By Caleb Brown
Once business owners make an investment in their organization to hire additional labor, it is in their best interest to ensure the new hire is integrated as quickly as possible.
However, when incorporating a new employee into what usually is a familiar and comfortable environment for clients and existing staff members, there can be internal and external challenges that must be overcome for a seamless transition. First, here are some external challenges, which mostly revolve around getting clients comfortable with a new name and face.
• Send out a letter announcing your new hire, then have your new planner contact all of the clients that may not have heard from you in a while, if indeed there are any, so the new planner can introduce him or herself. When the clients come in for their next in-person meeting, the stage has been set and it won't be a surprise when the new planner takes the seat next to you.
• After you send the letter, consider having your new planner contact the client a few days before the meeting to confirm and to ask the client if there is anything they would like to add to the agenda. This gives you another opportunity to create additional planning scenarios based on the client's response.
• Spend the first few moments of the client meeting introducing your new planner to the clients, discussing the person's credentials and role in the firm.
• During the meeting, ask your new planner some basic questions he or she can answer in front of the client so the client sees that person is capable and trustworthy. Empower your new planner to ask and answer questions from the client, as well.
• After the meeting, have your new planner type the meeting notes and send a follow-up message to the client (in addition to having those notes logged into your own CRM). This reinforces to the client that the new planner knows his or her situation and is an integral part of the advisory team.
Next are the internal dynamics, and ways to ensure a successful integration of your new hire with your existing staff. The quicker your new hire can become acquainted with your clients and acclimated with your staff, the faster that person will add value to your organization.
However, changing the internal relationships of your staff can be challenging and needs to be handled with care in order to minimize potential disruptions. These three actions can help ensure a smooth integration of your new team member and keep disruptions to a minimum.
• Synergy assessments: You should be utilizing some sort of personality assessment during the screening process to gain valuable insight into a possible new hire's personality, work style, motivating factors, etc. Many of these tools also show you where the new hire is most likely to fit into the existing team and/or if there could be significant conflict.
• Staff buy-in: If your current staff is involved in selecting a job candidate, they are much more likely to have a vested interest in seeing that person succeed. It is a good practice to involve your staff during the interview process for screening purposes.
• Team training: One of the common frustrations I hear from employees when I am interviewing existing staff members as part of our recruiting process is something to the effect of, “Management makes a hire without informing any of us and now we have to take extra time above and beyond our current workload to train them.” Training a new employee can be time-intensive, so establishing clear expectations upfront with the current staff can help in staving off some of this frustration. Additionally, just as with any other large project, the work should be divided as equitably as possible to keep from overloading one particular team member.
Ideally, organizations would hire prior to getting to the point of maximum capacity. Mark Tibergien, chief executive of Pershing Advisor Solutions, often tells firm owners that growing firms should hire when they reach 70% to 80% capacity and firms that aren't growing should hire when they reach 100% capacity.
Caleb Brown is the chairman of FPA NexGen and a partner in New Planner Recruiting LLC. He can be reached at newplannerrecruiting.com, where you can also find an extended version of this article on their blog.