Interview with Jay Falconio
Fostering an environment where employees feel supported and push themselves to new levels is vital to creating a stable, high-performance workplace.
Jay Falconio, operations manager at Remco Insurance Services in Southampton, Pennsylvania, explains how leaders can be consistent in their messaging and define clear expectations and shares his company’s approach to maintaining a positive yet high-performing culture.
How do you help your employees reach their full potential?
Our philosophy is that each agent is a captive agent, meaning they create their own niche business by representing just a few product lines. It allows them to remain focused, stay in their lane, and perfect their craft. In addition, to better serve our agents and their clients, we offer workshops and periodically invite insurance brokerages to conduct a lunch-and-learn to share new or updated product lines.
What does an encouraging team-based environment look like?
Since the pandemic began, several agents have chosen to work remotely or have adopted a flextime schedule, while others come into the office two to three days a week. To maintain a healthy culture and keep morale high, we have monthly meetings to bring everyone together. Although it’s a time to socialize and build relationships, we also make it a productive environment. This includes masterminding as a group on ways to increase productivity and share networking successes.
We also advocate a pipeline management system where our agents volunteer to share their client lists; tapping into each other’s pipelines allows them to crosssell. For example, one of our agents became a top performer due to her husband’s connections from his former career as a long-haul truck driver. As a result, she has built a book of business by focusing only on truckers’ insurance needs. Each agent in the office knows this is her wheelhouse, so she receives all in-house referrals relating to this industry. The ability to share leads is a better use of company resources and has also proven successful in building a team environment.
What are some ways leaders can foster high performance?
Our leadership sets measurable expectations and standards for each agent based on their product lines. These metrics help pave the way for them to achieve their goals as a high performer. If an agent is having difficulty, we implement an action plan by setting up clearly defined goals and holding them accountable to completing the necessary steps. We also provide resources and tools to self-educate and will offer a paid sales coach.
What techniques do you use to ensure you’re hiring employees who will embrace the company culture?
At a recent Remco hiring event, we interviewed hundreds of individuals and had to select eleven or twelve prospective agents. During the interviewing process, we had multiple rounds of interviews and made sure we were asking questions specific to our company culture and expectations. But the event wasn’t just about the interviews; it was also about putting a bunch of like-minded individuals under one roof and observing how they interacted with one another.
How do you integrate work-life balance into your culture?
Our agents dedicate themselves to delivering exceptional customer service and meeting their financial goals while also achieving a work-life balance, and we wholeheartedly encourage that. Many of our team members are in the younger demographic and are at a stage where they want to get married, buy a house, and start a family. Fostering a work-life balance enables them to enjoy life and pursue other dreams outside of work.
How do you balance accountability with autonomy in the workplace?
We believe giving our agents independence in the workplace does not make them unproductive employees who will take advantage of this flexibility but ones who will rise to the occasion when necessary. In fact, we have agents who will work some Saturdays and Sundays to follow up on their weekend sales calls, going above and beyond the call of duty to get the job done. In addition, technology allows our agents to manage their business at any time of the day or night. It keeps the lines of communication open. For example, one of our employees was out of the country for a few months for personal reasons, yet she didn’t miss a beat in her work because she had implemented specific technology systems into her business to achieve a work-life balance.
What is Remco’s management philosophy, and how does this translate into a high-performance work environment?
We’re not your average insurance agency. Rather than promoting a divisive environment, we encourage unity, teamwork, and the nurturing of agentto- agent relationships by building their inhouse referral partners. This creates a highperforming work environment where agents stay motivated and are committed to achieving their individual goals. We also do not believe in micromanaging― you need to create an atmosphere of trust and respect. Finally, we do not take anyone for granted; it is essential to acknowledge how much you appreciate your employees year in and year out.