Why Team Development Is Crucial for Financial Advisors This Year

Imagine Monday morning waking up and going to your office to find out that your top team member is leaving. In 2021 almost 65% of firms hired for a new position and 42% increased their staff headcount. Almost 50% of firms had resignations and the staffing problems and shortages at financial advisor teams accelerated into 2023 and 2024. If your practice is growing you can relate because you had to add staff in the last three years. The top priority of teams in 2024 is developing people and improving efficiency and processes.

How are you going to train and develop your people this year?

It's being said that an average financial advisor trains their staff 4 hours per year. While teams know they can't get away with minimal training it does take a toll on the owners of the practice. Client service and communications suffer, staff morale goes down, and as the enjoyment of the business dissipates, we desperately look to add more team members. Sound familiar? You are not alone but here are a few steps to help you.

Step one. Begin with the end in mind.

Look at what you're trying to accomplish by the end of the year and start today. Plan up to a week off to reassess your business and your team and plan the next hire. This will give you the time you need to figure out a plan that is not overwhelming and will start to manage the capacity.

Step 2 Have a process for hiring.

Elite financial advisors have a process and tools and resources for finding and hiring more team members such as associate financial advisors paraplanner's administration marketing people and future partners or succession strategies. do you have a process? do you have the tools and resources to add people to your team, and to onboard them properly in the first 6 to 12 weeks? do you have a training program do you have a staff development program and a map of their careers? the reason I'm asking you these questions is that I wish I had these when I was a financial advisor. becoming a better entrepreneur is part of becoming a better financial advisor. Most financial advisors would agree that hiring and training staff is a weakness they have had in their practice. how can you become a better entrepreneur?

Step 3 Build out your network and tools to let people know you are hiring.

Starting with LinkedIn or online websites such as "indeed" and having a very clear job description with roles and goals mapped out. second is having a network of people in your local colleges where they take the CFP program to let them know you are always looking for qualified people. Finally, talk to wholesalers Who have their own network of people to introduce you to potential candidates.

Step 4 Do you have a big goal or target in place and as your team know what your practice goals are?

Practices that align staff with the practice goals earn 41% more than financial advisors that do not ( Business health key value drivers the value of practice management 2019 www.businesshealth.com.au ) now that your team is tied to your practice goals, what is the development plan for them and what are their goals? don't just talk about lack of knowledge but discuss what their career path is and what that looks like for their future. there is nothing better than having staff who have clarity about their future and their career path. this is developing the next generation. A staggering 65% of staff don’t know what success looks like.

Do you have a process to train and develop people this year?

As a boxer, I learned, that you will never learn to box by punching a heavy bag. How do elite financial advisors train and develop their staff? Elite advisors spend 6 hours a week with their team. Elite practices have 9 areas or processes to systemize their practice. Speak to your head office support or coach or practice management expert to help you get all systems down on paper. then figure out the best technology to use to implement effectively in your practice. This takes time. How many hours are blocked in your calendar to spend with your team this week? Who is training them? Chances are that is probably one of the reasons why the staff is leaving. Ask your staff this question. If you could change one thing about your role right now, what would that be?

Staff survey

The staff represents the front line of any business - its face and its image - and few would deny that they are absolutely critical to the ongoing success (or failure) of an advisory business. Given this and the considerable time and effort most principals have invested in their training and development, it just makes sense to tap into their thoughts and feelings about the practice. Consider completing an online confidential Staff Survey. I use a tool developed specifically for financial advisory teams that can confidentially and anonymously survey the staff and provide the financial advisor owner with a fully customized report, detailing their specific results based on the aggregated/consolidated input from all of their team. Any systemic or thematic issues will be highlighted along with practical suggestions as to possible actions they may want to consider to leverage an area of strength or mitigate potential weaknesses. It gives the financial advisor strengths, weaknesses, and priority issues, instead of guessing or winging it as most average financial advisors do.  If you would like a sample copy or would like to discuss it, email me at grant@ghicks.com subject: staff confidential survey.

List of items to do in the hiring process

___ Position description

___ Organization chart for all team members

___  Career path in writing

____Compensation and perks in writing

____ Summary of staff survey or assessment tools

List of items to prepare for day one

Onboarding/introduction process first 8-12 weeks Setup new staff – staff manual Staff value promise Training program

__ Progress update process and 90-day success meeting scheduled

Related: Current Successes: Effective Marketing Strategies for Financial Advisors