In almost any walk of business life it’s possible to come up with a football analogy of some sort to describe a situation.
Whether it’s around the importance of teamwork – no player is bigger than the club – or the benefits of bringing in new blood and allowing then to thrive – “You can’t win anything with kids” – we are never too far away from a football cliché or ten.
This struck me quite recently when watching the post-match analysis surrounding Harry Kane’s recent match-winning performance against Manchester City. The superlatives were really flowing as Kane led Spurs to victory with some pundits suggesting City’s failure to sign Kane last summer might come back to bite them in terms of their ability to win the Premier League.
That, of course, remains to be seen but it’s undoubtedly the case that recruitment plays a huge role in football, as it does in our sector, and clubs/firms will have different strategies when it comes to bringing in the ‘players’ they need to take their businesses forward.
Knowing what you’re looking to achieve is key to how you proceed
Interestingly, within our sector we currently have some very aggressive activity in terms of recruitment across both individual firms and networks themselves. However, the way firms approach this endeavour can be very different.
Part of our job at the network is to support firms in their recruitment. It’s been clear for some time that many of our AR firms want to grow staff resource but again it depends on what you want to achieve, what your timescale is, what you are willing to pay and provide in the way of benefits, etc, which will dictate how you proceed.
We spend a lot of our time working with firms and responding to their want and needs. Again, a football analogy works here – does the firm want a new star striker? A Harry Kane who is tried and tested and has a very good chance of hitting the ground running and ‘paying back their transfer fee’ in double-quick time.
Could focus on training and development paths be the key to growth?
That’s certainly a way to go but firms will have to realise it’s likely to come at a cost. Or does the firm want to go down the ‘academy route’ bringing in new employees who may not have the necessary qualifications right now, but who can be trained up and ultimately could deliver what that ‘star striker’ is achieving now but at a point in the future.
Again, it’s always an option and will certainly be cheaper from the outset, with apprenticeships and trainee programmes available to do just this, up until the point where they can be unleashed as a newly-qualified adviser.
Then there’s the opportunity to look at what you’ve already got. At our recent Growth Forum for performing firms, it was noticeable how many are looking to convert staff they might already have within the business. Perhaps your excellent administrator could be your next excellent adviser; perhaps your excellent adviser could be your next Team Leader, etc.
Again, for those individuals already immersed in the business, who understand the culture and have shown strong dedication, skill and commitment, the time might be right to progress them up to the ‘first team’.
Here to support our ARs to succeed
The good news is that firms have options here. We always say to our ARs that their first step will be to be vocal about their recruitment ambitions; to be vocal to us and let us know they are ‘in the market’ for employee growth.
Then it’s about telling us what they want. For example, while not as important now, some firms are looking for advisers based on geography, others want those who have come from a banking background who have been immersed in financial services but perhaps not in the mortgage market.
We can then do what we do to support their endeavours. One of the key areas for us is helping place advisers within existing firms; indeed over the last year, 40% of the adviser growth within the network has been advisers joining our ARs. Again, if you are looking for network support and want to grow your business in this way, it should perhaps be a consideration when weighing up which Principal you could partner with.
From a market perspective, it is inspiring to see firms looking to expand and bring on new advisers. It suggests confidence in their propositions and their ability to secure future clients and service increased levels of business. And the further good news is that we have no ‘transfer window’ to abide by – we can recruit and expand year-long, and the more firms we can help, the higher up the league they are likely to climb.
Lesley Sharkey is Recruitment Director at Stonebridge