Have you ever felt like you are so busy at work you just do things to get them off your desk (correctly of course J), but you may not actually have a deep understanding of WHY you are doing it? The WHY behind the what you do is so important. I’m so thankful VAST encourages taking time for business acumen each week. Otherwise, it may get lost in the stack of other things going on.
Everything is so fast paced these days, including insurance. The role of an account manager here can be so transactional, but it’s important to take time to understand and dig deeper into the coverages and situations. It seems as though things are constantly changing, and paying attention to that is one way to keep a leg up. There are so many resources available for learning, including webinars, 1:1 training, blogs, and more.
Each employee at VAST is assigned a one hour time slot each week for business acumen. It is set as a weekly reminder in Outlook, so a notification comes up telling us it’s time to do our business acumen. One hour of business acumen a week has also been part of the bonus plan for account managers for several years now. This encourages the account mangers to get learning in every week and to make that a priority, even when it seems you don’t have time. Having more knowledge ultimately allows us to do a better job of helping to protect our clients. It helps us to be aware of new exposures and how to insure them, catch errors in policies, and help to educate our clients so they can feel more confident as well.
If your business does not have a focus on business acumen, I would encourage you to help build this in to part of your culture, and help create a desire among your team for further learning. Here are some ideas on how to do this to help make it a success:
- Assign a desired time limit each week for your employees to focus on learning.
- Provide a place (possibly in a shared file in your system) where different sources, opportunities, blogs, websites, etc. are listed so employees can quickly and easily find something to read.
- Have a check-in system, whether weekly with a manager, or quarterly at reviews – to be sure employees are taking the time to deepen their knowledge of their job.
- Request employees share about their learning at “huddles”, staff meetings, safety talks, or other opportunities. This will strongly encourage the employee to research and learn so they have something to share.
- Consider rewarding employees for their efforts in this area, especially if you can see the positive impact it has had in their ability to do their job.
We have seen a huge benefit to further education and learning here with our staff. We want to be able to provide the best customer service and advice to our clients, and hope you are able to see the difference it makes.