According to the “2015 Trends in Advisor Compensation and Benefits Study” from the FPA Research and Practice Institute and Financial Advisor IQ, there is “an inverse correlation between age and job satisfaction.” In the study, younger respondents were less likely to be very satisfied with their job than older respondents. Given all the talk in our industry about succession planning, I think this statistic deserves some consideration.
The study asked why people quit. Aside from compensation, non-decision makers cite lack of satisfaction with the work environment as a primary reason for leaving a job. Now bear with me while I jump to my own conclusion based on this study: It is imperative for advisory firms to intentionally build cultures where young advisors can get engaged and thrive.
Don’t we all want to work at a place where we can get excited about going to work every day? I believe a firm’s culture is as distinct as an individual’s personality. However, there are a few elements we can all implement in our businesses to create a fulfilling work environment.
First, communicate the importance of the work you do with clients. Most financial advisors probably enter the profession with a strong desire to help people. The study found that “respondents’ strongest positive sentiment is that their firm does important work for clients.” How can our firms better communicate the work we do with clients throughout all levels of the organization?
At my firm, we regularly take time as a team to discuss that work. The stories we share range from technical planning issues to life events we are helping clients through. The work we do matters; help your staff understand how their role fits into the firm’s big picture.
My firm also makes an effort to include regular client interaction in the job description for staff on the advisor career track. Even our interns have ample opportunity to observe client meetings. Putting someone who is passionate about helping people in a back office for months or years while they wait to earn the privilege of working with clients will not help them find satisfaction in the job. Yes, the back-office work is necessary, but a periodic glimpse of working with clients will keep the passion from fading.