Preparing to head on vacation? Get your business ready.

Motivating employees to cover for each other and complete work ahead of time will lead to better experiences for clients

Taking a vacation should mean time to relax and a break from the day-to-day grind of running a business.  However, if you haven’t delegated your workload properly, you might spend more time thinking about your clients than the sun and sand.

Margaret McQueen, a partner and owner at Action Insurance in St. John’s, has three tips to help business run smoothly as brokers prepare to take their holidays:

1. Emphasize teamwork

If a broker is going on vacation, McQueen suggests designating a colleague to be a temporary point person for the broker’s clients. ”I don’t want to see anyone left behind, because there’s no fun going on vacation and coming back and you’re bombarded,” says McQueen. “Things haven’t been taken care of [and] then you’re working overtime and coming in early. You’ve almost been punished for taking the time off.”

If the vacationing broker has a colleague act as a back-up,  the client’s emails won’t go unanswered for the duration of the holiday. Before the broker takes a holiday, though, he or she must ensure work is up to date. Brokers who are leaving the office for an extended period should be working ahead of time for renewals and new business to ensure they are not leaving too much for their coworkers to do, suggests McQueen.

2. Inform clients of your vacation

Brokers, remember your out-of-office email notifications. “There’s nothing worse than sending an email and you’re waiting and no one’s getting back to you then you call in and hear ‘oh, [the broker is] on vacation,'” says McQueen.

2. Show employee appreciation

Motivating employees to complete their work before vacation or cover for their colleagues rests on feeling appreciated. “Knowing they’re valued, [employees] will go the extra mile. If they are going on vacation, they don’t mind making sure everything is up to snuff before they go. We have had events [for the purpose of] employee appreciation. I think they recognize that and feel valued and don’t mind giving back when they’re called upon. So, it’s a give and take,” McQueen says.

For example, in March, McQueen’s team went to a resort in March to get to know each other. “We did a bunch of team-building exercises. The team then is more cohesive and strong [and] they don’t mind if you ask them [to cover for you].”

Another way to appreciate employees is to ensure that the person who creates a new business opportunity is recognized for his or her effort, even if the client is then passed on to a different colleague. If the person goes on vacation and the client comes in and somebody else has to deal with it, “it’s an unwritten rule” that the person who sourced the opportunity gets the credit as they were responsible for earning the business, says McQueen.

“If it started with you it ends with you,” she adds.

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