Last month, we reviewed possible warning signs that your employees might be looking to leave.
In this month’s article, we offer some suggestions and ideas for overcoming common reasons employees cite as their reason for leaving (which varies depending on whether they’re leaving the profession, or just leaving for another firm), in an effort to try and retain them. Assuming, of course, that you do not want them to leave in the first place!
How To Stop An Employee From Leaving The Profession
Unfortunately, if an employee has already come to the realization that financial planning is not the correct career and lifestyle choice for them, and are pursuing opportunities in another industry, there might not be much you can do.
However, in many instances new planners, who are struggling at the early stages and contemplating giving up, may end up staying in the profession due to timely encouragement and advice from their mentors. Which is exactly why firms that go above and beyond in the mentorship area have less turnover than those who think mentoring is a waste of time.
It is usually an unproductive endeavor to try and convince someone to do something if it isn’t their passion, but sometimes being reminded they “are a natural” for a successful financial planner (even if they’re still refining their skills to do it well) is what people need to hear to keep them from jumping ship.
When chatting with the doubting employee, also be sure to reiterate the great benefits a financial planner career offers, including:
- Helping others
- Direct impact on clients’ financial, physical, and emotional well-being
- Witness tangible outcomes from your labors and talents
- Intellectually stimulating
- Strong career and income growth potential
- Flexible work schedules
- Even with negative media attention, still viewed mostly as a prestigious position
How To Stop An Employee From Leaving For Another Firm
Although still not ideal, employees who are thinking about leaving for another firm (but not leaving the profession altogether) are more straightforward to handle, since there are usually some specific reasons as to why they are wanting to leave, that can be addressed once you find out what they are.
Before approaching the potentially departing team member, make sure any feelings of anger, betrayal, rejection, or ego bruising have evaporated from your system. Remember it is okay and natural to have these feelings, when you find out someone wants to leave your organization, but you don’t want the negative energy associated to botch any chance at a productive conversation.
The cordial-but-direct approach works best, and simply asking them if any other firms have contacted them and/or if they are interviewing with other firms (ostensibly because you’ve already noticed questionable behaviors that suggest they’re looking) is a good place to start. Depending on how they answer, you could follow up with something like, ‘Thank you for sharing that. You are a valued member of our team and have a job here for as long as you want….we want you to be happy, we would like for it to be here though…’ and/or ‘would you mind giving me a sense on what these other firms are offering you that we are not?’ By keeping a positive tone so they don’t feel threatened, they might open up and start sharing their concerns.
Common issues that are raised when employees are looking to other firms include a desire for more responsibility, a different culture, or more money. As in any other negotiation, if they will spell out what is bothering them or what they want, then you can address those issues individually to the extent possible.
One other strategy to consider, if the issue is solely that they feel underpaid (though it rarely is only that), firms can make a more financially lucrative counteroffer. One word of caution though… this may only be a temporary fix, and not fully solve what may be a systematic longer-term issue in your firm you need to address.
Of course, sometimes the reality is that what the employee wants to avoid leaving is simply not something you can do anything about – e.g., changing the culture, or offering a path to ownership if that is not on the table. If this is the case, you may not be able to save the situation, and maybe it is even for the better in the long run for them to go their separate ways. Don’t feel bad; it’s simply a reality that sometimes their needs change, and sometimes your needs change, and even a good employee and employer can grow apart over time.
In the meantime, stay tuned next month for what to do if you want someone to leave.