The investment in human capital is likely the biggest one any advisory firm will make. The ideal team needs a range of attributes and skills to be successful and deliver a cohesive and holistic experience for clients. How can you ensure that when hiring young talent, they will fit into your existing team and are on a clear path for growth? Consider taking these steps:
First, Start With Your Current Talent
Proper assessment of talent takes a commitment of time and energy, but it can be vital to the longevity of your team. Examine the strengths and weaknesses of your employees annually (at least) and craft personalized plans to help fill the skill and knowledge gaps of those you want to develop further. After all, without a strong understanding of your current talent, it can be difficult to know if your firm is reaching its full potential, and what other types of talent you may want to hire.
For example, Buckingham Asset Management uses a customized development program to attract, evaluate and, ultimately, retain top talent. Buckingham commits to nurture their team members through ongoing mentorship, continuous feedback and meaningful career advancement. Younger advisors seem to appreciate this demonstrated commitment to their personal development, which helps them chart their own path to success.
Second, Play to Young Advisors’ Strengths
Every advisor has a different definition of professional ‘success,’ which is a good thing. Including different personas on the same team can make for a much more cohesive and holistic experience for clients. We conducted focus groups with successful young advisors for Fidelity’s 2015 Future Leaders Study, and found that Future Leaders aligned with one of three categories:
- CompassionateProblem-Solvers. These individuals want to make a difference in people’s lives. They enjoy working with clients, but aren’t particularly sales oriented, and are highly motivated to develop appropriate solutions for their clients. They tend to be friendly and make deep connections which can help them leverage centers of influence to acquire new clients.
- Builders. Builders,in contrast, are more likely to be extroverts who enjoy people and are good at developing relationships. These individuals like financial planning but find joy in the process of prospecting and building new business.
- Competitors. This third persona enjoys the ‘thrill of the hunt’ and views that part of the job as a challenge. This type of advisor finds the stock market exciting and trading to be a game where success is defined by investment performance metrics. As the name implies, these advisors are highly competitive and love to pick ‘winners.’
There is no single ‘best’ persona. The unique perspectives and skill sets of each group all contribute to a firm’s overall success. Identifying what category best fits each young advisor at your firm can help you build more balanced teams and a stronger organization.
Third, Demonstrate the Path Ahead
Young advisors can only grow if they are given the chance, so outlining a career path from the beginning can be important. But how can you help prepare them to take on new responsibilities? They need a supportive team willing to share knowledge and guidance. For example, consider rotating young advisors into different positions so they can work closely with multiple individuals at the firm or connecting them with mentors early on in their careers. This exposes them to different working styles and career paths, and can help them discover their strengths and potential areas of specialization. You should also consider making sure they’re consistently provided one-on-one coaching after client interactions.
While a supportive team can be crucial to expanding their skill set and getting them needed experience, young advisors should also have formal career goals. That’s why creating and communicating a career path should be ongoing, and included in their annual review process. Incorporating transparent guidelines and being clear about the results needed to transition from one role to another can help to alleviate any ambiguity about the path ahead.
Employee development takes time, but consider it an investment. Hiring and retaining young talent that fit the culture and needs of your firm can be crucial for long-term success. And in my opinion, the investment in a firm’s most promising talent has the potential to yield the greatest results.