Who knew if we would get through the year when everything imploded last March?
Of course, your revenues might not have fully recovered, and there is a lot of uncertainty still within our political, financial and economic systems, but chances are you made it through. However, as the firm leader, you have to continue making informed decisions to move the business forward. Waiting for certainty will cause you to miss opportunities.
The good news is our information indicates strong new client and asset growth, which shows that American consumers need an advisor more than ever to help them navigate these trying times. Some of those Validators and Do-It-Yourselfer prospects, who were very confident in February, now are rethinking their decision and are hiring financial planners.
Most industry practice management consultants say that firms should hire if they are growing and are at 75% capacity, or if they are not growing and are at 100% capacity. Are you in one of these camps? If so, here are three actions to take to help propel your business forward in 2021:
• Start the hiring process now — Many firms have already done this, and in fact New Planner Recruiting had its second best quarter ever last quarter with the recent surge of advisory firms hiring in the face of the pandemic recovery and market rebound.
If you’re thinking about hiring as well, get the process started because the closer we get to the holidays and 2021 — the harder it becomes to hire someone as end-of-year client planning and personal time become all encompassing.
For our more experienced positions, we secure candidates now who likely won’t start until after 3/31, when bonuses are paid. If you take the approach of, “I’ll wait until we get closer to have a better idea of my needs and the candidate can’t start right away anyway… ,” warning: the talent pipeline may not be as strong.
• Reward current team members — It pays to thank employees for their hard work during this disruption, and in helping your firm run smoothly.
As we have seen, pandemics are major disruptors that can cause stress and anxiety in both the personal and professional arenas. Consider awarding your team “preserving through the pandemic” cash (a few hundred to a few thousand dollars) or time off (day or two where they can truly unplug), or both. Yes, finances might be tight right now, but you don’t have to spend a lot on this and it truly is the thought that counts. That goes a long way to reinforcing your commitment to your team.
• Implement Work From Elsewhere (WFE) protocols — Contrary to what the media and other industry consultants say, not everyone wants to WFE indefinitely. We talk to candidates, mostly millennials aged 20-40, who are ready to get back to their offices for the camaraderie and desire to meet with clients in person.
Make sure you have the flexibility built into your culture, though, so people can choose to be in the office when they want to (and not when they don’t). If you aren’t comfortable with 100% flexibility, consider a hybrid option that allows those who want to WFE a set number of days per week or month.
Keep in mind that it is your people who helped get your firm through the last seven months, and will help you get through the next seven as well. Do what you can to acknowledge, reward and show your gratitude for their efforts and start laying the groundwork for a fabulous 2021!
Caleb Brown is co-founder and CEO of New Planner Recruiting and hosts The New Planner Podcast, which you find at newplannerrecruiting.com/category/podcast