Are you one of the third of financial advisors who plans to retire in the next 10 years?1 Over $2.3 trillion in assets will need to be managed by the next generation of advisors2. Yet many succession plans fail and staff turnover is a critical issue for many of you according to Loring Ward’s 2013 Benchmarking Study. What can you do to address this? Focus on motivating and retaining your team.
Creating a strong, loyal, skilled and motivated staff does not just happen. It requires a disciplined plan with steady follow-through, as well as written job descriptions and goals.
From the employee point of view, job descriptions help them understand their role and responsibilities, and what each job requires in terms of experience and skill base. Goals, on the other hand, tell employees what is expected above and beyond their basic job tasks; goals link to targeted objectives of those tasks and how their performance contributes to the performance of the firm overall. When goals and objectives are absent, it can be a challenge to encourage and motivate employees to attain the right results.
Firm-wide goals and objectives are just as important as individual goals for two reasons. The first is that they provide context and help employees understand how their job tasks contribute to what the firm is looking to achieve, e.g., how many new clients is the firm targeting? What level of profitability? What kind of experience does the firm hope to deliver and what does that look like from the client’s point of view?
Another key to employee engagement and success is providing timely feedback on a regular basis, as it can encourage staff development and continuous improvement. And because everyone hears things differently, I am a strong advocate for communicating in writing as well.
Now you may be thinking how does communication and engagement work across the different generations in my firm? Millennials are more likely to need regular feedback (including a quarterly performance management check-in process) whereas Gen Xers often require less communication and want to be left alone to work independently. The following tactics are important for all generations:

  • Communicate the firm vision and goals.
  • Make it clear how each individual fits, how they help the firm accomplish its goals.
  • Translate that into individual goals.
  • Relate those individual goals to individual incentive.

For more on this topic, listen to the replay of our Webinar: Managing Your Team, Successors and the Next Generation.

1 The Cerulli Report, Advisor Metrics 2013, Understanding and Addressing a More Sophisticated Population
2 Ibid