The Insurance Dudes

Kathleen’s Take On Retention and Remote Work In Insurance! PART 1

November 29, 2023 The Insurance Dudes: Craig Pretzinger & Jason Feltman Season 3 Episode 652
The Insurance Dudes
Kathleen’s Take On Retention and Remote Work In Insurance! PART 1
Show Notes Transcript

Welcome back to another exciting episode with the Insurance dudes, this time they sit down with the ever-so-charming Kathleen Quinn Votaw, an amazing author and creator of her own company “TalenTrust.”
Kathleen delves into a conversation revolving around her experience in the recruitment industry and moves on to the critical intricacies of employee retention and onboarding.
One of the most crucial topics discussed in this episode is remote working and its consequences, negative and positive.

Tactical advice for insurance business owners is woven into the discussion, with Kathleen highlighting the significance of thoughtful team selection based on shared values. 

📻 Tune in for a light-hearted yet informative conversation about the insurance industry landscape and ever-changing work ethics.
Join us and start your amazing journey of becoming a Pro Insurance Dude today!



The Insurance Dudes are on a mission to find the best insurance agentsaround the country to find out how they are creating some of the top agencies. But they do not stop there, they also bring professionals from other industries for insights that can help agents take their agencies to the next level. 

The Insurance Dudes focus on your agency’s four pillars: Hiring, Training, Marketing and Motivation! We have to keep the sword sharp if we want our agencies to thrive. 

Insurance Dudes are leaders in their home, at their office and in their community. This podcast will keep you on track with like minded high performing agents while keeping entertained!

About Jason and Craig:

Both agents themselves, they both have scaled to around $10 million in premium.  After searching for years for a system to create predictability in their agencies, they developed the Telefunnel after their interviews with so many agents and business leaders.  

Taking several years, tons of trial and error, and hundreds of thousands of dollars on lead spend, they’ve optimized their agencies and teams to write tons of premium, consistently, and nearly on autopilot!

LEARN MORE BY Registering for TUESDAY’s LIVE CALL With The Insurance Dudes!



Bio of Kathleen Quinn Votaw

Kathleen Quinn Votaw is a published author, a globally sought after speaker on all things talent and human capital, and the founder and CEO of TalenTrust, one of Colorado's top women-owned companies for 8 years and counting, according to COBiz Magazine.

References:

Website:
https://talentrust.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/kqvotaw
Linkedin:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kathleenquinnvotaw/

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Craig Pretzinger & Jason Feltman
The Insurance Dudes

Kathleen Quinn:

Hi, everyone. My story begins back in way long ago in 1980s. And that'll be I don't I look great. Yeah. And I am started in the recruitment industry with Kelly Corporation when they used to be Kelly girls can't do that anymore. And I had a great mentor worked in that company for a long time moved to the Boston marketplace worked and another great mentor, Ronnie Moston, learn the business of insurer of recruiting in the insurance industry and many other industries. And also Ken moved out to Colorado with my husband about 25 years ago, started my own business after I was fired by one of those big multibillion dollar recruiting firms. Because you know, what? They didn't want to understand who I was what I needed. And my story, I just had a baby, and I had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and they wouldn't look at me, they wouldn't touch me, they wouldn't talk to me. I was like, I was like, their kryptonite, you know, because they were scared to death of having a real conversation with a real human being, because we're supposed to be employers and employees, right? So what happens when you get fired? You start your own company. So in 2003, I started my own company called Talent trust. It has grown and made Inc 5000 twice because my people not because of me. We've met many other accolades. I'm a two time author. And I My name is Kathleen Quinn, Botha and I am an insurance do debt.

Craig Pretzinger:

Insurance dudes are on a mission to escape be hit by our agents,

Jason Feltman:

powered by uncovering the secrets to creating a predictable, consistent, and profitable agency Sales Machine.

Craig Pretzinger:

I am Craig Pretzinger.

Jason Feltman:

I am Jason Feldman.

Craig Pretzinger:

We are agents.

Jason Feltman:

We are insurance. Boom, yeah. Yeah. All right, Kathleen, welcome to the show. Super excited to have you. This is such a cool subject. Because like, just like you said, it was your team that got you to where you are right? time every day. And it's so important. We see time and time again, the most successful insurance agency owners have amazing team, but they really put an importance on their team. So this will be a fantastic conversation. I'm excited to talk about why business leaders need to finally let go and not only allow remote work, but encourage it, which is a tough thing for us, as agency owners that like like to work side by side. It's a hard transition for some of us. It is

Kathleen Quinn:

you know, and it's been a hard transition. And we went through the pandemic, right, everybody went through that. Yucky time, I caught myself gave that awful time. And we've all had to adjust. But some of us don't want to let go of the way we used to work. And I'm going to invite your listeners to let go. You have to let go to the way we used to do everything. Because that's what the valuable asset your employees who serve your customers want. And you guys are lucky all of you here lucky because we have new data from employees across the country. We just did a survey and they want they want to work remotely. 50% of them want to work remotely. And you know what 30% of them, if their bosses ask them to come back to the office full time, we'll quit and find another opportunity. And they can because you know what, gentlemen, there are 9.6 million open jobs, and 6 million people to fulfill those jobs. So the employees who serve your customers are in the driver's seat, and they're screaming from the mountaintops, let me have flexibility. Let me decide where I need to be when I need to be there and what I need to do. And trust me to get my work done. But you're not listening.

Jason Feltman:

It's so funny. We just had another guest on speaking of the same thing. And we revisited that thought of like when we went into 2020 it will well what was supposed to be a to two ways that we're going to be at home for two weeks. turned into something and that obviously lasted a long time but it changed behaviors and it's and it's it's to no fault of anyone. It's not to the faults of the like the agency owner or let's say business owners in general. Feel a little like, well, we've always had in job or in office work but It was because of this. But that changed, right like that change without them being able to make a decision. And same with. Same with employees, they got used to working at home. So it's not their fault. So now we're in the spot of like, how do we navigate both those things and make it a win win for everybody?

Kathleen Quinn:

I totally agree. And you know what? You make a great point, you can't put the genie back in the bottle. No, you know, we, you know, the gigs up, we don't have to get up every day, and put on our monkey suits, and drive 30 to 60 minutes away from our families. In all this chaos. Think of the morning chaos in the afternoon chaos. And all this wasted time. We're now you know, we were catapulted into a virtual reality look at us. We're in I'm in Colorado and you, somebody's in Arizona, and you're in California, like, yeah, we can create great content remotely and virtually to serve the greater good. So you can't, you can't go backwards. I think sometimes when when people get used to the way they worked, it's easier, right? It's easier to do things the way we always have. But I invite your listeners to embrace the new, because they're going to win the best talent. When they do that, the more creative they can be, the more well, what if we did things differently? How could we embrace new technology? What our customers think they're gonna get the best and brightest in the insurance, you know, industry, and they're gonna win, and they're gonna grow up.

Craig Pretzinger:

Why? Why do you think that that, I guess maybe it's everybody is so resistant to change, right? Because that's what it is, right? We're having a resistance to change.

Kathleen Quinn:

Well, and also, there's this, I mean, I've worked for a long time, and the boss gets to tell you what to do, right? Not anymore. We've moved into more collaborative workforce, that the employees want flexibility, number one, they want respect, and they want to be trusted, which in turn means they have to provide flexibility to their employer, they have to provide transparency, and, you know, flex, they have to trust them too, if Trust is earned. So there's this huge gap like between the reality of what everybody needs, and the fight that's happening, the employers point of view, and then this employee's point of view. And when you focus on the employee experience, all boats rise, right? When the employee has a better experience, you the boss likely will have a better experience. When the employee has a better experience, your customers will have a better experience, when the employee has a better experience. Their peers were also have a better experience. So we're focusing on you know, for years, it's all been about the customer experience, right? We're focusing on the wrong thing, not that the customer is not important. Trust me, I've got hundreds of customers, I love you if you're listening. But if my employees aren't thriving, and happy, they're not going to serve you well. So when I focus internally, everything else goes better. So the resistance is this, Hey, it's about the customer. It's about gross margin. It's about the revenue, it's about the profitability. They're missing the point. If they trust their people and focus on the employee and their growth, their development, everything they're doing. Everything was it'll switch, but for years, decades, hundreds of years, I'm the boss, you follow me? Follow the rules or get out?

Craig Pretzinger:

Yeah, I call that the Darth Vader leadership style. Yes. You can't, it just doesn't work anymore.

Kathleen Quinn:

No, because people have choice. Yeah. Yeah.

Jason Feltman:

It's it's been such a theme in like my life lately. We've Craig and I've had this conversation. But I mean, even with my family and work, our team, our clients has been really this theme of just serving, serving with no expectation necessarily. I mean, we have to have expectation for production with our team, like making sure that they're doing stuff, but like, really coming at it with like a heart of just like, hey, how can we really make things better for our team? How can we really make things better for our clients? And, I mean, I like to throw myself in there too. Like how can I make things like if I'm operating at 100% Our team is operating at 100% serving, and then we're trying to serve our clients at 100% It's a recipe you know, for success like you how can you go wrong?

Kathleen Quinn:

You can't go wrong with that kind of equation and, and you know, you met her too. To, you know, this isn't all just about the employees, we matter to we're human beings, we, we have families, we have lives outside of, you know, your workplace, we have interests, you know. So it's, it's, the thing is it's so simple, people get tied up in a pretzel about it because it's too simple. Why do we have to change our behavior, human being to human being when we cross the threshold at work? Right? I don't I don't, you know, treat people terribly at the grocery store. I don't, you know, I'm not rude to people at church. You know, I'm not mean to people. When I'm walking down the street, I generally smile and acknowledge a human being when I go out to a restaurant, you know, so why do the rules of engagement change just because we're in the workplace? Right? Back to those basics. And I think if employees realize that our boss matters to, you know, he or she is a human being, and they might have a bad day, it's okay. But we've got to talk about it. It's simple communication. You know, you might be having a bad day. It's okay. You're a human. Yeah, robots. You know, chat, GBT is not going to replace us. All. Right, I'll bullshit on that. Sorry. Yeah.

Jason Feltman:

You know, but it's definitely an awesome tool.

Kathleen Quinn:

It's an awesome tool. It is, but it's a tool. That's the right way to think about it. It's something to just like technology like we're using right here. You know, I love you know, this tool stream yard, I use it with a lot of other people use Zoom. But AI is just a tool to help us get better. It's not the solution. And I worry sometimes that people think it's the solution. There's no one solution, right? to anything. Right?

Craig Pretzinger:

One of my business mentor of mine always used to do this. He'd ask people, you know, what's your number? Who's your number one customer? And it's a trick question. Because your number one customers, your team? Absolutely. Right. That's who you have to serve. And then they're gonna serve everybody else, if you can let go and not try to control everything. Right. So there's so many pieces to that. Love it. Yeah,

Jason Feltman:

I was gonna say I'd love to dive into some tactical stuff. Like, I mean, you know, with you, you've seen so many different businesses, and this is your, this is your expertise. So I'd love to know, like, like us as agency owners, like, how can we avoid some of the big mistakes? Like what are what are the big mistakes that you've seen business owners have? And how can we avoid them? And how can we thrive as a business owner?

Kathleen Quinn:

So some of the things I see some kind of rookie mistakes, if you will, is you're hiring people versus selecting people. And there's a big difference, right? You know, some agencies might be small, intimate, four or five people, some agencies might have 1000s of people, you know. So, size doesn't matter in this equation. But selection does matter greatly. You must make sure that the person you're selecting for your team is aligned with your values, attitudes, and beliefs. If they're not, they're going to fail, and you're going to be mad. So why do it in the first place, but what's happening out there is there's a supply and demand issue. So we wait to bring somebody on board until we're in a crisis, and that crisis creates panic. And that panics like, wow, you're one of three that applied, you're good enough. I call, I call it the, you know, selecting the cream of the crap. Why would you do that? Why would you expose, expose your customers to that? Why that's not your brand. That's not what you want to do. I mean, that doesn't say much about you. If you're just like, Well, you got a pulse, breathe on the mirror, and come on in. So there's some on my website, talent trust.com. We have some tools for people, we have selection questions, we have an interview guide, if people are interested, we can certainly follow up and send some tools to you too, for your listeners to really understand what motivates the human being. And what do they want to do a lot of the work that you do is you do a lot of sales, right? You sell to people who want to buy benefits, men, you know, all kinds of insurance products, right? And then you have a team that serves those customers. And that is where the sticky factor happens, right? The sales process is one thing, but you want to retain those customers who brought on board. So the quality and caliber of the person interacting with your customers who your interactions with What renewal once a year, and maybe some select questions, right? Am I getting it? Right? Sure, yeah, that relationship has to be really quality. If I only get to touch you once a year, you have to really understand my business understand, you know, the humans that I'm providing insurance for my business model, my cost, you've got to be intellectual. Sometimes I see people selecting people in customer service, that are more administrative than don't understand business issues. It's kind of the reverse. If I'm going to stay with you for years, don't you want your customers to stay for 1520 years? I want to have a relationship with you. I want to like you, I want you to be I'm a business owner. They have to be an intellectually stimulating, you know, I have to be able to have a business conversation with them. So make sure when you're selecting those people who are retaining your clients, that they can have those business conversations with your clients, not just move paper around. Yeah,

Craig Pretzinger:

we like to we like to say, or we like to look for people for the service team that are like pseudo salespeople, right. They're salespeople, but they don't want to make calls. Right? Like they're okay talking to them and loving them up, and then maybe offering something but they definitely aren't there like I'm not taking leads. No, no. And those people are perfect, because they they're able to if there's a relationship, they're comfortable. And

Kathleen Quinn:

exactly. They're like sales engineers, have you met her sales engineer. he or she's not the guy or gal who's like the bells and whistles or behind the curtain. But they know how the technology works. And they're credible. They're like, Oh, no, no, you don't want to make that decision because it cost you this. Here's what's going to happen here. They really have this credibility, intellect about the business impact of what I'm going to buy.

Craig Pretzinger:

So problems right, I'm sorry. No,

Kathleen Quinn:

no, they solve problems, right? Yeah, they have to if you get to test me once a year, you better impress me with solving my problems. Right. Selections one big one. People just hire

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