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People Management

Four advantages to a tough economy

By Sean Neumayer

Let’s take a break from all the doom and gloom messages floating around in the business world today. Let’s talk about some positives—the fresh perspectives, attitudes, ideas, values and ventures a challenging economic time like this one can bring:

1. Employers are testing existing staff to uncover natural aptitudes and interests.

This is a win/win situation because it should mean that managers will more quickly gain a clearer understanding of what drives their employees and how to develop their abilities. For employees, this insight and development likely translates into enhanced opportunities to grow and acquire new responsibilities within the agency in a shorter span of time.

2. Managers are learning how to do more with fewer people.

Employers can double or even triple their return on employee investments just by having each worker fill the correct multiple roles. For example, an administrative type who’s an extrovert but who is usually entrenched behind the scenes might double as a telemarketer when office work is slow. With minimal training, this natural networker may be the one who deftly uncovers new leads for an agency or easily persuades indecisive prospects to schedule seminars or presentations.

3. Owners are reassessing general business practices.

Because many agency owners are finding that what once worked no longer does, more creative avenues are being explored throughout the industry. Greater emphasis is currently being given to the completion of succession plans, and next-generation initiatives are being launched now instead of later. There’s a renewed sense of determination to let go of old ways and to try something innovative—which is, indeed, what must happen as senior executives retire and younger ones take their place.

4. Agencies can prepare for the industry rebound.

Once the tide turns, there’ll be no stopping it. Having well-rounded, loyal workers in place today is the secret to staying ahead of the competition. While others are simply wringing their hands and shaking their heads, more aggressive agency owners are ambitiously setting goals and devising plans.

They’re not just sitting around in misery.

They’re doing something!

The author
Sean Neumayer has been a consultant with the Omnia Group for more than 10 years, helping agencies in several facets of selection, management, and retention of key employees. He speaks on a regular basis with insurance groups regarding best practices. His contact information is (800) 525-7117, Ext. 1242.
















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