Doing the Right Thing
Doing the right thing was the key to unlocking employee happiness at EPG Insurance in Scottsdale, Ariz.
EPG, which recently changed its name and branding to accommodate a shorter form of Eaton-Provident Group, was voted by its employees for the Best Agency to Work For – Silver award for the West region in Insurance Journal’s annual survey.
It’s not the first time employees chose the firm as the best agency to work for. EPG earned the Gold award in 2016.
The firm, which ended 2017 with roughly $3.8 million in revenue and has roughly 23 employees and counting, earned high praise from those who took the survey for charitable giving as well as how the employees themselves feel they have been treated.
“I have been here for 16 years in October,” one employee wrote in the survey. “Throughout the years, we have grown by leaps and bounds professionally and technologically. Our agency takes pride in how it treats its employees, operates completely above board in all matters and is very community and charitable oriented.”
“I will stay here until I retire since there isn’t any place else I would rather work,” the employee added.
One of the charities employees called attention to is Free Wheelchair Mission, which solicits donations to build affordable wheelchairs and deliver them to those in need around the world. According to the World Health Organization, 70 million people are in need of a wheelchair but lack the resources to obtain one.
Jeff Schmidt, principal of EPG, and the other leaders of the firm made a pledge to employees during their annual state of agency meeting in March to donate the cost of a wheelchair to the charity for every new client signed.
Employees were inspired by that pledge, according to Schmidt.
“In the last six months, we’ve already donated 298 wheelchairs,” Schmidt said.
Code Red, an initiative by the Phoenix Rescue Mission that helps homeless people survive the area’s sweltering summers, is another of the numerous charities supported by the agency that employees called out.
“We have participated in Code Red through Phoenix Rescue Mission during the extreme heat of the summer,” one employee wrote. “So far, each year we have surpassed the previous years in collecting bottles of water and cash donations.”
The working environment at EPG was also mentioned by several employees.
EPG recently began allowing employees to work at home one or two days a week, according to Schmidt.
“Morale just went through the roof for whatever reason,” Schmidt said. “We saw productivity increase 10 to 15 percent when they’re working from home. Giving people that day one day a week or two days a week is just huge.”
Of course, fair pay also played a part in keeping employees happy.
“Salary reviews are given twice a year, and in most cases, people receive a pay increase,” one employee wrote. “We also pay all licensed employees 25 percent commission first year on anything they write (cross-sells included), so our pay tends to be above industry average.”
Another wrote: “They treat everyone in the organization as a family and that shows throughout with compensation, work-life balance, and culture.”
Schmidt summarized his feelings on the mindset that he now sees as pervasive throughout the firm and the morale building goals that he has for himself and employees going forward.
“We believe in doing the right thing no matter what the consequences are, and I think our employees see that,” he said. “If you do right thing, everything tends to work out.”