#WORKFAMILY: A community for younger advisors
The financial planning industry may be struggling to recruit and retain Millennials, but, if it’s any consolation, so are other industries around the world. In a global survey, Deloitte found that only 16% of Millennials envision staying at their current company for at least 10 years. Meanwhile, a whopping 66% expect to leave within five years and 44% say they will leave in two years.1 There are several contributing factors to this trend. Millennials hold different values than previous generations and organizations are struggling to understand or create the ideal culture for Millennials. And while nothing will create instant change — nor should change cater entirely to one generation’s work style — work relationships that run much deeper than the term “colleague” will consistently grab the attention of Millennials.
In the Millennial mind, the role of a financial advisor conjures images of a rigid and formal workplace. And for younger generations, workplace formality can be a deterrent when deciding between firms, or even when choosing a career. While all generations value the friendships they form at work, Millennials seek authentic connection in every aspect of their lives, and connections are top of mind during their first few months at a new job; they’re looking just as much for a work family as they are a stable career. As a generation familiar with group projects and unlimited access to friends and family, forming personal ties in professional relationships is integral to their happiness — and key to whether a Millennial will stick with you through thick and thin.
Here are some changes you can make today to ensure a better, more collaborative office environment for you and your colleagues — no matter the generation.
If the concept of “family” at your workplace seems a little daunting, start small: review what you and your colleagues are doing to foster friendly yet professional relationships before turning your office upside-down. Maybe you already have a pretty relaxed, open environment, or maybe your clientele demands formality, or maybe you already have team building activities your office loves. The key is to remember Millennials want authentic, meaningful relationships. They don’t want to feel like you’re trying too hard to be something you’re not, or you’re simply going through the motions to check “fun workplace” off your to-do list.
Millennials are keen to extend dialogue beyond clients and numbers. Touching base in meetings and over email is a workplace necessity, but don’t think twice about small gestures such as asking get-to-know-you questions in the office break room, over lunch, or on your way out for the weekend. Don’t count on Millennials to initiate all of the non-work conversations — they may feel the relationship is one sided and disingenuous, or (worse) they’ll assume you don’t think they’re a good fit. Be open about how much you’re willing to share and take the occasional opportunity to get to know your Millennial colleagues on a more personal level.
Your fledgling financial advisors will crave and expect access to higher-ups. They want to learn from experienced peers firsthand — and get a chance to share their ideas too. What’s more, pairing your Millennials with a more seasoned financial advisor can give them confidence at work while also fostering a nurturing relationship that can extend beyond career goals. Furthermore, retention rates of companies with mentorship programs are higher than those without. Deloitte recently found a positive correlation between Millennials with mentors and stronger Millennial loyalty to employers.1
Consider leaving your lunch hour open once a week to allow for impromptu conversations, or inviting a few of your Millennial advisors to an informal lunch — even a quarterly Q&A session can make a world of difference. And offer Millennials mentorship opportunities before they ask, even if it’s as simple as sitting in on a client meeting or scheduling a one-on-one to talk work, family and interests. If nothing else, your Millennials will be appreciative and grateful you’re interested in learning more about them, their careers and their reason for being a part of your team.
Financial advisors work with clients through significant and often emotional events. Having open relationships with your coworkers lends itself to forming trusting, personal relationships with your clients. Demonstrate and discuss this aspect with your Millennial advisors. It’s possible inexperienced Millennials won’t understand the full nature of the client-advisor relationship, but if they get a glimpse of your passion for helping clients, your company and the position will become more attractive and meaningful to them. The more you can break the reserved stereotype of the financial sector, the more successful you will be with Millennials.
When meeting with prospective Millennial advisors, talk about the personal steps you’ve taken to bring your office closer together. Not only will you shed light on the culture of your organization; you will also show your value and welcome conversations that go beyond the office. And don’t stop with the youngest generation. Appealing to Millennials as financial advisors doesn’t have to mean putting the rest of your intergenerational office on the backburner. In a LinkedIn study on relationships at work, researchers found almost half of professionals think having good friends at work boosts their overall happiness.2 Don’t be afraid to show that every generation in your office values collegial and close relationships with their coworkers.
As you take steps to show your commitment to an open and friendly work environment, your Millennial colleagues may begin to show you new ways to build relationships with younger prospects. Remain open to a little social change in the office and it might benefit everyone, not just Millennials.
1The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016.
2Fisher, C. (2014, July 8) LinkedIn Study Reveals Work BFFs Make Us Happier at the Office.
This information is prepared by an unrelated independent third party, BridgeWorks, and is provided for informational purposes only. Ivy Distributors, Inc., believes the information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but does not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided.