It’s tough finding good people. Once you’ve got them, it’s even more difficult retaining them. Advisor turnover was often high because another firm offered a big up front bonus to move from one company to another. Support staff often has high turnover. What can you do to retain support staff?

Ways To Build Loyalty
When your business involves helping clients try to make money, it seems obvious the way to retain good people is to pay them more. Unfortunately, the person handing out the cash sometimes thinks they have the right to be mean or make unreasonable demands on their time. Staff still leave.

Here are nine ways to motivate.
1. Pay more money. This is the obvious way. A logical approach is to have their success tied to your success. If you hit specific thresholds with your business, they earn one of more bonuses.

2. Generous holiday gifts. This needs to be cleared with compliance. Years ago, I gave my sales assistant a Caribbean cruise as a Christmas present. There’s a “society” among support staff in a large office. Getting a significant present, or several gifts from different advisors they support, increases their standing among their peers.

Now it’s time to look beyond money.

3. Flexible working hours. For support staff with young families, or possibly additional responsibilities like caring for an aging relative, having flexibility in their work schedule has great value. There would need to be a coverage system in place.

4. Career path. Not every sales assistant wants to become a financial advisor. However, many know the clients on a personal level and understand the products and processes as well as the advisors. Some will be motivated by a career path that leads from sales assistant to investment associate, then to financial advisor and eventually a partner in the practice.

5. Higher education. Earning a Masters or Doctorate degree is a giant step beyond those CE credit courses required to keep your licensing current. This costs money. Your firm might have a program that reimburses tuition. You might need to direct some dollars to plug the gap. The firm might have a way for advisors to provide this kind of support. Their work hours would need some flexibility.

6. Mentoring opportunities. Some people are born teachers. They get great pleasure in showing others how to do the job. They’ve developed best practices. Your firm hires new people all the time. If a member of your support staff can have the additional responsibility of training the new arrivals, that might be a great motivator. They should be paid or somehow compensated for this additional workload.

7. Managerial responsibility. This goes beyond training. On commercial airline flights, the team of flight attendants is led by the purser, who the passengers might consider the chief flight attendant. It’s a role with managerial responsibilities. If you are an advisor in a large office, they might have an overall management structure for support staff beyond the advisor level. One of your team members might aspire to this position.

8. Firm recognition. Large firms solicit feedback from employees at all levels. Your firm probably has a council of advisors consulting with senior management. Support staff likely has a similar counsel. It’s not just on a national level. There are likely counsels at the divisional and regional level too. Could your team member join this group?

9. Awards. “Employee of the month” is a form of recognition done across many industries. Sometimes it comes with perks like preferred parking. Winning an award and gaining the recognition of your peers can be a motivating factor too.

The most important motivating factor of all is personal recognition. People need to be told they are doing a good job. Advisors often find if clients make money, they feel the advisor is “just doing their job.  If they lose money, it’s “the advisor’s fault.” You know how that feels. Support staff needs positive recognition too.

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, Captivating the Wealthy Investor can be found on Amazon.