Becoming a Best Place to Work

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In my last blog, I wrote about using criteria developed by the Gallup Organization to get feedback from employees on how your firm stacks up as a Best Place to Work. Once you have collected the data, here are a few possible follow-up actions relating to the Gallup measures: 

  • Create and make available a job description for each position so that your employees know what is expected of them.
  • Put the date of the most recent revision of the job description on the document; be sure the description is reviewed and updated every 12 months.
  • Retain policies that pertain to all employees in an employee handbook; date and review the policies annually.
  • Put procedures that define how a job is to be done—or the steps for performing a process—in a written, dated document and review it annually.
  • Provide feedback—both good and bad—immediately; don’t wait for a performance review.
  • Cross-train employees; this helps you manage the office when employees are absent and provides an opportunity for growth and development of employees.
  • Ensure that employees have the technology they need (e.g., headsets, double monitors, software). Be sure the technology is password-protected technology, if necessary, and that employees have the ability to work from home, if appropriate.
  • Discuss with employees what they think they do best and what you think they do best.
  • “Manage by Wandering Around” (MBWA) and try to catch employees in the act of doing something right.
  • Give praise either publicly or privately in a manner that fits what the employee prefers.
  • Send notes of appreciation to employees when they do a particularly excellent job.
  • Tap existing industry awards for employee; some are provided by broker/dealers and industry publications.
  • Take the time to listen to employees, and don’t do anything else while you are listening.
  • Remember employee birthdays.
  • Create a culture where “please,” “thank you,” and, when appropriate, “I’m sorry,” are used.
  • Complete a written performance review at least once, if not twice, a year. Include a statement in the written performance review about the employee’s career aspirations.
  • Ask for input from employees when you intend to listen to what they say; don’t just do it for show.
  • Share feedback from clients with employees, as well as client notes, letters, or gifts of thanks.
  • Terminate mediocre employees who bring the standard of performance of the company down.
  • Do something to build a team at least annually; for example, charitable events sponsored by your firm can bring employees together.
  • Ensure that employees know the company vision and its overarching goals.
  • Create incentives for high performers.
  • Send staff to at least one training or development experience at least annually. This could be a conference or a wholesaler meeting, for example; whatever it is, it should be meaningful to the employee.
  • Share industry publications with staff, and highlight articles you think would be especially useful for them to review.
  • Provide financial support for getting employees licensed (reimbursement is generally made after the employee has passed his or her exam), or provide related tuition reimbursement.
  • Be sure to hold weekly staff meeting to update employees.

Assessing your organization is a good thing. Doing something about what you learn is even better.

Joni Youngwirth
Managing Principle of Practice Management
Commonwealth Financial Network
Waltham, Mass.

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