At one point in our careers, we’ve either been a manager or a part of a team. We all have opinions on what a ‘great team’ should feel like — and the attributes of a strong coach/manager. But what really matters in delivering a better wealth management experience?

Leveraging data and insights from the 2018 DFA/Loring Ward Benchmarking study, we’ve identified “5 Keys” to building and managing a successful team:

  1. Start with Experience & Value: By first identifying your ideal client(s) and their experience, you can then determine roles and responsibilities. You, your employees, and key partners can all play a role at different times to deliver the wealth experience. Any gaps or areas of improvement will drive hiring decisions.
  2. Hire with Clarity & Intent: Human capital is arguably the most important asset you have — and a key differentiator in delivering an exceptional experience. Hiring the right type of employee who complements your existing team is important.
  3. Align Compensation with Desired Outcomes: Antiquated ‘production’ models don’t engender team-based and collaborative approaches to meeting client needs in a holistic way. Moreover, there are non-cash compensation tactics that can often have a greater impact on motivation and employee behavior. Align your compensation plan with what’s in the client’s best interest, including proactive service/advice calls, concierge service, quality time. Also, don’t’ expect to hire a ‘junior rainmaker’ or business-development focused advisor … it doesn’t work. Instead hire a great service advisor that can help you generate more referrals, which is where the bulk of growth still originates.
  4. Cultivate & Develop Talent: Your human capital is an asset that needs to be cultivated — especially in the first year. From coaching to mentoring, optimizing your time as a manager/coach is critical to the success of your team. It’s more than money. From work environment, PTO, flexible schedules, collaboration in strategy, to providing a career/equity path — the biggest motivators are often non-financial.
  5. Institutionalize Relationships & Automate: Leveraging technology and consistent workflows will facilitate better team collaboration and help deliver a more consistent experience. And thoughtfully determining a path to ownership for your next generation of advisors will institutionalize client and employee relationships with your firm. Simply automating arduous tasks or hiring another admin person (who is likely to leave after three years) isn’t a long-term strategy that works. Approaching your business with an institutional-bent, where your firm/team collectively and collaboratively works together, reduces single points of failure and increases continuity.

Delivering an integrated, exceptional experience across all channels (live, online, phone) has never been more important. Your team plays a vital role in that delivery. Optimizing your staff to deliver a consistent and proactive experience requires forethought — from systematizing workflows to role definition to leveraging key expert team partners.

A cohesive human capital strategy is one way to align your entire team — both internally and externally — around a common goal.