Sep 01 2022
6 ways to develop staff camaraderie
By Matt Pais
Bringing your team together might mean recognition, events, competitions and much more. During a recent recording of the MDRT Podcast, MDRT members discussed how they have established closeness between co-workers. Hear more at mdrt.org/podcast.
Aaron Kane, B Bus, AFA, an eight-year MDRT member from Wheelers Hill, Victoria, Australia
Adam Thomas Rex, CFP, AIF, a 12-year MDRT member from Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA
Rex: Each quarter, we host a lunch and learn and ask the staff to put together their questions on financial planning. We think about this stuff all day long for clients, but we have people in our office who need our help and either don’t feel like they can or should ask the questions. So, we’ve tried to make it very open where we bring in lunch and talk about financial planning topics. We give an overarching presentation and then open it up for questions.
Kane: We spend a half day in the boardroom and use sticky notes on the wall and the whiteboard to identify what our key values are in our business. What do we think are some key words that we all understand that come up regularly in our day to day? Then we build a team agreement centered around supporting each other, sharing information, making sure we’re clear in our communication, and giving clear instruction and feedback to each other. We also make sure we regularly come together for fun, without the distraction of work.
Every month, a survey goes out to our team through monday.com, and team members anonymously nominate colleagues and give an example from the last month about when that person went above and beyond our team agreement. So, our team actually sees what other people are doing, not just sitting in their own little bubble working away, and the recognition is not just from me the business owner but from their peers. Each month, we show who won, run that into a quarterly and an annual presentation and give the winners a certificate and a gift card.
Rex: We do Enneagram personality tests where we all get together and try to make it fun. We start with me making fun of myself and aspects of my personality, like how I have to be in control of things. Then we also focus on everybody’s strengths and help everyone understand each other’s personality traits. Knowing that, we’re able to say something like “Nikki is so great at her job because she lives and breathes this environment.” It’s not like “I don’t understand why so-and-so thinks that way.” But by understanding their personality trait, you realize that so-and-so thinks or reacts to you a certain way when you pass them in the hall, not because they’re not friendly but because their mind is on something else.
Kane: Just like advisors have a short list of why prospects should be your clients, we have literature about what we offer as a business to our staff members. We have this pretty cool flyer — we use it when we onboard new staff members to show them the things employees get. I actually give free financial advice every year for all our staff members and their families. We also love to celebrate everyone’s birthday. Whenever someone has a birthday, and we’re in the office, we normally celebrate with a lunch and spend a few hundred dollars and get food into the boardroom. The person with the birthday gets a half day off.
Rex: We’re big into competition in our office. I think it’s maybe just me, but the staff seems to love it. We have multiple March Madness pools going on during the college basketball tournament, which is a big thing in the states. We go to Topgolf and do competitions there. Our favorite challenge is giving $20 to the person who can hit or come the closest to hitting the little carts that go out and scoop up all the golf balls. We just try to have fun and be a little bit more relaxed when we’re outside of the office and try to do that once a month when the weather is nice.
Kane: We have an offshore team of virtual assistants in Cebu, Philippines. It’s a staff of three people, and they have been with us for a couple of years now. We try to get them involved and treat them as part of the team. So, we Zoom them into all our team meetings, and we have daily huddles in the morning. It might seem like a lot. People say, “Daily? You get together daily with your team?” Every single morning, we do a Zoom at 9:30. It’s 15 minutes, and we go over the key things we’ve got to achieve for that day. It allows each team member to listen to what other people have for their three key things to do that day, and we can jump in and say, “I can help with that. I’ve got some time today at 12. Why don’t I help you with that client because I can probably provide some input.”
Also, we normally play a game called Kahoot every Tuesday morning. It’s a fun online quiz with questions and four possible answers, and you have to pick the right answer as fast as you can. We usually have a winner every week, and we tally the results for the year. It’s just another fun way to interact and get everyone together.