When we talk to new advisors there is a common theme in what they seek in their career: mentorship. New advisors are becoming more aware of knowing what they don’t know, and realizing they need to learn from someone before they are ready to manage a client relationship without oversight. This emphasis on mentoring is a sign they desire additional knowledge/wisdom/experience and is a positive step in the transference of the profession’s body of knowledge to the future of the industry.
An advisory firm owner who cringes when hearing “mentoring/mentorship” should remember that the faster you can develop a new hire, the sooner you can do the things you need to do to grow your business, or want to do to balance your work and personal life! Try incorporating some of these mentoring tips into your management style to better motivate your new advisor and help further their career. Firm owners who make a conscious effort to mentor their new advisors and emphasize their career development are better positioned to attract more top talent and see positive ROI on the human capital investment. Here are some tips for effective mentoring so you can get the most out of your new advisor:
• Give the Good, Bad and Ugly — Open up to new advisors so they know what your career path looked like, mistakes you made, and how difficult it was to get to where you are today. This gives them a good framework for how to, or not to, model their career and a greater understanding, thus respect, for how your career/business/life looks currently.
• Take a genuine interest in their career and life — Once a new advisor knows you care about their professional development and their life outside of your organization, they will be more likely to go the extra mile for you. Try asking them from time to time about something non-work related that is important to them. Initially, you might try something as simple as approaching them and asking how they are doing. They might be more open to tell you what is important to them.
• Listen to them like you listen to your clients — Most advisors are great at listening to and managing their clients. Take this same approach with your employees. Making a new advisor comfortable so they can openly share their ideas is crucial to a successful long-term relationship.
Strive to create an environment where group think doesn’t rule and all ideas are encouraged and considered equally. Even if you don’t use one of their ideas, tell your new advisor you appreciate their input and thank them for their contributions. In an effort to reward behavior you want to see continued, let them know they are being heard and their ideas considered, and you’ll see creativity flourish. Keep in mind, new advisors will be much more hesitant to bring ideas to the table if they know they will be immediately thrown out, or their idea is implemented and they receive no recognition for it.
• Invest the time — How fast a new advisor progresses up the career ladder depends a lot on them, but it also depends a lot on the people surrounding them. Make spending time with your new hire a priority, and you’ll see most will recognize the investment you are making in them and want to work with you a long time.
Furthermore, word spreads quickly in our tight knit profession about firms that provide excellent mentoring to their employees. This is a powerful recruitment tool that if used correctly will help you attract additional top talent.
For the industry to continue growing we have to have more mentors engage new advisors to help close the gap from student to professional. With proper mentoring, new advisors can quickly learn how to manage themselves, therefore giving you more time to be the boss instead of a financial advisor.
Caleb Brown is a past chairman of FPA NexGen and partner in New Planner Recruiting LLC. He can be reached at NewPlannerRecruiting.com.