December 14, 2019

Claims Management Tip: Greet Each of Your Reports Each Morning …

Whether you are a claims manager, supervisor or Executive Vice President, make a point to say “Good morning!” to each of your reports every workday. It is tempting to make a beeline to your office, boot up the computer and close the door. You have work to do! You have tons of projects and deadlines. You want to dispense with your real work before you turn your attention to your staff.  Your staff is important, so maybe you will check in and mingle with them after you get some work done.  Right?

Well, maybe not.

As a manager, your effectiveness, however, is measured by what you can get done through the efforts of others. We have all heard the phrase, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Saying “Good morning” each day to reports is a small way of showing them that you care about them as people.

You can’t fake it.  People will sense fakery.  Don’t approach it as though you are running through a checklist.  It need not be anything elaborate or detailed, but it must be personal and heartfelt.  Open-ended questions work well to invite feedback and comments from the claim staff.  Examples:

“How are you doing today?”

“How’s that big claim I heard about?”

“What are we seeing in terms of claim trends?”

“Are you hanging in there with the workload/”

“Anything you need me for today?”

In his book, In Search of Excellence, management author and guru Tom Peters shifts the focus from having an MBA to extolling the virtues of MBWA — “management by wandering around.” The morning greeting to your claims staff is part and parcel of this. The broader issue is not holing up or sequestering yourself from your claims staff.   Many managers espouse an open door policy.

In practice, though, many send subtle or not-so-subtle messages that the staff should stay away. Claim adjusters do not enjoy working for standoffish bosses. That does not mean to gravitate to the other extreme and become a micromanager, either. There is a happy medium. You cannot fake a concern for other people. Adjusters will see through that quickly.

There are four reasons why you should do strive to do a morning greeting to each one of your claims staff:

1. It boosts morale. People feel better about their jobs if they feel that their boss notices them.

2. It gives you a heads up about problems brewing and stewing in the claim department.

3.  It helps you keep your finger on the pulse of the claim department.

4.  It pays dividends by showing your staff that people come first, above projects. In fact, you cannot complete unaccomplished projects without the efforts of your people.

Obviously, there’ll be situations where this is impractical. Perhaps people are traveling or out of the office for any number of reasons. You don’t need to hunt people down when they’re in the restroom.  Nevertheless, as a best practice claims management discipline, strive to say hello engage with each member of your team every day. It is time well spent and invested. It will yield dividends in terms of staff morale. You can’t e-mail it in. You can’t leave a voice-mail. These high-tech tools do not lend themselves well to personal warmth.  It doesn’t have the same texture.

You can have the claims equivalent of a PhD but, if you cannot relate your staff as people and show that you appreciate them and recognize them, they’re not going to work hard for you. So, to boost your effectiveness as a claims manager or supervisor, greet each one of the reports personally in the morning.

What other office “start of day” habits or rituals have you found get the claims staff off on the right foot for the workday?

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