Recently I had the opportunity to progress my retirement plans and move to a three-day working week, which meant I moved firms.
This of course brought not only new opportunities, but new challenges too. Having spent three and a half years working remotely, the new role was hybrid working, two days in the office, one day remote. Of course, the whole firm works hybrid and being a medium sized firm, this meant that certainly on the days I was in the office, only twelve to fifteen others would be too. Quite a change to those pre-pandemic days. It is noticeably quiet by comparison.
This T&C role has been newly created and takes the work off the Compliance Manager and one of the Directors of the firm. The T&C Scheme itself is well-established and covers a wide range of measurements. There are significantly less members in scope than the last scheme I ran, and the KPI reviews are quarterly, with monthly feedback, so they should just be a review.
Of course, the role is the same wherever you go. However, systems and process will vary. The first variance was that I had to learn a new back-office system, one which I had not used before. You need a good knowledge of the back-office system so you can track, report, and if necessary, challenge, so this was top priority. Two months later I can now get by, but there is still more to learn.
Assumption can be a dangerous thing. Of course, you can do the job. But how you do it is just as important
The measurements in the T&C Scheme are taken from a wide range of sources, the location of which also takes time to learn. There were no written processes for the T&C work since this had been done by the same person for so long, they knew what to do and where to go like the back of their hand. Although the knowledge transfer has been great, I have had to build a process for each KPI, and then link each to the relevant data source. I also need to do more mapping of sources, since whilst putting together this quarter’s KPI outputs I would complete one KPI from a data source, only to find that I need the same source for another KPI further along.
The sales process is also different. The T&C Scheme covers both the Private Client advisers and the Employee Benefit advisers, and I found that out when I conducted by first accompanied meeting a couple of weeks ago that due to the various stages in the advisory process, some components did not have observation forms. Something else to add onto my post-Christmas to do list!
It is fair to say that whilst this T&C Scheme can easily be run on three days a week basis, this has been a bit of a hindrance during the take-on period. It would have been better to have been working full time, rather than a two-day break each week making it a bit stop start.
Normally when taking in somebody else’s T&C Scheme I would start off by spending time reviewing the past records to get an understanding of the members, for example trends in the KPI outputs, development plans, personal strengths, and weaknesses. Again, working full time for the first few weeks might have allowed this. I joined the firm in the second month of the quarter and, after spending the first weeks or so meeting all the advisers and strategic members of the team, it’s been full on just to complete most of three months’ worth of KPI measurements so I can deliver the outputs before we break for the holidays.
In summary, there are several learns. If you are a T&C Supervisor, always ensure that somebody else can pick the details of the role up as easily as possible. Everything that you do should be written down, especially the how and where. If you are onboarding a new colleague, factor in time to ensure they are up to speed with all the systems and processes before they start the actual work to avoid having to piece things together as they go along. This will help you too, as hopefully it will minimise the number of questions they ask.
If you are looking to take on somebody else’s T&C Scheme, avoid any thoughts that you can just walk in and take it on. Assumption can be a dangerous thing. Of course, you can do the job. But how you do it is just as important. Find out how the role compares with your current or last role. I would suggest taking a checklist with you to identify what is different. As what systems they use, an overview of the processes, and most importantly, what their expectations are and timelines for the deliverables. I already knew I would have a different back-office. I expected the processes to differ. What I did not expect was to be thrown in the deep end immediately. Does it change my view on the firm? No. Mainly because their ethical to their people, their clients, and the local community is so good.
From January on it will be different. I will be taking full control of the T&C Scheme and have a full quarter to deal with the measurements. Yes, I will be making some changes since whilst it is a good scheme, it is a little bit too complex and to construct the quarterly KPI outputs is convoluted. My to do list is quiet long. Top of that list is to ensure I have time to add value in any way I can.