

Are you ready to grow your business? Yes, it may take a few hard decisions to get on the road to success, but it will all be worth it in the long run. Once you recognize the problem areas in your agency, such as a “bad hire,” you can begin to take the right steps in the right direction. Good luck, agents!

Joseph Cunningham Jr. has been the President and CEO of Cunningham Financial Group for more than 27 years. The agency’s agents have more than 125 years of combined experience in providing quality insurance products and services to clients in Louisiana.