When a company is searching for a new employee, it often provides a “job description” that explains the qualifications for the position in terms of experience and education, highlights the big areas of responsibility the job would entail, and details the various tasks the employee would be expected to perform on a daily basis. It helps applicants determine if they meet the job requirements and sets expectations once they’re offered the position.
Of course, job descriptions tend to change over time as the business grows and evolves, and occasionally managers will revisit the job description and make necessary adjustments to set goals and expectations for the next year. This usually happens during the employee’s annual review,
Interestingly, a lot of business owners—including many independent agents and brokers—rely on formal job descriptions for the people who work for them but fail to develop a job description for themselves. Instead, they wear a lot of hats and just do whatever needs to be done.
This could be a mistake. Not only does the failure to define one’s role cause the business owner to spend time on tasks that could be done by somebody else, but it also has a tendency to make certain “to do” items outlive their usefulness. In the same way that you might modify your employees’ job duties during an annual review, perhaps an occasional analysis of your own activities would be worthwhile.
Here are a few ways a regular review of your job description could help you maximize your time and grow your business:
The last item requires some market research to determine what your competitors are doing well or poorly, but if you make this a standard part of your job review, you’ll be able to make timely modifications that will help you stay ahead of the competition.
Let’s face it: our industry has undergone a huge number of changes in the past few years, and as a result employers and individuals are expecting very different things from insurance advisors. Just think how your sales pitch has evolved since the ACA was signed into law. Some of the “differentiators” agents talked about in 2010 no longer impress clients today—they want more.
Of course, that’s the way it always works. When a new idea or solution enters the market, early adopters embrace it and use it to differentiate themselves from the competition. As the solution catches on and more and more agents recommend it to their clients, eventually it reaches a tipping point and everyone wants it. At that point, it’s no longer a question of whether clients will adopt the solution but rather which solution provider they will choose.
When you’re putting together your job description, be sure to include the standard items that your clients expect as well as the differentiators that will set you apart from your competition.
If you like the idea of a detailed job description to guide your activities but aren’t quite sure where to start, here’s what we would suggest:
To complete this job review process, there’s one more thing you should do: instead of filing the document away until it pops up on your calendar again, why not keep it out where you can see it? For this exercise to be worthwhile, you need to incorporate the new activities you’ve added to your job description into your weekly calendar and to-do list. It’s not enough to add a bullet point saying you’ll make five more prospecting calls per day; you actually have to make time for those calls.
One final note—we suggested the use of processes and technology to make you more efficient and suggested that you take some classes to “sharpen the saw.” You may want to consider these ideas for your employees as well. By freeing up their time and improving their skills, you’ll be able to delegate more and higher level tasks to them, which will give you even more time to focus and the really important activities that have a direct impact on the bottom line.
At America’s Health Care Plan, we’re big believers in education. That’s why we, in addition to our Motivation Monday webinars, we offer multiple live training sessions every month. If you’re not attending these on a regular basis, you’re missing out. Additionally, we do a lot of market research and do our best to offer products that will be part of the solution going forward. Adding some of these solutions to your product portfolio can help you stay ahead of the competition and improve your recruiting efforts. If you’d like to learn more, or if we can help in any way, please contact us today.