Competitive, yes, but in a family kind of way

Robin Respaut More

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Competitive, yes, but in a family kind of way

Barnum Financial employees celebrate a Toys for Tots drive. PHOTO COURTESY BARNUM FINANCIAL/ JANE SNAIDER
Posted 6/13/11

Robin Respaut

Contributing Writer

When it comes to selling insurance, competition between agents can become fierce. But at Barnum Financial Group, managers strive to create a supportive environment rather than a cutthroat culture.

“The objective of the firm is to be a professional, dynamic organization but still have that family feel to it,” said Barnum’s Agency Sales Director Joe Katula.

Barnum, an office of MetLife, is a comprehensive financial services firm that fosters a positive culture by providing a number of resources to employees, including outside learning opportunities and mentoring programs.

The company still expects good sales figures, so it spurs friendly competition through sales staff incentives and recognition conferences, although nonsales employees have goals to work toward as well. The Snoopy Spirit Award encourages staff to recognize a fellow employee who has an upbeat attitude and is always willing to help others.

“Our firm believes in recognition,” said Katula. “The whole idea is enhance the culture and the camaraderie.”

There are also weekly companywide emails that recognize hard-working employees, success stories or learning experiences.

Barnum offers life, disability, auto, home and long-term care insurance, and specializes in financial planning for college, retirement, estate, wealth management and small business.

Employee support extends beyond the office walls by participation in community activities and charitable events. The Rhode Island office donated 100 bikes and helmets for underprivileged children during a Pawtucket Red Sox game last summer. And Barnum is already planning this year’s Bikes for Kids in August.

“Some of these kids have never owned a bike before,” said Katula. “And to see the jubilation on their faces, it’s worth their weight in gold.” •

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