Hire for success, train for skills, develop for leadership
June 4, 2012 at 7:50 am
Why is it that so many organizations struggle with basic blocking and tackling? From small mom and pop shops to multibillion dollar global conglomerates, it seems that fundamental execution ranks at the top of just about every executives wish list. Why it is that consistency is so hard to come by.
Perhaps it begins with the simple premise that no two people are alike. With different skill sets and personalities, motivators vary from person to person. While one employee may require very strict organization, that type of management style may completely turn off another employee.
At the upcoming ACE Conference, I will be both leading a session on achieving the consistent execution of basic claims skills and taking part in a panel discussion entitled “Competencies in the workforce”, where we will focus on hiring, training and retaining key talent.
While it is certainly a monumental task to identify the right talent, it is equally as difficult to ensure that there is routine compliance and proper execution on a consistent basis. Complicating matters is the bad economy where there are seemingly more potential candidates, yet fewer who seem to possess the skills inherently required to succeed in claims.
As discussed in Re-Adjusted: 20 Essential Rules To Take Your Claims Organization From Ordinary To Extraordinary, claims is not for everyone. Rather, it takes a unique combination of drive and desire, combined with an insatiable curiosity to properly investigate, negotiate and resolve claims timely and accurately.
That said, it is not an insurmountable task to build the successful claims organization. In many successful organizations, both inside and outside of the insurance industry, leaders have found that success becomes cultural in nature. It is not something that you wave a magic wand at, but rather something that is built from the ground up.
When an organization starts with a foundation of excellence, it becomes cross generational. As employees grow within the organization to become leaders, they tend to hire others with a work ethic and desire much like their own. This behavior becomes contagious, and the success spreads.
The challenge is that most organizations aren’t picture perfect. Most do not have this type of cultural breeding, creating a challenge for those striving for excellence. Rather, there are varying levels of execution, with differing definitions of what constitutes success.
Herein lays the need for organizational calibration. By level setting the organization and spelling out what is to be done in varying situations, management and line employees alike can then be measured based upon basic blocking and tackling.
Much as a football coach guides his team with the assistance of a playbook, so to can claims organizations with the guidance of their own playbook, or procedure manual. One the gridiron, there is a time to run, pass or punt. The same holds true in claims organizations, where various situations call for differing actions. The key to success is to ensure compliance, while eliminating deviation.
The following are five key rules that can assist in putting together the team that will become the foundation for organizational success:
1) Getting it right the first time around
Far too often, organizations will simply try to fill seats. How frequently have you been given approval for new headcount only to have the headcount taken away after a specified period of time. After all, if you really needed help that badly, you would have filled the vacancy. This is a far too common phenomenon that leads managers to make rash decisions that often end up costing in terms of training, management oversight and turnover. By taking the time to find the optimal candidate, organizations will benefit from improved claims handling, better outcomes, higher level of customer satisfaction and increased policyholder retention.
2) Experience doesn’t guarantee success
There is no guarantee that a person with twenty years of experience will be successful in your organization. Not to say that experience isn’t beneficial; it can be. But it isn’t a guarantee. Rather, focus on the needs of your organization and understand just how critical the experience is to achieving your ultimate goals.
3) Hiring For attitude
There is nothing worse for an organization than bad attitudes. They spread like a plague and will ultimately undermine initiatives. Perpetually bad attitudes can spread to other employees, bringing down their level of performance as well. An attitude is a little thing that makes the single biggest difference in any organization!
4) Train for skills
Claims is not rocket science. Rather, it is a skill that in large part can be trained. Certainly, the ideal candidate will possess certain skills, such as an insatiable curiosity. But in large part, learning how to write estimates, take statements, conduct investigations and negotiate, can be taught. Hiring for attitude and training for skills is a universal formula for success.
5) Develop for leadership
As you build your organization for long term success, future leaders will emerge. These are the very people needed for the cross generational transfer of wealth and corporate culture. Great organizations seize up these opportunities and understand the value of having proven individuals fill the leadership voids that eventually emerge.
If you are going to be at America’s Claims Event, please stop by and hear Christopher Tidball speak on “The Insatiable Curiosity” at 2:30 pm on June 28th, followed by a book signing of Re-Adjusted at 3:30 in the Claims Magazine Booth (#223), and wrapping up with the panel discussion “Competencies in the Workforce” at 4:30.
Christopher Tidball is an executive claims consultant and the author of multiple books. He is an industry veteran, having held adjusting, management and executive roles in multiple property and casualty organizations. To learn more, please visit www.christidball.com or e-mail email@example.com.
Entry filed under: Career Optimization, Insurance, Subrogation. Tags: 360, ace, adjusting, arbitration, arbitration forums, attitude, auto accidents, bottom line, business workflow, calibration, career, casualty, chris, chris tidball, civil litigation, claims, develop, employees, event, HIRE, hiring, leadership, management, property, results, success, tidball.