A Place of Respect and Gratitude

What makes a workplace a great?

Its employees, according to the president and cofounder of the Illinois agency Insurance Journal has named as the Gold Best Agency to Work For in the Midwest.

Acknowledging “how lucky we are to have the wonderful employees we do,” President Craig Concklin said the agency “strives to be an employer our staff can be proud of. Being nominated for this award shows me that our management team is succeeding in this goal. Our mission is to treat each employee with respect and understanding. We trust our staff to be capable professionals who can work with autonomy. We don’t micromanage, but instead offer an open door to anyone who needs assistance or has questions. Everyone’s opinions are valued.”

Management also lets employees know when they are on the right track. “If someone is going above and beyond they deserve to have that effort acknowledged and appreciated,” he said.

It’s an operational approach that Concklin’s employees praised over and over again in responses submitted to Insurance Journal’s 2018 Best Agencies to Work For survey. IJ’s “Best Agencies” awards are employee-driven, based on rankings and comments by survey respondents, and Concklin employees were effective advocates for their agency.

Concklin does have a specialty in hospitality businesses, including pizza delivery, but employees say it really delivers on the goal of treating everyone fairly and creating an atmosphere that is harmonious and pleasant.

They appreciate that theirs is a work environment where opinions are valued, that they have access to tools that allow them to grow professionally, that individuals are given leeway to perform their jobs in the way that best suits them, and that team members support and help each other out.

Throughout the survey, employees praised everything including performance reviews the agency’s “easy-going, pleasant environment,” the clearly communicated vision and goals set by management.

One employee wrote: “The performance review is first completed by the employee and then discussed with the employer based on the employee’s performance questionnaire. It’s a very fair, low-stress process.” Another employee said, “Everyone here is very supportive and helpful to each other. When you ask for something they deliver … sometimes, even if you don’t ask they figure out what you need and provide a solution.”

The “agency is wonderful to its employees and the knowledge the owner and producers have is incredible They treat everyone like a family member, pay very well and are more flexible than any other agency I have worked for,” wrote another employee.

Craig Concklin, who started the firm with his father in 1993, sad, “it’s always been a family company.” While working relationships at the agency may be family like, he recognizes employees also live in a world beyond the workplace. “We understand our staff has lives and families outside the office, and sometimes these lives intrude upon the work day. Therefore, we attempt to be as flexible with staff hours as we can be.”

As to advice he might give other employers striving to make their agencies a best place to work, Craig Concklin offered: “Be grateful for your staff and let your gratitude show.”