AAIS Webinar ft. WSRB & WAHVE: Explore Acquiring Talent & Leading a Team in a Virtual World

May 24, 2023 / by AAIS

Today's work environment has shifted significantly, and employers are faced with a pressing need to offer both remote and hybrid working styles to accommodate workforce needs as well as attract top talent. As part of the AAIS Webinar Series, AAIS hosted a virtual presentation on May 4, 2023, featuring AAIS Partners WSRB/BuidingMetrix, Inc. and WAHVE. Moderated by AAIS Director of Marketing and Communications, John Greene, the presentation explored what it takes to acquire talent as well as manage them successfully within these new working parameters. Panelists Karl Newman, CEO of WSRB/BuildingMetrix, Inc., and Rick Morgan, Chief Marketing Officer of WAHVE, discussed what type of working environment current job seekers are looking for, how employers can recruit talent that fits this model, onboarding best practices, and ways to lead and motivate a virtual team successfully.

Matching the Needs of An Organization to the Wants of the Next Generation of Insurance Professionals

According to Morgan, culture is one of the key decision metrics that people use when they're either looking for work or starting at a new company. “I think what employees are really looking for has shifted,” he surmised. “Work-life balance is really high up on the list now. COVID really motivated that to become something important. People sat back and started reevaluating what was important to them during the pandemic.” Another common need for the next generation of insurance professionals is career advancement. “It can be a real challenge for employers to ensure their employees can advance in their careers if they work remotely or even hybrid,” said Morgan. “So, I think it's incumbent on managers to make sure that when they're getting a new employee, they vocalize what their career path will look like.” Meaningful work is also key. “I don’t think employees want to just show up [to work],” Morgan explained. “They want to be giving back and contributing.”

Elements of a People-First Company Culture

Newman believes a people-first company culture starts with establishing strong values, shared values, and a compelling vision and mission. “A lot of companies that I've worked with do this as an annual exercise or they have motivational posters on the walls,” he said. “But it’s really got to be something that's lived and talked about and brought into your [organization’s] daily, weekly, or monthly meetings.” In addition, Newman recommends investing in technology to enable teams within a company. “You've got to enable that team to have an effective experience, especially if you're in a hybrid environment,” he urged. “But even if you're not [hybrid], you need the technology that gives you the ability to have a quality experience in your meetings.” Establishing a regular cadence of in-person meetings is also critical for remote or hybrid organizations. “WSRB started doing this in 2020 alongside even more frequent Zoom and Microsoft Teams meetings,” Newman shared. “We established a strong culture by scheduling quarterly in-person meetings and monthly virtual meetings. Our business units meet monthly in person and our executives and leadership team meet weekly virtually. These frequent meetings revealed a ton of opportunities for us to improve the virtual and hybrid environment for us."

There are great opportunities to build company culture by improving the processes and procedures that were in place pre-COVID. For example, Morgan described how WAHVE now makes performance reviews more personal, asking questions like what the employee did over the weekend, what their hobbies are, etc. He also suggests management teams create videos for new hires talking about the company and its culture. “Doing so will help new employees understand what to expect, what they're going to be faced with in their role, and what the company is like before they even start the job,” Morgan explained.

How to Keep Remote Workers Happy, Motivated, and Productive

The key to having a happy, motivated, and productive team is to simply hire motivated positive people. “You can't motivate the unmotivated,” Newman stated. “Give new employees a clear vision, mission, and goals to rally around. Remove any obstacles and make sure they have the tools, training, and resources they need to be successful, and then reward them when they are.” Companies that neglect to build up their people are companies that are not as effective as they can be. “At WSRB, we're working on building the whole person to be a better person at work and outside of work,” Newman revealed. Through an anonymous all-employee survey that measured organizational effectiveness, WSRB found that it is, indeed, possible for companies to value people and get results at the same time.

For Morgan, constant communication is critical in keeping remote employees content. “In this new work environment, there's a new layer of complexity and responsibility for management teams to make sure that there’s clear and consistent communication with focus and intent for the people that are in the office,” he said. Simultaneously, it’s important for employees who work remotely to be part of these in-office communications. “There are different ways managers can do that, whether it's having weekly meetings, monthly meetings, or scheduling consistent check-ins.”

If you would like to view the presentation again in its entirety, please click the video above.

Questions? Please don't hesitate to reach out to any of the featured speakers through the contact information below.

 

John Greene

Director of Marketing & Communications (AAIS)

johng@aaisonline.com

 

Karl Newman

President/CEO (WSRB/BuildingMetrix, Inc.)

Karl.Newman@wsrb.com

 

Rick Morgan

Chief Marketing Officer (WAHVE)

Rick.Morgan@wahve.com

Tags: Working in Insurance, Remote Work, AAIS Webinar Series, WAHVE, WSRB

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