The insurance landscape is in a state of rapid change. Brokers are experiencing a transformation that we can all agree is long overdue. Adopting new technology and optimizing operations can be painful and must be managed with strategy and proper direction. You can change technologies very quickly in the right circumstances, but altering the way employees think about their roles, the business, and culture doesn’t happen overnight. The time required to transform hearts and minds must be built into your change management plan.
3 Principles of Change Management
Change management combines behavioural and social sciences, information technology, and business solutions to lead individuals and teams through organizational change. By valuing your staff and understanding what change will mean to them, you can create a culture that embraces change and avoid failed change efforts. At Applied, we build our change management strategy around three core principles:
The people who make up your organization are potentially the most crucial element for change management success. In the case of automating workflows, employees must understand how the brokerage’s operation is impacting customer experience and buy into the necessity to improve it. Once you have buy-in, you will need to closely monitor employee engagement at each stage of the process to address resistance, while also creating a shared sense of urgency for change. Continuously and openly communicate with the entire organization to foster listening and provide a sounding board for issues and concerns. To show staff that you are creating a receptive and transparent environment, include them in the planning process from the beginning to clearly define goals, roles and processes.
Processes detail how work gets done and provide a plan for how you will introduce and systemize your technology strategy. Your team’s manual processes might be deeply rooted in their daily workflows. Putting together and documenting a robust implementation, onboarding and education strategy, with the help of your technology provider, will help field any potential risks to success. And of course, processes should always be evaluated and updated based on best practices and the lessons you learned along the way.
Technology investments should encompass all aspects of your business, from empowering staff to connecting with customers and carriers. It must integrate with your existing applications to deliver a consistent user experience and create a single view of your business.
Now that we’ve laid the foundation for a successful change management strategy, let’s build on these principles with tactical ways to create change in your organization. While this isn’t an exhaustive list of the methods my team uses to help customers adopt technology, it provides a few ways to incorporate the principles of change management into your process so you can better strategize initiatives that deliver value.
Begin with the result in mind. First, determine what you want your brokerage to look like, or your “desired outcome,” and create a plan to achieve it. Explain it well enough for your staff to be able to visualize this better place and feel how it will positively impact their day-to-day processes.
Define technology requirements. Identify areas of deficiency in your brokerage’s processes, considering how current technology is being used. Then begin to imagine how technology can transform workflows for the better. Make sure to invest in technology that meets the expectations of both your customers and staff in today’s digital age.
Find internal champions. The people within your business who have embraced change and found success will unlock success in others. Document their use cases and achievements so they can serve as an example to others within the company. Encourage internal champions to spread their success with their peers. With their hands-on help, others in your brokerage will be more optimistic about the road ahead.
Define metrics and milestones for success. To know if your change management efforts are successful, you will need to define the keys to success and use the necessary tools for tracking your progress. Your wins are everybody’s wins! Schedule milestones so employees can see and celebrate. This will also motivate your people to keep going as they will see their efforts are working.
Encourage feedback. Remember that communication isn’t one way. Your key stakeholders will often have insights that you don’t so it’s important to encourage continuous dialogue that can help others and your plan overall. As you lead your organization through change, new and unexpected challenges will arise. No change program goes completely as planned. If you can adjust and move forward, you will have undertaken a successful change management initiative.
Change management is often one of the scariest parts of technology adoption, oftentimes hindering organizations from innovating and leading to more challenges. But successful change management can empower and motivate employees when executed correctly. With the help of a multi-step process and high-quality leadership who demonstrate their commitment to success, organizations will reap the rewards of innovative technology that drives future growth.
Read Driving Innovation in the Digital Ecosystem of Insurance eBook to learn how your brokerage can tap into the digital ecosystem to make doing business more productive, intelligent, and valuable.