December 9, 2019

How to Build a Corporate Culture of Continuing Claims Education

How do insurance companies, adjusting outfits and TPA’s build a culture of continuing education within their organizations? Claim professionals must keep current on developments in law, medicine, negotiation, regulations, human relations, etc. There is a constant flow of new material to learn, to be aware of and to master.  This reality makes it imperative for companies to reinforce and so forth the notion of continuous improvement and education. Just saying it doesn’t make it so, however. How to build a culture of continuing education within a claims organization?  That is the challenge.

One key step is to make continuing education a component of annual employee performance reviews. Management gurus from Peter Drucker to Tom Peters say, “That which gets measured gets done.” Thus, if you want to get it done, measure it.  Assess the criteria used to evaluate employees. Does it include a yardstick for continuing professional education? Regardless of how much or however little weight you give it, include continuing education as one goalpost toward which employees must aim to meet acceptable performance standards or to advance.

Look at the criteria that your company uses to evaluate adjusters. Do they include a component for continuing professional education? If not, they should. Rectify this omission. In setting goals with your claims staff, include one perennial target of continuing education. This can take many forms and need not necessarily be oriented toward attaining a designation or attending an evening class. The point is that each claims staff should have an individual development plan that includes building their storehouse of subject matter knowledge and expertise.

Strive to conduct at least quarterly sit downs, one-on-one, with each of your reports. Do not leave this exchange to a once a year performance appraisal. As a claims “boss,” strive to mentor and coach your reports. This includes being a cheerleader for continuing education. More than just being a cheerleader, however, it involves holding people accountable for specific targets in the continuing education realm. Achieve consensus and buy-in with employees so that they understand the need for continuing education and they pick a means of continuing education that fits with their work demands and job content.

Once you and the employee agree on the continuing education target, follow-up periodically to assess progress and make attainment of that particular goal one component of the performance appraisal. There may be no better or quicker way to get the attention of employees than baking this criteria into the performance evaluation and review process.

Q:  What other ways have you found to be successful and effective in building a corporate culture of continuing professional education? Share your thoughts here or off-line at kevin@kevinquinley.com   

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