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Current news and trending topics for sales and financial industry professionals


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Simple Steps to Create an Effective Compensation Plan

falling dollarsHow do you create a compensation structure that is fair to all employees, attractive to new hires, creates excitement and loyalty amongst your team and engages their learning development while increasing productivity? Reinventing the wheel is not necessary, but creativity, communication and evaluation of your existing plan are essential.

In my years of creating compensation plans for organizations, I have found the overall goals of the firm lack a link to a compensation process. For example, one of my clients would like to establish their firm as “the best place to work in town”. I love the goal but found that it doesn’t link to any current processes.    When employees read this statement every week in their staff meeting, it is fruitless, stands alone and has become meaningless. Linking the goal to various processes, specifically a compensation plan, would benefit this firm across the board.

Creating an Effective Compensation Plan

Follow these steps to create an effective compensation plan.  Communicating your compensation plan is extremely vital. Communication provides team members with a thirst to stretch themselves to reach higher levels within the compensation structure; therefore increasing engagement, productivity and development.

Compensation Analysis

  • Perform a SWOT analysis of your existing compensation plan by studying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your current structure.
  • Complete a cost analysis by focusing on your overhead and human capital costs. Determine the affordability of new hires if desired

Job Evaluations

  • Create an organizational flow chart or review and update your existing chart.
  • Review job descriptions and create, clean-up and re-align to match roles.
  • Determine roles for new hires if applicable.

Performance Management

  • Audit your current performance management system.
  • Establish goals expectations and incentives.
  • Collect and conduct 360 degree appraisals.
  • Analyze data.
  • Create professional development plans.

Compensation Plan

  • Integrate individual performance with compensation.
  • Base/Benefits/Incentives/Extras – If you haven’t read our blog  Compensation Conflict? What Employees Really Want, please do! You will find some great ideas on establishing your compensation plan.

Cost Analysis Update

  • Perform an overall cost analysis of your firm.

 When compensation plans are effectively communicated, morale and retention will improve significantly. DownloadIronstone’s Compensation Planning Checklist for use at your firm. 01.15.13IronstoneCompensationPlanningChecklist

 Question: What compensation challenges are you facing at your firm?

Let us know by leaving a comment! We want to hear from you!   

 

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Stop Confusion With SOPs-Create Your SOP Manual In Simple Steps

What if one of your key employees didn’t return to work tomorrow? Would someone in your office be able to step in and perform their job seamlessly? Probably not, unless your office has SOPs in place, otherwise known as Standard Operating Procedures.

In the aftermath of the natural disasters occurring recently and the inevitable reality of your employees not living forever, it is critical for your office to create SOPs. SOPs are a management tool to streamline your business. They are a living document available to all staff and describe detailed instructions on specific work processes. Your SOP should include:

  • Who will carry out a specific task
  • What supplies and resources are needed
  • Where the task will take place
  • When the task must be performed
  • How to complete the task

SOPs form the foundation of an organization and should be written to achieve specific results. The purpose of SOPs is to support employees in the daily operations of the business, ensure clarity and make certain employees know policies and standard methods for accomplishing specific tasks. They provide written documentation of best practices and a foundation for:

  • Job descriptions
  • New hire and employee training
  • Benchmarks and tracking to measure productivity
  • Performance evaluations

With SOPs in place, management can feel confident that daily operations will run impeccably.

How to Write SOPs

Writing SOPs isn’t as hard as you may think. It sounds like an overwhelming process, but the payoff is critical to your firm’s operation. Use the three simple steps below to get started.

  • Identify who will manage the project. This person will be in charge of coordinating, tracking results, implementation and completion of the SOP manual.
  • Determine who will be involved in the process. Typically it is easiest to have each employee list every task they perform on a daily basis from start to finish. I have found it to be a manageable process by starting with daily tasks, then moving to weekly, monthly, quarterly and finally annual.
  • Finally, employees should take one task at a time and document what they do to complete the task. Download Ironstone’s SOP Template to get started!    Ironstone SOP Template

Tipping Points

  • Test each SOP prior to implementation
  • Identify training or qualification requirements to complete the task
  • Identify resource materials needed
  • Schedule bi-annual or annual reviews of the SOP to identify any updates, gaps or changes
  • Consider onsite and offsite storage of your SOP manual
  • Define terminology that may not be familiar to all employees
  • Upon completion, use a three-ring binder with sheet protectors to house your manual and include a table of contents

SOPs will provide clarity for your entire team and will allow employees to readily take over any specific task whether it be during vacation times or filling a vacancy within the firm.

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.

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Unleash Your Team

Unleashing your team from the chains of a micromanaged and controlling culture will create positive growth, a winning team and take your leadership skills to a new level!

Leaders are sometimes afraid to let go of the leash and open a new world of possibility to their firm. When team members are afraid to share and contribute ideas, grow and learn in their current environment and expand their horizons, they become bored, unchallenged and will most likely leave your firm for something better.  It is the harsh truth; you must care about your team to create employee engagement, satisfaction and retention.

In our blog, Implementing Team Development Programs Often Overlooked”, we outlined a process to implement a team development program. By following each step, you eliminate the need for micromanaging your team.  Trust me, your team does not want to be micromanaged!  The four components that Ironstone focuses on to implement a team development program are:

  • Preparation
  • Incentives
  • Benefits
  • Technology

Read more about each component in our blog : https://aeschlapia.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/implementing-team-development-programs-often-overlooked/.   Once you have put these components into your human capital mission, you will find that employees are capable of managing their individual positions within the firm.  Support your team members and empower them to be as great as they can be.

How Do You Begin To Unleash Your Team?

Perhaps the first place to begin is to take inventory on your leadership skills.  A team that performs well depends on your leadership abilities, training and development you provide and being a coach your team members can trust.

Being a coach to your team is highly motivational and almost guaranteed to improve performance.  As a leader, your role is to help your team understand their positions.  It is their job to take ownership of assigned job descriptions and design a process to carry it out effectively.  Willingness to support your team’s development sets an example and will contribute to the culture and performance of your firm and team members.

 Tip: Ask team members how you can help them develop their own solution.

As humans, most of us thrive in a continued growth and development society which consists of ongoing training and learning. A team development program will contribute to the natural desires of dedicated employees. Team development will:

 

  • Help team members adjust to changing job requirements
  • Create a pool of qualified team members for possible new roles within your firm
  • Develop a more effective, efficient and productive workforce
  • Produce team members capable of taking on new significant challenges and reach firm goals

Understanding Needs of Your Team 

 Identifying the needs of your team is crucial in implementing a successful team development program.  Some training will need to be universal and apply to most, if not all, of your team members.  However, each team member is unique and owns a specific skill and passion set.  Goals and objectives of team members will be parallel when they relate to overall firm goals but will be dissimilar in relation to their individual job duties and responsibilities. Talk to your team to find out what training they want and need.  Work with them to develop a personal plan that will help them get the training they need in an economic and efficient manner.     Start by holding one-on-one meetings to discuss:

  • Job Descriptions
  • Training and developmental needs
  • Current performance levels
  • Areas for improvement
  • Action steps to fill any gaps

How Well Do You Develop Your People?

*Mind Tools (www.mindtools.com) offers a great quiz for you to take, allowing you to evaluate your leadership skills and identifying areas for improvement. The quiz identifies five main factors related to developing people. This will give you a clear understanding and foundation to develop a plan for yourself to improve your personal team development skills.  Follow this link to take the quiz!  http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/team-development.htm

(*Mind Tools-www.mindtools.com)

 How did you score?   Let us know!!

In the ever evolving world of change, helping your team adjust to change while remaining successful, sends a clear and concise message that you care.  If you are willing to support your team’s growth and job satisfaction, you will retain good people and an engaged workforce.  Once you have implemented a training and development program into your human capital mission, you will find that employees are capable of managing their position within your firm.  Support your team members and empower them to be as great as they can be.

 “What’s worse than training your workers and losing them? 

Not training them and keeping them.”

– Zig Ziglar, author and motivational speaker

 Learn more about how Ironstone can impact the operational effectiveness of your firm!  Read more at www.ironstonehq.com  Want more information on team development?   Contact us at http://ironstonehq.com/contact/

 

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

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

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