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Lisa Winnard: Engaging staff at your advice firm


Returning from our Christmas breaks we all have that new year, new objectives mindset. From a human resources and people perspective, some of the key themes for business leaders in 2017 will be around engagement, gender pay, apprenticeships and improved corporate governance.

In HR, this is a busy period of setting clear direction for our people, who play a crucial role in delivering the business’s plans. With this in mind, how much consideration is given to how you are going to engage, motivate and develop your staff?

For many businesses, retaining staff is at the top of their agenda. To do this, engagement strategies are key. This includes the challenge of engaging the newer millennial workforce, while at the same time maintaining engagement with the older generation. Each have different needs as part of their working life.

Engagement encompasses many elements, from how you communicate with staff to how you manage, support and develop them. For employers, understanding the needs and wants of your people, and building this into your people plan, will be critical to how successful your business will be.

There are also more practical considerations for employers, which stem from legislative changes seen last year. For example, reforms around apprenticeships will mean larger firms will have a newly introduced levy to fund them.

This will assist the Government in hitting its target of offering three million apprenticeships by 2020. I can see this being really beneficial for the financial services industry, making practical experience a necessity for young people wanting to join it.

Meanwhile, gender continues to be an important theme in the drive to improve diversification at board and management levels. The newly published gender pay reporting regulations will mean more employers needing to publish mean and median overall pay for males and females within their business. This year also sees a levy introduced in the form of an immigration skills charge for businesses employing migrant workers.

Employers will also start to see consultation of more formal frameworks being put in place through a newly extended senior manager and certification regime from early 2018.

This could come alongside more corporate governance requirements being introduced by the Government to ensure business leaders are more accountable for their actions in the wake of high profile issues such as the collapse of BHS and working conditions at Sports Direct.

Last week my team launched a proposition to provide our Bankhall clients with an HR service. With people so critical to any business, we wanted to provide a service that uses our knowledge and expertise to help firms deliver effective people management and development strategies.

Advisory firms need to have strong foundations in place to achieve their future ambitions. This will help ensure they are able to focus on the value-added services. It is an exciting time and we are looking forward to working with firms in this way.

Lisa Winnard is HR & business services director at Sesame Bankhall Group



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There are 4 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. With the shortage of quality staff available, whether they be advisers, paraplanners or other important support staff, attraction, retention and development of key assets should be a priority.

    Sadly many business owners look for the lowest package in the market and match it, rather than looking at the top end as well as building the work/life balance that an individual may be looking for. At the end of the day good quality people add value to a business, they should not be viewed as an unnecessary cost. With the advent of LinkedIn for example, recruitment consultants are ready to offer better deals, so business owners need to do their homework if they want a stable workforce.

  2. Neil F Liversidge 20th January 2017 at 9:58 am

    I fondly remember Lisa from my DBS days as a superb HR professional along with her colleagues at the time, Lorraine Poole and Anne Betts. Unfortunately, after the Misys takeover, the HR professionals at DBS were often overridden and/or ignored by bullying managers. I saw several colleagues bullied out of their jobs or simply chopped for no good reason on flimsy pretexts just to make space for those a new boss wanted to bring in – the favourites and sneaks who traipsed around after them from one job to another like pathetic lapdogs. I hope the management at Sesame have the sense these days to listen to their HR professionals and not let loose cannon so-called managers rampage around making their subordinates lives a misery as they did in the early 2000s.

  3. John Cowan ( Executive Chairman - Sesame Bankhall Group ) 20th January 2017 at 8:03 pm

    Neil Thanks for your comments about Lisa Winnard and totally agree with your comments about her professionalism. Sesame Bankhall Group is a much changed place from the business you described. Whilst a long way from perfect we have just completed a lot of research amongst staff and advisors and the business is in a good place after some difficult years. In no small measure Lisa has helped bring about an immense change in sentiment by her sensible counselling and open and honest policy with staff. John

  4. James Rees (Executive Coach - 31st March 2017 at 12:45 pm

    It’s great to hear that an HR professional is highly regarded and innovative in their approach. HR, when done properly, is very challenging but is so valuable to developing profit. I have been working with the global HR Director of a financial services business to develop a coaching culture in middle and early management, which has seen performance sky rocket, along with employee engagement.

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