Six Solid Staffing Tips

Fit involves the traits involved in the industry and the position. Empathy, creative problem solving, patience and being community-oriented are all traits most staff need to have to do well in a financial services or advisory firm. Focusing on those traits can help ensure that the right person is hired.

For financial advisors, an efficient and engaged staff is essential in maintaining great client relationships. The pandemic’s change to how we work had big effects on staffing. Is the biggest impact on workforce management hiring? Maybe, but there could be a few new staff management techniques that have evolved that could be worth taking note. These tips may not resolve your staffing shortage, but they may help improve engagement and efficiency.  Here are six worth considering.

1. Make employee engagement priority No. 1: As one analyst noted[1] “engagement drives better customer outcomes, better employee retention and increased productivity.” Engaged employees tend to stay in their jobs longer and with greater satisfaction. That means your need to recruit and train employees decreases as engagement increases. If you have a staffing shortage, it may seem like throwing all of your spare time or efforts at hiring is the most advantageous approach. But you may want to start with ensuring none of your current staff is looking to leave.

How do you increase employee engagement? First start by knowing where you stand. Measuring engagement both gives you a baseline to know where to move up from and  it tells your employees that engagement is important to them. Simply measuring employee engagement could lead to an increase in engagement.Employees may feel like management is listening when they receive a survey, and that can help the employees feel more engaged.[2] Employee surveys can be as professional as those from or as informal as ones created through

Optimally, an engagement survey should create a feedback cycle. A survey should create plans and approaches which generate employee feedback in the planning and implementation. That feedback then creates a new survey which then drives changes to the plan or approach. Even small companies should have a way to monitor engagement, whether it is an indirect survey or an informal check-in at a scheduled or regular time.

2. Security is essential. Lack of job security[3] may be the second or third highest reason for employees to leave. Even before addressing hiring, ensure that your employees understand your firm’s growth potential and corporate strategy to ensure longevity. Sharing your business, marketing or other plans with employees can help them feel that their job is secure, especially in a post-pandemic world where many folks faced layoffs. It may also be helpful for employees to know growth periods and when you plan to add staff to certain areas of your firm. For example, some firms add additional customer service or receptionists after they reach a certain level of clients. Sharing that goalpost with staff can help them understand their own job security.

3. Hire right the first time. Given the staffing shortage hitting so many industries post-pandemic, it can be hard to prioritize fit in hiring. What is fit? It involves whether a candidate’s work style meshes with the traits needed for the position. It isn’t likes and dislikes, political opinions (or lack thereof), or family. That involves culture. Fit involves the traits involved in the industry and the position. Empathy, creative problem solving, patience and being community-oriented are all traits most staff need to have to do well in a financial services or advisory firm. Focusing on those traits can help ensure that the right person is hired. Other traits to look for, according to HR experts, are ability (can the person perform the job?); trainability (ability to learn and keep learning); and commitment (likelihood the candidate will stay in the position).

4. Training ensures longevity AND satisfaction. Training employees shows a level of investment in them which can result in higher employee engagement (and thus retention). But, training also ensures that employees don’t feel frustrated with their day to day work. For some staff, training may take the form of coaching, a series of challenges coupled with feedback to ensure the employee continues to learn. For other staff, it may mean investing in online, self-paced courses in either technology that you currently use or envision using in the future.

5. Collaborate on expectations. The jokes about how to translate descriptions job openings are legion: “self-starter” translates into “mind-reader”; “family atmosphere” translates into “toxic sophomoric environment”; “fast-paced” translates to “constantly putting out fires due to poor planning”; “dynamic environment” translates into “leadership lacks focus.” A lack of clear expectations by management decreases engagement. But a lack of clear expectations from employees also makes engagement hard to deliver. Make sure both sides have an opportunity to express their expectations regularly.

Discussing expectations regularly also helps create self-managed and effective teams. This kind of discussion, whether held regularly (like every quarter) or informally can also help ensure that information flows between employees so that staff can have appropriate expectations of each other. That information flow can increase efficiency. It can also decrease employee frustration, which in turn leads to employee retention.

6. Compensation. Above-average employees deserve above-average pay, there is no doubt about it. Your compensation, especially in an employee’s-choice market, should match the skill level and experience level of your employee. However, having a compensation system that is fair, balanced and most importantly, transparent can also help ensure employees stay and also help recruit excellent candidates. This also includes how performance awards are handled.




These articles are prepared for general purposes and are not intended to provide advice or encourage specific behavior. Before taking any action, Advisors and Plan Sponsors should consult with their compliance, finance and legal teams.

Back to Blog

Latest Entries

Need a Proposal?

Before leaping into the unknown, we recommend a thorough examination of your plan. Because we are experts in the field, we know the marketplace and know what your existing vendor is capable of offering.  Through this examination, we can help you optimize the service you receive.

get xpress proposal