We had a recruiting client recently ask us what the pros and cons were for hiring, onboarding, and training multiple people at once, since they had only planned on hiring one person, but were considering hiring up to three at one time based on the candidates we brought to them.
Since this firm had never hired more than one person at a time before, we thought in this month’s article we would point out some of the advantages and disadvantages of bringing on multiple people simultaneously, to help you decide what is best for your firm if/when the time comes. Realize a lot of this is going to depend on the size, structure, and infrastructure, so for the commentary below, keep in mind we are assuming an average level of infrastructure, RIA structure that is focused on financial planning, and small enough size not to have a dedicated HR/training department.
- Scaling Your Training - Unless you have a dedicated training department, which most RIA firms don’t, training involves someone taking time away from their other core job responsibilities during the training period. So they may essentially be performing two roles for a few days up to a few months. This can lead to increased stress, overload and burnout especially if they have to continue to do it on a random cycle. Tip: if you are doing this to your team members make sure you are rewarding and recognizing them appropriately. Just think about it, an existing team member trains someone for 3 months, then another person is hired and they have to start all over again. This is why you see larger firms with monthly, quarterly, bi-annual, etc. hiring cohorts so they avoid the inefficiencies of running onboarding and training all of the time. You want to create an environment where your current high-performing team doesn’t get frustrated with you constantly pulling them away to other things, assuming it’s not their full-time job.
- Peer effect - Gen Y and Gen Z consistently cite culture, camaraderie, and fun in the workplace as reasons they are attracted to and remain with the businesses that hire them. When new hires start their onboarding and training with one or more peers it helps increase engagement from the onset and solidify their decision to join the firm.
- Friendly competition -Another byproduct of the peer effect is that now each new hire has someone to compare their growth and career progression to. As long as the culture remains collaborative and cordial and not cutthroat, this can lead to higher productivity from new hires.
- Higher likelihood of a good fit - Instead of having only one chance for the desired outcome, you now have multiple chances to gain a highly engaged and productive team member who meshes well with the existing team and upholds all of the same values. This is why the larger firms hire hundreds of people, usually in sales roles, knowing that only about 10% will actually be a good fit and make it.
- Varying positions and/or experience levels - As mentioned above, there are some synergies to be gained when hiring for the same position and same career stage. However, if you hire for two different positions such as a client service associate and a lead advisor, the onboarding and training can be vastly different which can overwhelm your team. Tip: try to strive for having no more than a 20% ratio to new team members being trained to existing team members. E.g. a firm of 5 could bring on 1 person pretty safely, a firm of 10 could bring on 2 at once, etc.
- Overwhelming and distracting - If you are like most firms, the last 18 months have been very busy. Few of your team members have capacity and many could be over capacity. The last thing you want to do is add another job to their list of responsibilities. It’s one thing if it is training someone for a few hours per week for a few weeks, but can quickly become cumbersome when the requirement is to train multiple people for several hours per day for a few months. This can cause your current team to lose focus on the clients, then things slip through the cracks and your overall client service level drops.
- Culture Shift - Bringing in several new team members who are brand new and have not yet assimilated into the culture can cause a culture shift too. Additionally, new hires with very strong personalities can exacerbate these culture shifts. If your culture is working, you may not want to introduce multiple people at once who could potentially turn the tide.
- Exponential Poor Exposure/Bad Reputation - If the process isn’t structured, smooth and effective with one hire, then only one hire will be impacted. When multiples are hired, it increases the number of people who report to the rest of the talent pool that firm X ‘doesn’t have their stuff together, takes on too much, isn’t clear with expectations,’ which can be quite damaging in a tight talent market.
What we have seen is that well-managed firms are very resilient, and as long as it is for the same position, a smaller organization can train multiple people at once if it needs to. However, if the multiple hires are for varying roles, it is harder to absorb. We hope these helped provide some additional insight into how to approach your hires so you strengthen your firm and not sink it!
Contact us if you would like to ensure everyone on your team is the right fit for your team, in the correct role based on their personality and preferred work styles, and aligned with your mission and vision.
Caleb & The New Planner Recruiting Team