Safety and Wellbeing Go Hand in Hand
The phrase “safe space” has taken a bit of a hit in the last several years as some political pundits have used it as a term of derision. But when it comes to productivity and long-term employee happiness, creating a safe space is truly beneficial for both your staff and your bottom line.
When people feel safe, they are more able to read and connect with others—an important trait for anyone in insurance sales. This has to do with the way human brains work. When we are under stress, our focus narrows as we try to alleviate whatever threat we feel to our own wellbeing. When that stress evaporates, headspace is freed up, allowing us to expand our focus to the bigger picture and more fully consider those around us.
A baseline of safety involves our physical surroundings. How safe is your office? Ideally, your agency is located in a building that has a well-lit parking area, well-maintained landscaping that provides clear sight lines and secured entrances with good locks and/or security cameras.
Office safety includes areas like bathrooms, where your agents and customers may feel especially vulnerable. Having a dedicated bathroom that has a secure lock is going to feel safer than a shared bathroom that is easily accessed by random members of the public.
Safety can also extend to the type of culture you promote within your agency. If you share a kitchen space, is everyone expected to do their part to keep it sanitized? Watching the owner of the agency spray and wipe down a shared surface role-models the idea that everyone is expected to do their part. You can also set clear guidelines about how long food is allowed to remain in a shared refrigerator and make it clear that taking someone else’s lunch will not be tolerated.
This last idea—protecting an employee’s belongings—starts to move into another important aspect of safety: psychological safety.
Psychological safety refers to the feeling that you are cared about and supported by those around you. In an agency setting, this is what enables staff to feel vulnerable enough to make creative suggestions and point out areas of weakness for your agency. Providing a safe space also allows your agents to own up to mistakes and ask for help when they are struggling.
Building a sense of psychological safety often takes time. If you are an agency owner or manager, you can encourage it by acknowledging your own workplace struggles, regularly asking for feedback and constructive ideas to improve your agency and acting on your team’s good ideas. Maintaining a sense of psychological safety requires consistent attention; it’s pretty easy to destroy it with sarcasm, impatience or bad temper. That said, a sincere apology can go a long way to rebuilding it.
In addition to your agents, you should also be thinking about the safety of your customers. Just as they want to feel physically safe when they visit your agency, they want to know that their personal data is properly processed and stored.
It can be helpful to share information about your data-handling procedures on your website or via email with new clients, and your actions will also speak volumes. Using encrypted services for things like obtaining signatures or sending documents will build trust. Making sure paper files are stored in locked files and never leaving someone’s file unattended on a desk tells your clients that you will safeguard their personal information, too.
If you look at your physical space, culture and policies through a safety lens, you’ll probably come up with other ways that you could improve. And you can do the same with your vendors—are they doing what they can to protect you and your agency?
For example, one of the ways Hometown Quotes protects our customers is by providing TCPA-compliant leads. This refers to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a federal law that puts limits on telemarketing. Because we have obtained the required consent from the customer to contact them before we send you a lead, you can be sure that you are safe calling them.
Want to learn more about how getting fresh insurance leads from Hometown Quotes works? Call us at 800.820.2981 today.