If you’re like many advisors, you’ve given serious thought to hiring a younger advisor, either to grow your business or to potentially groom him or her to be your successor. Once you do hire someone, don’t make the mistake of thinking your work is done. Far from it! Helping a new hire become a productive and successful member of your team requires a little TLC.
Here are five best practices to help you mentor your new hire.
1) Consider the Advisor's Style
Think about your new hire's personality and style of doing business. This will better position you to maximize his or her skills and assign tasks and projects that he or she will excel at. Consider the following styles:
- A rainmaker is a traditional salesperson with a knack for attracting prospective clients and closing business. If your new hire fits this description, you may want to focus on honing his or her selling strengths, as well as training him or her to develop and spearhead marketing plans.
- A service advisor is a skilled relationship manager who works best when nurturing and maintaining a stable, familiar book of clients. For this type of advisor, we at Commonwealth recommend creating tiered services for clients to promote scalability. Also, calendar management may be an important component for his or her role.
- A support advisor is technically oriented and loves the money management side of the business. Teach this new hire your investment and planning philosophies, how to build model portfolios, and the appropriate timing for rebalancing or reallocating assets throughout the year.
2) Consider the Advisor's Experience
Next, consider the depth and breadth of your new hire's experience. An advisor from a pure commission-based background may experience a steep learning curve upon joining a true wealth management firm. Similarly, someone from an insurance background may need extra time to get a handle on the securities side of the business. A new college graduate—even one with a degree in financial planning and a good technical understanding of the business—may have little experience working one on one with clients.
Carefully consider how you can maximize his or her experience and skill set. Make a plan to fill in any gaps with formal training and professional development.
3) Articulate Your Goals and Vision
Open communication about goals will help you and your new advisor work well together toward a common vision for the business. Be sure to frequently discuss the following:
- Your vision and values for the advisory business
- The ideal client profile and service standards for all clients
- Your expectations for five-star team members and, if applicable, compliance expectations
- How you measure performance
- The business's short- and long-term goals
- The business's financial planning process, including asset management, rebalancing, and asset allocation
- Time frames for meetings, FINRA registrations, insurance licenses, marketing plans, and other measurable goals
- His or her preference for the frequency and style of review meetings
- His or her communication style and preferences
- His or her career vision and ambitions
4) Discuss the Future
When mentoring your new hire, be sure to discuss your strategy and planning for the business's future, including continuity and succession plans, as well as your plan for managing future growth.
Joni Youngwirth, Commonwealth's managing principal, practice management, believes that involving employees in discussions about the business plan, as well as the short- and long-term goals, is vital for earning their commitment, engagement, and—ultimately—their loyalty.
5) Plan for Professional Development
Be sure that your new advisor knows that you're invested in his or her professional growth. You may want to encourage the new hire to pursue additional designations. The most valuable designations are widely recognized by industry peers and the investing public. These include the Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), and Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®) designations. Others are very valuable for those advisors and employees with very specialized niches, such as divorce planning, which Commonwealth explored in a recent blog post.
In our constantly evolving industry, an advisor should never stop learning. At your business, be sure to create a culture where all employees and advisors, including your new advisor, are welcome to share ideas, ask questions, and pursue their personal interests. One way to do this is to encourage advisors to attend industry conferences, such as those hosted by the Financial Planning Association. This will help promote an environment where all employees are energetic to learn.
Training, coaching, and inspiring your new hire is one of the smartest and most effective investments that you can make in your business. You may just find mentoring a young advisor to be highly rewarding, both personally and professionally.
Maria Considine King is vice president, practice management, at Commonwealth Financial Network®, member FINRA/SIPC, an independent broker/dealer–RIA.