Development Rules All

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Looking at cases where employees leave financial planning firms—whether by their own choice or not, “development” is one of the most common missing components. Whether firms are not meeting objectives, or team members are not working to their full potential, “development” or more of it is needed.

Why is this so challenging?

We’re not prepared to work on “development.” We think we have enough of a plan or path, or we’re not sure how to start.

Who Needs to Develop?
Start at the top. Leaders need to assess their readiness, their ability to lead. Who in the firm wants to help in developing others? Leaders have to learn and develop their skills so they can give the best development opportunities to employees. This takes careful evaluation, patience and time.

Then, work through the firm. No one and nothing stays in the same place or position forever.   Everyone on the team should identify areas to be better, to develop more.

Development has to be tied to higher initiatives, goals or missions. The mission and values of the firm are established and tied to what we will do for our clients and our employees. Once a firm knows what it is willing to do for employees in their development, the firm can promote this for effective hiring and retention.

Goals, Compensation, Career Path
Clearly outline the goals, compensation and career path for the employee in a way that articulates, “To get here, you need to do this, and here is how we will help you.” Also, list the consequences of what happens if an employee fails to respond to or take on the developmental work. In some cases it’s OK to stay where you are, but a leader of the firm gives an honest conversation of what your future might be.

Employees should give feedback and ideas to the firm leaders, and the firm should encourage that communication. Create an environment where asking for help and saying you don’t know is permitted. It’s not enough to just say you have this environment; it must actually be perceived by the team members as existing.

Some of the most difficult areas of development include working on taking initiative and being a “self-starter,” critical thinking skills and improving accountability to yourself or your team. While these areas could be developed in people, you need to carefully evaluate how much effort, resources and time could be applied to the situation. It is a harsh assessment, but if you don’t have enough resources, time and effort, or you hire or retain people who require more than you can give, you do a disservice to yourself and the people who won’t be developed properly.

In the next blog, I’ll cover ideas for what to do if you can’t fully develop team members, and future blogs will cover how to set up your resources, effort and time for development.

This is for informative purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Consult experts and be aware of federal, local and state regulations and exceptions.

Mary DunlapMary Dunlap, CFP®
Mary Dunlap Consulting

Pottstown, Pa

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