There were roughly 25 people promoted at Morris & Garritano (M&G) last year. That means the odds weren’t too long for being one of the firm’s 125 employees who got a leg up. And last year was no anomaly.
“That’s regular for us,” said Kerry Morris, chief operating officer.
A good chance for advancement was among the many reasons employees at the San Luis Obispo, Calif.-based firm nominated it for Insurance Journal’s Best Agency to Work For award. Morris & Garritano was awarded Silver in the West.
The agency, which reports just over $20 million in annual revenue, has clients ranging from corporations stretched across the nation to small businesses with complex exposures.
Morris said that keeping workers happy is a key part of the management philosophy, and in return managers ask that employees embrace five core values: Do the right thing; love what you do; always be improving; go the extra mile; and build collaborative relationships.
The idea, Morris said, is to provide a good work environment and growth opportunities, so employees can in turn provide the best experience for clients.
“We genuinely care, and we genuinely emphasize culture and a positive work environment,” she said. “We want to see employees grow personally and professionally.”
Employees echoed those sentiments.
Listing reasons the firm is great to work for, one employee wrote, “First, the positive culture that senior management has instilled in the agency permeates throughout and allows everyone to be their own person while working hard and getting the job done. Secondly, the professionalism at which the agency conducts our business.”
The culture at M&G is one that acknowledges customers come first, the employee said.
“Do the right thing, go the extra mile, love what you do, always be improving and build collaborative relationships is the heart of our mission and core values and makes us who we are,” the employee wrote.
Other employees liked that management hears and heeds their ideas and opinions.
“Everyone is treated as an equal from day one in the agency,” one employee wrote. “Our opinions are solicited in regard to changes in the agency, our departments and our team so that there is 100% buy-in for new procedures or changes to existing ones.”
Another employee at first didn’t start working well at M&G. But a slow start didn’t seem to make a big difference to supportive managers.
“During my first year of employment I was struggling with my role while I developed my attention to detail,” the employee wrote. “I was placed on a performance improvement plan, which is usually what a company does when they let someone go. I had several of my managers/supervisors go out of their way to make sure I succeeded, and I did just that.”
The employee worked with a trainer to eliminate errors and now is in a successful new sales role with the agency. “I am so thankful that the company truly wants each employee to succeed, and management is more than willing to make adjustments for different learning styles,” the employee said.
Morris said she’s most proud of two employee initiatives, which place an emphasis on training and development, and on achieving a work-life balance. “We adopted a really flexible work schedule this last year,” she said. “At any given time, we have 40 percent of our employees working remotely.”
The flexible policy, of course, went over well.
“We just had our annual employee appreciation party and they paid for 18 of us (remote employees) to come visit for a week,” the employee wrote. “Not only are we allowed to work remote (out of state), M&G has many employees working part time from the office and part time from their home. Additionally, if we have doctor’s appointments, meetings with our kids’ teachers, family events, you name it, we have the flexibility to work our eight hours as we see fit. We are not even required to notify our immediate supervisor if we are coming in an hour late or leaving at 4 p.m. How awesome is that?”
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