Welcome to Verve 2.0.

Welcome to the Verve 2.0 home page. A dedicated space to keep you updated on the progress of Verve 2.0, and to help us navigate the change together. We’ll be adding to this page regularly and sharing communications to make sure you know what’s on the radar each month.

In the section below titled ‘This Month’s Focus’, you’ll see the actions we need you to help with so we can keep everything on track.

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Verve 2.0

THIS MONTH’S FOCUS

May’s main focus is getting our digital move to Microsoft implemented and adopted by everyone, as well as new contracts in preparation for us all being employees of The Verve Group. With this in mind, there are a few things we need you to do:

MICROSOFT TEAMS

Make sure you are set up on Microsoft Teams app and desktop.

Please make sure you add your profile photo to your Teams account and are getting used to all the features available. 

ONEDRIVE

You need to organise your GoogleDrive files and move these over to your new Microsoft OneDrive.

The deadline to move these files will be Friday 27th May.

NEW CONTRACTS

If you’re currently employed under Para-Sols, Apricity Compliance or The Art of Finance then you will be issued with a new contract w/c 23rd May which needs signing and returning to Alison before 1st June.

In addition to new contracts, you will also receive your P45 in the coming weeks. There’s nothing to worry about – they just mark the end of employment with those companies as they close, and further reinforcement that we are all Verve employees.

Existing Verve employees, there’s no action for you!

INTRODUCING ‘PEOPLE COACHES’

As Cathi mentions in her video, we are undergoing a BIG change. One that will future proof us, help us work more effectively across all departments and will begin to reposition us as a leading fintech company. As part of this change we’re redefining the structure of The Verve Group to be more horizontal in design – minimising the layers of management to encourage more autonomy and progression across The Verve Group.

To help support you all in this new structure, we have created the new role of ‘People Coach’, whose full-time responsibility will be to solely focus on you and your role. Helping you with development plans, career progression and supporting your wellbeing at work.

Who are they?

Peter Rhoden

Pete

Resources Team – North

Kylie

Kylie

Resources Team – South

Jo Campbell

Jo

Resources Team

Hayley Rabbets

Hayley

Resources Team – Specialist & Regulation

Paul Sylvester-Evans

Paul

Training & Consultancy Teams

Peter Campbell

Peter

Tech Team

Sam

Sam

Marketing Team

Natalie Bell

Natalie

Marketing Team

Cathi Harrison

Cathi

Sales Team

Amy

Amy

Business Operations Team

Alison

Alison

People Team

How will your People Coach work with you?

People Coaches are a new role to work alongside you – making sure your development, aspirations and wellbeing are continually being met. There’s lots of ways you’ll work with your People Coach but here’s four key areas… 

Talent Talks

This is what was previously QAQs. We know these needed a make-over to ensure they were truly beneficial to you. They’ll be coaching-led in style, ensuring that you get protected time to regularly explore and discuss how you’re doing in your role.  

Career Talks

An annual goal-setting session, again with your People Coach. These will take place at the beginning of a new financial year (kicking off our 22/23 year next month) and is a chance to set yourself some goals – big ones, little ones and anything in between!  

In the moment

We pride ourselves on creating a ‘learning’ culture – where people are encouraged to learn on the job and where there’s no such thing as a silly question. Our People Coaches will be very hands-on, spending time alongside you to ensure you’ve got everything you need to give an epic performance! 

Achieve KPIs

Your People Coach is responsible for the collective KPIs of your team (no easy task we’re sure you’ll agree!). So to do that, they’ll need to keep a close eye on workflow and output, and will work with everyone to suggest and make improvements to productivity, efficiencies and morale!

Although they have the responsibilities akin to that of a traditional line manager (such as holiday approvals, sickness management and on the job training for example) – this role hasn’t been created to add an extra layer of management. The People Coach has been created to give priority to the team’s development – to guide, nurture and coach their colleagues – without the worry of having to juggle ‘the day job’ at the same time. We’re always advocates for trying new things, creating new opportunities for the team where we can and going against convention and this new role is all of those things.

1

It’s brand-new and something we need to try to make sure all employees get the support they deserve. 

2

It’s a new opportunity for anyone who would like to take their career in a different direction, branching out into a different field rather than preferring a linear route of development.

3

The concept of a People Coach is completely new. Not just to us, but to all other businesses too. 

THE DEPARTMENTS

Below we have outlined the new departments within The Verve Group, along with a short description to bring to life our new structure.

We’ve also created an interactive organisational chart and department breakdown to hopefully bring this new vision to life.

Click here to view the new verve organisational chart
Resources

RESOURCES.

This team provides a pool of talented and experienced financial services people for advisers to tap in to, to top up their own resource requirements as needed. This could be research, file checking, report writing, administration or virtual paraplanning support.

The regulatory team also sits within resources. It’s their remit to review all regulation as it comes out, turn it into something practical and useful for advisers, to help them keep to their regulatory requirements, and ensure the resource team are also fully up to date with all the latest guidance.

Resource Team
Consultancy

CONSULTANCY.

The range of services provided by the consultancy team can vary from undertaking audits on firms, providing regular compliance check-ins or working with firms on a full business consultancy basis, to help them grow the company of their dreams.

The consultancy team and projects will vary massively, from firm to firm, and by getting to know the firm, they recommend additional support from the resource or other departments, to help advice firms become ship-shape.

Consultancy Team
Training

TRAINING.

This team will cover anything training related; whether supporting people through their Diploma, training them in practical skills for compliance, paraplanning or admin, providing online learning material for people to self-learn or undertaking Training & Competency, helping advisers achieve Competent Adviser Status.

The training team will help ensure all our training content (both internal and external) is up to date, accurate and – most importantly – engaging. Advice firms can outsource their training needs in a range of methods, allowing them to focus on growing their own business.

Training Team
Marketing

MARKETING.

The marketing team remit varies from promoting the various Verve services, managing our social media presence, putting on our incredible events (including CPD events, Evolution and We Are Live), creating whitepapers, keeping our websites looking fresh and working with the software team on the new technology.

They are responsible for generating leads for the sales team and have also provided some marketing services to advice firms, who have been so impressed at what we do, that they want a slice of the action themselves!

Marketing Team
Sales

SALES.

The sales team has two main focuses; finding new clients for Verve and working with existing clients to see what other support we can offer them. The sales team will talk to advice firms to see what their current pain points are, as well as their ambitions, and work to help find solutions to help them, from our range of options.

They’re the first point of contact for most new client enquiries and will also proactively follow up on all the leads generated from the marketing activity.

Sales Team
Operations

BUSINESS OPERATIONS.

The business operations team is the glue that holds us all together. It includes finance, which covers client invoicing, payroll and account management. It also includes executive assistant support, managing the office, ensuring meetings are all correctly booked in and that our clients receive the service they’re expecting.

This team also helps to co-ordinate our relationships with strategic partnerships, working with the marketing team, in addition to managing our We Are Change initiative and helping bring lots of lovely new people into financial services.

Operations Team
People

PEOPLE.

The team are focused on making The Verve Group an incredible place to work, by helping with everything from the initial recruitment, building out the ongoing training and frameworks for the existing team and providing a dedicated resource to help everyone have the career development they want.

They’re also responsible for maintaining and embedding the overall culture of Verve, from the initial induction and ongoing the wellbeing initiatives, to the internal communications and the somewhat infamous summer and Christmas parties.

People Team
Technology

TECHNOLOGY.

The technology department has two broad focuses; the first is the internal tech and software we use in Verve, covering everything from our emails and communication tools to our document storage and client data security.

The second focus is rebuilding our Verve technology, replacing our existing internal systems into a single, modern, future-proofed one, which will make it easier for all clients to work with us, and for them to tap in to the resources we can offer.

THE FAQS

Find below the answers to the FAQs from the last Town Hall.

Salary / Reviews

When will we be getting our pay reviews?

Our annual pay reviews always take place in June which marks the start of our new financial year, and it’s no different this year – which means they’ll all take place next month! You’ll have the conversation with your current line manager in relation to the year gone by, and then after that, it’ll be something your People Coach reviews with you next June.

Is that 3-10% rise separate to any potential promotion / performance pay rises?

As people progress in their roles, there can be ad hoc promotions throughout the year, which would result in a pay increase at that point. If there has been no promotion, June is always the time that there would be a cost-of-living increase, to ensure salaries increase each year, irrespective of / in addition to any promotions. Often a promotion in the months just prior to June would have that cost-of-living increase added in the pay review, so it didn’t need a separate increase in June.

The difference this year is that we have vastly increased the range by which salaries can be increased and are applying it to everyone. We want to give everyone a financial boost, knowing how challenging the economy is right now, but are also conscious that there’s disparity in roles and how recent people have joined us / had a review. Hence the range.

Will we ever get paid overtime?

In short, no. Based on the current workload, we don’t anticipate the need for overtime right now, however if you feel you are struggling with your work/caseload/time management then please speak to your People Coach and we can discuss ways in which we can support – it’s exactly the reason we introduced a People Coach so that you have that dedicated support for your wellbeing!

Those that are on a Verve contract already and are on probation, will the pensions change in terms of paying into it before the 6-month probation ends?

Nope, no change at all for current Verve employees (on probation or otherwise). The law is that you start paying into your pension after 3 months, so isn’t actually dependent on you passing probation. Depending on how long you’ve been with us, it could be that you’ve already started paying into it, unless of course you opted out.

Will the bands have set salaries to work towards?

Yes, there will be, and in a lot of instances (where it’s relevant for the role/dept) there’ll be a wide salary bracket within each band. This means that there’s growth within each band, without the need to keep adding extra layers in which is especially important for our ‘rockstars’ who strive for growth and fulfilment in the role they’re already doing.

Is there scope to reduce office days down in line with rise in petrol costs?

Yes, very possibly. As a reminder, all permanent employees are eligible to work at least two days from home if they wanted to, you just need to complete a Flexible Working Request Form out, so you and your new People Coach can discuss how it would work in practice. If you’re currently in probation and wanting to work from home, then have a discussion with your People Coach as there is some possibility of flex, but is purely dependent on you, how much support you need in your new role and what’s best for your wider team/dept.

In addition to the standard two days at home, we’ve introduced more flexibility within the three bands too meaning that those in Senior bands have the opportunity to work 3 days at home, rather than the two, so it is something to consider if you’re already in that band (or striving towards it!)

Targets

How are targets within Para-Sols going to be set, bearing in mind that the current targets were based on a Parassistant / Paraplanner system that has since gone?

The current Para-Sols paraplanning targets are based on a paraplanner completing two reports a day, within their capabilities depending on the level they work at. This is currently 2 x reviews a day for fully qualified paraplanners, 1 x review and 1 x new business for junior paraplanners and 2 x new business for graduate paraplanners. The parassistant role, which didn’t fully bear fruit had no impact upon these targets. The intention originally was that we would get that role working effectively and that would actually enable us to increase the target correspondingly. As this isn’t the case at the minute, the targets are likely to remain on a similar level (two cases a day) which is a tried and tested KPI for paraplanners and is also balanced with the volume of work we anticipate coming in. Couple this with the additional work completed by administration (illustrations and report prep) and the increase in case costs, Jo anticipates the targets being more achievable than ever!

For administration, the targets are still under debate but we will take into account that there have been additions to their role and their targets will be adjusted accordingly. They’re likely to be less than the 8 cases a day that we previously had (for DG only) but higher than the 2 cases a day we had when it was a full partnership role.

As with everything new that we do, we will keep these under review and make changes as and when it’s needed.

Tech

What’s the plan for using/selling the tech that’s being created by the new Dev team? Planned timescale? Is it going to be a new IO type of software?

Existing clients will be onboarded first, how it’s then sold is something we’ll coordinate nearer the launch. We mentioned in Town Hall, how it initially replaces PS and Apricity in a single platform, with later releases focusing on extensions and working the wider tech stack of an advice firm (Xero, HubSpot etc) and later with other tools to help advisers centralise all of their client information. We’ll be working towards one major release (v1, v2, v3) per year, starting from January 2023.

If you want to be a dev, how much experience do you have to have had already?

Technically, zero! It’s always beneficial to have an understanding of how development works, but it’s all about opportunity and we want to give anyone and everyone the opportunity to learn more about development and be a part of the team.  

We’re beginning to work on both a TAOF course and a scheme with The Grad Scheme that will support people (staff and external) into technology and development roles, which isn’t quite ready yet but we’re aiming to roll out later this year and naturally you guys will be the first to see it! 

What qualifications would a trainee-dev need?

No specific qualifications needed. Unlike finance, development is unregulated and there are no key industry certificates that make you ‘qualified’ – a huge chunk of developers are entirely self-taught.

What do you think of Plannr? 😉

It’s a nice placeholder for people to have a look at until the Verve Tech launches. We’re not in a race with Plannr as our tech will do different things entirely, but we do follow their feedback and won’t make the same mistakes they have as part of their build already.

Office

Will people be moving seats?

Generally speaking, no, as most of the moving has already been done, but there may be the odd one or two people who do as they move into a new-look department. We’ll speak to those people individually though (or may have done already!)

Approaches

Does that mean we will get sick pay now?

It does! We’ve read lots of table cloths from our kick-off day, along with our annual employee survey back from the beginning of the year and used those outputs to create a range of approaches (our version of policies) which we’re currently just finessing… They’ll be ready to share w/c 6th June but until then, you can expect some exciting enhancements to paid leave such as sick, compassionate, parental and even volunteering for good a cause as well as protected time in your working week for your study and/or development!

Recruitment

What is the plan for hiring, are more staff going to be hired or are you happy with how we are now?

We’re broadly happy with the resource and will be placing more focus on efficiencies in the coming weeks to ease any pressure points, rather than look at additional hires. That said, there are gaps within the business that do need the additional resource and that is in tech (because it’s ever growing if we want to achieve our leading fintech vision), training (because we want to release more of Holly’s time from Art of Finance and focus it on internal training) and potentially sales (because there’s a Kim-shaped hole there currently, although that will depend on the outcome of some bigger projects we’re waiting to hearing about).

People Coaches

Will our People Coaches be the one who approves our holidays etc too?

Yea, they will. The People Coaches have the responsibility for making sure their team/dept performs and achieves its collective targets so managing workflow, and ensuring there’s enough people in the team to achieve said targets, is a key piece of that.

Careers

Is there going to be more opportunity to move up in job roles outside of being a paraplanner? It can sometimes feel like that is your only option of progression.

Absolutely! This is part of the reason for the changes – to give options for people to develop themselves and have a range of careers available for them to do so. We can’t offer all careers, for example, we won’t be training up any brain surgeons any time soon, but within the broad range of Verve there are more opportunities than ever to find the career that is right for you. Your People Coach is the place to start on this – talk to them about careers of interest and they can discuss options with you.

What do the changes mean for grads?

Absolutely zero change! The Verve 2.0 changes are positive ones – to give more clarity, structure and progression for people in all roles, grads or otherwise. For those who’ve joined us in a grad/trainee role, that remains the same and we’ll be continuing to support you in that development.

When is the Summer Soirée?

Saturday 30th July at Blackwell Grange – and we can’t bloody wait! If you’ve never been before, it’s a laidback, chilled day of food, drink and music! There’s a little company update from Cathi but the main intention for our summer event is purely for pleasure – for us to say thank you and to see friendships flourish. Nome is working hard on the preparations so official invites will be with you very soon!

GET INVOLVED

Got something you want to discuss? Book a chat with Alison here.

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