The phrase “building a culture” in a workplace has been tossed out so often when the topic of making a company a great place at which to work that it has become cliche.
But in the case of The Leavitt Group, there’s no avoiding it.
Employees at the Utah-based insurance firm voted it Insurance Journal’s Best Agency to Work For – Gold in the West.
In comments submitted with their nominations for the award, it word “culture” was impossible to miss.
“Our culture is phenomenal. It comes from our top leadership and trickles down throughout the organization,” one employee wrote. “A key value is integrity, but even more than that, it’s just a fantastic group of people who are a joy to be around. We try to hire people and acquire agencies that fit that culture.”
Mark Kenney, the secretary of Leavitt Group Enterprises, was asked about why he thought employees at the large firm with $214.9 million in total P/C revenue for 2020 put in the effort to nominate their firm as the best place to work. He, too, tossed out the “culture” word.
“We have a really strong culture of doing the right things for the right reasons,” he said.
Evidently, for the leaders at Leavitt, building a culture requires more than a set-it-and-forget-it mentality.
Over a year ago, the executives invited a consultant to come in and talk to employees to see how they were relating to the established company culture.
“What we found is that we had a really strong culture, but that the employees didn’t really understand it that well,” Kenney said.
Following that, the firm ramped up efforts to better communicate the culture to the rank and file employees, and also stepped up hosting fun events for workers to get to know each other and the executives.
The company in its recruiting has also taken an interesting path, going outside of insurance markets to find sales professionals in other professions who may be new to insurance — something Kenney also sees as culture building.
“We invite them to come and be part of the Leavitt Group insurance organization, and generally we are recruiting in areas where there’s already our agency presence, and we bring them in and give them the goals, tools and markets and leadership to help them be successful and learn to sell insurance,” he said. “We’ve found several young producers who have really thrived and are doing well.”
Culture wasn’t the only concept employees keyed in on. Inspiration was another theme in employee comments.
“The agency inspires the passion of the employees and allows us to use our talents. We are motivated by what we do and who we do it for,” an employee wrote. “The vison is to grow, nurture and apply our skills and knowledge in ways that enable us to produce excellence.”
Another Leavitt employee has been inspired by the firm’s culture to work well beyond the typical retirement age.
“This might seem minor, but it is the reason we retain employees, and it is the reason I am still working at age 71,” the employee wrote.
‘Our culture is phenomenal. It comes from our top leadership and trickles down throughout the organization.’
“Leavitt has a genuine family atmosphere even though it is a large agency that spans many states. The agency was started by Dixie Leavitt decades ago and he instilled a family atmosphere and we have retained it even as we grew to a multistate firm. Corporate profits are not what drives us. Helping others is what drives us. We truly care about our customers and employees.”
One employee shared a story of two coworkers who left Leavitt for better money and new opportunities.
“In the last month both have returned to the agency for their jobs back,” the employee wrote. “One stated that she feels like she’s back home here. The other said, ‘The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.’ I think this speaks a lot about our agency and the relationships we create with employees. We care about our staff, professionally and personally, and they see that.”
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