Staffing


In the past, we have discussed the importance of hiring the right people. This may sound like a simple process, but how can you be sure your company currently has the right people in place? And if you don’t, how do you go about finding them? More importantly, how do you retain them? These questions are overwhelming, but are important ones to answer, as the benefits of hiring the right people are increased effectiveness, efficiency and improved profit. As a sales trainer for financial advisors, I often use the Moss Adams profitability and compensation survey results from financial advisors. The public accounting firm concluded that the top tier firms paid employees 10% to 20% more than other financial advising companies. The firms that increased employee compensation also saw a rise in profitability by more than 30%. This means financial advisors are receiving more productivity from each employee. The question now is how do we go about hiring the right people? Gino Wickman, founder of the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) and author of Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, suggests evaluating employees on the GWC scale: ‘Get It, Want it, and Capacity to Do It.’ Let’s look into how this approach plays out. Get It Getting it means understanding the big picture as well as recognizing the smaller pieces that are needed in order to get the job done. Does the employee understand his or her mission? Can he/she achieve the desired outcomes? Want It The employee needs to enjoy what he/she is doing and be motivated to excel. In essence, your employee needs to have a drive. This might not exist for every project, but in total, all members of your company should have a desire to succeed. Capacity to Do It The last function in the GWC scale is having the education, experience and ability to handle the job. Education and experience are easy enough to measure; however, ability is far more difficult. Ability is how an individual applies his or her knowledge in order to make decisions. Before I began incorporating the GWC scale into my hiring process, I contracted an individual who had run two offices for a prominent wealth advisor. Prior to that, she was in charge of operations for two separate financial advisors, so she was familiar with what we were trying to accomplish. She enjoyed managing others and had a history of assuming leadership positions. Her previous roles had granted her the education and knowledge needed; however, when it came to capacity, she was unable to apply her ability to communicate, make decisions or accomplish projects. If one of your employees lacks one or several of these traits, it...

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When it comes to financial advising, there is nothing stronger or more productive for a financial planning business than to have a dynamic team of employees and established procedures in place. Procedures can take your practice from a hobby to a business and is often the key ingredient needed for you to transition from an employee to a successful business owner. It’s no secret that having a team of well-organized and motivated employees builds a better business, but how can you be sure your employees are up to speed on the daily tasks and future goals of the company? It all boils down to the implementation of policies and procedures. In part one of our three-part series, we will discuss the importance of developing an efficient team and the benefits of enforcing procedures in the workplace. Empower Your Employees with an Organized Outline Not only are procedures effective for the owners and clients, but having valuable processes in place helps company employees as well. While some workers may feel restricted with procedures, implementing policies can create a sense of empowerment and also helps to identify important job responsibilities, as well as anticipated outcomes that the company wants to achieve. Creating a positive workplace takes careful consideration when assigning roles to company employees. Designating certain tasks and projects to the right people on a team can increase individual productivity, thereby allowing the company as a whole to generate higher profits in less time. Eliminate Interruptions and Propel Your Practice into a Business By having all the pieces and a process in place, you as a financial advisor are building a rewarding, meaningful business for yourself. You are in the position to create a transaction and have the ability to maximize your time and focus. By enforcing procedures and delegating specific roles to employees, you can increase profits without back office interruptions and setbacks that occur as a result of disorganization and poor instruction in the workplace. The benefits of having the right people in the right place are endless. Not only are you able to spend less time training and more time creating profits for your company, but you are allowing your employees the ability to become self-sufficient, quick-thinking and highly productive when supervision is not available. Stay tuned for part two on how operational outsourcing can positively impact employee productivity and build a better business. photo credit: Kittikun Atsawintarangkul via...

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The need for a new class of advisors is occurring now. A recent report by Cerulli Associates indicated that by 2017, the industry will lose more than 25,000 advisors from the 280,000 that are currently in the profession. After peaking in 2005, the overall industry head count has fallen by more than 32,000 advisers, according to Cerulli. Financial advisors are struggling to attract new talent; at the same time, a huge number of advisors are looking toward their retirement. College students and young professionals need to be informed that financial advising is not just about sales. In fact, a well-defined career path will go far to propel the profession to the status of lawyers and accountants. The most typical channel for those starting out in the advising business is to go to a wire house or receive training through an insurance firm; however, both tend to be more focused on the sales aspect. As a sales trainer for financial advisors, I think it is helpful and advantageous not to be solely sales-focused. That’s right, don’t focus on sales, but have a sales process … and a process for recruiting your replacements. Mentoring Programs Can Help Develop Talent Advisors Ahead is doing something different. The firm is trying to build a bridge between universities and financial firms. They are identifying and developing professional talent for large national firms and local independent practitioners. As a coach for financial advisors, I was curious to know just how Advisors Ahead was developing their young talent. I spoke with Craig Pfeiffer, the founder and CEO of Advisors Ahead about his goals and expectations for the program. His vision for the program is to have existing advisors mentor associate advisors, thereby creating a better quality of life for the seasoned financial advisors and better use their time with clients by delegating. In turn, it is a great opportunity for associate advisors to learn from the senior advisor’s interaction and experience. The reason behind the installation of the program is that Craig believes in the profession today, advisors face a daunting task in trying to solve three questions at once: Where to find associate advisors? How to select them? How to train? If anyone should know these hurdles, it’s Craig. Before creating Advisors Ahead, he spent more than 29 years working for Morgan Stanley and Smith Barney, where he most recently served as the Vice Chairman before leaving in 2011. Bringing On a New Generation of Advisors Currently, Advisors Ahead is working with more than 200 universities. They supplement their in-field programs with a range of training and development curriculum for wealth management, financial planning and licensing....

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It is a Monday morning – the day after the Denver Broncos lost to the Indianapolis Colts. Monday mornings are writing time (I said I am a process freak). But on this particular day, it is hard to stay focused. In between writing lines, I sneak over to the Denver Post to read recaps of the game, including, Kiszla: Broncos a lot further from perfect than 6-1 record suggests – The Denver Post. Mark Kiszla a beat journalist who covers the Broncos, laments about the Broncos’ loss to the Colts. I have liked Manning since he was at Tennessee when I learned he was a “process” guy, so I really wanted to see him win. But the article Kiszla wrote opens up a flaw in the Broncos. In Kiszla’s words, “The Broncos are too much Manning and not enough substance to be in first place in the AFC West, let alone be anything near prohibitive Super Bowl favorites.” According to Kiszla, Manning, always the perfectionist, is not enough to pull the Broncos to the Super Bowl; it needs to be a full team effort. As Kiszla suggests: “Some way, somehow, Denver must patch together a team that can lift Manning to a championship. As it now stands, the best the Broncos can do is beg a 37-year-old quarterback to do it all.” For many financial planning firms, their teams are based around the owner, who is typically a founder. This leader either drives sales or came to the business loving financial planning and or investing. Either way, the person is the center of the firm, just like Peyton Manning is for the Broncos. For many practices, having one star is all that is needed, especially if you are a lifestyle firm, with a focus on flexibility while generating good income. However, I would argue that regardless of whether or not you want a lifestyle practice or to grow into a firm, then you need to “patch together a team.” Benchmarks to Play By Moss Adams LLP is an accounting firm that has made a niche out of focusing on financial advisory practices. Each year, they compile a survey of practices – the InvestmentNews/Moss Adams Adviser Compensation and Staffing Benchmark Study –  and for the last seven years I have participated.  This year 386 firms participated in the study, ranging in in size from one planner to 28 planners. Assets ranged from just more than $15 million to over $3 billion in assets under management (AUM). I enjoy the benchmarks that the study provides. I get to see what other firms are spending on compensation, technology, marketing and business development. ...

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