The Appraisal Process - Business Management for Financial Advisers

Employee want and need feedback .Whatever may be the position of the employee in a firm, a person wants to know what others think that he is doing.

What to Evaluate

By following a appraisal process, you can evaluate a individuals specific performance. You can discuss issues and train people accordingly to achieve higher levels of performance.

For example, to evaluate passion for excellence, you might rate your staff in terms of the extent to which they

  • demonstrate pride in their work
  • complete their work on time and on budget
  • solve problems effectively
  • meet client-service expectations
  • communicate clearly and listen well

To measure integrity, you might rate the staff on whether they

  • behave unethically or tolerate unethical behavior of others
  • maintain their continuing-education requirements willingly
  • put the firm at risk with their own behavior

To assess lifetime learning, you might explore whether they

  • are committed to expanding their knowledge and education
  • apply technology tools well

To find out whether they lead by example, you might ask whether they

  • demonstrate a positive attitude toward the firm’s goals
  • take responsibility for actions and accept responsibility for mistakes
  • act as a role model or mentor for others

To measure a balanced life, you’ll want to observe how well they

  • act as a role model in how they balance business and personal activities
  • avoid becoming obsessive about work
  • Avoid becoming obsessive about play. (Remember, a balanced life doesn’t mean taking a lot of days off from work but rather keeping work and nonwork in sync.)

To assess their respect for others, you may want to rate them on whether they

  • respond to feedback from others respectfully
  • keep you informed of progress on client work, if appropriate
  • treat colleagues and subordinates respectfully
  • respect clients in what they say and do and how they respond to issues

Your motto is to make sure that every person adopts the whole concept. It is critical that the partners, exhibit the values and behavior that have been identified important to the organization. We must remind our partners that their succession depends upon admittance of future partners. Behavioral change, unfortunately, comes slowly—unless it comes by virtue of a near death experience.

PILLAR, of course, is just an example of how one firm reinforces its expectations and the culture it’s trying to create. Each firm must establish its own boundaries and expectations, although your firm is free to borrow the PILLAR approach if you feel it applies.

The key is to be clear about what you expect of everyone, know what culture you want to build and sustain, and have a means for evaluating and reinforcing the right behavior. Should you choose to ignore all of the soft issues and focus solely on making money, which is a clear statement of culture and will appeal to some people. But we would recommend broadening your perspective.

How to Evaluate

Most of the firms follow a structured evaluation process in which peers evaluate peers, supervisors evaluate subordinates and subordinates evaluate supervisors. Peer evaluation allows your colleagues to judge your performance. By pointing out your strengths and weaknesses, they give you an opportunity to improve.

Upstream evaluation allows your subordinates to evaluate you. This is critical in building a dynamic organization, as if you are not respected, or liked, you will lose the ability to leverage your business. Larger practices can create a more structured appraisal process and, to some degree, preserve anonymity for subordinates who are doing upstream evaluations of the practice leaders. Some firms outsource this process to consultants to ensure objectivity and trust in the process.


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