Getting Advisors To Recognize Bad Behavior

August 24, 2015

by Beverly Flaxington

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Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

Dear Bev,

Have you seen many advisor firms where using “virtual help” has worked? I have a great person headed out on maternity leave, and she wants to become a contractor after her baby is born. I am a big believer in camaraderie and collaboration in the office. I also don’t believe people work as hard if they are not being watched, so I don’t know how I would manage her contribution to my satisfaction. She has been an important part of our firm and I’d prefer not to lose her. I don’t think that insisting she return is an option. Her mind seems to be made up.

Julie S.

Dear Julie,

The short answer to your question is yes, I have seen times where the at-home or virtual role works fine for an advisory firm. However, the bigger question to be asked is whether you could be comfortable enough with the idea to be open to making it work. A few questions to ask:

  1. Is allowing her to work from home going to disrupt any day-to-day responsibilities she may have? Are there things that have to be done in the office (such as meeting with clients)?
  2. Is she willing to come into the office when you require or ask her to? Would you both be able to set parameters for these visits?
  3. Is the role very clear with accountabilities and timelines? Will she know what she needs to do and when she needs to do it so you can measure what’s being done and what isn’t?
  4. Would the two of you benefit from a once per week check-in and be able to stay in contact so you know and are comfortable with what she is doing?
  5. Do your systems allow for virtual work? Are there compliance or other issues to consider?
  6. Are there others in your office who might be able to step in and help from an “in-person” perspective?

If you are able to answer these questions satisfactorily (to you) and as a follow-up, both you and she can set some guidelines for how the situation could work, it might be worth a try. Some of my clients have people working from home who report they are much more productive than when in the office. Of course there are upsides and downsides, as with anything. It’s really whether this is right for you and your firm.

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Getting Advisors To Recognize Bad Behavior