This month we continue with a few additional tips for the staff members in your firm who are responsible for training new hires. Last month's can be found here http://bit.ly/TrainTrainersPart1of2
• More Closely Monitor Workflow: Everyone will have to take a step back when a new hire is brought aboard if you have a collaborative culture. Make sure you do not underestimated the time it will take to train someone. A good rule of thumb I like to use (sometimes tongue-in-cheek!) is to take whatever you think the time frame will be, and double it! Be sensitive of the extra workload and empower the employee(s) responsible for the bulk of the training to delegate to others in the office or even back up to you.
If you have hired the right employees and have instilled the proper culture, they will be able to manage this without fear of backlash for coming to you. If you haven't, they will likely not come to you and instead just miss deadlines, causing further frustration and angst on your end. Remember it can be very frustrating and stressful for your staff to have to continue their current workload and train someone new. It goes along way with your current staff if they witness you upholding your part in the training as well, not to mention your new hire will be expecting it.
• Clarity on “What is in It For Them”: Due to the high level of service financial planning firms provide to their clients, a lot of the employees I speak with feel like they are overworked. Going to them and saying that things are going to get worse before they get better is the right answer, but not exactly an enticing proposition for them!
Accordingly, set short term achievable goals for them and be generous with praise and rewards for their efforts. If an employee(s) has spent a significant amount of time the last month(s) training someone, when the training period is complete, surprise them with a day or two off, tickets to a fun park, or something to recognize the extra efforts so they know it did not go unnoticed. I can hear it now, "So, after we get everyone up to speed you want me to give them some time off?" Yes, you should aim to get 100% productivity out of your team and if they are stressed and frazzled and need to recharge their batteries, a little break can be very effective. As Sir Richard Branson says, "Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to."
• Position as Proving Ground: For your staff with higher career aspirations, make sure they view this as a chance to take on something extra, prove themselves to you and eventually work their way up to a role that might require more managing and training of people. Even if the person you have tasked with training the new hire does not have these types of aspirations, you should communication clearly with them what an important task it is to train and onboard new team members. Reiterate that you have selected them for an important job and they are crucial to the success of the new hire and the firm even if it does require more work.
These subtleties will keep them from feeling like they have to train the new person because no one else wants to do it, or because it isn't important.
Training new employees in financial planning firms can be a very large time commitment, which is precisely why we are seeing robust intern programs and “Financial Planner Residency” programs becoming more common. In those programs, there are always one or more team members who have completed the training and it is already built into their job description to train the next person that comes after them. Furthermore, based on anecdotal observations, firms that implement these programs appear to be better positioned for growth, capturing and retaining talent, and creating a sustainable enterprise value well beyond the founding generation.
- Caleb will be attending the CFP Board Registered program Directors Conference in Washington DC from August 8-9th.
- Michael will be speaking in Sydney, Australia for the Portfolio Construction Conference on August 19th.