By Nick Langer, Risk Advisor
TOLMAN & WIKER INSURANCE SERVICES, LLC
Driving to work early this January I was scanning the radio for something to listen to. I was sucked into an old rock-song which took me back to my high school sports days and I started to get pumped-up. You know, that Monday morning I’m going to conquer the world feeling. However this morning I was thinking about all of the positive changes I would be making in 2014. The song ended and I was still driving, still pondering the many ways in which I would make myself better in 2014… more efficient, more clients, growing my business, more time hiking… No rhyme or reason, just ideas or hopes for what sounded like a “good” measure of success.
Recent statistics indicate:
45% of Americans typically make a New Year’s resolution
73% of Americans admit to giving-up before meeting their goal
33% of Americans admit to abandoning their goals by the end of January
8% of Americans who commit to a resolution actually achieve their goal
38% of Americans don’t attempt to make a resolution in the first place
*Stats from Statistic Brain, University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology
I’m sure most of you woke-up on January 1st with some idea of “change” or “improvement” you would be bringing into your business this year… more clients, fewer claims, safer work environment, expansions, new technology. As is true with any new idea, most ideas are lost if they are not acted upon within the first 24-48 hours. The security industry can be vicious at times. And we all know how much “stuff” (legislation, regulation, taxes, insurance) has been thrown our way in the past few years. Despite all of the “stuff” we face, and now almost a full month into the new year, are you still committed to the lofty 2014 goals you were pondering while watching your favorite Bowl Game or parade?
As members of CALSAGA, we all share in a common goal to “Raise and improve the quality of service and public perception of the security industry…” So where do we start? Countless Psychologists and analysts have done an excellent job in identifying the various reasons for our shortcomings in attaining our goals and, most importantly, how we can keep them… “Keep it simple” “Make it tangible” “Start small” “Vocalize it”… These are all excellent tactics in application. Yet, many businesses fail to generate the synergy, the culture, to pull together and push toward success. Have you ever been engaged in your business yet felt as if you were trying to herd cats?
A recent article by the Harvard Business Review dated December 18, 2013 discusses the “Competitive Advantage” of Camaraderie at Work. “…camaraderie is more than just having fun; it’s also about creating a common sense of purpose. Companies should create and value camaraderie as a competitive advantage for recruiting top talent, retaining employees, and improving engagement, creativity, and productivity.”
We have circled this idea repeatedly in the past few years in discussing the intricacies of Workers Compensation in California. Specifically as a risk reduction technique by creating a “Safety Minded Culture” in your business. As a business owner, manager, entrepreneur, you need to set goals and foster collaboration, trust, personal relationships and support through the ranks. “Studies have shown that soldiers form strong bonds during missions in part because they believe in the purpose of the mission, rely on each other, and share the good and the bad as a team. In short, camaraderie promotes a group loyalty that results in a shared commitment to and discipline toward the work. Camaraderie at work can create “esprit de corps,” which includes mutual respect, sense of identity, and admiration to push for hard work and outcomes.”- Harvard Business Review, We All Need Friends at Work by Christine M. Riordan, July 3, 2013. This idea is so relevant in the security industry it shocks me to think that more time is not devoted by security firms in building this core value.
As an Insurance Broker a large part of my day is centered around evaluating risk. Perhaps you have you asked yourself…
Is there a risk in having a disgruntled work force, or simply un-engaged employees? Does it hinder reaching your goals for 2014?
What is your firm’s reputation with your peers and competitors? What are your employees saying to each other? What are your employees saying to your clients? Is this a risk?
Do you know how these two areas impact the frequency of workers compensation claims? Are you exposed to more litigation?
Employee engagement is at an all-time low. Efforts to curb this trend within your own organizations will yield results exponentially in the years to come as the economic backdrop in California continues to change. Before establishing goals for your organization, it is critical to identify, quantify and prioritize your risk. Risk comes in three forms: Business Risk, Strategic Risk & Hazard Risk. All of you are familiar with Hazard Risk because this is the type of risk you can insure against. However Business Risk & Strategic risk, risks that are generally uninsurable, may be of much higher priority.
Given the nature of the security industry, the tight margins and the weight that is placed on your performance; it would be difficult to not establish and maintain the right morale or camaraderie in your organization as priority. This goes far beyond reaching your goals for 2014; this is where you lay the foundation for the future of your organization. Industry best practices require you to communicate often your corporate goals and priorities to unify everyone in your firm. It is important for you as a leader to have a vision for the culture. You need to create a service model around which your employees can feel proud.
At the end of the day, goals are the key to success. Every business must have something to work towards. Don’t set yourself up for failure before you have had the opportunity to launch. Make certain your employees understand your vision and most importantly get your employees excited to be a part of it.
This article was originally published in CALSAGA’s newsletter.
Tolman & Wiker Insurance Services, LLC is an official CALSAGA preferred broker.
Image credit: Naypong / shutterstock.com
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