Thought Leadership

PurposeFULL Leadership: Be More in ‘24

January 10, 2024 | Brown & Brown Insurance | Thought Leadership

Be More in ‘24
by Julie Turpin, Chief People Officer at Brown & Brown Insurance

January — with its symbolic power to reset the calendar and our personal and professional trajectories — is the perfect canvas for transformation.

Many people take this time to set new goals, make plans and feel a sense of renewal. They ask themselves, “What do I want to do this year?”

It’s the wrong question. Instead, I ask myself, “Who do I want to be?”

Rather than resolutions, my New Year’s tradition is to select an annual theme or mantra for the year ahead. It’s a call to action, a guiding principle that will shape my identity and propel me toward becoming the person I aspire to be by the end of the year. I still make goals and plans for myself each quarter, but these are rooted in something bigger.

This year, my theme is succinct, rhythmic and powerful: Be more in ’24.

Don’t let its simplicity fool you. It’s not just a catchy phrase; it’s a mantra that will echo in every aspect of my life — work, home, relationships, health and personal growth. The essence of being is seeded in action. One’s identity is not a passive state but shaped and expressed through the choices we make and actions we take.

Just as I shape my personal identity through intentional actions, the world of work is undergoing its own transformation in 2024, and four key areas stand out where leaders must take action to ensure sustainable progress.

1. Brain health

At Brown & Brown, we use the term brain health rather than mental health, but the idea is the same: the well-being of our teammates.

Statistics from a Workforce Institute report paint a stark picture of the challenges employees face today. One in five global employees (20%) acknowledge that their job negatively impacts their brain health. This impact is even more pronounced among women versus men (23% and 16% respectively). At the end of a workday, 43% of employees find themselves “often” or “always” exhausted.

As leaders, we should care about these numbers because 78% of these employees admit that stress takes a toll on their work performance. As leaders, we should care because stress from work negatively impacts their home lives (71%), relationships (62%) and overall well-being (64%).

(Introducing Guest Speaker Susannah Cahalan, Author of Brain on Fire, at a Brown & Brown Teammate Event
Sponsored by Mental Health & The Power of She Teammate Resource Groups)

This interconnectedness between work and personal life underscores the need for a sharper focus on teammate capacity and an individual’s ability to manage and cope with the various demands of their lives. The uncertainties of today’s political, economic and global landscape only add to this tension. Promoting a culture of open communication, encouraging dialogues about well-being and actively listening to our teammates’ experiences will prove to be even more important as these dynamics evolve.

2. New leadership skills

While traditional leadership skills such as good communication, analytical and critical thinking, resourcefulness and vision all remain steadfast, today’s and tomorrow’s leaders must be less focused on task-oriented directives and more skilled at fostering holistic development.

We’re seeing a departure from the impersonal and transactional nature of leadership toward a more human-centric approach, where the emphasis is on empathy and understanding versus task oversight and performance metrics. Today’s leaders need to be compassionate, vulnerable and adept at connecting with their teams on a personal level.

This will also come into play beyond 2024, as an expected 50% of employees will need to be re-skilled by 2025 due to the evolving complexities of business. Leaders who can see beyond immediate needs and to the potential of their team members will be best suited to usher in the future of work.

(2023 Brown & Brown Women In Sales Summit – Learning & Growing Together)

3. Company culture

Company culture has been taking center stage for some time now, but it will only increase in importance this year.

(Following Cheetah Brown’s Hype Routine at the Brown & Brown Annual Sales Conclave)

Asking the right questions and collecting feedback is an indispensable aspect of cultivating a robust work culture. At Brown & Brown, our leaders don’t shy away from asking questions like, “Am I meeting your needs? If not, what would that look like for you?” This builds an environment of trust and transparency.

It’s common for companies to avoid such questions, fearing that asking implies a commitment to immediate action, often interpreted as financial. However, the reality is more nuanced. Sometimes, it’s about acknowledgment, making individuals feel heard, valued and understood, and how we as leaders respond.

For example, in 2023, we introduced fertility and adoption benefits in response to teammate concerns regarding their ability to take these routes due to high costs. Seeing pictures of our teammate’s children and hearing their stories was not just heartwarming but a testament to the profound impact thoughtful initiatives can have on your company’s culture.

4. Employee retention

It may seem like the Great Resignation is behind us, but an individual’s decision to leave is still largely attributed to the organization itself, with 52% of employees who quit their jobs reporting that the company could have done something to prevent it. Just because the job market is changing does not mean leaders can take their people for granted. It takes an average of 42 days to fill an open position in the U.S., costing between $2,792 and $4,425.

Harnessing the power of data is a key aspect of successful talent management. It’s not just about collecting data; it’s about utilizing it effectively. Brown & Brown is working on training our leaders to analyze performance and sentiment data to project retention trends within our teams. We then plan on using this analysis to guide decision-making in 2024.

Employee benefits are also crucial to both employee retention and attraction. Regular benchmarking against companies of varying sizes helps us stay at the forefront of creative and effective benefit offerings. It goes beyond the traditional medical plans; it’s about holistic well-being and telling our team members that their health matters, and we are committed to ensuring they have the support they need when facing health challenges. The rising cost of benefits is a challenge that continues into 2024, prompting us to explore innovative solutions to ensure our team’s well-being.

(The Importance of FUN in Teammate Well-Being! Corn Hole, Anyone?)

Don’t forget yourself

The only way to be more in ’24 is to embrace self-care.

As leaders, we often think our job is to focus solely on others, but we can only show up for others when we show up for ourselves first. Self-care forms the bedrock of our resilience and provides us with the strength and energy we need for the momentum we want to build in the new year. 💖


PurposeFULL Leadership
How Personal & Professional Growth Can Help You Lead A Fullfilled Life
by Julie Turpin, Chief People Officer at Brown & Brown Insurance

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