What are the challenges faced by advisors in hiring and attracting the right talent, given that you are competing for the same pool of talent as banks and national distributors which are better known brands?
Getting the right talent who fit with the Sinhasi philosophy and values with commitment to build a niche career in financial planning and advisory is a challenge.
The need for instant monetary growth which has become a habit of the industry has set into the mindset of people, which has led to attrition.
Thus, we enrol candidates who are aware about the importance of true long-term sustainable financial planning rather than mere product selling for higher commissions, which is a very short term business model.
Give us an overview of your HR philosophy and approach.
We have built a family environment in the organisation without many reporting layers. We have given a sense of responsibility with accountability to each person. The objective is to keep the team similar to a simple connected family.
Who is your inspiration or role model in shaping your leadership style and HR philosophy? How have they influenced you?
Being an entrepreneur for more than ten years, I can say that my HR philosophy has been a dynamic one based on the requirements at a particular time. At the same time, I was very clear while starting Sinhasi that I didn’t want a corporate environment and instead wanted a family to work with. This has been the primary influencer.
In a business which is affected severely by market volatility and regulatory changes, is it possible to have a consistent HR policy? Have you rationalized/downsized staff or cut salaries in response to the many changes that have taken place in the environment?
Our HR policy is dynamic. Also, we had to cut salaries during the global market collapse of 2008 which we made up for in 2009. What is most important is that we maintained a very clear philosophy from the beginning that Sinhasi will be an organisation where we will give a lot of importance to prudent cost management across all costs – variable and fixed and each team member is sensitised to this philosophy so we can all work towards this goal. We must try to get the best out of each of our team members instead of just hiring more candidates which actually causes inefficiencies in performance and problems with the whole team.
How do you incentivize them? Do you think monetary incentive is good way to motivate your staff? How do you ensure that such incentives are aligned to client interest?
We believe that a combination of respect, responsibility with accountability and monetary compensation is the best way to motivate the team continuously. We repetitively reinforce the objectives of why the employee joined the company and what is the mission and goal of the company. This constant alignment must be reinforced or else there will be a mismatch of expectations.
What activities do you undertake to train and inculcate soft skills, technical skills, etc.?
Technical training is done on a continuous basis as fund houses and insurance companies, etc. do offer such platforms regularly. For softer skills, personal development programs such as sales training programs, yoga and meditation are also encouraged by Sinhasi. Due to continuous regulatory changes, constant training and updation of information is required.
Most of your team is client facing. How do you train your employees to be customer centric?
We are in the business of managing money of high net worth individuals. Hence, trust with a high level of competence is very important. This requires some time to build; therefore we have a layered process of always having senior team members with juniors and new entrants. We have an intense 1-2 months training of all the systems and processes and only then ease into client inter-phase with new entrants. At the same time, we also have a personal introduction of our juniors and new entrants to our clients.
How do you retain your employees? Have you faced attrition challenge?
This is always a problem for all companies across all sectors. We try as much as we can to provide an employee friendly and family environment. But we had to face attrition over the past ten years. But I can only say that we have only hired better people when someone has left.