The Elements Ironstone Blog

Current news and trending topics for sales and financial industry professionals


Leave a comment

ENGAGEMENT: GET YOUR A$$ INTO GEAR!

As an extension of our Q2 newsletter, here is a deeper look into the factors that influence and shape engagement:

Infrastructure

As soon as your practice adds support staff, the question of structure rears its head. At first, with only one or two people assisting you, that may seem a rather silly concern. But add enough staff, or grow to the silo (multiple advisors sharing space and in many cases staff with different client bases) or ensemble (multiple advisors with shared staff working together) models, and suddenly it becomes a very real issue. Choosing the right structure is intimately related to the next issue—roles.

Roles

The hierarchical organizational structure that defined American business for so long is rapidly falling by the wayside. Today who does what, and who is responsible for what, should have less to do with title or position than with aptitude and desire. As an advisor managing a team, you’re fortunate—you have much more latitude than, for example, a department head at a Fortune 500 company. Ironstone can show you how to make the most of this freedom.

Recruiting and Retention

Your practice won’t have the headcount to allow for any Hamsters—there’s just nowhere for them to hide. That’s the good news. The bad news is that a small staff means that every member has significant impact, and that in turn means you can’t afford to hire the wrong person. How, then, do you select people who will be easily engaged? We’ll show you the keys to an effective process.

Compensation

Engaged employees focus first on what they produce for the organization, but that doesn’t mean that compensation is irrelevant. An engaged employee is a valuable resource, and a key team member who can be just as engaged with another employer for more money is likely to depart sooner rather than later. Learn how best to balance your total compensation package to retain your team.

Non-monetary Rewards

Money matters, but there is much more than money that matters. Recognition is consistently cited as among the most effective motivators, and you should never underestimate its impact in the close-knit environment of your practice. Constructing appropriate incentive systems above and beyond base compensation that will achieve the desired result is also crucial. Our workshop will offer creative approaches to this challenge.

Self-development

One of the best ways to retain engaged team members is to provide a clear path to greater responsibility and assist your people in progressing along it. In some cases that may even mean that they one day move from support staff to being an advisor themselves. Facilitating that process instead of standing in the way will earn you tremendous loyalty.

Assessment Tools

There are a number of tools available, and Ironstone can help both you and your team members recognize where their aptitudes and preferences lie—and no, many of them won’t actually know, especially in the case of something they’ve never done before. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Profiles International Assessment are examples of instruments with a tested theoretical base and extensive use, and we’ll show you how best to apply them.

Evaluation

Most companies require some form of employee evaluation. Performance reviews are often a dreaded chore for both manager and employee—which is why you may have decided to forego the process in your practice—but what if you could transform it into something of true value? Ironstone can show you how.

Coaching

Helping your team members achieve maximum value to your practice and maximum personal satisfaction won’t happen magically or overnight. It requires consistent and ongoing guidance, feedback, and communication. Our workshops will show you how to coach consistently and effectively.


Leave a comment

Business Plan Feature Article

Ironstone Communications was recently featured in the Raymond James Practice Intelligence newsletter, on creating your business plan for success. Download the attached newsletter. http://ow.ly/d/9zb


Leave a comment

Employee Engagement Strategies

“I can’t tell if you are agreeing with me or mocking me.” Dilbert’s boss.

“That’s sort of a gray area.” Dilbert

Needless to say, Dilbert is not an engaged employee. His pointy headed boss has failed to win his respect. Earning loyalty is a critical component of employee engagement but too often we fail at it. The success factors of employee engagement have been heavily researched, and here is what we know.

Develop meaningful relationships. Managers can build loyalty in employees by working alongside them and establishing meaningful communication. As the old saying goes, “Respect has to be earned. It cannot be commanded.”

Avoid cults of one. Employees who are loyal and connected to a team and company will perform at a higher level for the company. Employees who are overly engaged with a manager/mentor may compromise the higher good to please the leader.

Create a common vision. All employees should be motivated around a common vision that is aligned with the organization’s goals.

Cultivate employee careers. A powerful sign of commitment to an employee is investing in his/her growth. Take time to chart a career path, give career advice and provide training.

Visible empowerment. Employees should be able to see their contributions, evaluate their effectiveness and make decisions about next steps.

Individuality matters. Know your employee’s talents and make use of them effectively within the team.  Your employees will work more effectively when they are engaged in tasks that they excel at.

Return on investment . Employees are more motivated to perform when their achievements are acknowledge and appreciated.

The onus is on you. Managers have the most influence on the extent to which employees are engaged. Not only do they serve as supervision, but also as leadership and a source of guidance.

It’s a virtuous circle. The manager’s confidence in his own abilities influences his ability to engage employees, and bestows confidence in employees to use him/her as a resource.

The devil is in the details: Dilbert’s pointy headed boss had it right – the details matter. Organizational procedures influence employee engagement. If guidelines and protocols are unclear and inconsistent, employees will quickly lose confidence.

The link between motivation and rewards is well recognized today. Reward programs have proven to be very successful at attracting initial employee engagement in a program. A carrot can draw employees to the program but only a real engagement strategy will keep them there