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March 24, 2022

High Performing Teams: When is The Best Time to Add Staff?

Pit crew changing tires of Formula car at pit stop.

When we work with investment advisors who are committed to running a high-performance team, we often find that they have one burning question: How do I know when it’s time to hire another team member?

While this question may seem simple, the answer is more complex and depends on the advisor’s situation. In this article, we discuss when you should hire new staff, how to prepare to hire, and strategies you can use to help grow your business and optimize your team’s performance.   

Are you ready to hire a new team member?

Many advisors believe the best time to add staff is when they are already overwhelmed. While waiting to hire until you absolutely need the support may seem financially prudent, it’s usually not the best approach.

Often, advisors who want to hire are driven by an urgency to grow. If an advisors’ capacity is stretched between administrative tasks and prospecting efforts, this can limit their potential to bring in new business. Hiring someone to help with administrative tasks, or even sharing admin support with another advisor, can help to free up time so you can focus on finding new clients -- a task with a much higher return on investment.

Another situation where it makes sense to hire is if an advisor wants to add a new service or specialization. An advisor might not know how to roll out a new service. Hiring someone with the right experience to assist with the launch and roll out of a new service is more productive than trying to stumble your way through a process you aren’t familiar with. 

Deciding when to add new staff can be a delicate balancing act. If you wait too long, it can take a toll on you and your business. If you add staff before you are ready, it can eat up your immediate resources. It takes considerable time to onboard and train a new team member. If you aren’t properly prepared with clear processes and procedures in place, you can limit your new staff members’ immediate productivity. Ensuring you are properly prepared before you bring on a new team member is key.

How to prepare for a new staff

In most cases, the best time to add staff is after you have done everything possible to optimize your business efficiencies. This strategy will ensure that new team members operate on a solid foundation, leading to more significant gains in your team's overall performance. 

There are two best practices you can focus on to optimize efficiencies in your business before adding more staff.

1. Clearly define roles and responsibilities

Ensuring each team member has a clear understanding of their role and responsibilities allows you to:

  • Prioritize the most critical tasks and ensure they are completed in a timely fashion
  • Identify tasks that are not being completed and reassign them to other staff
  • Determine if existing staff members have a capacity issue or a time management issue
  • Minimize overlap of staff responsibilities

To properly define roles and responsibilities, write a list of all the tasks and duties each team member (including yourself) is responsible for completing. Estimate the amount of time it takes to complete each task. Then, prioritize each task so you and your team can focus on what is most important.

2. Create documented workflows for each process

Advisors are already employing various business processes to get work done. However, most of these processes are not formalized. Carefully documenting all your processes can help your team perform at the highest level.  

We can look to car racing as an example.

To win a race, the driver and 15-person pit crew must work in sync to efficiently execute well-defined, repeatable, and rehearsed processes. Documented workflows help to ensure each crew member knows what they are supposed to do, what their team members are supposed to do, and in what order. This is how the pit crew shaves valuable seconds off their time to win the race.

The same strategy can be used by advisors to deliver consistent and reliable service to their customers.

There are several benefits associated with having well-defined processes and procedures in place including:

  • Smooth orientation of a new client or the implementation of a new system
  • Improved staff efficiency, error reduction, and elimination of redundancies
  • Streamlined onboarding of new team members to ensure they have clear processes to learn from

How to design and implement effective workflow processes

There are three key steps to designing and implementing effective workflow processes:

1. Identify critical processes to support the ideal client experience

For example, the client onboarding process. Have the team member who is responsible for conducting most of the onboarding duties define and document each task required to properly onboard a client in the first year including:  

  • What tasks need to be completed and when?
  • How much time will each task take?
  • Who is responsible for the task?

2. Review the draft for each process

Once each critical process has been documented, you should review and provide your input before finalizing the workflow.

3. Share with the entire team

To ensure everyone is on the same page, share each workflow and confirm that everyone is aware of their role and responsibilities.

Is it time to add more staff?

Deciding when to add more staff is a complex decision that needs to be carefully thought through to maximize an advisors’ return on investment. Hiring only when the situation is dire can cause added stress and lead to decreased productivity – don’t let it get to this point.

Instead, start analyzing your business needs today so you can take a proactive approach to hiring, one that will amplify your business and allow you to grow and scale with piece of mind.

About the Author

Bruno De Pace

Bruno De Pace

Director, Practice Management
CI Global Asset Management

Bruno is responsible for supporting advisors within CI Global Asset Management’s key channel partner network in the areas of professional development and practice management. Bruno is a skilled coach, consultant, and presenter who has worked with thousands of advisors across the country, helping them build highly successful businesses and deliver more value to their clients.