S4 EP39: Maintaining a cadence of acquisition, onboarding and connection – with Matt Rieck, Chief Human Resources Officer, Inszone Insurance Services

“We’ve had 115 acquisitions. That’s 115 individual small businesses who’ve become part of Inszone. How do you connect that? How do you make people feel like they’re part of one company? says Matt.

“We put this quarterly meeting in place where we have the whole C suite on and focus on three things, ‘Where are we at? Where are we going? And how are we going to get there?’

On the podcast this week, Matt talks about his accidental fall in to the insurance industry.

“It’s a little story about dumb luck. I saw an ad in the paper. I called and got an interview but went to the wrong place. They were in a hiring frenzy because they had just come to town. I ended up in the insurance department that settled total losses.”

He discusses feeling like the dumbest guy in the room whilst working for NASA and his love of organizational development.

Matt joined Inszone Insurance Services in June 2023 as Chief HR Officer. In January of that year, the business had a headcount of 220. By the end of the year, it was over 500.

Continuing on their acquisition of 50 insurance agencies per year, Matt is responsible for fostering an inclusive and collaborative work environment.

“In the next couple of years, we will be several thousand people. I was brought in to help usher through the next 2 to 3 years of incredible growth. To make all of these individual small businesses feel like one. To bring team members together.”

Matt explains the key to Inszone’s success being a three-legged stool approach. Employee culture, carrier relations and being client centric.

“Taking care of folks, Chris and Norm started another business in 2014 called Staff Boom. That business has 1500 employees. 350 are dedicated to Inszone, all the back-office functions and administration.  

The insurance agents can spend their time either selling or servicing the clients’ needs. It frees them up to have a decent work life balance.”

Matt highlights how Inszone create moments of connection and embed new insurance talent in to the business. 

“We call out everybody that’s a new acquisition and make sure that they feel welcomed. The cadence of doing that quarterly is really important.

If you’re not always talking about where the company is at and where it’s going, it, it disconnects people. They don’t feel like they’re part of something.”

Matt emphasizes the importance of management training within the Inszone culture.  

“Traditionally, owners pick the best widget maker. They’re the best at doing what they do, but might not have any idea how to manage people.

A business can really struggle they don’t have the skill set of how to communicate, solve conflict, motivate teams. Or how to drive results and make the business unit feel cohesive.

When I came into Inszone, I asked for a list of every manager we have in the company. I broke them up to groups and every single month we have management training. 78 people where we talk about best practices.”

Matt discusses insurance talent retention, employee recognition and creating a collaborative culture.

“Those moments of connection where a manager just lets people know that they care about them. Calling out good things. That form of employee recognition is missing in so many businesses. People will stay at a workplace where they’re treated well.

Most companies have no idea how much money it costs them when a great employee leaves and walks out the door with their institutional knowledge.”

When it comes to hiring high-performing insurance talent, Matt encourages leadership candidates to be real.

“Be yourself. Be transparent with your strengths and weaknesses.

I’ll use myself as an example. I love training and development. I love culture. I love organizational development. But if you need me to do spreadsheets all day, Math was never my strong point. If somebody says, ‘I just work too hard’, that always rubs me the wrong way. I want somebody to be real.”

Matt believes hiring for attitude is critical as well.

“We have a ‘no jerks’ policy. A lot of companies hire high performers that are not personable whatsoever. It’s a huge mistake. It will cost you great people leaving the organization.”

He finishes by clarifying what he looks for from an external insurance executive search partner.

“I want them to understand that we’re going to go at a speed that allows us to get the right fit. Being rushed means that you possibly select the wrong person. The right cadence is important.  Somebody that understands that I would much rather hire for attitude.”

Connect with Matt Rieck on LinkedIn or find out more about Inszone Insurance Services

The Insurance Coffee House Podcast is hosted by Nick Hoadley, CEO of Insurance Search.

We are a global Insurance Executive Search Consultancy, supporting Insurance and Insurtech businesses to attract and retain the very best insurance talent.

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