KFSA Insurance Agency has become one of the largest insurance agencies in Kansas, with four offices and more than 60 employees. At KFSA, we work hard to create a culture based on continued education and technological innovation—but with that comes change. There’s no way around it.
It’s critical to keep pace with today’s consumer habits and technology demands—and in doing so, agencies must ensure a seamless transition from one approach to another. When we switched agency management systems last year, we had a number of programs in place to facilitate successful change management, from hands-on training to fun activities.
Managing change is successful only when you work with a dedicated technology partner to ensure you gain the most value from your software. Are you considering implementing new software to become a more digital agency? Here are a few pointers to keep in mind.
1) Acknowledge that change is difficult. We cultivated a culture that said “this is a change that’s coming.” And then we helped everyone prepare for it. Employees truly saw the advantages of moving to digital agency technology, like a single management system. You have to believe in the technology you’ve purchased and transfer that belief on to your employees.
2) Get management support. Top-down support is crucial for any successful technological change. Our management team supplied the resources we needed to be successful.
3) Prepare with hands-on training. We created a hands-on training lab with older computer equipment for our employees. Anyone could go into the lab and use the demo database to try different things.
In order to be prepared for the data conversions, interactive learning is critical. Hands-on training makes employees more confident, and when your staff is confident in the system, the conversion is more seamless. Remember to keep your employees engaged with different types of training experiences as well—for all types of learners.
4) Create a fun environment. We created a scavenger hunt within our management system, asking employees to look for a client, set up a new client or bill a policy. As we got closer to migration, employees could take an activity all the way through. Then, as we approached launch, it was no longer foreign to them.
We also threw a transaction party. Accounting staff realized our current billing methods weren’t going to work with our new system. We played with the data and tried billing different items to see how it would flow in the new system. The training at the transaction party helped us write and establish various procedures that we still use today.
5) Take advantage of online learning. When you have access to online resources, take advantage of them! Applied University provided us with more than 30,000 hours of education course work and more than 3,000 instructor-led courses. Giving your employees access to this type of knowledge is invaluable.
6) Be positive. We focused on creating a positive change culture. When you make your employees feel that the change is manageable, it will be.
Change doesn’t have to be scary—it’s all about the culture and employee attitude. For us, the reward is the way our employees work today. To thrive in a time of digital transformation, agencies must seriously consider their technology options and keep up with advancements as they come. Technology now gives our employees access to every customer—anywhere, any time. And that level of insight and ownership over their day-to-day work has led to a happier staff.
Kris Regier is director of operations at KFSA Insurance Agency.