Welcome to the 4th quarter of 2020. Congratulations, you made it! It didn't seem like we would ever get here in March when everything imploded. It has been a tough year. Your revenues might still not have fully recovered, and there is a lot of uncertainty with the presidential election, overall economy and stock market. However, as the leader of your firm, you have to continue making informed decisions to move your business forward.
Understandably, revenue may still be slightly off and in person business development efforts hampered, but the firms we represent are reporting net new client growth still. Additionally, Dave Welling, CEO, of Mercer Advisors said in a recent RIA Intel article that 2020 was Mercer’s best year in new client acquisition, and that they were averaging $150 million in new client assets per month. Even for a mega RIA with $21 billion and 400 employees, these numbers are surprising, but goes to show that American consumers need an advisor more than ever before to help them navigate these trying times. Like some of those Validators and Do It Yourselfer prospects, who were very confident in February of this year, are now rethinking their decision to go at it alone and are now hiring a financial planner.
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 3 things you need to be doing now to prepare to 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 2nd 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, you need to get the process started because the closer we get to the holiday seasons - Thanksgiving through New Years - 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 are securing candidates now who likely will not start until after 1/1 or even 3/31 until 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 anyways…” the talent pipeline may not be as strong.
- Reward current team members - To thank them for their hard work during all this disruption, and their efforts 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 a ‘preserving through the Pandemic’ cash (few hundred to a few thousand) or time off (day or two where they can truly unplug), or both, bonus. I realize that things may be tight right now, but you don't have to spend a lot on this and it truly is the thought that counts which 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 mind you, who are ready to get back to their offices for the camaraderie and desire to meet with their clients in person. Make sure you have the flexibility built in to your culture, though, that 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.
We hope these tips were helpful to you. Keep in mind that it is your people who helped get through the last 7 months, and will help you get through the next 7 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!
P.s. We recently launched a new podcast - check it out here and let us know what you think!
P.s.s. Click here to download our newest whitepaper “Onboarding and Training New Hires Virtually”