By: Patricia Champagne, Senior Program Manager
What is there to know? Who knows what? And how can we share our knowledge across all associates? All good questions, and finding answers is the key to sustaining your insurance organization’s growth.
Often an experienced team can run very well for a long period, efficiently managing the work “just in time.” Like a well-trained relay team, the cadence of handoffs becomes smoother as team members bring their respective strengths to the challenges faced. Behind the scenes, you may find that your once nimble, cross-functional team is facing an ominous reality, the team is beginning to silo in their thinking, in performing their roles, and in their understanding of the overall mission. This realization may not show itself until an experienced associate signals an intention to move on, or worse yet, simply leaves the organization, taking their vast store of knowledge with them. It’s like an experienced relay team showing up for a race missing one of its runners – they can’t even compete, much less win. What can be done to ensure your organization is adequately prepared for this scenario?
Here are eight steps to keep your insurance organization immune from such a fate:
1. Commission a thorough examination of what there is to know about what you do, creating a knowledge universe; this will likely show that there is much more to know than what has been captured in documents such as run books or handbooks.
2. Interview each team member as to their degree of understanding of each element in the universe, asking each to indicate whom they see as the ‘resident expert.’
3. Determine which team member is most grounded in each of the knowledge elements and task that individual to ‘own’ a presentation on the subject.
4. Schedule sessions which all members are required to attend, creating a syllabus for each session and asking each ‘expert’ to produce and present the information- then record the audio and video of the sessions.
5. Create a library within the team’s shared network structure to house a logical ordering of knowledge elements and the documentation applicable to each.
6. Survey the audience after each session for the ‘pace of play’ feedback, asking whether anything was missed and about the effectiveness of the presentation medium.
7. End the sessions with signoff from team members of each subject area, using a ‘final exam’ that is completed quickly enough as not to be ignored, yet is thorough enough to help understand if the information is absorbed.
8. Consider adding job sharing or job swapping programs.
Taking the time to invest in a structured transfer of knowledge will show each team member, there is a willingness to invest in their long-term success. The process will shed light on areas where the organization needs to reinforce its cross-functional mindset to its associates and will underscore the purpose of their collective work. By following these steps, your organization will:
• More thoroughly onboard new hires
• Effectively organize resource material
• Empower team members to share their knowledge
• Reinforce the mission
If your insurance organization is about to experience a knowledge loss, your new member onboarding is unstructured, or your teams are losing their cross-functional edge, NEOS can help. We have experienced professionals who have over 20 years of insurance industry knowledge coupled with hands-on experience tackling the most challenging projects. Let us quickly put a plan in place for your organization.