The Elements Ironstone Blog

Current news and trending topics for sales and financial industry professionals


Leave a comment

The “Bully” Cost To Your Bottom Line

I overheard the following between an Office Manager and an employee, “You have ruined my summer by being pregnant.” Yes, it is true! You can image how the employee felt after hearing that not to mention the rest of the staff walking on egg-shells. Not only was the statement bullying it was discrimination.

You may believe you would never tolerate or allow such behavior to occur in your office or would take immediate action to remove such a person from their position and duties; however there is a general lack of awareness of the behaviors bullying encompasses. This gap makes it difficult to detect along with the fact bullying is typically hidden from the “Chief”, therefore, you may not be aware it is happening at all.

What is bullying?

  • Intimidating or humiliating insults and criticism
  • Gossip and rumors
  • Being ignored, undermined or excluded
  • Behaviors or language that frightens or degrades

Bullying can come in many forms; verbal, emails, written messages, body language, formal documents, text messages etc. Bullying can also take place through office operations. As a manager, if you are assigning duties above or below an employee’s ability, changing to cause chaos and inconvenience, not providing proper resources to complete a job, you are bullying.

A study by the Workplace Bullying Institute,  revealed 35% of workers in the United States have been bullied at the office. The percentage inflates to 50% when witnesses are included. With a tight job market many who are bullied put up with it, but at a cost to both them and the employer.

Reasons We Allow Bullying

Without a solid case, it is hard to convince the head honcho that his Office Manager is a bully. Often, denial is the cause.  If you are being bullied, document everything and go straight to the decision maker.  It is hard to believe that a business owner would justify or allow workplace bullying but perhaps after reading this article, they will see the light. There still are those that can’t let go of the bully through justification:

  • That’s just how they are, they didn’t mean any harm
  • He/She is under so much stress
  • I can’t run this office without them

Promoting a productive, socially responsible and healthy work environment should be standard procedure. Oftentimes business owners and managers don’t put the pieces together until it is too late.

The bully cost to your bottom line

Putting an end to office bullying is of vital importance to minimize costs, maintain efficient office operation, office culture and employee retention. It can cost a company thousands of dollars to replace a new employee or employees who left because of bullying. The bully cost to your bottom line is:

  • Decreased job performance and productivity
  • Increased sick leave
  • Loss of key staff
  • Possible court costs
  • Loss of reputation
  • Cost of hiring and on-boarding new staff

Managers spend a lot of time finding incentives to keep key employees and ways to reduce operating costs.  Perhaps the answer is; Make sure you don’t have an office bully and if you do, take action.

Ironstone’s Vision is to forge and guide the personal and professional lives of entrepreneurs and business professionals alike to realize their full potential. Coaching and consulting allows us the opportunity to form an environment where success happens and goals are reached.

Read more about our coaching and consulting program here >>

Start your transformation with Ironstone as your Partner for Performance

Contact Ironstone with your questions & let’s get started! 

Have a question or comment for Ironstone? Contact us!>>

  

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


Leave a comment

Bring Home The Gold! Employ A Champion Team

Fans are raving over the five teenagers who were the first Americans to earn a gymnastics gold in 16 years.  Being referred to as the “Fab Five” or the “Fierce Five,” the team is being compared to the legendary team from 1996, the “Magnificent Seven.”

How does your team stack up in comparison to the “Fierce Five” or the “Magnificent Seven?”    Are you using outdated policies and procedures in your hiring process?  Get prepared and seize the opportunity to add to your talent pool and find your next superstar!

Building a champion team can be challenging;  however, if you examine the plethora of talent and personality and choose wisely, your team can be the best.  Hiring exceptional talent is critical to the overall success of your firm.  As an employer, you should always focus on bringing the best talent to your firm.

Ironstone has outlined some of the best practices in hiring, on-boarding and human capital retention.

When hiring, ask yourself and determine:

  • Will this person do the job?
  • Do they have the skills needed to perform the job?
  • How well will they fit in with existing team members and culture in the firm?

Be certain not to discount the weight you place on “fitting-in” with other team members and your firm’s culture.   All too often, advisors hire based on the look of a resume and skill set resulting in critical mistakes.  A prospective team member possessing “potential” will only add so much to the depth of your team and may not provide a positive and profitable impact.

“If you don’t know where you are going, then you probably won’t end up there.” ~Forrest Gump~

Don’t settle:

Focus on finding and retaining the best talent for your firm.  Top talent is in high demand; therefore, you should make it a priority to include your hiring strategies as a year-round business process.  In your hiring process include each of the following goals and develop your strategies and tactics for each:

  • Planning
  • Recruiting
  • Selection

 Identify & Keep Your Winning Team:

Utilizing your team and positioning team members with their unique ability will add to increased morale, productivity and profitability.  Consider reviewing current positions and how they are measuring up to the overall success of your firm and identify what skills and personality traits are needed to enhance the caliber of your team.

  • Map your ideal organizational flow chart
  • Identify gaps
  • Assess current positions and roles
  • Determine what is working/what isn’t working

Position Your Firm For Growth:

Don’t underestimate the competition in finding or stealing great employees.  Develop the fundamentals that are needed to attract and retain quality team members.

Consider incorporating the following fundamentals in your hiring plan:

  • Provide job stability.
  • Incorporate challenging work which will instill engaged employees.
  • Provide a culture for team members to grow, flourish and succeed.
  • Create a pay for performance reward system; linking employee performance to the firm’s goals.
  • Focus on developing your current team to be successful.  Provide resources and training that will aide them in reaching and exceeding goals.  Encourage career development.
  • Communicate the firm’s goals with team members.  Team members will have a higher morale and be engaged in their role.
  • Offer enhancements such as flex-time, telecommuting or other services that fit the personality of your team members. 

These enhancements can make a significant difference in employee satisfaction and retention without a mammoth investment.

Download these resources from Ironstone to get started on employing your champion team!

Employee Onboarding Checklist     Hiring Implementation Guide

Your team is a reflection of your business.  This reflection carries throughout the work day and most often in personal lives.  Perception of your team is reality.  Be certain  you have the quality team  your firm and clients deserve;  prepare your firm to employ and attract a gold medal team.

We are curious!!  What does your firm do to attract and retain a gold medal team?  What are your team members favorite fundamentals included in your hiring plan?

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

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

Coming up next, learn about strategic planning with strategic alliances!

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


Leave a comment

Weed The Whiners-Create A Winning Culture

Forming a positive culture at your firm is harder to do than you think. It’s one of those intangible objects that burrows into every aspect of our being. Learning how to form and instill a healthy, positive culture is an important but often neglected process.

Workplace culture is a concept that studies the beliefs, attitudes, and thought processes of employees as well as the ideologies and principles of your firm.
In our blog “What Culture Are You Cultivating At Your Firm-Healthy or Toxic?” we reviewed characteristics of a healthy culture. If you haven’t taken the time to step back and look at your workplace culture, now is the time.    https://aeschlapia.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/what-culture-are-you-cultivating-at-your-firm-healthy-or-toxic/

Firms that take advantage of opportunities to discuss culture reap the benefits of increased productivity, growth, and efficiency. Start by knowing how to effectively create a healthy culture in your firm by establishing a process that includes the following components:

Hire For Passion: Make sure that you have your hiring checklist in the proper order. Many firms are hiring for credentials and experience but overlook passion. Dig beneath the surface of skill set and qualification to uncover your candidate’s true passions. When potential new hires are passionate about their career, they are more creative.

Open Communication & Discussion: On a regular basis, review with employees what is working and what isn’t. As a leader in your firm, make certain that you interact with your team frequently. Allow employees to discuss issues among themselves to reach better conclusions. Remember that the art of communication is a two-way street. Position your communication focus on talking as much as listening, which will lead to a dynamic workplace culture that will grow.

Weed The Whiners: Nothing can be more destructive than a whiner in the firm. Whiners will typically wind through the firm secretly complaining, instilling doubt, and poison passion in other team members. You must identify these people and replace them. Their passion is not equivalent to that of the organization and they simply aren’t a good fit.

You can create a legacy that will include a healthy culture. Invest and surround yourself with positive, passionate people and remain loyal to them. In doing so, you will earn loyalty from your team members that will provide you with long-term support and commitment. Making certain that your workplace culture is healthy will define the ambience of your firm.

Ironstone can assist you in developing the strategies and tactical questions to gain meaningful insights that will strengthen the culture in your firm. By seizing control over the factors above, you will improve the overall performance of your team and reduce workplace stress.

Contact us for assistance in starting and improving your Workplace Culture. We want to hear from you! Share your best ideas here!

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-Compensation
Email us at info@ironstonehq.com
• Call our office at 800-917-8020
• Follow us on twitter @ https://twitter.com/#!/AndreaSchlapia
• Join us on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IronstoneCommunications
• Connect with us on LinkedIn @ http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=29647364&trk=tab_pro


Leave a comment

Your Team Is A Reflection Of Your Leadership Skills – Learn How To Hire The Best!

Hiring exceptional talent is a significant component to the overall success of your firm.  Hiring the best people for your firm should always be your goal even when the economic culture is not ideal.

As a leader of your firm, your team of employees is a direct reflection of your leadership skills.  The quality of your team is measured by several benchmarks including accomplishments, adaptability, flexibility, innovation, teamwork, accountability, and overall quality. 

Begin with outlining your hiring business process.  When outlining your process, start with the end in mind and create a written recruitment plan that includes a strategy and an outline of your hiring process.  Creating a written plan will help you indentify the profile of your ideal new hire.  Engage talent through use of email, telephone and mail and screen potential candidates.  In the selection process consider involving multiple members of your team.

Talent matching has to become an integral part of the hiring process.   Ironstone can assist you during your hiring process with tools and support decisions that are critical to the overall success of your business.  Matching technologies will aide you in identifying top candidates that meet specific criteria. Results of matching or assessment tools should not be used to label, evaluate, or limit an applicant but used a measurement preference rather than aptitude.  Ironstone will help you administer screening processes and determine who your most compatible applicants are.

Skills and experience will always catch your attention, but the “fit” is often overlooked during the hiring process.  Align the best people to the position in your firm with a combination of the skill, experience and passions of your applicant.

Once you have selected your ideal candidate make sure that you follow through with an onboarding process.  Onboarding is as essential to your firm as it is to your new employee.  Orienting employees to the workplace and their specific role in your firm is one of the most neglected functions in many firms.

Developing an onboarding process for your firm should include more than an initial “new hire orientation.”  Onboarding of a new employee should continue through the first full year of employment.  Possible components of your process include (but are not limited to):

  • Ironstone’s hiring 10-step process (contact us for details)
  • An offer letter
  • New hire packet
  • Orientation & training sessions
  • Meet & greet with co-workers
  • Overview of your firms culture
  • Pre-scheduled meetings with managers & mentors
  • Early performance reviews

Your firm will reap the benefits of a well organized on-boarding strategy including increased morale, reduced turnover, increased production and reduced costs.  A documented process will make a new employee feel welcome and comfortable.

Contact Ironstone for assistance in your hiring & onboarding development.  We have numerous tools and aides available for 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 & Your Business Plan


1 Comment

Human Capital Strategies

Human Capital Strategies

A successful compensation plan ensures that you pay for what you get while you get what you pay for.  Industry research heavily supports the benefits of investing your interests in Human Capital that will directly affect your bottom line.  Based upon Ironstone’s work with multiple advisory firms to establish hiring, staffing, and compensation systems/plans, we have established the following key components to consider while building your compensation plan:

A Compensation Model Is Determined By The Following:

  • Firm goals (Rev, AUM, Households, Client Retention, etc.)
  • Available firm resources (Business and Human Capital costs – i.e. budget)
  • Competitive environment (demographic factors – NYC vs. Small town USA and hiring competition)
  • Solo, Silo, Ensemble Firm

A Compensation Plan Structure Is Based Upon:

  • Well-defined roles/responsibilities of each position (Job Descriptions for Producer and Non-Producer)
  • Salary ranges for each role
  • Clear incentive opportunities (% of Net Rev, % of salary to pay out for performance)
  • Established benefits – paid time off, medical, 401k, career development
  • Outlined performance goals for each position
  • Regular performance reviews (quarterly recommended) to determine if individual goals are being met and what type of incentive to pay

Compensation Structure Types Include:

  • Non-producers are paid salary only, while Producers are paid salary plus incentives
  • Non-producers and Producers are paid salary plus incentives to drive performance
  • Non-Experienced employees are paid higher salary with career path incentives – i.e. acquiring licenses 7/63/65, CFP, – moving towards a higher % of Rev pay with experience and in turn, salary becomes lower
    • Attraction of non-experienced is the ability for a firm to “mold” and align the individual to the practice
  • Experienced employees are paid lower salary with higher % Rev incentives because of experience

Common Mistakes Are:

  • Lack of structure around compensation – IDEAL GOAL – disciplined, transparent, and explainable structure – avoid subjectivity
  • Paying out bonuses regardless of whether firm has reached goals
  • Lack of conducting consistent performance reviews or aligning performance with pay
  • Using line of credit to pay bonuses
  • Incentives only being monetary – money does not motivate everyone – time off, personal development, wellness programs, awards, working virtually, etc…

While the benefits of an outstanding compensation plan might be clear-cut, the components and drivers can be somewhat of a mystery.  A clearly defined and well communicated STRUCTURE is the key to your successful compensation model!  Disciplined compensation plans are crucial for top-performance.

Develop strategies for effectiveness without paying too much and maintaining competitive compensation.  Ironstone can help you attain this and help you gain insight into how to make sure that performance meets firm standards, which align with firm goals and ultimately results in success.

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!