When it comes to investing in employees and creating a positive work environment, John Ritenour has been leading the way for more than 30 years. John Ritenour launched Insurance Office of America (IOA) in 1988 with his wife, ValliRitenour, and acted as its CEO until his recent retirement. He was among the first leaders in the insurance industry to make his agents independent business owners. With unlimited income potential and support from IOA, the agents exceeded his initial expectations.
The experience of providing employees with more freedom and a healthier work-life balance was almost a foreign concept 33 years ago. John Ritenour knew this from experience, having worked in the insurance industry since the mid-1970s. Although he was an extremely successful sales agent and won many awards, Ritenour often felt held back by unrealistic pressure and expectations from management.
John Ritenour first became an entrepreneur in the early 1980s when he and his wife opened Ritenour Insurance. Desiring to move to Florida, they sold that business and opened the Insurance Office of Florida, which later became the Insurance Office of America. Upon his retirement and after nearly four decades in the insurance agency, Ritenour recently reflected on the benefits of prioritizing a healthy work environment.
The first benefit of creating a positive and motivating work experience is that employees are less likely to resign, saving companies significant money. As the Gallup Poll reports, turnover costs employers from 50 to 200 percent of the salary of each employee who resigns. The money required to recruit, hire, and onboard employee replacements come directly from a company’s bottom line.
Entrepreneur John Ritenour has seen the impact of a strict, authoritarian work environment for himself. The result is a lack of creativity and hesitancy to share new ideas. People tend to be their most efficient and creative when working in an intellectually stimulating environment with plenty of resources and flexibility. He set out to do the opposite of what he witnessed with both Ritenour Insurance and IOA.
Improved productivity is another benefit of creating a healthy work environment in the insurance industry. Ritenour has worked with managers who only saw higher sales commissions as an expense to avoid. They did not realize that greater motivation to earn more commission also meant higher profits for the company. People who receive the same pay and recognition as everyone else despite performance will not go out of their way to be as productive as possible.
Lastly, having a good reputation as an employer means that employees will recommend the company to their associates. Happy employees produce happy customers because they enjoy their work and feel appreciated.
Although John Ritenour is now retired, his methods of investing in employees have not left the company. Heath Ritenour, John and Valli’s son, now serves as company CEO and has committed to carrying on his father’s work. People who receive the same pay and recognition as everyone else despite performance will not go out of their way to be as productive as possible.
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