Different in All the Right Ways

Always do what’s best for the customer.

That’s one of the guiding principles at Schaumburg, Ill.-based DSP Insurance Services that employees cited over and over again in 2020 Insurance Journal’s Best Agencies to Work For survey as a reason why they think their agency is the cream of the crop.

DSP’s employees like the fact that the agency’s leadership considers them valuable assets. They like that colleagues actively help and support one another, that there’s a clear perpetuation strategy, and that management seeks out staff input when making changes and decisions on the paths the agency will take going forward.

For those reasons and many more, DSP’s employees promoted their workplace — which has 75 employees and annual revenues of between $11 million and $25 million — as being one of the finest, leading to the agency’s selection as the 2020 Silver Best Agency to Work For in the Midwest.

DSP employees enjoyed helping build a Habitat for Humanity house.

“DSP is different in all the right ways. Employees enjoy being around one another, and actively go out of their way to help each other. When someone is out sick, on vacation or needs an extra hand, DSP employees are ready to step in and help. DSP also understands that we always do what is in the best interest of the customer, and everyone lives and works by that principle. This makes DSP an incredible company to work for,” wrote one survey respondent.

Another employee wrote that the “agency always takes time to make decisions on policies and procedures. It seeks and utilizes employee input and participation in the decision process. When warranted outside expertise is utilized as part of the decision process. The current COVID situation is a good example. All decisions on protocols and policies have been researched to be in compliance with COVID laws and any decisions made on company protocols and procedures err to the side of caution to protect the employees.”

Still another noted that while DSP has “undergone dramatic changes” and has had “exponential growth in personnel and industry penetration” over the past several years, it has never waivered from its “two basic premises: (1) That we are first and foremost a service company and the customer is always the highest priority and (2) The most valuable asset of the agency is its employees.”

An agency initiative to review and track each employee’s career path earned praise from a respondent, who wrote: “In getting to know each individual’s career goals, the agency is creating an environment to open up opportunity to those who wish to advance into different positions. The agency also has an education committee and budget for any coursework insurance related or not to advance the employee skillset.”

DSP colleagues also lauded the personal attention paid to them by the agency’s management. “I don’t think there has ever been a time where I’ve crossed paths with the president of the agency where he has not emphasized how much he appreciates me and the work I do for the agency,” one employee said.

In an email to Insurance Journal, DSP President Steve Webster underscored employee comments, stating that the agency’s leadership is “humbled by our employees’ nomination and very proud of them and our culture. By supporting our people, we feel it translates to a great customer experience as well as work experience.”

Webster said the teamwork employees embrace is part of the agency’s core values. DSP’s employees are what makes it special, he added. “They care. It’s not just a job, it’s a profession,” for them.

To other agency owners with an interest in becoming an employer of choice, Webster advised: “Never stop looking to improve, learn and grow and most of all … empower those around you.”

For instance, he said, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, employees had been working from home “so we were already set up for remote work. It has really paid off. We try to keep connecting with them in various ways and are looking for new ways to try to do that in the future.”

That philosophy clearly works, as one employee on the verge of retirement after 44 years in the insurance industry commented: “I feel fortunate that when I retire in two years that I can say it will be from a job that I truly enjoy. And, I can also say that it might be the best one I have had, which makes retirement much more rewarding.”