When is It Time to Hire Staff?

by Certified Coach Alissa Gauger, MBA

You will get as many answers to the question, “how will I know it’s time to staff up my practice?” as the number of people you ask. My answer? Consider your options carefully, move slowly and then trust your own gut.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

What resources do you currently have? Do you use them well?

Whether you pay for them right now or not, are you using centralized services well? Many Financial Representatives (FRs) do not. They don’t follow the rules/deadlines, they want to do their own PPAs (to “have more control”), or just don’t go to their internal team. What services are you not using now but could be such as having them prep feeder lists for you? Before you hire your own staff, take a look at how you use the resources that are available.

Are you paying yourself regularly?

It doesn’t matter what the amount is that you pay yourself, but are you in the habit of having “payroll” for yourself where money gets transferred into your personal checking account on a consistent basis? If not, set that up before you prepare to take on the responsibility of payroll for another person, too. I believe that business owners who get paid regularly feel more confident hiring.

Do you feel mentally and emotionally ready for hiring and managing a staff person?

Staff will need training, feedback and interaction with you regularly. Are you prepared to give an employee what they need to do the job well? That will mean your time, energy, feedback, resources and patience. If you struggle to set boundaries and expectations because you avoid conflict, becoming an employer will cause you to need to face these challenges. Are you ready?

Are you prepared to compensate a professional well?

I have seen many FRs try to hire people for the least amount possible to save money. This rarely works out too well for anyone. If you are willing to generously compensate your new hire so they feel like their salary is fair (and hopefully a promotion) you will probably get higher performance. If you wish for this to be a long-term hire where you can grow this person into a manager role, save money in other ways than skimping on salary. Consider sharing staff with other FRs so that you can afford to hire the right person.

Do you have savings or a line of credit?

Given that the business you write can roll back for up to 13 months, you may have some cash flow ups and downs as a natural part of the business. Having a way to cover payroll will help you feel ready.

Do you know who to hire?

First, contact us to take your Kolbe Index A to learn your MO. It will help you know the timing of when to hire based on what your natural strengths and talents are and if you need someone who accommodates OR complements your style (and vice versa). In other words, you will either be the exact opposite of your staff, or you will share their conation and be much like them.  Make sure that you have your top candidates take the Kolbe A to ensure that you are hiring for the right fit conatively. (Please contact us to send candidates Kolbe codes and for hiring consultations. Gauger is a Certified Kolbe Consultant).

In my experience, FRs who are initiating Quick Starts who are preventative in Fact Finder and Follow Thru need to hire someone with their opposite Kolbe score. These FRs get a fast start in the business, but the “back office” is in disarray because the FRs with this MO do not like to use CRM, to post and plan, manage their calendars and keep everything organized. These FRs usually need to hire as soon as possible—often in the first year if they are serious about the business.

Non Quick Start FRs have more time to hire. Since Initiating Fact Finder and Initiating Follow Thru FRs (who often are preventative in Quick Start) can manage the operations of their businesses extremely well they can get by without staff more effectively. Watch out if you are this style that you don’t wait too long to hire staff because you believe “no one can do the work as well as me” or “I can handle it myself” because there will be a point when it will be costly for you to do admin work when you could be out generating revenue.

Are you prepared for the hiring process? Most FRs dread the time intensive nature of a well executed search! After you have promoted the position and gotten enough candidates there are many steps to the process. In addition to the Kolbe, gather personality assessment results (such as the Culture Index), comprehensive information about your candidates’ skills, training and education and references. Spend time carefully interviewing them. Administer some tests onsite (an email writing sample, a prioritization exercise, etc.) Does your candidate pass the “gut check?” If not, no matter how great they look on paper, trust your instincts.

If you have never interviewed before, seek out internal resources to find out more. Write your questions in advance and ask every candidate the same questions.

Are you willing to ask for help? Sometimes the FR is the worst judge of who she or he needs to hire! Ask staff, fellow FRs, your MD, recruiters and others for help. Allow others to participate in the process. If you have never hired before, make sure you work with someone who can fill you in on employment law. Turn to the online resource called FR As Employer in LinkNet for all kinds of turn key professionally prepared hiring tools such as position descriptions, offer letters and more.

Take your time! Take. Your. Time.

Are you ready to take your practice to the next level? If you have been stuck at a certain level of production and you believe you need more time to prospect, phone and see people, it’s time to consider hiring.

In my experience, most FRs do the exact opposite of the adage: “hire slowly, fire quickly.” If you have determined that you are ready to hire, congratulations! This is an exciting time for you and your practice.

Hiring someone is a really big step. All the more reason to take very small steps as you go. Good luck!

Coaching Tip Most people don’t realize that there are THREE parts of the brain to measure in the hiring process: thinking (cognitive), feeling (affective) and doing (conative). You can access information about your candidates’ cognitive abilities by evaluating resumes and through the interview process. You will also learn about their affective traits in the interview along with the personality assessments you administer. The most common, and critical, assessment that is most often the missing piece of the puzzle is conation. The way your new hire takes action and solves problems along with their innate strengths and talents can only be measured by the Kolbe Index A. Since this part of the brain is “hardwired” you want to make sure the person is the right fit for the position. There is no bad Kolbe score, only bad fit! Contact us to learn more or for help with administering and evaluating Kolbe tests as part of your process.