Throughout my experience within the sphere of worker’s compensation, I have found that the most important asset any given company has is a team that cares, not just one that works well together. I am not talking about clichés:

“Oh yeah, I love my operations team, they’re so sweet”

“Our sales team is wonderful, they’re always so polite”

Or the president of the company saying “everyone is integral to our success, especially (you) for all the hard work and dedication I saw this week”
I am talking about the genuine connections between individuals. We have all seen the prior, but have you experienced REAL connection with your colleagues, supervisors, or the ever-intimidating top brass?

Too often we get trapped in doing our best to maintain work/home life balance. It is even harder now that most of us are working out of our kitchens and dining rooms. The return to the office continues to push further and further out if ever we return to our cubicles. What we fail to realize is that our lives ALWAYS overlapped, and ALWAYS will. No one wants to take home problems from work, but when your 9-5 is filled with the emotional turmoil of someone else’s health and lifestyle, how do you not bring it home? I know there have been many days my wife looked at me the minute I walked in the door and knew right away I spent the last hours of my Friday trying to help an electric line worker make sense of losing his left hand on the job.

As silly as it sounds, it took me losing our first family pup, to realize how much my team means to me. The same day that I was asked to introduce new marketing ideas on our weekly conference call was the day she died. Before the call, I had to discuss with leadership my plan of action for the next few weeks. I don’t remember much, but I do remember being asked “..are you sure you’re ok?”. Normally I would have bottled up the bad and said, “oh yeah, just tired” or “…was just up late with the kids, no worries” but I was honest. The response surprised me.

The president of the company said, “I can make the announcement if you want”. Not wanting to show weakness over losing a pet, I insisted that I would do it as it was part of my job. He left it alone.

I made it to 12:30pm. Dialing in on time, I “smiled” on the phone in the most chipper voice I could muster and let everyone know we were ready to introduce Central Comp to the world wide web. “WE” were ready. I wasn’t. No one on the team knew the difference. I spent the rest of the day asking myself if anyone picked up on the sadness. So, I decided to call someone that I’d worked with for years who happened to be on the call.

I started the call like normal, “Hey how’s your day? Are you busy? I can let you go; I was just checking in”. We all do it. We talk to cashiers, waiters, even friends the same way most of the time. Then I broke the typical niceties with, “So did I sound ok on the phone”. Her response surprised me. She asked, “Are you sure you’re ok?”. I was tempted to just say yes but told her what happened. She did the same thing as our president. She gave me the usual sympathies and then she left it alone.

But, It didn’t stop there. The next day, BOTH called me. BOTH checked in. BOTH genuinely cared about something trivial to their own lives, but important to mine. They were there to talk. They were there to listen. “WE” mattered to them. I was not on my own just because it wasn’t related to work. Come to find out, another team member was dealing with a similar instance within her own home. Her family lost one of two kittens they had just adopted. Normally she and I would have talked for 10 minutes about work and moved on, but the mutual sympathy kept us on the line for an hour. Neither of us were happy about our current pet situation, but “WE” were ready to push forward past the sadness and make great things happen.

You see, our lives will never stop overlapping. Even our claimants know what it feels like to experience love, loss, and, ultimately, life. I remember getting voicemails from claimants after my kids were born congratulating me. Near strangers just trying their best to make a connection. They’re also part of the “WE” that, I believe, is the most important part of working in this industry. Simple words of kindness congratulations and sympathy can make the difference to anyone, not just claimants. Your “customer service” doesn’t have to be a job, it can be an extension of yourself and is a large part of just being human.

With that, I challenge you to approach the word “WE” the same way we do here at CentralComp. Not just at the office, but in every aspect of your life. Make that phone call to a friend you are always putting off, send that birthday card to grandma, but most importantly, let people know YOU care. By doing so, you will feel like you made a difference – because you did. You will become part of the “WE” too but on a global scale.

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