National Employee Benefits Company Reinforces Success with Leadership Toolkit for Independent Agents
Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company has a huge footprint across the U.S. employee benefits industry. A national leader with nearly 80 years of experience, the company serves more than 90,000 businesses and organizations and helps more than 3.8 million of America’s workers protect their families, their finances and their futures.
To reach new and existing customers across the country, Colonial Life relies on a trusted team of thousands of independent, contracted sales representatives and managers. The company provides extensive training, resources and tools to help these agents develop their own businesses and help drive Colonial Life’s continued success. A key component of this strategy is the Colonial Life Field Development Department, accountable for helping agents recruit and develop their own talent resources.
The department’s overriding philosophy is to provide individualized support based on what each agent needs to develop a leadership skill set.
“We don’t believe in cookie-cutter approaches,” said Jennifer Davis, assistant vice president, Field Management and Territory Development at Colonial Life. “We support all our sales team members based on their unique requirements, from brand new managers to those with decades of experience. Our goal is to provide ‘just in time training’ for all of our agents and focus on helping these entrepreneurs recruit, develop and coach their teams. We tell our agents, ‘You’re in business for yourself, not by yourself.’
The John Maxwell Company tailors program to fit specialized requirements
The Field Development Department supports agents through multiple avenues for leadership training and best practices, including curriculum, schools, incentives, recruiting, jobsite and social media training. To expand its capabilities and reach, the department evaluated external partners to support its leadership development programs.
“We looked at vendors who could provide leadership insights, with an external perspective, and free up our internal resources to focus on other work that required their expertise,” explained Davis. “The John Maxwell Company quickly rose to the top of my search, as they offered leadership fundamentals in an engaging, understandable format.”
“Our sales managers need to focus on developing their business and they have a lot of demands on their time,” she continued. “But they still need to recruit and develop others, so we wanted these concepts to be intuitive enough for them to absorb quickly and apply to their business. The John Maxwell Company delivered on that goal.”
Colonial Life refined its professional development initiatives into achievable milestones. Once agents reach a milestone, they’re invited to schools match their level of experience and achievements. Five levels of schools are available to the highest performers at Colonial Life. “We’ve found that work ethic is a critical factor for our agents’ success in this business,” said Davis.
The John Maxwell Company results are proven and measurable
The John Maxwell Company School is provided three times a year as a key component of Colonial Life’s broader training strategy. A trainer comes in person to the location selected by Colonial Life to teach The John Maxwell Company’s 5 Levels of Leadership.
“We receive overwhelmingly positive feedback from agents coming out of our schools, including the John Maxwell training,” Davis said.
In fact, a recent survey of participants found that while none of the students would rate their confidence and motivation in applying leadership skills as “excellent” before Colonial Life’s schools, the figure skyrocketed to over 68% once the session was complete. More than 89% of the respondents also felt that they could act on the insights learned during the program immediately as a direct payoff of the applied leadership program.
“One to two months after the schools, I look to see if agents apply what they learned,” Davis said. “I can definitely see correlation between our training programs and the impact on the leadership abilities of our agent community.”