American Integrity Insurance, a successful residential property insurance firm based in Florida, has a core, foundational belief in a dedication to service to their employees, partners—and ultimately their policyholders. Corporate culture is an integral component of American Integrity’s differentiation in the marketplace, and one that has attributed to its rapid growth.
“We’re in a growth mode in an already competitive landscape for talent,” explained Angie Quinn, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for American Integrity Insurance. “How we source and retain employees is something that’s always top of mind for me. We need to continually explore how to keep our employees highly engaged. And we must keep that engagement level high, even when there may not be as many promotion opportunities available as preferred by the younger generations. We simply need to keep things fresh and interesting.”
To drive engagement, American Integrity invests in employee experiences that are typically not found elsewhere. A few examples:
- American Integrity’s employee participation program does not simply award branded coffee mugs or t-shirts. They offer unique experiences such as lunch with the department head of their choice or a job shadow for a day with an executive in another department.
- When the company received a business proposal about employee training in London, they selected this program even though a similar program was available domestically. Why? Because the organization’s cost/benefit analysis considered employee engagement and retention as a key factor in the selection process.
- Employees have a strong voice in the charitable programs where American Integrity Insurance chooses to participate. While there are some pre-determined charities, the company surveys team members to decide where to focus a percentage of their charitable contributions annually.
“Our culture is our #1 priority, and we believe that by investing in a culture of teamwork and focusing on our employees, we can instill a sense that they matter and have a voice in our organization,” stated Quinn. “If we can do that, we can keep our culture intact even as we grow.”
“We care about you not only as an employee, but as a person,” Quinn continued. “We want to share in your success and help you rally when there are challenges; whether at work or as part of your personal life. We’re always searching for how we can we invest in our employees and align our values. We want to focus on the intrinsic motivation driving our employees, so we can be the place where they want to come to work.”
ENTER THE JOHN MAXWELL COMPANY
This effort expanded to include The John Maxwell Company (TJMC) in 2012. The CEO of American Integrity Insurance, Robert Ritchie, engaged the company personally to do an onsite workshop for the C-suite covering TJMC’s 5 Levels of Leadership. After the success of this program, Ritchie asked Quinn to evaluate any additional opportunities with The John Maxwell Company that might benefit the insurance firm.
“After interviewing a few key members of the The John Maxwell Company, and knowing we were about to embark on such an aggressive growth strategy, we felt that TJMC would be fantastic partners in this effort,” shared Quinn. “They had the right message—a message where you invest in a person, not a program. They had a holistic approach where we could offer growth and development to each person at our organization with no regard to the position that employee held. I felt that this approach could help each employee invest in themselves as a person, not just an employee of American Integrity.”
THE JOHN MAXWELL COMPANY APPROACH
To boost intra-team communication within American Integrity and supercharge the level of employee engagement, a TJMC partner facilitates employee training sessions on an annual basis. While some sessions are mandatory, employees can also tailor a personal development plan to meet their needs. Quinn believes that working consistently with a regular partner helps to build a strong foundation to connect with employees, and that a facilitator who knows the company so well increases the credibility of the messaging through this consistency.
But another big differentiator is the dynamic ability to dovetail the messaging to the latest cultural and competitive evolutions that are happening within American Integrity Insurance at any moment. “This real-time application of the 5 Levels of Leadership helps our employees with the stickiness of what they learn,” explained Quinn.
FOLLOWING THE RIGHT PATH TO UNDERSTANDING TEAMMATES
The John Maxwell Company uses their unique RightPath Assessments to help employees understand their own behavioral tendencies and those of others, leading to improved team interactions and engagement. “These assessments help everyone to appreciate the diversity of style—diversity of person—of each individual to increase communication and teamwork as a whole,” stated Quinn. “The assessments show us how we act, how we communicate, and work to minimize team doubts by learning to understand and operate from someone else’s perspective. With our rapid growth, this gives us the ‘bounce’ we need to increase team effectiveness and continue to work collaboratively.”
Feedback from employees showed how the RightPath assessments provided not only professional, but personal revelations as well. When confronted with their own communication style they were able to make changes that affected not only their business interactions but also their relationships outside the office.
MAXWELL LEADERSHIP ASSESSMENTS AND BEYOND
American Integrity Insurance is utilizing Maxwell Leadership Assessments to provide an in-depth assessment that measures an individual’s influence, based on the Maxwell 5 Levels of Leadership methodology. This combines a self-assessment with feedback from peers, managers and other employees. It is powered by 64 different factors to enable leaders to accurately identify both areas of strength and opportunities for growth. Normally deployed for the c-suite, American Integrity Insurance is uniquely deploying these assessments for all of their employees.
But this business does not view their relationship with The John Maxwell Company as something that only occurs once a year, to be put away until the following year. “We see a measurable organizational lift when we get everyone going through the program in a close timeframe so that we’re all adapting to the same concepts and terminology together,” explained Quinn. “But then we put that advantage to work for the long-term benefit of everyone. When we’re not doing the formal event, during the rest of the year we rely on the informalness of the common foundation that we’ve created to keep moving forward as a group.”
“After five years, I can say with confidence that The John Maxwell Company has become an instrumental partner in our success by providing the tools for leadership to have a common language in growth and development,” Quinn continued. “It’s increased our ability to have more successful coaching sessions between our employees and our leaders. It’s also personally impacted many employees as individuals—and that aligns with our values as an organization.”
American Integrity Insurance employs a third party firm to survey their employees annually and gain feedback on the success of initiatives such as the programs provided by The John Maxwell Company. “The success shown in these surveys is measured 100% by the employee’s voice,” declared Quinn. “The surveys provide affirmation of our employee engagement efforts and the TJMC programs. TJMC training and tools have been mentioned every time in these surveys. Beyond that, when we see our employees relying on what they learned in their RightPath, or reviewing their Maxwell Leadership Assessment, this tells us that this is not something they are just putting on the shelf. They see this as a living, breathing development opportunity. And that to us is gold.”
But it’s not just Angie Quinn and her team who recognize the value of this approach. For the third time in four years, the company has been declared one of the Top 100 Workplaces by the Tampa Bay Times. It’s just another sign that the smart growth strategy deployed by American Integrity Insurance, a strategy that focuses squarely on employees as the foundation of its growth, will carry the company well into the future.