By keeping lines of communication open, offering transparency and insight, and soliciting client feedback, advisors can help cultivate a reputation based on their real-world achievements rather than allowing those around them to inadvertently rely on biased visual perceptions of productivity where out of sight really does often mean out of mind.
It’s a truth universally acknowledged by remote employees: it’s simply harder to be noticed when you’re not in the same building as your boss. Often considered an elusive but extremely desirable job perk, as many employees have recently come to realize, working from home does have its downsides—and that can include slowing upward mobility. Not only that, but the face-to-face relationships that many advisors rely on to connect with their clients can be very different in virtual space and can heavily impact client-advisor relationships.
Relationship-building is key to financial advising but managing a rapport both up and down can put remote advisors in a tricky and exhausting position. Remote workers may find that being perceived as hardworking often requires extra work due to the lack of in-person connection. With 60% of advisors working remotely and 27% planning to stay that way, it’s an important time to sort out work communications from afar.
But why? As long as work is getting done and advisors are, well, advising, there’s no need to change anything right? Both managers and clients should be able to recognize that the level of service being provided is still satisfactory. Not so says “Get Noticed and Die Trying,” a 2019 study on how face time (or the lack thereof) between employees and their managers drastically affected work assignments and perceptions of employees. Remote workers took on more work for less recognition and burned out more quickly than their counterparts co-located with their boss. Most importantly, the study found that, because the dedication and hard work of offsite employees wasn’t literally visible like their in-person colleagues, remote workers had to consistently go above and beyond to demonstrate value, “to the point where they often feel that they are sacrificing their personal lives for their job.” The end result? Many gave up trying to advance, or even quit entirely.
For advisors this emphasis on “seeing is believing” applies not only to continued employment within their firm, but also to clients who may have difficulty trusting someone they may have never even met in person. In that regard, regular check-ins are the obvious answer to which everyone is turning. While hours-long Zoom meetings aren’t necessarily the answer, short, regular team and individual meetings by phone or video can help managers keep track of their employees’ responsibilities regardless of their location, and on the flip side, checking in with clients lets them know that you’re actively involved and keeps you on their radar. Providing that essential face (or audio) time, which remote advisors often miss out on, is the backbone of trusting work relationships.
Emails detailing weekly (or monthly, or quarterly) tasks, dynamic spreadsheets hosted on SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, Google Docs, or another service that allows users to edit and upload a shareable document can help both managers and their teams as well as advisors and clients track project progression at large, as well as individual accomplishments, ensuring there are no work tasks or client needs that get overlooked due to miscommunication or simple oversight. Written communication between employees and employers may by necessity be more frequent than client communication, but ensuring that clients have insight and understanding can be an essential part of building trust through transparency.
Lastly, the best way to get an answer is to ask a question. You don’t know what you don’t know and asking clients directly what they are satisfied with and where they’re dissatisfied is the most direct way to find out what an advisor is doing right and where there are opportunities for growth. Sending a survey or otherwise requesting feedback allows clients a designated space to cite their needs and clearly highlights areas of improvement, while also encouraging them to reflect upon the inherent benefits an advisor contributes. When it comes down to it, open communication is a key part of maintaining positive working relationships and client retention.
Not only that, but documentation also provides a historical record that can be used for review season in the office, or “year in review” meetings with clients, helping both groups recognize advisor contributions in a way that draws positive attention to endeavors that may have otherwise been overlooked. By keeping lines of communication open, offering transparency and insight, and soliciting client feedback, advisors can help cultivate a reputation based on their real-world achievements rather than allowing those around them to inadvertently rely on biased visual perceptions of productivity where out of sight really does often mean out of mind.
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.
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