The concept of initiative, of demonstrating capabilities beyond the formal job description, is often discussed among young professionals. They are eager to prove themselves capable of adding value to the business above and beyond their daily job requirements. When I joined my company, I wanted to make myself an irreplaceable part of the team. What better way to ensure job security, right? As the management team now leads the firm forward, we aim to make the company stronger by providing opportunities for young talent to feel empowered in and energized about their unique roles in the firm. Unfortunately, it is sometimes difficult to figure out how to create those opportunities for both young professionals and firm leaders.
I must also articulate the necessity of mastering your primary job role. Hopefully, you have a clearly established job description. Meeting expectations according to those responsibilities is the foundation upon which to build a successful career. That said, the ability to deliver exceptional performance in your job and to go beyond those responsibilities will put you on the path to growth.
A widely recognized opportunity for young members of a firm is technology. Many of the financial planning education programs include curriculum specific to the various software programs used in the industry. Even without such exposure, young professionals are usually capable of quickly mastering technology.
At the FPA NexGen Gathering last summer, attendees shared several variations on this idea. In some cases, identifying how to optimize existing software and training others on specific features provided immediate benefits. Taking ownership of a specific initiative is another way to contribute. You may be able to help research alternatives, beta test new technologies or facilitate the migration and training. In our firm, we recently implemented “super-users” for each of our technology platforms. Individual super-users are responsible for delivering training sessions, troubleshooting issues and helping determine when a change is needed. These roles have provided an opportunity for younger staff to contribute in a meaningful way, and have resulted in clearer accountability and efficient decision making.