Payroll and benefits often represent the biggest component of a practice’s overhead. You can maximize your investment in your staff by ensuring they have the training, tools and management from you that helps them be as productive as possible.
Step 1: Write Job Descriptions
Clear job descriptions aren’t just for the hiring process; they define roles and responsibilities and help set employee expectations. Job descriptions can be used as training or cross-training guides and in employee performance appraisals. Keep descriptions current – they can provide documentation in employee legal disputes.
Step 2: Communicate regularly and often
Keep your staff informed – daily 10-minute standup meetings work great. Ask for feedback and involve them in decisions. Be clear about business goals and the importance of their specific contributions. Communicating well with employees motivates them to do quality work and increases their loyalty.
Step 3: Training
For new hires, provide the tasks and behaviors expected of them for their current position, but don’t stop there. Create long-term training and development plans to expand employees’ skills and abilities. Reinforce the value of training and development by allowing paid time for training, budgeting for employee training sessions and providing incentives for skill development. Follow up with employees to show interest in their growth and request feedback from what they learned that could be implemented into your business. Cross-train your entire office so if one person is ill or on vacation, your team can continue business as usual.
Step 4: Maximize Technology
Whether it’s your CRM or your broker-dealer’s business processing systems, most advisor practices don’t make the most of technology. Encourage employees to explore systems and vendor or BD websites for tips and best practices. In-house broker-dealer technologies often streamline daily tasks like organizing files and account data while improving submission and account update processes. Allow time for staff to attend any classes, seminars or webcasts offered either by product vendors or your broker-dealer to receive guided, hands-on experience with new technologies that can help improve the efficiency of your practice.
Step 5: Get Out of Their Way
Micromanagement can hold back your practice’s growth potential. Focus on the “what” that needs to be accomplished, not the “how.” Encourage and empower your staff to find better, faster or more efficient ways to get work done, without the need for you to bless every adjustment.
Step 6: Review Your Office Environment
Is your staff workspace conducive to productivity? It’s natural to put off rearranging, relocating or expanding your office, but many advisors who face the challenge find a big payoff for the effort. Being distracted, too hot or cold, or overcrowded can lead to lower productivity and turnover. It can also give clients and prospects a negative perception. Work with your team to look at your office with a critical eye and develop ideas for improving it.
As an employer and manager, your job includes making sure your employees have everything they need to be successful in their jobs. They will always appreciate your efforts to help them be as efficient and productive – a definite win-win for your business!