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Team spirit

A lot of time has been spent on the importance of recruiting new blood into the Industry. While an important topic, retaining staff is much more cost effective than recruiting replacements. It follows, therefore, that firms that fail to invest in the right training and development do not realise the maximum value from their teams.

Because our industry is so heavily regulated, many have adjusted to the fact that product and regulatory training is a positive thing. A recent Datamonitor survey of IFAs revealed that the majority of advisers believe that training is key to their understanding of current changes in the industry.

On the flip side, business development, IT and soft skills training are all too often dismissed as a waste of time and money. Nothing, though, could be further from the truth. Money spent on training in these additional areas should have a direct and positive impact on the bottom line. Well-trained teams not only are able to perform their roles better, they will also be more motivated and less likely to start looking to move company.

For example, you may have the most technically competent financial adviser working for your firm but do they understand how best to utilise the systems and tools provided for them in their role to maximise business development? Do they make the best of your client management systems and populate and update the appropriate fields? When it comes to communicating with your customer base, data is the single most important thing that stands between great communication and poor communication.

It is therefore vital that your staff get the appropriate training to input and update client data accordingly.

If you are a businessowner and people manager, it is natural to focus on your team’s needs alone but it is equally important that you get the relevant training for you and your business needs.

You may be a great visionary but to realise these ambitions you need some assistance in creating strategic plans for your company. You may have been lucky enough to have seen exponential growth in your business but this now requires you to revisit time management. Having someone else help you to identify the issues, then help you with implementing time management and prioritisation tools would surely benefit you and your business?

In a 2003 study which looked at 250,000 employee records, Accenture researchers found that the top fiftieth percentile in terms of the amount of training were 17 per cent more productive, performed at 20 per cent higher levels relative to their peer group and stayed with the company 14 per cent longer. So when it is so evident that additional training can improve the bottom line, why do so many fail to invest in it? Quite simply, there are two barriers to investing in additional training. The first is money and the second is time.

With regards to the financial investment – there are many ways of obtaining most of your training needs for free. For example, if you are a member of a support service provider, you probably get access to training as a membership benefit.

Many networks have recognised the importance of assisting member firms with their regulatory, product and soft skill training needs.

As an example of this, in February, we launched the Bankhall Training Directory, which recently accepted its 1,000th delegate. Working in collaboration with key provider partners, to date, 270 courses have been provided free of charge across the country. This has delivered training that would be difficult and expensive to get elsewhere.

So that is the financial barrier dealt with, leaving the onus on businessowners to decide whether to invest time or not. Only you can decide but if you are thorough in your needs analysis and find a reputable course that meets the specific requirements, you will reap the rewards.

Richard Howells is marketing director at Bankhall

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