New Level Partners and the Private Risk Management Association continue growth and reach of PRMA Academy

New Level Partners (NLP) Leading Instructional Designer for the insurance industry celebrates five years providing impactful learning solutions in support of the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA).

“NLP had the unique opportunity to work closely with PRMA from the association’s early beginnings. The Chartered Private Risk & Insurance Advisor (CPRIA) curriculum demanded extensive curation, instructional development and design of content from industry experts. This leading-edge certification for the affluent and high net worth Insurance market did not exist until five years ago. The CPRIA Certification has created a terrific impact for this important industry segment, reaching thousands of high net worth personal insurance advisors throughout North America,” states Nancy Langton, New Level Partners.

NLP is known in the insurance community for its contributions to agency and carrier education, underwriting team development, online curriculum and course expansion, and tailored business skills and leadership programs. All solutions integrate technology and remote learning, along with blended learner activities and impact.

“NLP enabled PRMA Academy to accelerate from content to delivery of exceptional educational offerings due to a unique combination of instructional design expertise, leading EdTech solutions and a range of competencies within the insurance industry. PRMA continues to expand our reach and impact to bring value to both our members and their clients,” stated Lisa Lindsay, executive director of PRMA.

NLP has project-managed and designed in conjunction with PRMA’s subject matter experts several initiatives, including the CPRIA, Introduction to Family Office Risk Management and the Advanced CPRIA. Additional offerings include the High-Value Home Consultant (Appraiser’s) Program and St. John’s University Certificate programs are all available through PRMA Academy.

About New Level Partners (NLP)
New Level Partners (NLP), founded in 2001, specializes in training solutions for the Property and Casualty Insurance Industry. NLP designs, develops and delivers customized and interactive training programs, both instructor-led and web-based. A wide range of instructional design tools and technologies ensure NLP’s programs are the most interactive and effective on the market. Learn more at https://www.newlevelpartners.com.

About PRMA
The Private Risk Management Association (PRMA) is a member-owned independent nonprofit founded by leaders in the private risk management and insurance industry. PRMA’s mission is to improve the advice, coverage and service provided to the high net worth insurance consumer through education and increased awareness. PRMA offers specialized education and information and establishes standards and credentials while raising awareness and advocating for the niche and consumers served.

Last month, The MyAgencyCampus team shared expert advice from Donna Dennis, PhD on virtual team leadership practices.  We have more great advice for you.

This month, we are sharing tactics for your week to week remote team leadership.  Insurance leaders continuous demonstrate flexibility responding to client’s needs.  Leading teams in the current work-from-home setup forces us to interact and collaborate differently.

Virtual leaders who create a common set of expectations, norms, and goals make it easier for team members to establish such credibility. After all, if all members have a clear idea of which tasks they need to complete, it will be easier for them to succeed, winning trust among their fellows.

Virtual leaders can take other steps to encourage trust as well. They include:

  • Create at least one opportunity for team members to meet face-to-face.
  • Use communication channels that include visual input rather than just audio.
  • Model transparency by communicating openly and honestly.
  • Plan extra time during meetings so there can be some virtual socialization and team building.
  • Keep agreements and demonstrate accountability.
  • Acknowledge successful teamwork – kudos are truly important right now!

(Based on a study by the Business Research Consortium (BRC) in association with American Management Association survey of 1,500 individuals.)

 

If you are interested in scheduling a webinar on Virtual Team Leadership, please contact aschroeder@newlevelpartners.com

We are living in an environment where circumstance forces change!  Work teams everywhere have been forced to shift quickly to a work from home setting.

The New Level Partners team reached out to virtual team leadership expert Donna Dennis, PhD to learn more about “Key Leadership Practices for Virtual Teams.”  See below for some just-in-time recommendations.

Both leaders and team members must cope with many other challenges. A study conducted by the Business Research Consortium (BRC) in association with American Management Association survey of 1,500 individuals revealed the following seven suggestions for companies that want to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their virtual teams.

  1. Remember that good virtual leadership is different. It is tempting to believe that traditional leadership qualities are so general that they easily translate to virtual team leadership. Unfortunately, that is just not true.
  2. Emphasize communication even more. Yes, nearly every leader has been told to “communicate, communicate, and then communicate some more.” What is true for leaders in general is doubly true for virtual leaders. In fact, it’s usually true for all virtual team members. Fully 72% of respondents to the BRC survey strongly agreed with the idea that virtual teams require more team communication than do co-located teams.
  3. Adjust to the medium. The study shows that team member engagement is strongly influenced by the degree of visual feedback members are getting. For example, participants in voice-only virtual meetings (the kind so common in the corporate world today) are much less likely to be engaged than participants in face-to-face meetings and in meetings with high-quality videoconferencing. Without a visual element, leaders must do things such as:
  • Pick up on more subtle cues (such as tone of voice)
  • Know nuances of cross-cultural communication
  • Ask more questions to get to a common understanding of a problem or an issue
  1. Do more to establish trust. Because virtual team members often lack the time and opportunities to talk to each other informally, trust can be hard to build. The best virtual leaders tend to build “swift” trust, knowing that distance makes it more difficult. They provide goals, roles, responsibilities, strategies, and a vision to create a common purpose and shared objectives. They establish agreements and make expectations clear so that all team members understand responsibilities and proper etiquette.
  2. Develop robust processes and, where needed, structures. Not only must virtual leaders make expectations clear, they also must establish more checkpoints with explicit guidelines.
  3. Reduce or avoid “storming” when possible. Back in the 1960s, Professor Bruce Tuckman developed the idea that teams need to go through four stages: forming, storming, norming, and performing. Virtual teams are different in that the “storming” stage (during which different members strive for a time to put forward their ideas) is often curtailed. This does not mean virtual teams need to avoid all disagreements and conflicts, only that leaders and members should be proactive and handle different perspectives right away, as opposed to letting them linger.
  4. Devote resources to development. Most organizations do not develop leaders and other employees in the art of virtual teaming. Yet, the BRC study indicates that a lack of experience among members of virtual teams is a serious challenge. Therefore, we think it pays to educate not only leaders but also potential team members about how to thrive in a virtual team environment. The study also indicates that first-level and middle managers tend to have fewer virtual leadership skills than senior managers and project managers.

 

About Donna J. Dennis, Ph.D.

Donna is a leadership development professional specializing in solutions for leaders working in virtual and remote teams. Earlier in her career, Donna worked for, Chubb and Son, Inc as well as other corporations   in various leadership development positions.   Donna’s teaching academia experience includes The Wharton Business School, the University of Pennsylvania and Rider University. 

 

New Level Partners (NLP), founded in 2001, specializes in training solutions for the Property and Casualty Insurance Industry. NLP designs, develops and delivers customized and interactive training programs, both instructor-led and web-based. A wide range of instructional design tools and technologies ensure NLP’s programs are the most interactive and effective on the market.

 

If you are interested in scheduling a webinar on Virtual Team Leadership, please contact aschroeder@newlevelpartners.com

While new hire season 2020 may look very different than 2019, new employees are still joining agencies every day.  We have connected with many hiring managers and new hires to learn what’s different about the onboarding process.  A lot is different especially when agencies’ employees are working from home or a smaller staff rotates in-office times.

Below are tips if you are hiring over the next 60 days:

  1. Number One Priority: Have A Plan!

This was always a proven strategy but now more than ever.  Map out the first three weeks day by day.  The first impression sets the stage for future expectations.  A schedule with a mission, timing and outcomes for each day will communicate how employees and teams are expected to perfect at your agency.

  • Arrange HR related requirements on their first day.
  • Schedule guest one-on-one speakers from the agency to talk about their role and the culture.
  • Set online learning assignments for completing a certain number of courses each day.
  • Organize all operations and procedural training that takes place remotely via zoom or webinar to be recorded. These can be terrific reference tools for the new hire. Finding the information they need when they need it, will build confidence.
  • Integrate report backs or quizzes. Accountability starts with the new hire sharing what they learned to encourage them to ask questions and learn more.
  1. “Before” Day One- Impression Matters!

Make your new hire feel welcome; create a plan. Nothing is worse then a new employee showing up for work and feeling lost. Here are some ways to make a great impression that first day:

  • Make them feel they are part of the team – introductions are a must – and virtual conference calls are perfect for this.
  • Send the new employee a welcome basket or a swag bag with your company marketing materials.
  • Schedule virtual lunches – not every day but sprinkle them in throughout.
  • Can you assign a different buddy for the first three weeks? (That’s only one per week.)
  • Rotate buddy assignments for the first three weeks.
  • Include them in staff meetings (and then ask them post-meeting to share questions with you).

3. Engage with the New Employee Daily.

As a leader, be sure to check-in daily – this can be a longer meeting on Monday morning to reset the plan for the week and then at lunch or end of day to discuss questions. Employees value leadership and guidance.  The first 90 days on a new job can be tense for the new employee – now more than ever.  Every connection and discussion will ease this tension and create a supportive onboarding process.

Need help with a training plan?  Please visit https://www.myagencycampus.com/ for more information.

We begin our journey with curious roots.  From our early years and along our lifetime, we learn something new every day.

  • It may be admiration for the beauty around us in our local community, state or country.
  • The wonderment as we watch advancements in health and technology including the conveniences within our own homes.
  • Reading news and mind-challenging articles or stories – no longer once-a-day paper delivery — but real-time throughout the seconds of every day.
  • Searching online for any “how-to” you need to discover – making pizza, decorating a room, fixing a lawn mower, DIY anything, etc.
  • Pursuing a degree through an online university, expanding skills as you grow in your role or completing a new certification – at anytime from anywhere.

There are an Abundance of Learning Opportunities!

New Year – New Goals – Learning Something NEW.  Self-driven learning should be part of every organization’s learning culture.

Among the most in demand business skills for 2020:  Persuasive Communication, Relationship Management and Time Management.  Visit  https://www.myagencycampus.com/  and share a business skills bundle with your team!

Let us help you with your 2020 Learning Journey.

According to PwC, the top three reasons (from a list of 12) that make an organization their employer of choice:

  1. Opportunities for Career Progression
  2. Competitive Wages/Financial Incentives
  3. Training and Development Programs

Learning and growth conversations don’t need to be long.  Having more – shorter discussions about career and goals will result in a greater connection to a positive result.  If you are aiming to grow and retain top talent in your agency, then individual conversations must be a priority.  Let’s stop waiting for the formal performance review event for this to happen.

The challenges of recruiting and retaining talent have plagued the agency / brokerage industry over the past two decades.  The cost of turnover at a minimum is 40% of the employee’s annual salary and takes a minimum of 42 days to replace the job.  In a tight employment market, both of these numbers will scale up much higher.

Training is more affordable and flexible to fit into budgets and the workday.  Visit https://www.myagencycampus.com/ for insurance basics, business skills and first time leader courses!

New hire season is here!  You put so much time in selecting the candidates, interviewing and proposing the offer.  It’s not done yet!  Next up…the real planning – their first day, week, month, three months etc.

  1. Day One- Impression Matters!

Make your new hire feel welcome; create a plan. Nothing is worse then a new employee showing up for work and feeling lost. Here are some ways to make a great impression that first day:

  • Make them feel they are part of the team – introductions are a must.
  • Leave them a welcome basket at their desk.
  • Schedule lunches for their first week.
  • Can you assign a different buddy for the first three weeks? (That’s only one per week.)
  • Include them in staff meetings (and then ask them post-meeting to share questions with you).
  1. A Training Plan for the First Month.

Next step is to have a training plan in place. Whether it’s online training, classroom training, or a combination of both, a plan will communicate your expectations and provide them with the opportunity to grow. Training will help immerse them in their new role and give them confidence to take on new tasks.

  1. Engage with the New Employee Daily.

As a leader, be sure to check-in daily – this can be a longer meeting on Monday morning to reset the plan for the week and then at lunch or end of day to discuss questions. Employees value leadership and guidance.  They want to know that they are on the right track. Giving them support and training will motivate them to succeed.

Need help with a training plan?  Please visit https://www.myagencycampus.com/for more information. 

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