As the job market remains tight, insurance agencies have to take extra steps to ensure employee satisfaction by providing them with opportunities for personal growth and advancement.

One of the best ways to help your staff and producers succeed is to have in place a mentoring program for them. Mentoring, which typically involves pairing a senior staffer with a junior one, benefits employers as it can improve the quality of work, boost productivity, increase employee retention and create a more positive work environment. It can also groom key staff to assume positions of more responsibility in the organization in the future.

Mentoring benefits the mentee as well, by:

  • Improving their skills,
  • Giving them someone to turn to with questions and for advice, and
  • Providing them with a career path they can plan for and pursue.


The key components

Employees value learning and training as it improves and expands their skills, and they will often stay with companies longer if they provide it. However, sending them to classes and seminars is not always the best bet as studies have found that most workers forget what they learned in these sessions within a year.

Research has found that repetition and integration (implementing what they learn) is key to learning.

By matching your employees with in-house mentors or coaches, they will learn skills and techniques that stick – through repetition and integration – with the added benefit of having a one-on-one coach they can turn to for advice and encouragement. Here’s how both are achieved:

Repetition. Meeting with a coach or mentor once or twice a month creates the repetition that will help your employees learn. Because the mentee has to prepare for each meeting with their mentor, they are required to demonstrate how they were able to implement what they learned in their last meeting.

In turn, that creates accountability for their results and it forces them to strive for improvement. Finally, frequent meetings ensure that the ideas they learn are regularly revisited and enforced.

Integration. The nature of a mentor-mentee relationship is focused on the individual employee. There is no boilerplate version of a relationship, and what works for one worker may not for another.

The relationship is tailor-made for the individual employee. The mentees are the ones that should be coming to their meetings with a clear idea of what to discuss. Those ideas are usually obstacles or challenges they face.

Perhaps they are having trouble making a connection with decision-makers when they get them on the phone, or maybe they don’t feel prepared to answer specific questions.

Since each employee’s situation is unique, the advice they receive will also be unique. The integration comes when they apply the advice that’s specific to their situation.


The benefits

Both the mentee and mentor can benefit from the relationship. Perhaps the mentor has a great work ethic and shows up early, while the mentee is feisty and eager to kick butt. In this dynamic, the mentor is demonstrating excellent work ethic, while the mentee is demonstrating the vim and vigor that the mentor had when they were just getting started in their career, which in turn can boost their enthusiasm for their work now.

Besides benefiting from the sage advice of their mentor, the mentee may benefit from the mentor connecting them with a professional network to which they may not otherwise be exposed.

Personal introductions are powerful career ore, especially for someone just starting out. But a mentor can also write a recommendation for their mentee’s LinkedIn profile for all the world to see. And they can send out invites to corporate trainings, employee mixers and industry conferences that will help their protégé connect to the right people.

Finally, having a mentor can significantly reduce the mentee’s job anxiety and stress. The mentor can be a sounding board and provide counsel to a mentee if they stumble. The mentor can be there to soothe their worries and explain that they too encountered similar issues and that the mentee can use those missteps as fodder for learning.

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