When I talk to new planners there is a common theme in what they seek in their career: mentorship. New planners are becoming more aware of knowing what they don’t know and realizing they need to learn from someone when starting out before they are ready for managing a high net worth individual’s financial situation without direct supervision. The fact that new planners place such a high emphasis on mentoring is a sign that they desire additional knowledge/wisdom/experience and should be viewed as a positive step in the transferance of the profession’s body of knowledge to the future of the industry.
Firm owners who tend to cringe when hearing “mentoring/mentorship” should remember that the faster you can develop your new hire, the sooner you can do the things you need to be doing to grow your business further, or want to be doing to balance your work and personal life! Try incorporating some of these mentoring tips into your management style to better motivate your new planner and help further their career. Firm owners that make a conscious effort to mentor their new planners and emphasize their career development are better positioned to attract more top talent and see positive ROI on the human capital investment.
Here are some tips for effective mentoring so you can get the most out of your new planner:
Give the Good, Bad and Ugly – Open up to new planners so they know what your career path looked like, mistakes you made, and how difficult it was to get to where you are today. This gives them a good framework for how to, or not to, model their career and a greater understanding thus respect for how your career/business/life looks currently.
Take a genuine interest in their career and life – Once a new planner knows you care about their professional development and their life outside of your organization, they will be much more likely to go the extra mile for you. Try asking them from time to time about something non work related that is important to them. Initially, you might try something as simple as approaching your new planner and asking them ‘how they are doing.’ If you don’t know what is important to them, that should tell you something.
Listen to them like you listen to your clients – Most planners do a wonderful job listening to and managing their clients. Take this same approach with your employees. Making a new planner comfortable so they can openly share their ideas is a crucial component to a successful long term relationship. Strive to create an environment where group think doesn’t rule and all ideas are encouraged and considered equally. Even if you don’t use one of their ideas, tell your new planner you appreciate their input and thank them for their contributions. In an effort to reward behavior you want to see continued, let them know they are being heard and their ideas considered and creativity will continue to flourish. Keep in mind, new planners will be much more hesitant to bring ideas to the table if they know they will be immediately thrown out, or their idea is implemented and they receive no recognition for it.
Invest the time – How fast a new planner progresses up the career ladder depends a lot on them, but it also depends a lot on the people surrounding them. If you make spending time with your new planner a priority, most will recognize the investment you are making and want to stay working with you for the long term. Furthermore, word spreads quickly in our tight knit profession about firms that provide excellent mentoring to their employees. This is a powerful recruitment tool that if used correctly will help you attract additional top talent.
For the industry to keep progressing we have to have more mentors engage new planners to help close the gap from student to professional. With proper mentoring, new planners can more quickly learn how to manage themselves therefore lessening the time you have to spend being a boss instead of a financial planner.
- Both Michael and Caleb will be presenting at the upcoming 2011 NAPFA National Conference in Salt Lake City www.napfa.org
- Look for Caleb at the Pershing 2011 Insite conference June 8-10
- Caleb will be presenting a live webinar on “How to hire an Advisor” for the BackOffice Advisor Practice Management Study Group on July 6th
at 2pm ET.