By Larry Brinton, Jr., Chief Sales Officer, accūrō Solutions
Connecting with old friends and making new acquaintances are some of the perks of attending workers’ comp conferences. When cruising the exhibit halls, we frequently see the same people – year in and year out – often sporting new logos on their shirts. In-person events enable us to meet with clients, reconnect with former coworkers, and foster long-term professional relationships that often evolve into close friendships.
Of course, the pandemic rocked the world of conferences in 2020 and 2021. It also revolutionized views about the workplace.
Forced to work from home, some people found they preferred this to going into an office. Statistics from the United Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics show that more than 70% of healthcare executives expect to continue some form of hybrid or remote work. As a result of the growing remote work models, some companies are migrating to online training models, reducing commutes and subsidizing the cost of setting up robust work-from-home arrangements.
Pandemic-driven changes combined with Millennial and Gen-Z tendencies to prefer remote and flexible schedules has radically changed corporate cultures. Terms never contemplated pre-pandemic, such as “remote workforce,” “work-life balance,” and “virtual companies” entered the recruiting lexicon.
Also influencing corporate culture is the fact that workers’ comp professionals are aging out of the industry. America’s population is getting older. By 2030 when the last of the Baby Boomers turn 65, there will be more Americans who are over 65 than those who are under the age of 18, according to the US Census Bureau.
These changes on the horizon underscore the importance of how companies recruit and keep young people in the industry and maintain corporate cultures. When starting a new workers’ comp medical bill review company, our group recognized the need to bring on young employees with fresh, new ideas. Experience was not the issue; the group has 150 years of combined experience.
The issue is how do we preserve our culture as we adjust to a post-pandemic working style? How do we recruit and retain young talent, cultivate their creativity, and support their contributions while also transferring the knowledge and experience our industry veterans have acquired? And how do we ensure the infusion of younger employees without upsetting the company’s culture? Keep in mind that we eventually will need to turn our industry over to the “online generation.”
The workers’ compensation industry is extremely relationship oriented. Perhaps this is because it’s relatively small and difficult to understand. Once a person learns its nuances, they tend not to leave this industry. That’s why we see the same cast of characters at conferences.
Success comes from cultivating relationships with clients, prospects, and colleagues in the industry. And these relationships typically start and flourish with face-to-face interaction. Work-related conversations tend to flow into interpersonal communication, i.e., life-centric versus career-centric topics.
While the younger generations are said to want work-life balance, Zoom meetings are not generally conducive to personal conversations. Participants can end up forming artificial, impersonal ties to their clients and coworkers. Younger colleagues need to understand what has worked in the industry and value the relationship focus as they enter it. As leaders, we can adopt the following practices to ensure that post-pandemic workstyles do not impede connections.
- When possible, encourage face-to-face interactions, both externally and internally. While venues may change, don’t let in-person conversations be pushed to the wayside. Introduce your employees to the connections you have made and nurtured over the years. These connections were built the traditional way, and hopefully young employees see examples set by leaders embrace them.
- Be conscious of young employees’ focus on work-life balance. Do not discount this need; instead encourage compromise. A hybrid work schedule, in my opinion, is superior to 100% remote. If a routine, hybrid schedule is not possible, schedule regular opportunities for in-person meetings.
As in-person workplaces diminish, instilling corporate culture will prove more challenging. When everyone worked in an office environment, new employees could see the corporate culture firsthand—how can we impart it through a screen?
Here are some ways to help new employees merge into your company culture:
- Communication is key. Hold regular meetings that include the entire team. Encourage people to collaborate with one another. Maintaining a constant connection will help new remote workers integrate into the company culture.
- Although tools are great for making communication simple and creating the environment in which working with remote workers feels more natural, nothing can ever beat face time. This will help with establishing trust, building connections, and celebrating small and big accomplishments.
- Do not forget to let employees know when they do a good job. Remote workers often slip through the cracks as they aren’t physically present. They’ll feel included in the team and the company’s culture and their performances will rise.
Leadership by both company executives and team leaders should be the example for all employees. If you show appreciation and create a feeling of inclusion towards remote workers, the rest of the team will do the same. Collaborate and engage with the employees that aren’t physically there and it will become a part of the culture of your company. And that’s exactly what you want to achieve.
About Larry Brinton, Jr.
Larry Brinton, Jr. is the Chief Sales Officer for accūrō Solutions. He has worked in the workers’ compensation arena for well over 30 years. Brinton, Jr. is an expert in governmental presence within the workers’ compensation industry, having previously worked as the Director of Workers’ Compensation for the Tennessee Department of Labor. After leaving the Department of Labor, he became became the Chief Operating Officer for Medical Bill Audits, Inc. and President of Prime Health Services, Inc. until 2006. From 2006-2021, he served as a Senior Vice-President with both MCMC LLC and York then a short time with Sedgwick. Larry is known for the relationships he holds in this industry and executing solutions that create business growth. He is based out of Brentwood, Tennessee.
About accūrō Solutions
accūrō Solutions provides complete and transparent bill processing technology and services to drive the workflow from the mailroom, through medical bill review and provider payment for companies in the property and casualty insurance industry. Built –instead of bought–in 2020, the company holds a national presence and services all fifty states. More information can be found at www.accurosolutions.com.