All benefit advisers want loyal employees who are committed, respectful and engaged workers who see projects through to the very end.

How do you get them? The fact is that loyalty must be earned. So the question for you is: What have you done lately to demonstrate your appreciation and respect for your staff?

Following through on these three strategies can go a long way toward helping you earn your employees' loyalty.

1. Involve them

As you know, great employees are not cogs in a wheel. They want to understand how what they do fits into the whole of your business, how their efforts impact clients, and what they can do to work better and more efficiently.

One way to involve your employees is to share where your firm is headed — both in the short term and the long term. A written business plan for your small business has indisputable value for this. Firms that involve their employees in the business planning process wherever appropriate — or at minimum, share the firm's strategic direction — are significantly more likely to have loyal employees. Firms that don't bother with this step are missing a key opportunity.

Another way to involve your staff: Share client feedback. Clients often express thanks to you, their adviser, but behind every great adviser there are great employees. The next time a client compliments you and your services in a review meeting, walk the client over to a key employee who made everything go smoothly behind the scenes. That employee may deserve the praise as much as you, and will be very grateful for your recognition.

2. Invest in them

Be sure that your employees know you're invested in their success. What do these investments look like? Consistently delivered, meaty performance reviews can be one type of investment. During reviews, you can honestly share your assessment of how an employee is doing — highlighting his or her strengths, as well as areas needing improvement.

This conversation is a vital opportunity for you to help employees improve and, just as important, thank them for their contributions and efforts. Some advisors like to skip performance reviews. Don't do it; they're too valuable.

Training opportunities are another type of investment. Helping your employees to earn a new license, attend a conference, or learn a new task are ideal opportunities. Be sure to position these opportunities in such a way that your employees understand your commitment to their professional development.

3. Inspire them

Inspiration results from the culture you build at your organization. Is your firm's culture one that excitedly welcomes a client in for a review? Is it one where you consistently put your best foot forward? Is it a culture where employees strive to emulate your attitude and actions?

If you want to inspire employees, start by evaluating your own actions to be sure that you're modeling the behaviors you wish to see from them.

By involving, investing in, and inspiring your employees, you'll garner deep loyalty one day at a time — and develop a culture of mutual appreciation, respect, and diligent commitment. That may sound simple, but it's definitely not common.

Youngwirth is managing principal of practice management at Commonwealth Financial Network. She is a blogger for Financial Planning, a SourceMedia publication.

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