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Financial Advising Series (FAS) Series: FAS Organization-wide Performance Management Tools and Solutions

Editor’s Note:  Karen Reitor, President of Communique Productions, is an author on Flevy and has published a series of 25+ best practice tools on Performance Management for the Financial Advising Services (FAS) vertical market.  These tools, including training guides, templates, and forms, are used to develop and deploy the FAS Performance Management Process.  The full suite of tools are available in the FAS Performance Management bundle (here).

Communique Productions, a boutique consultancy specializing in learner-centered and activity-based training, is one of Flevy’s premiere authors. Communique has worked with over 175 clients and completed over 3,000 talent development and management consulting projects, including a multitude in the Financial Advising Services (FAS) space. Over the years through their FAS client engagements, Communique has developed an FAS Performance Management System.   This series of articles written by Karen discuss the FAS Performance Management System and its underlying roles and applications.

* * * *

Most Financial Advisors operate as “dependent entrepreneurs.” Because of their service and product affiliations, they are dependent on larger organizations where services and products are offered and managed for clients. Yet, they operate independently in managing their practices and growing their client networks and financial assets. Thus, Managing Principals and Financial Advisors are not necessarily skilled in managing support staff, particularly as it relates to Performance Management. There is often a notable lack of consistency, cohesiveness and accountability. Team members may not be held accountable because intangible performance measures have not been translated into tangible expectations that can be observed and measured.

This final article in the series discusses various FAS organization-wide Performance Management tools and solutions.

The tools provided for the Operations Manager to manage performance beyond the position-specific descriptions and performance expectations and performance assessments are as follows:

“Soft Skills” Interviewing Instrument

This instrument enables interviewers to effectively communicate values and soft skills important to the organization’s culture and operations. The questions provided measure soft skill competencies during the hiring and selection process. Specific questions are recommended for evaluating the following:

  • job expectations
  • client care
  • diversity and inclusion
  • communication
  • team orientation
  • organizational skills
  • problem-solving
  • project-related skills
  • learning process
  • educational/work experience
  • goals
  • qualities/characteristics/presentation
  • job experience/related skills

The rating system options allow interviewers to choose how finely they want to delineate among numerous candidates. Interviewers are able to objectively identify the most qualified candidates who will contribute more effectively to the organization’s culture, delivery standards and teamwork.

We highly recommend sharing the applicable position description and performance expectations, the performance assessment and the Client Care Process Standards and Quality Metrics with candidates so there is no question regarding what is expected and how performance is measured.

This instrument enables interviewers to effectively measure “soft skill” competencies during the hiring and selection process. Specific questions are recommended for [read more]

Client Care Process Standards and Quality Metrics

This reference lists services provided, potential issues requiring troubleshooting and detailed quality standards and metrics for the following:

  • Calendar Management
  • Interaction Preparation (Case Work/Financial Plan)
  • Client Interaction (Meeting, Call, Web-Enabled Session)
  • Interaction Outcomes Review
  • Business Processing and Tracking

This reference lists services provided, potential issues requiring troubleshooting and detailed quality standards and metrics for the following: * Calendar [read more]

For Interaction Outcomes Review, following are examples for recording notes during interactions:

For Calendar Management, following are examples for reviewing and organizing calendars :

Daily/Weekly Staff Meeting Agenda and Minutes Template: This tool focuses on specific performance measures and keeps team members accountable for results. It is difficult to attend multiple meetings and not report progress before peer pressure and non-compliance place pressure on non- or low-performers to improve their personal efforts and outcomes.

Managing Principals and/or Operations Managers may use this tool to ensure consistent communication, reporting and accountability among team members. Depending upon the size [read more]

Individual Weekly Activity Tracking Log

Team members use the log to track and report on their daily activities submitting the complete log weekly for compilation. The Operations Manager can quickly identify issues requiring attention and make adjustments as needed.

Compiled Weekly Productivity and Accountability Tracking

The Operations Manager or Managing Principal collects the individual weekly activity tracking logs and compiles them onto this comprehensive log. This information is used to identify performance gaps and to more effectively manage resources in circumstances when there are higher volumes of activity in specific areas. As business continues to grow, and the volume of activities are sustained, the information may also be used to determine when expanding the employee base in necessary to still meet quality standards and metrics.

Managing Principals and/or Operations Managers may use these tools to compile and track performance results: 1. Individual team members track their daily activities and total [read more]

Individual Development Plan Template

This Plan is tied to the Performance Assessment and ensures continued development. Development items can include those that increase competencies for the current position as well as those competencies required for promotional consideration.

Performance Goals 1-on-1 Coaching Worksheet

Tied to assessment performance goals, this worksheet is used to report progress, address a non-performance issue or incident and document timeframes and actions for improvement.

Non-Performance Incident Coaching Guidelines and Worksheet

Utilized when there are incidents of non-performance. The process for implementation is described and the worksheet is completed and reviewed with the team member who also has input regarding objectives and timeframes for improvement including what steps will be taken to demonstrate progress.

These templates and worksheets involve three items: The Financial Advising Services Individual Development Plan Template is tied to the Performance Assessment and ensures [read more]

Associate Financial Advisor and Operations Manager Sample Improvement Goals

The Associate Advisor’s and Operations Manager’s sample improvement goals promote skill development that not only builds competencies, but also potentially facilitates positive client and work relationships as well as business growth.

When coaching team members to succeed, it’s important to be specific about what is needed for improvement including specific actions, metrics and expected outcomes and results. [read more]

Performance-Based Compensation and Bonus Guidelines

This reference details specific opportunities for staff to earn additional compensation and bonuses. Specific activities and measures are provided so that the firm does not find itself in a defensive posture when individuals request more pay. The firm can recognize and acknowledge those who are deserving. Additionally, the firm is held accountable to consistently apply performance-based criteria for compensation and bonuses and not take advantage of high performers.

Sample Client Care Support Team Compensation Plan: This reference details low-, mid- and high-range compensation categories including salary, benefits, requirements, skills and additional bonus opportunities for the following:

  • Operations Manager
  • Lead Financial Planner
  • Licensed Case Analyst and Trader
  • Business Processor
  • Client Care Specialist
  • Calendar Manager and Meeting Preparer
  • Client Concierge and Office Coordinator
  • Marketing and Branding Coordinator

Salary ranges may be driven by geographical economic conditions including cost of living. Benefits in this sample plan include the employer’s portions associated with Social Security, 401K contributions, disability and medical insurance, pension contributions and time off for vacations, sick time, etc.

This reference provides specific guidelines for establishing measures to determine performance-based compensation and bonuses. Included are: – Considerations for bonuses – [read more]

Staff Satisfaction Survey

This instrument is designed to be administered by the Operations Manager or Managing Principal. It takes a “snapshot” of a point in time to measure the morale of staff. Outcomes are important for the firm to take seriously so that management issues, conflicts among staff and potential for increased turnover may be identified and addressed. The survey can be taken during different periods, such as when everything is running smoothly, when there is stress associated with high volumes of work and when there are noted increases in turnover. To ensure survey credibility, outcomes should be reported to those participating, and when deficiencies are identified, actions that will be taken are developed, communicated and implemented. (Not addressing outcomes negatively impacts perceptions staff have of management as well as impacts the validity of future survey outcomes when staff have little faith that any improvement will be realized.)

Take a “snapshot” of how your team members feel about the organization, its management, and support received to be successful.

About Karen Reitor

Karen Reitor is the President of Communiqué Productions, a Certified Management Consultant (CMC), and a certified professional in Learning and Performance. Since establishing Communiqué Productions in 1985, Karen has managed and/or designed, developed, and facilitated over 3,000 training & development and consulting projects in more than 175 organizations. She is a recognized as a leader in learner-centered and activities-based training. Karen has spent over 30+ years' experience improving organizations with unparalleled results in the industry. Communiqué Productions is also an author on Flevy. You can browse their best practice tools here.

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