Agency Profile: All In

Ross & Yerger

Jackson, Mississippi
Founded: 1860
Employees: 116

At Best Practices agency Ross & Yerger, everyone’s business card could say “owner.” Employees in all roles say being 100%-employee owned drives a sense of accountability and pride.

The culture starts at the top, with a management team focused on recognizing everyone’s contributions—from the receptionist to the producer.

“When you make an employee feel valued—like they really matter—that fuels our success,” says Kellye Smith, resource specialist.

At Ross & Yerger, every employee knows that if they don’t show up to work the next day, “the reaction is not ‘How are we going to get the work done?’ but rather that they will be genuinely missed as a person and as a part of this team,” Smith says.

KELLYE SMITH, RESOURCE SPECIALIST

As a resource specialist, I’m responsible for delivering added value to the client and helping them solve what’s keeping them awake at night, whether that’s a Department of Labor issue, health care costs or something else.

Our management team is very concerned with making sure we get the right people in our agency. We’re not going to hire just anybody. They take a lot of time before hiring somebody to make sure it’s a good fit, especially from a cultural standpoint. Employees can exert a lot of independence to make the right decisions because they have been hired with this confidence that they’re the right person for the job. The management team is very clear that everyone in this organization is playing a role in its success.

MARCUS BURGER, PRODUCER

It is a 100% open door policy here. There’s never been a time when I walked into our CEO’s office and he has not put down what he was currently doing to help me. Everyone has a stake in the success or the failure of every single transaction that happens in the agency. You can ask a question of anyone, and if they don’t know the answer, they know who to point you to. As a young producer with no insurance background, that has been a godsend to me. I’m in the future partner program—a three-year training program for new producers. We bring in people with little or no insurance background and we have about a 75% success ratio, which is strong.

CHELSEY HUNT, ADMINISTRATIVE SPECIALIST/BRAND MANAGER

After a year of me throwing out the idea that we needed to refresh our brand, management took a chance and created a new position for me. I love that our management tries new things.

Ownership helps people have more pride in their work. You’re not micromanaged here because people really care about what they’re doing. It’s all about doing your work and doing your best. The only time management gets involved is if there’s a problem. If you have questions, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been here six months or six years. We’re all willing to help each other.

Photo by Gil Ford