Independent Insurance Agency Workplace Trends

In 2016 we fielded a lot of questions from employers regarding PTO, flex scheduling, and work hours in general.  As the talent pool shrinks, more employers are rethinking their traditional HR practices in order to attract the employees that they would like to hire.  It is clear that things are changing somewhat, with more employers offering different flex options with earlier or later start times.  A couple of agencies have offered a flex schedule option of a 4 day work week with extended hours.  We are seeing these options more often in order to accommodate daycare or school scheduling, as well as traffic patterns for those employees with a longer commute.  Sometimes an accommodation in this area can be effective with recruiting new employees. 

We do see options of working from home on a limited basis.  As a side note, we have seen employers in outlying areas set up for completely remote employees with varying levels of success depending upon the investment in IT , and identifying the employees that are self-disciplined and able to work autonomously.

With regard to PTO and work hours, we analyzed data on 31 independent agencies in south east Michigan.   The large majority of Michigan independent insurance agencies are using PTO time instead of separate vacation and sick days.  The average starting PTO for a new employee was approximately 15 days for the first full year.  After that time, the increases were seen primarily at 5-9 years with days increasing to an average of 19.  There were also increases at 10 years +, with varying schedules and “maximum” days.  Experienced employees who have built up to higher PTO are reluctant to lose that time when switching employers, so we do see some flexibility from employers in order to make a job offer that is accepted.

The average work day was approximately 8.5 hours, with 1 hour for a lunch period – so most of agencies have a 37.5 hour work week if the lunch period is deducted.  We have noted that there are a few agencies that have decided to reduce their hours by shortening the lunch period.  This seems to be something that most employees favor.