Hurricane Staffing Expert
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8 Practical Tips to Prepare For A Hurricane
The South's Hurricane Staffing Expert
After spending over 20 years in Florida, I know that many Floridians wait until after the hurricane hits to react. If your business is in hurricane territory (Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas), there is no time to react. You and your business have to be proactive and plan extensively before hurricane hits. Keep your business going by simply thinking ahead.
We have 20+ years of experience pre-hurricane preparedness and understand your business needs during and post-storm. We promise the expeditious delivery of qualified professionals when you need it the most because your business must go on.
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Listen to Our Conversation about Hurricane Business Prep
Florida Family Insurance & SNI Companies | Business Hurricane Prep
Our friends from Florida Family Insurance and SNI Companies give us practical tips for hurricane preparedness...for your business.
[Please ignore any typos. This is a direct transcription for your benefit.]
Pete: …one thing I want you to think about today is we’re in hurricane season, right? We know something’s probably gonna happen. Something’s gonna come up in the tropics is going to have a name and it’s going to come at us. That’s just part of life and what we deal with here in Florida, we get the sunshine, we get the beaches and we get bad storms. Now there’s a bunch of different ways to prepare for hurricanes, right? You know, we have to make sure we stockpile stuff. We have candles, we have flashlights, we have toilet paper, we have food generators, or we have long extension cords to attach to our neighbors. Generators. There’s a lot of things we can do to be prepared for the hurricane, the actual of the floods, the winds, all that other stuff. What about making sure your business is prepared? Okay, and I have some guests today that a fantastic. We’re going to talk with us about how to really be prepared. When I think about my business, right? A lot of businesses, a positively impacted by a hurricane, right? Construction companies. If I’m a Roofer, I do cabinets, floorings, I, I’m a general contractor. I put fences up right after the hurricane. They’re going to be busy, busy, busy. They might experience progress, explosive growth for the next four or five months, right? The thing that you want to be prepared for that as a business person for because you don’t want to have invoices backed up or you don’t want to have a shoebox full of receipts six months down the road or trying to figure out taxes and the very thing that should have helped you and made you money. Now you’re out trying to collect money or you didn’t have the personnel to field the calls or you didn’t have cost accountants, project estimators, is claims adjusters. You didn’t have enough. You weren’t prepared for it. Right? So that’s some of the things that we have to think about the business community to be ready. The other things is insurance and we have our guest. Our first guest today is from Florida Family Insurance Company. They’re here today to help us prepare. I have the world famous, Laurie, Stephanie, and even Meghan’s hiding in the back corner and we’re going into hurricane season and now let’s say I’m a homeowner for one. What are some things I need to think about right now before the hurricane comes?
Speak with your Insurance Agents, now, before the storm
Stephanie: So beyond the typical things that you’ve probably already heard about for the last couple of weeks of hurricane season, you can download checklists on our website, FloridaFamily.com. We suggest you call your insurance agents now and asked them to review your coverage. The last thing you want is to go through a hurricane and have a surprise. So, call your agent, ask them, and don’t be afraid to ask. How did my current carrier perform during Irma? We are really proud of how we performed. We had great hold times, only 14 seconds. But some other carriers maybe had some challenges and your agent will be able to tell you and advise you from there.
Pete: You know what’s interesting as a staffing provider, that’s what I do. Pete the job guy finds people jobs, and post-hurricane. I had so many people out on billing, you know because the influx of calls and there were some missed opportunities for a lot of people because they just weren’t prepared. So, I’m glad you said that 14 seconds was your response time
Stephanie: 14 seconds. Average hold time, right? We were able to close 75 percent of our claims within 30 days.
How do you make sure your employers are ready?
Pete: Outstanding. You were also a large employer in town. How do you get your, your, your teams prepared as an employer, how do you make sure your own employees are ready?
Stephanie: That’s a huge part of what we do and our hurricane plan is making sure both our policyholders in our agents are prepared and have the materials they need, but making sure our staff is ready by the time hurricane season hits. We are ready to go. And it’s about making sure that everyone is cross-trained. We all become staff members of the claims department if there’s a hurricane. So it doesn’t matter if you’re an actuary or a financial analyst, you’re on the phone taking claims calls.
Pete: This is great because, you know, at the Hurricane Expo, uh, that I attended recently, I met some fantastic people and one of the things I told them is to make sure your employees are crossed-train. That’s what I tell people as a staffing professional, the provider services, make sure your people are cross-trained because they’re not all going to be able to make it into to work, are going to be without power for a week, two weeks, you know. I also say keep my number handy because you might need to call me and I can send some people there that have power and can make it work. Let’s say you do come to work, right? Do you have, you need to make sure your people to have an evacuation route. Is that something you talked to your folks about?
How do you ensure preparation and safety for your employees and their families?
Stephanie: We do. At the beginning of hurricane season, we make sure that our employees put a lot of focus on preparing themselves, their home and their families. If they don’t feel confident about their family, be insecure and prepared. They’re not going to be able to and shouldn’t be able to devote the time and attention to the policyholders, so we make sure that they spend the time on the front end preparing themselves and they are ready when they need to come back to the office. So, we have plans for text message and our employees. We have an employee hotline. Each employee gets a card that gives them the information — so that they can get regular updates on what’s expected from them in the office.
Pete: Stephanie’s doing all the talking right here. Laurie’s here. I know. What can you tell us?
Laurie: Well, we’re talking about employees. I think one of the most important things you can do as an employer is to remember your employees are people and their primary concern is about their family and their homes. So, what we do at Florida family as we’ll rotate people in and out during a workday to give them time to go to the grocery store to get the food they need to go get plywood from home depot to get their house ready. So we just feel it’s really important that they feel 100 percent confident that they’re prepared for the storm.
Pete: Right. You know, and then that’s a great point, Laurie, because ultimately, you know, the safety of your employees, that, I mean, that’s paramount. That’s, that’s what we care about most the business will go on, right? Speaking of the business will go on, we all have to have these disaster recovery and business continuity plans in place. What do you do at, at Florida family insurance company?
What’s is Florida Family Insurance preparedness plan?
Laurie: We have a continuity plan and it’s a committee of people and I suggest other companies consider doing the same thing. One person leads the overall plan and then there’s a lead from each department and they all, we all come together with the plans of how our department will continue to function and not skip a beat after a storm. And the people need to think about things like if we need to get back into the building, how are we going to do that? Will the landlord give us access? Do we need paperwork signed in order to do that? Do you need to have a travel team and hotel rooms reserved in advance? If so, who owns that responsibility? So, it’s all about pulling the plan together and then making sure everyone across departments understands who owns each item and who’s going to take care of what, when the storm hits.
Pete: Good, good. What else? What else?
Stephanie: In that same plan. So, practical things that people should think about for their plan are, what are you going to do with your equipment so you have all these computers and if we work downtown on the South Bank, in San Marco, which we knew the during Irma was going to get some water. We didn’t know how much. So, you might want to think about taking all your computers home or having the employees take them, phones if you — how are you going to process payments? Do your employees have calculators and you know, practical things, enough paper receipts, right? So, all that should be in a plan and thought/ about purchased in advance. If you’re in a situation where your employees are going to have to come in rapidly and worked for long hours after a storm, supply them with some food and snacks, they’re not going to be able to take breaks to eat lunch and it’s hard to find lunch…
Pete: and they’re already dealing with so much worn out and you know, you don’t know what individual situations that are, so that makes their lives a little bit better. As an employer, what types of folks do you look for? You know, we have listeners right here that might be looking for a job, they’re interested. How do you know, what types of folks do you look for? And maybe give them a little direction on how they can apply?
Laurie: Okay. Well, you can learn more about our company in Floridafamily.com. We have a careers link on that page. We currently have a field claims adjuster position posted, which just happens to be in Jacksonville.
Pete: Field claims adjusters. All those folks out there, but what is the field claims adjuster?
Laurie: Those are the people that if you have some damage to your home, you have you call in to Florida family and we will assign your case to one of our adjusters and then they’re going to go out and meet with you, review the damage and the most important thing to the homeowner is to get a check in your hands as quickly as possible so you can get that damage repaired. So, this position we have open here in Jacksonville. We’re actually willing to train for this position and if you recently graduated from college and have a degree and would like to get a start with a new company, please look us up. We’d really be interested in talking to you.
Pete: All you college grads out there. You’re looking for each other. It’s a great company. There’s is a career here, there’s a built-in need for this and it sounds like, you know, they get to help people. Ultimately, they’re helping people. So that’s, that sounds like a great career.
Laurie: Absolutely. We also, in the Jacksonville Office, we do underwriting and we have some administrative support positions as well.
What are some practical tips that people rarely hear when in preparation for a hurricane?
Pete: All right. Stephanie, what are some practical tips that you can give people beyond, again, you know, you’re having the generator and the candles and the flashlights, right?
Stephanie: Make sure that you have your home insurance agent’s contact information, how to know how to report a claim, take a photo of your policy number and your agent’s phone number, carrier’s information. Make that a note in your phone and keep that handy. Fill your prescriptions, download the NOA app here in Jacksonville, download the JaxReady App will be very helpful during the storm. Simple things like, make sure you know how to manually release your garage door. If a new homeowner might not know how to do that, but you don’t want…
Pete: This is very interesting stuff because that’s — people take that for granted until you have to do. Exactly. It’s funny because my son didn’t know what a cassette tape was when he saw that when, until you actually have to apply it and use it. Nobody’s ever going to have to use a cassette tape again that I’m aware of, but if you don’t know how to manually release your garage door, you could have a problem. When you need to do it, you think pushed the button, opens your kids. That’s what they think. How do you open the garage door? You push this button.
Stephanie: Right before this storm had, so we’re talking hours leading up to it. Make sure your dishes are done and you have paper plates. Get the wash changed over to the dryer. Finish your laundry and make sure everyone has clean clothes for the week.
Should I place my paperwork in the dishwasher?
Pete: This is not going to be on anybody, anybody else’s list. This stuff that you’re saying right now, very practical stuff, and Laurie, let me ask you a question. I read somewhere that it is — take your important papers and throw them in the dishwasher because the dishwasher is. Is it the safest place because water can’t get in there. Is that true?
Laurie: Well, I did some research on this because I was interested in if that was actually true and I. I found some articles that said that water will still get inside your dishwasher. It’s not 100 percent watertight, so that is not the best place to put your papers.
Pete: I’m glad you said that because you know what I’d do. I’d go ahead and wash my papers when I got in and everything’s fine. I’m going to put the dishwasher and animal a washroom anyway. Okay, so that, that’s disproved in. Any other parting tips before we, uh, we move on.
What is a “boredom” box?
Stephanie: I’m preparing my “boredom” box is one of the last things I do. You don’t, you forget how bored you get during the storm, so get all your games down, get your puzzles down, books you want to reread and put them in a central location in your house so you’re not climbing through dark closets, letting things fall on your head during the storm.
Pete: Oh, that’s, that’s good advice. You know, that’s, that’s fantastic. I want to thank you guys very much. I mean, the, the, the advice she gave us is outstanding. The company is Florida Family Insurance. I want to thank Laurie and Stephanie and even Megan in the back that didn’t say much. We’re glad she came in the studio today. I think your tips were relevant right on time and they’re going to help folks be prepared for that inevitable hurricane that’s going to come our way.
Rose from SNI Companies
The Importance of Staffing Agencies assistance during a Hurricane
Pete: That’s great. And if you’re gonna have your resume in a stack with 89,000, 999 other ones you need to make sure your resume stands out. And that’s one of the things, one of the tips that we work on each week when we talk about hurricane preparedness is a whole bunch of things and we, you know, our guests, our whole theme today is to be prepared for the hurricane. And when I’m focusing on today is not the checklist that everybody has, right? We need to get you, and I’ve said it a couple of times already, but flashlights, candles, a generator and you know, an extension cord to your neighbor’s house or whatever it is. Those are the things that we all have to have and we know it. We have to have her evacuation route into. We have to be responsible, but as employers and people that have to think about business continuity and running our businesses, you know, as a business owner or business leader, we have to think not all our employees are going to be able to make it to the office. Some of them are, you know, they, they may have a flooding that they’re dealing with or they haven’t had power in three days and can’t take a shower and they can’t come to the office or as an employer, your business takes off like a rocket during the post hurricane, you know, insurance companies like volume of calls that command claims adjusters, construction companies that need project estimator is cost accountant and said et cetera in the dealing with a shoebox full of receipts and all this stuff. But you know, today with me, I have a Rose Hampton who is the director of operations for SNI Companies here in Jacksonville. Rose, when is it time to begin talking with a staffing agency about potential hurricane concerns and employees, et Cetera?
Rose: Well, I always say prepare, so you know, way ahead of time before the storm is occurring. What would be the best time to start thinking about it? If you know your business gets a boom during a certain time, I think it’s always important to partner with a staffing agency so they understand what your needs are, what your culture is, what the job duties are, so they can plug the right candidates in for you when you have the need.
Pete: Good advice. So from your business perspective, the time to start recruiting candidates to fill these positions, you don’t wait until the hurricane comes out, you already recruiting certain types of positions?
Rose: Absolutely, Yep. Our, uh, our office always has a pool of candidates that we steadily used to fill positions that are open and we’re not waiting for a client to call us. We’re proactively recruiting and getting those candidates ready. So as soon as we get a call, we are ready.
Pete: I know you have temporary senior accounts like former controllers and former CFOs for construction companies. They can go out to a small construction business now, right? To help them evaluate and to see if your accounting software is robust enough or perhaps you know they’re set up for the taxes. Is that’s a service you provide.
Rose: Absolutely, Yep. We have a whole team focused on that and they have a pool of candidates ready to go.
Pete: No, that’s fantastic. Rose. If candidates, let’s say I’m in claims, I’m a customer service rep, data entry because it’s supply chain within all these companies in different jobs that need to be accomplished. Let’s talk about the different businesses you have and how can folks begin a relationship with you.
Rose: Usually the best advice is to just go onto our website and apply and then as your website www.SNIcompanies.com.
Pete: Don’t forget the three w’s. Okay. Those are mission critical when you know it’s ies companies, companies plural, not why. Yes. At the end of the company. Okay, good.
Rose: Go on the website. If you’re in accounting, there’s a section accounting now or SNI financial that you can apply for. Staffing Now, which is all of the customer service, administrative, clerical positions. And then we also have the technology, uh, positions as well. So if you need help setting up or anything at all during a hurricane or getting ready for a that lag that you’re, you’re about to hit a, just go on there and apply and give us a call.
Pete: Good. Good. And let’s talk about your employees for a little bit. You have Erica Brockway that runs what division? And tell me a little bit about Erica,
Rose: Erica runs our Accounting Now division here in Jacksonville. She’s been with us for a few years and she is one of the most fast paced, energetic people on our team who really understands what companies are looking for. She runs our Accounting Now team and she also helps with our Staffing Now team. So, um, anything temporary like the, you know, temporary accounting roles or a call center role she can help with as well.
Pete: All right. And she’s got a whole team behind her of recruiters even though, you know, she’s hard charging. And we talk about, you know, last week we talked about having our hustle and I know she’s a hustler. She’s surrounded by people
Rose: Absolutely. And the entire team, you know, when we hire, we try and find those hustlers that are going to meet and exceed the expectations of our clients.
Pete: I bet if I walked into that division and said I can beat anybody in a race up they would want to race me, that means tell me, I know Ben runs SNI technology and the technology team places both contractors contract to hire folks to as well, but also in the, in the direct placement of it. Tell me a little bit about their team and the makeup there.
Rose: Yeah. So, Ben personally has over 10 years of staffing experience in technology, so he knows everything you can imagine about it and you know, what software and.net and all of the different things that I might not have any knowledge about because I’m not in it, but he knows everything. Everything in regards to the languages and things like that. His team, you know, David Solesbee, he is one of the best permanent direct hire recruiters that I’ve ever met. And he’s funny too.
Pete: One thing I like, you know really about that team, in particular, is these attack ease that talk “techie.” Yeah. No, they’re not looking for buzzwords on a resume. If you’re talking about, you know, business intelligence and Microsoft’s bi stack, they’re going to drill down and make sure you have. But they also, you know, make sure people are a test to see what their skill level. Is this a serious amount of talent. I’m going back to the hurricane preparedness, you know, from an IT perspective, it’s critical that businesses look at their IT, that they have a disaster recovery plan and a business continuity plan. Is that something Ben and his team can help out with? Absolutely. And I mean they can help you build the plan and select what types of candidates you would need to, to make sure that you’re prepared for the storm.
Pete: All right, well let’s get back on the hurricane preparedness. Do you drink your own Koolaid? This is what I want to know. Are you in, is your staff ready? And what do you do to prepare for them, for the hurricanes,
Rose: you know, we do a lot of preparation because not only are we preparing our office, um, to make sure everyone’s paid on time, that everyone’s in a safe spot that our phones are being answered if, if powers out, but we’re also making sure that, um, all of our temporary contractors across the country are also in a safe spot, um, and they’re prepared as well. So a lot of communication on, you know, what to do and that sort of thing goes out,
Pete: you know. Any parting thoughts? Let’s, let’s first, you know, again, you want to direct people to your website. What’s the website again?
Rose: www.SNIcompanies.com. Okay. And what’s your phone number if, if the people want to call.
Pete: And again, I want to stress SNI companies as professional staffing services, focusing on accounting, finance, technology, HR, marketing, banking, those types of folks. That’s what they place. Okay. So what’s the phone number
Rose: It’s 904-713-2550
Pete: Excellent. I want to thank you, Rose. Thank you very much for coming out today. It’s been an absolute pleasure having you on the show and I think the things that you’ve shared will help us all.
Rose: Absolutely. Thanks, Pete.