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Current news and trending topics for sales and financial industry professionals


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Is Your Compensation Plan Boring Your Employees?

It’s not surprising that one of the most frequently asked questions of advisor firms is how to attract and retain talented people and reward them effectively with a remarkable compensation plan. Compensation packages are one of the largest line items in a budget. Ironstone finds that many firms are struggling to stay abreast with changes and new trends in salary and compensation beliefs while experiencing confusion on how to properly control organizational costs and remain viable.

Today’s compensation trends are moving from a base salary package to plans that include:
• A measurement system for variable pay
• Less emphasis on increasing base pay
• Overall firm goal achievement
• Flexibility

By implementing a compensation plan that includes the directives listed above, both the employee and the firm benefit. Compensation plans that incorporate these strategies foster teamwork that focuses on the concrete goals of your firm.

In order for firms to stay competitive, you must frequently change your compensation program and have a plan in place to do so. Your imagination is your only limitation to retaining and motivating the kind of people who are catalysts for the success of your firm.

We recommend that your firm be pro-active in developing and refining your firm’s compensation plan. Recognize that “quality of work life” rewards and appreciation play a vital role in the value of your firm’s benefits package. Your firm can be pro-active and creative by adding an array of perks to the overall benefits package you offer. Consider the following:
• Recognize results with a one-time monetary payment
• Offer opportunity for flexible work arrangements
• Write thank you notes to acknowledge a team member’s “above and beyond” actions
• Present pre-paid legal, education, and insurance benefits
• Place an emphasis on training and development of your team
• Introduce employee wellness initiatives

Lastly, remove the dead-end sign. Your team needs to see a clear and concise view of the opportunities within the firm for growth. You can add a suite of perks to your compensation package, but without the chance for growth and development, your dazzling compensation package won’t work.
As you contemplate the strategic changes you want to make in your compensation plan, do not forget that your team can be your most valuable asset. It is in your best interest to focus on reducing stress at work and in your employee’s personal lives. Reward your team, without hesitation, if you hold a team of energetic, talented and growth oriented individuals.

Developing and offering a compensation plan to your employees with traditional and non-traditional elements is both egalitarian and accountable.  Download Ironstone’s Compensation Planning Checklist!  CompensationPlanningChecklist

Contact Ironstone for more information and additional strategies that will assist you in developing and strengthening your compensation plan.  You can find more information regarding compensation in our blog- “Human Capital Strategies.” https://aeschlapia.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/human-capital-strategies/

Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™!
• Strategic Planning
• Business Development
• Operational Effectiveness
• The Human Element

You won’t want to miss our next in the series: Business Development-Marketing Plans

• Email us at info@ironstonehq.com
• Call our office at 800-917-8020
• Connect with us:


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Implementing Team Development Programs-Often Overlooked

Learning management is a strategic component to the overall human capital mission of advisory firms and is paramount to team development.  Advisory firms should start by integrating team development programs in order to enhance employee performance.  Forward-thinking executives are continually improving the effectiveness of their teams by refining roles, expectations, and interpersonal communication in order to create accountability for results.

Your goal should be to apply and utilize a team development method that impacts your firm’s bottom line in order to gain the highest return on your learning and development investment.

Ironstone focuses on four major components that are necessary for a fully functioning workforce and implements the performance approaches to drive development.

By implementing a team development program you eliminate the need for micromanaging.

Preparation — in order to create great teams, you need to prepare to support the success of your team.  Design a culture that fuels passion, purpose, and growth.   Deliver a clear message to your team that their job is important and that you stand behind them.  Give employees the basic knowledge and skills to excel within the culture that you have created.  Share with them effective forms of communications, encourage them to ask questions, and acknowledge their contributions to the overall goals of your firm.

Incentives – Incorporate compensation into the successful execution of the firm’s goals.  One of the most powerful motivators is through the use of a performance incentive compensation plan.

Benefits –  You can become creative with the benefits that you offer to your team.  In addition to the traditional benefits such as medical insurance and retirement plans, many firms are finding that creating a flexible work environment is a good employee motivator –  increasing the desire for individual skill development for the employee.

Technology –  Providing the proper technology and training for your team to perform their job is essential to overall team development.   We have found that many firms do not take this component seriously or place much effort in assuring technology and training needs are met for employees.    Obsolete or barely functional technology tells employees their job is not important and their time is not valued.

Once you have put these components into your human capital mission, you will find that employees are capable of managing their position in the firm.  Support your team members and empower them to be as great as they can be.

“A company that does not support, empower and provide proper development

 to employees can take a great team to a problem in a very short time.”

Ironstone can assist you in developing a team development program.   We specialize in identifying gaps in your existing plan and will collaborate with you to develop solutions that are parallel in achieving the results your desire.

Contact us for assistance in starting and improving developing or starting your team development program.  We want to hear from you!   Share your best ideas here!  What does your firm do to promote team development?   We always love hearing from you!

Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™!

  • Strategic Planning
  • Business Development
  • Operational Effectiveness
  • The Human Element

You won’t want to miss our next in the series:  Strategic Planning-Business Model


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Learn The Fundamentals Needed For Your Marketing Plan

Learn The Fundamentals Needed For Your Marketing Plan

Developing and executing your marketing plan are a part of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™ in Business Development.  The goal within Business Development is to create a clear strategy, a simple plan, and to carry out systematic execution that drives business building results. This includes creating networks, niche targets and uniqueness within the industry.  It is not enough to create the company’s core values, vision, mission, and common message as a team, but to have these elements become “living” themes within a practice.  Incorporating these key elements into the marketing materials, the client experience, and team communication is essential.

What are the first steps you need to take in creating a customized marketing plan for your firm?  In order to choose the best tactics and strategies, you need to be clear about your goals.

  • Expand your market
  • Bring in more clients
  • Client retention
  • Generate more prospects
  • Tap into a new niche market

Once you define your goals, you will have a solid foundation to plan your marketing efforts.  Knowing exactly who you plan to market your services to is a starting point for any marketing plan.  Ironstone  can help you zero in on your ideal client, where to find them, and assist you in defining their needs.

Building a winning marketing plan involves asking the right questions and starting with the end in mind.  Many firms make the mistake of starting with the budget rather than what they want to accomplish.  Start with your goals, then your strategies followed by the tactics you will use.

Keep in mind that too many goals will decrease your focus.  Choose three to five goals that you want to accomplish and rank them by priority.

Implementing Your Strategies

Now that you have set your goals (what you plan to achieve) you will want to identify the means of how you will achieve them.  Some broad strategies to consider:

  • Brand Awareness
  • Increasing Lead Generation
  • Enhancing Client Experience
  • Thought Leadership

Strategies should match up to your specific goals.  If the goal of your firm is retention, your strategy should be to enhance the client experience.  Alternatively, if the focus is brand awareness, you may entertain the possibility of re-branding.

Finally plan your tactics.  A tactic explains exactly how you will carry out each strategy.  Some tactics that you may want to consider adding to your marketing plan:

  • Blogging
  • Email Campaigns
  • Webinars
  • Social Networks
  • Seminars
  • Direct Mail

Ironstone will help you build a successful marketing plan, identify gaps in your marketing plan, collaborate with you, and execute a solution to help you get the results you are looking for.  We will work with you on creating detailed goals that go deeper than the surface.

Contact us for assistance in starting and improving your marketing plan.

We want to hear from you!  What are your best marketing ideas and what areas of assistance you need in developing a marketing plan to take your firm to the next level!  Share them here along with a link to your website!  We always love hearing from you!

Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™!

  • Strategic Planning
  • Business Development
  • Operational Effectiveness
  • The Human Element

You won’t want to miss our next in the series:  Operational Effectiveness-Client Segmentation