Section 1: Hiring and retaining talent
- When is it time to hire a new employee?
- How hiring employees can save you money
- Commit to strategic hiring and avoid these four landmines
- Hiring the right staff to fit your needs is essential
- Pre-employment assessments deepend insight into job candidates
- Categorizing employees: Should you hire a lion, beaver, otter or golden retriever?
Section 2: Employee compensation and motivation
- Training and compensating junior advisors
- Developing, compensating and retaining a protege
- Design a simple bonus plan
- Knowing what employees want encourages long-term commitment
- Reduce turnover and encourage your staff with authentic appreciation
- Get employees with performance issues back on track?
- Non-monetary approaches to engaging staff
Section 3: Employee processes/managing employees
- The three components every employee handbook should have
- Evaluating employee performance
- Coaching vs. micromanaging to bring out the best in staff
- How effective leaders respond when employees make mistakes
- Build an environment of trust by following three steps
- Be a better listener to engage your employees
- Encouraging employee input can boost your bottom line
How hiring employees can make you money
You’ve opened your own practice and are doing it all on your own — from working the phone to organizing seminars to filling out paperwork. Everything you earn is all yours. And that’s good, right? Except you’ve lost count of the hours you work in a week and your production numbers won’t budge. Do you know what your time is worth?
Two successful MDRT members with multiple Top of the Table qualifications, who both own and operate their own practice, say that money spent on employees has brought their business to the next level while allowing them to work fewer hours.
After opening his own practice, Donald F. White, CLU, ChFC, a 26-year member from Stuart, Florida, realized he needed two things to make his business work. “One, I needed to have time away from the office, and two, I needed staff to help me,” he said.
White’s business, Treasure Coast Financial, now manages more than $100 million in assets. White started with an assistant 30 years ago, who is still with him. He has since added five other employees: a receptionist, a bookkeeper and three financial advisors.
Time is money
A one-person office can have low overhead, but there are other costs to consider, such as time. No matter how you configure it, stretch it or schedule it, the clock and calendar remain unyielding. Sometimes, White said, time is more valuable than money, and it takes both to grow a business.
“If you’re asking yourself to do $10-an-hour work, you’re not going to be making $100 an hour,” White said. If you think you’re worth $100 or $200 an hour, then why would you be doing even $40-an-hour work? Leverage your time, and give that work to somebody else. That’s the essence of what successful businesspeople do, he said.
“You’ve got to invest in your business,” and hiring someone is an investment, said 31-year-MDRT member Marc A. Silverman, CFP, ChFC, of Miami, Florida. “If I’m investing $60,000 in an office hire, maybe my revenues will increase by $120,000 — a 2-to-1 ratio — or maybe even by $180,000 — a 3-to-1 ratio.
“You’ve got to be thinking in terms of freeing up your time. It’s incredibly valuable to pay someone else to do something that you don’t need to be doing,” said Silverman, whose business, Silverman Financial, manages more than $350 million in assets. “Remember, if you have 10 employees, there’s only one of you but there’s nine others who can help you grow your business to wherever you want to grow it to.”
To accomplish his goals for his office, Silverman employs an office manager, a scheduler who works on marketing and organizing seminars, a receptionist who scans in files so he can have a paperless office and another advisor. With the help of his staff, he often qualifies for Top of the Table in the first quarter of the year.
Expanding your vision
A staff can build your business in other ways as well. White believes his employees, with their different strengths and ideas, expand his vision for what his company can be.
“I believe, without a vision, people really do perish,” White said. “What I learned is that if you try to cast a vision completely on your own, you’re going to get myopic. In this business, that’s a total disaster. If you’re the only one casting the vision, pretty soon it becomes a very incomplete vision.”
Silverman refers to running a business as a team process. “It’s not me doing everything,” he said.
What’s the first step?
Make a list of everything you can do, and then look at what you can pay someone else to do, Silverman said. Everyone has different skillsets, so even if you think you’re good at something, you can still delegate it. For example, Silverman noted that he’s good at making phone calls, but he hires someone who’s great at it and can focus on it daily, freeing up his time to work with more clients. Furthermore, this allows his business to function while he’s on vacation as his scheduler makes appointments and organizes seminars. When he’s back in the office, Silverman hits the ground at full speed.
Although you have hard-working staff, your job as a financial advisor is far from done. You’re still working hard, White said, the difference is you’re working in the areas you’re exceptionally talented. Having a staff allows you to strengthen your strong areas while delegating away tasks to someone else in the areas where you’re not as strong.
Long-term success requires balancing your time, refining your focus and knowing how to invest wisely in your business. By understanding your strengths and weaknesses as well as those of your staff, your employees can help grow your business.