“...I’ve about had it. I don't know what these people are looking for and I’m tired of having to try to cater to their needs…”
Sound familiar? We hear from a lot of frustrated firm owners across the country about the recruiting and retention challenges they have been facing in their firms, especially over the last few years. We are certainly in unprecedented times when it comes to navigating the human capital component of your business, and while it can be frustrating at times, it is part of being a business owner/leader - so don't give up!
In fact, we have found firms spinning their wheels by trying to guess what potential job applicants for open positions and current team members are looking for in their careers. One idea to consider is to ask them! Most candidates that you are interested in hiring should be able to convey very articulately what they are looking for from you. If you can’t/won’t do this, not to worry - we have done most of the work for you. See below for the most commonly cited components of what new planners are seeking from their employers that we have compiled from thousands of conversations with new planner job seekers over the last couple of years.
- Fun and friendly - They aren't necessarily asking for ping pong and air hockey tables in the office, but do appreciate periodic fun team-building events such as Escape Rooms, TopGolf, costume parties, spending an evening with some co-workers at an arcade, or going to lunch together.
- Family first mentality - This means the team members’ families come first. Team members have to know that if they encounter a crisis with their family, which they will at some point, firm leadership will support them even if it is a burden to the firm. It can be a number of things however most situations involve having to take time off from work to tend to an injured or sick family member- sometimes for very extended periods. How firms respond to these situations can be a very powerful retention tool. At a recent industry conference, I spoke to someone who said she will never leave her firm because they gave her significant time off and were flexible with her when her spouse was diagnosed with and ultimately succumbed to cancer. It was a terrible time in her life and her employer remained by her side throughout the whole endeavor. At the end of the day, team members want to know that they are top of mind for you and you want them to have success. See Simon Sinek’s Leaders Eat Last to learn more.
- Charitable - People that get into a business to help people are usually charitably inclined. Some examples of integrating charity into your firm could be a Habitat For Humanity work day, Race for the Cure, or, taking on pro-bono clients that don’t meet firm minimums, etc. How powerful would it be if every financial planning firm around the world donated a 1-2 hour “ask anything” planning session each month at the charity events in their respective areas? A few hours out of the month that you don't bill for is not going to (at least it shouldn't) derail your business and the upside is so much greater. Plus think about how many more people might be exposed to the profession as a potential career if firms did this more often.
- Open to ideas and change - Sometimes when visiting our client firms we have the privilege to attend some of their internal team meetings, and I am always inspired when leadership starts and/or ends the meetings with something like this, ‘does anyone have any ideas they have been thinking about to improve our firm?’ One firm even asks each one of their team members if they have an idea on what needs to be changed each week during a check-in with a supervisor. In some cases, these firms have been around for decades and are extremely profitable and arguably had it figured out a long time ago. However, their attitude is that we are going to take things that are working well and scrutinize them and constantly ask our team members for ideas on how to improve that continue propelling these firms forward. New planners want to ensure the organizations they join are open to new ideas and motivated to stay somewhat near the leading edge. The firms that tend to be more entrepreneurially minded have an advantage over those that aren't in attracting talent.
Stay tuned next month for Part 2 of 2 discussing the specifics of what new planners are seeking in terms of compensation and benefits.