Opening a second office to retain a staff member

When a senior staff member said she needed to move from Bundaberg to Brisbane, Leanne Barbara Bull, Dip FP, CFP, simply said, “No problem, we’ll open an office in Brisbane.” It vastly expanded Bull’s pool of potential hires and exposed the four-year MDRT member from Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia, to a different clientele as well. (A $300,000 home in Bundaberg would cost $800,000 in Brisbane, Bull said.)

Of course, the transition was tough at first, and her employee felt lonely working at a distance from former colleagues. Communication between the two offices was difficult, and Bull needed to find more reliable technology after Skype calls proved technically challenging in her community.

Meanwhile, without the person who had managed the team in the Bundaberg office, Bull discovered she needed to appoint a new supervisor.

So she promoted an existing member of the team to manage staff and smooth out operations the way her predecessor had. That included ensuring that no one felt bombarded by work or under-stimulated, that holiday schedules were divided appropriately among staff, and that the office was positive and organized on a daily basis.

In addition, the Brisbane office now has five employees, and both locations are connected on the same phone system (among other technological improvements) to better link the two offices.

“There’s more flexibility so we don’t have to be in the same office, room, state or country to work together in a collaborative way,” Bull said. “That wasn’t the case initially.”

Read more in the Round the Table story “Return on investment.”

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