In an effort to strengthen your year-end employee reviews, this month’s post will address evaluating your new planner’s performance. Simply put, did they fall short, meet, or exceed the expectations both of you set, together, at the beginning of the year? Once you and your new planner know where he/she stands on this, then you can have a more detailed discussion about if and how compensation should be adjusted, and what he/she needs to be striving for over the next year. When we help firm owners hire advisors we work with them to set reasonable and measurable expectations so the new planner’s progress can be captured. If you don’t do this currently, you should with all of your employees – just as you would set expectations for yourself and your business performance.
Setting expectations for your new planner can be a bit tricky, since many newer planners do not know where they need to be at certain stages in their career – this is why developing the expectations must be a joint process. Firm owners have the responsibility to develop the framework and guide the discussion, but both parties have to ultimately sign off on them. It is imperative that you have buy-in from your new planner by involving him/her in the process; if you don’t, the planner may say what has been proposed is unreasonable, especially if the planner underperforms.
The expectations you set for your new planner are going to depend a great deal on their skill set, role within your firm, career aspirations, education, experience level, etc. However here are just a few examples that can help you get the thought process started (preferably, with target completion dates or timelines):
- Obtain required licenses (Series 7 & 66, etc.) and designations (CFP, CPA, CFA, EA, etc.)
- Become self sufficient in the various software systems employed by the firm
- Oversee full conversion from software system X to software system Y
- Develop X number of new Strategic Alliance relationships
- Complete X number of new financial plans and X number of plan updates
- Bring in X amount of assets to the firm
- Generate X number of new media contacts
- Become primary contact for X number of clients
Once you have the mutually agreed-upon expectations clearly articulated and documented, you can create a simple worksheet to rank the level of achievement in each one by the specified time frame. Some of the expectations might be more affective in nature and thus harder to quantify, so some subjectivity is bound to remain. However, following this process gives a new planner a clearer understanding of what you want from them, so they have defined targets, and there is at least less subjectivity around the compensation discussion.
Don’t go another year with your new planner wondering if he/she is meeting your expectations for performance and career track progress, and you wondering why your new planner isn’t doing more and seems to be falling short of your expectations. Implement these concepts to avoid unhappy and unproductive employees, so you can spend less time managing staff and more time growing your firm.