ductivity and degrades customer service.
It also is expensive, draining time (and
maybe “headhunter” fees) starting the
recruitment process anew. Stack the deck
in your favor by being thoughtful and
thorough in bringing new hires into your
What are best practices in integrating
new claim hires? Alan Hardin is a workers’ compensation claims specialist with
Assurance Resources Inc. in Houston,
Texas. Here, he offers his perspective on
1. Roll out the red carpet
Do make a fuss. Prepare a sign at the
front of the office that says, “Welcome
Joe New Hire!” Have someone in his or
her department greet them as they walk
in the door. This greeter typically should
be a coworker, a boss, and/or mentor.
Remember the Training
Component of Onboarding
“A new claims person needs to be trained,” says Barry Zalma,
a lawyer and insurance fraud expert. “That means [he or she]
should receive training on contract law and torts; how to read
and interpret a policy of insurance; how to take a recorded
statement; how to read and understand medical reports;
how to determine damage to real property; how to repair an
automobile; and most importantly how to deal with people
“The modern trend of giving blank checks to new hires,
giving them the title ‘adjuster’and sending them out to handle
claims without training,” he cautions, “will make rich every
2. Prepare the right tools
Ensure the new claims professional
has a clean work station, with office supplies, a computer and a (comfortable)
chair that actually works. Be proactive.
Start the process weeks before the new
hire arrives. Claims managers should
not be scrambling around, late on a Friday afternoon, only then discovering the
new person needs a stapler, keyboard,
monitor, and so on. Also, make sure
each new hire has the appropriate IT
system access for necessary applications
and supporting software.
3. Provide “face time” with the
manager to set expectations
While it is vital that new hires meet
peers and direct reports, they should
also meet the higher-ups. Have the
manager welcome new employees and
discuss briefly with them what they can
expect for the first day and week.
4. Give a tour and make intro-
ductions to the claims staff
Show new adjusters around the office/
building. Introduce them to the team
they will be working with directly and
other key personnel. Be selective and
realistic here, though. Keep in mind
it does virtually no good to walk them
around and introduce them to 100 people in other departments because they
will simply not remember them anyway.
5. Give them time to set up
Avoid over-structuring time during
the first day on the job. Use the rest of
the morning to let the new addition to
the claims unit access the computer, set
up voicemail and email, as well as apply for any needed adjuster licenses.
Getting off to a good start offers no
guarantee that an adjuster will be a
successful hire for the long haul. It
does, however, stack the odds in your
favor (and his).
6. Treat them to lunch
Have a predetermined co-worker or
two take them to lunch. This gesture
makes a big difference. While it is fine
if the boss wants to take them to lunch,
often new hires in the claims department
feel less intimidated if they go to lunch
with peers, at least initially. Moreover,
having the company/manager pay or reimburse them for the meal is even better.
7. Don’t make them spend all
of their time reading manuals
Allow for unstructured time during the
first few days, but use part of the first days
and week to let the new claims hire read
company manuals, policies, best practices,
and so on. If the claims hire is a neophyte,
then break up the time by letting him or
her “job shadow” with others. Whatever
you do, though, refrain from having the
person sit at a desk for hours on end reading claims manuals and literature.
8. Send them home early
Have the manager sit down with the new
hire for an hour and a half before the day’s
end to recap the first day and identify any
questions. Then, let the employee go home
an hour early. Tell the person you look forward to seeing him or her tomorrow.
The key is to make newbies feel that, as
a company, you are glad they joined and
look forward to a long, productive relationship. Long hours and endless numbers of claims will come in due time. Being an adjuster is a tough job, so there is
no sense rushing them into it.
A Lasting Impression
Leslie Yates, AIC, is a senior claims
professional near Columbus, Ohio.