Learning from the leavers

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Usually a leaver’s debrief is left to the firms’ HR department, if the firm has one. However. there can often be some merit in T&C having an “unofficial” chat with the leaver as, in my experience, they always have something to say that could be useful, when it something to be learnt, or even just to make you think.

Leavers, if encouraged, tend to be willing to provide information that they may not have given to their manager, or to HR, at their exit interview, should they have had such a meeting. Sometimes they may not have mentioned concerns whilst working for the firm, or perhaps they have mentioned concerns but these have been ignored. Often these concerns relate to things that they did not like whilst working for the firm, but they will also include what they thought was good. Wherever possible remember to ask what their new firm will give them that the current one that they’re leaving can’t, or possibly won’t give them.

All information is useful in that it might direct us to consider of changing an element of the T&C(Training & Competence) Scheme to better suit the needs of the scheme members. It might also help change of approach to certain functions, such as 121 meetings, or feedback sessions. Most importantly there is a need to know if there was anything that the T&C Scheme could have done to prevent them leaving, or that might prevent future leavers for the same reasons. Leavers are not just expensive to replace: In the Financial Services industry, they can take some time to replace creating an impact on operational efficiency.

Try and understand any thoughts or suggestions from the leaver about key performance indicators as this might have an influence how the scheme monitors and delivers feedback and coaching.

Probably the most common reason to leave is a financial one, whether this relates to salary or to the bonus scheme. The business will set the individuals’ salary against a set level of volume of sales generated. T&C can assist here by looking at how the individual generates leads through prospecting and obtaining referrals when carrying out accompanied visits, listening to recorded meetings, or even analysing a set of client files. All income, whether required to meet salary or bonus targets, could also be influenced by T&C through monitoring and feedback, and coaching identifies learning outcomes such as asking the right questions, looking for other needs whether recognised by the client or not, or doing a focused job as opposed to a holistic job. Personally, I advocate dealing with the immediate need and any other needs if they can be dealt with at the same time as the primary need, or at least concluding with at least an agreement that at some defined point in the future to deal with the other needs identified.

Typically bonus schemes pay individuals an additional payment if they hit certain targets. However, the amount paid will depend on the volume of sales income generated and, depending on the T&C(Training & Competence) Scheme, may also include whatever penalties the firm has decided to set based on performance ratings created through set key performance indicators such as file check scores, ongoing business retention, client servicing, complaints etc. The T&C Scheme will certainly have some influence on how the key performance indicators are set and then monitor how individuals meet them. Try and understand any thoughts or suggestions from the leaver about key performance indicators as this might have an influence how the scheme monitors and delivers feedback and coaching.

Other reasons that individual might leave might include systems and processes. Very rarely does an individual leave due to working relationships with colleagues or management. Although I’ve seen a lot of leavers over the years through different firms, very rarely do they leave the industry itself.

Systems are a difficult area to influence, but T&C can still have an impact through monitoring and analysing any trends, then suggesting and asking for alternative ways to make a system easier to navigate. Examples of this might include building in parameters to highlight inconsistencies in reports, or flash notices to provide an explanation or detail that otherwise might need to be looked up elsewhere. Processes can be influenced too, again from monitoring T&C can identify areas of a process that could be adjusted to prevent mistakes or even improve both the person running the process and the customer’s experience.

Then there’s the things that the leaver doesn’t tell HR or management. Often these are personal gripes and shouldn’t be dismissed as they could also lead to something in the T&C Scheme that needs reviewing. A few years ago, a gripe made by a leaver identified a systemic flaw that nobody else had identified, even by those that were doing the same job. Instead of being flagged, it had been accepted as part of the process. Another leaver confirmed my suspicions that a sales manager wasn’t conducting quarterly review meetings in the way I would have expected them to be conducted.

Whether the firm’s management includes sales managers who are also T&C supervisors, or whether the firm advocates separate sales management and T&C functions, T&C (Training & Competence) is not just about helping individuals obtain and maintain competence, but also about helping the firm retain individuals. Learning from the leavers is an important method of reviewing the T&C Scheme and tailoring it to the needs of the firm and the individuals working for that firm.

 

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About Author

I am a highly-versatile and forward thinking management professional with a history of successful delivery across more than thirty years’ in the Financial Services Industry. Core skills include assessing, training, coaching, process design and implementation, specialising in people, processes, and procedures within a Training & Competence or Learning & Development framework. Periodic writer for T-C News.com

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