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Current news and trending topics for sales and financial industry professionals


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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    Are you using outdated policies and procedures in your hiring process?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:

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Create A Powerful Asset With An Advisory Board

You don’t need to tread in unfamiliar waters alone. Building an advisory board for your firm will create a powerful asset that will provide advice and objective feedback elevating the level of service you provide and improving the current client experience.

Advisory boards have no fiduciary responsibility. Their advice is non-binding. Your advisory board should provide you with great feedback and will naturally become a powerful referral engine as they gain a vested interest in the success of the firm.

Eight Steps To Creating Your Advisory Board

Determine The Objective – Your advisory board will help you look at your firm with an open mind. Objectives should include; insight to product and business development, marketing and technology, and research that encompasses emerging industry trends.

Define Your Advisory Board Member Profiles – Choose clients that will become evangelists for your firm while mentoring you as an advisor. When forming your board identify clients that can provide you with diverse skills, experience and knowledge. The ideal members of your board will be open minded, thought-provoking, problem solvers and have strong communication skills.

Establish Expectations – Make sure you have clear objectives so that board members know what is expected of them. You should be specific in communicating responsibilities, the areas in which you are seeking help, and how often you will want to interact. If private information will be discussed inform advisory members that they will be signing a confidentiality agreement. You may want to consider having board term limits so that when changes are needed, board members and clients are not offended.

Develop Board Relationships – Ask your board members for their opinions and advice, and establish a mentor/sounding board relationship with them. Express your appreciation frequently and don’t be offended if you hear something you don’t like, your advisory board must be open and honest.

Prepare For Board Meetings – Advanced preparations may include: soliciting agenda items from the board (to prevent unplanned discussions) and distributing important information prior to the meeting along with your meeting agenda. Host your meeting in a location that is free of distractions and stay on track by stimulating dialogue and having a results oriented gathering. Summarize minutes and include recommendations on key issues.

Compensation – Most board members are eager to serve and help firms and will usually not expect or inquire about compensation. Consider making a donation to their favorite charity in their honor. Make sure you comply with FINRA regulations.

Keep Board Members Informed – Keep your board members excited about your business by providing them with updates at times when you aren’t asking for their advice. The fact that they’ve agreed to be on your board means they care about your firm. Keeping them up-to-date will enhance their commitment to your practice and in turn, help them be of greater value to you.

Celebrate– Find ways to celebrate your board members affiliation with you. Create an e-mail list for high-level communication or incorporate your advisory board into your website.

Advisory Board Members can help you see what you are not seeing yourself.

Embrace the insight they offer and remove the personal barriers and

roadblocks that may be preventing you from experiencing positive change.

Ironstone can assist you in developing an Advisory Board Plan. 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.

We want to hear from you!  Does your firm have an advisory board and if so, how are they working for you? Share your best ideas here!   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 Database
• 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


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Learn Why Job Descriptions Are Essential For Overall Effectiveness At Your Firm

Learn Why Job Descriptions Are Essential For Overall Effectiveness At Your Firm

Updating and writing job descriptions are one of the most effective employee communication tools for managers, hr personnel, and prospective employees.  Job descriptions are beneficial to both an employee and your firm.    Employees will understand what is expected of them and how they will be evaluated.

A job description provides consistency and clarity for everyone involved.

Creating job descriptions results in a thought process that will help your firm:

  • Establish the role that each position plays in attaining the overall firm goals
  • Determine how critical each job is
  • Decide how positions relate to each other in the firm
  • Define current employee roles and identify the characteristics and skill base needed
  • Attract qualified new candidates and aide in hiring
  • Evaluate performance accurately based on the expectations of the position

Each job description should include the following components:

  • Job Title
  • A summary statement– two or three sentences describing and summarizing the purpose or objective of the position.
  • Functions and responsibilities of the position- details of what the job entails. Include details about all roles the employee will hold including any supervisory roles and the reporting structure. An important feature to include in a job description is “other duties as assigned.”   By including this in a job description, the employer can add new tasks when the need arises.
  • Skills and qualifications- list the required attributes and education needed for the position & insights into how they match the culture of your organization.
  • Evaluation methods- identify what is most important for the employee and the organization.  Include details on when evaluations will take place.
  • Compensation- provide a concise view of how the employee will be compensated broken down into base salary, benefits, and other investments in the employee such as training. Listing a range instead of a specific figure will give you more flexibility.  If applicable, include information about how employees are eligible for advancement within the range, sales commissions, bonuses, and annual raises.
  • Work Location and Schedule- include the physical location, days & hours, vacation and/or PTO structure, & potential overtime that may be required.
  • Employment type- full-time / part-time, temporary, employee, or contractor.

Ironstone will help you develop quality job descriptions and identify important gaps that you may be missing in each description.  We will collaborate with you, and execute a solution to help you get the results you are looking for.  We will work with you in creating detailed goals that go deeper than the surface.

Do you value  clear, up-to-date job descriptions at your company? How is your current system working?   We want to hear from you!   Let us know!  Contact us for assistance in starting and improving your firm’s job descriptions. 

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-Incentive Plans!