If you are among those looking to bring on extra help in the form of an associate advisor, you're probably eager to fill that position and get your new hire up and running as quickly as possible. But rushing headlong into the hiring process can have negative consequences that could impact your business for years to come.
For young industry newcomers to enjoy long-term success with your practice, you'll need to clearly outline their roles and responsibilities and determine how you'll train and develop them before you interview your first candidate.
To build a successful hiring plan that fits your goals and sets your new hire on a path toward success, start by answering these four critical questions.
Why Am I Hiring?
It's easy to fall into the trap of hiring simply to fill an immediate need. But you also need the foresight to know where you want your practice to be several years down the road and how your new hire will fit into your long-range plans.
Do you plan to leverage them to grow your business or gain efficiency? Are you looking for a succession partner? Maybe it's a combination of the two.
If you're looking for someone to take planning responsibilities off your plate, you may want to hire a paraplanner. If your client load has become too large to effectively serve everyone, your associate may be a servicing advisor who takes over working with smaller clients. Or, if your goal is to bring on a producer as part of a succession plan, you may want to hire an associate financial advisor.
Each of these positions requires different responsibilities, skills and training, so you'll need to draft a detailed job description. You'll also need a detailed training and development plan and a pay structure that matches their skills and responsibilities.
Can I Afford to Hire?
A better question may be, “Can I afford not to hire?”
Reluctance to bring on an associate advisor is often rooted in the fear that paying another salary will reduce gross revenue and personal income. However, this anxiety doesn't acknowledge the additional income generated and time saved by hiring help. Often the additional revenue generated exceeds an associate advisor's salary.
Hiring is sure to involve expenses and lost productivity when you take time to conduct interviews and train your new team member. After the hire, you'll also have increased payroll and benefit costs.
To maximize the return on your investment:
- Do your research up front.
- Outline the needs and desires for the job.
- Make wise selection decisions.
How Will I Train and Develop an Associate Advisor?
Many advisors view training and development as one and the same. Both are necessary to help an associate advisor achieve their goals and yours. But there are significant differences.
- Training focuses on short-term goals and focuses on procedures and regulations, such as showing a new hire how to use technology, complete paperwork or submit information for compliance approval.
- Development focuses on long-term objectives with an emphasis on skills, such as improving communication techniques, marketing a practice and running a more efficient business.
Your plan should encompass both training and development and a method for tracking your new hire's progress and accomplishments.
Am I Ready to Manage and Lead an Associate Advisor?
Leading and managing are not the same, but both are necessary for success. Depending on the structure at your practice, you may have to play both roles or split those duties with someone else, so it's important to understand the differences.
- Leaders look to the future and imagine the possibilities. As a leader, you'll need to inspire change and clearly set the direction for your practice.
- Managers focus on the immediate to ensure vital daily tasks are completed and goals are met. As a manager, you'll oversee and implement changes.
Leading requires a balance and an understanding of your associate advisor's capabilities. Early on, they may require extra help and supervision. As they grow, you will need to give them more autonomy.
The key is to get to know your new associate's needs and capabilities and discuss with them the level of supervision they may require and your timetable for giving them more independence.
Hiring an associate advisor requires a leap of faith that can initially leave you with more questions than answers.
- Will they succeed in the role and become an asset?
- Will they help leverage my time by serving more clients and assets?
- Will they embrace the profession and become my long-term succession partner?
Ideally, the commitment, planning and effort you put into bringing on a new member of your team starts long before you embark on the hiring process. If you've already hired someone, it's never too late to start building a plan and setting the wheels in motion to get your new team member on the path to success.
To help you get started developing a plan to successfully hire an associate advisor, be sure to download your free copy of Securities America's Associate Advisor Compensation Guide. This helpful resource will help you determine the right role for your associate, how you should compensate them and tips to help you avoid some common compensation mistakes.
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