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Winning in the war for talent

Advisers need the best team around them but how can smaller adviser firms compete in a limited talent pool? Brett Davidson provides some inspiration

If you’re trying to build a fun and exciting business then getting the right team on board is your first major goal. You can be the most talented adviser in the universe but without the right support around you you’ll be operating with one arm tied behind your back.

If you’re looking for inspiration in recruiting and retaining the best people then I strongly recommend reading The Dream Manager, by Matthew Kelly. It’ll blow your mind.

The book is an easy-to-read story about a cleaning company that wants to address staff turnover, which is too high. Cleaning jobs are often taken by people as second jobs, or because they have no other choice for work; not really compelling reasons to stay if something better comes along.

So the company starts to dig a little deeper to find out why turnover is so high. After a couple of attempts (which yield great results) they finally discover that their employees have dreams, and that if they could help their staff attain their dreams then they are likely to be happier and more committed to the business.

But let me be clear, this wasn’t some lip service exercise. The company employed a new senior person in the business called ‘the dream manager’. This person’s sole function was to work with people to identify their dreams and to help them take steps to achieve them.

Sound familiar? Isn’t this what great financial planners do for their clients? You bet it is.

So read the book. You can do so in less than a few hours, and Kelly tells his story way better than I do, but it did get me thinking.

Some ideas for us all

There are some very practical exercises at the end of the book that might be useful to use with your clients (after you do the exercises with yourself and your own family of course). Anything that can add to your store of skills for getting under the skin of your clients has got to be worth a look.

But also, as is the message of the book, there’s the opportunity to practice the skills that many of you already have in this area with your staff. Do you provide one of the greatest financial planning experiences for your clients, yet never sit and have a quality discussion with your team about their personal goals and dreams?

As their boss it may not be possible for you to conduct that discussion. However, an external person could come in and have that chat. Who knows what might come out of it?

The war for talent

In all the US publications I follow ‘The War For Talent’ is one of the major themes. Mark Tibergien, CEO at Pershing (a global financial solutions provider) has spoken and written about this issue many times as being one of the major impediments to growth.

In small firms (which most advisers are) you will never be able to compete with the salary packages and benefits offered by larger employers. The area you can compete in and win, is around the meaning in the work.

When financial planning is delivered correctly, in a highly skilled way, clients’ lives are changed dramatically and powerfully. Once existing staff or potential recruits understand that, they will want to work for you. However, to really make your business the employer of choice for the profession’s best talent you have to help them address their own dreams and ambitions.

For some these will be family based goals, which may be relatively easy for you to assist with. They might include working from home, flexible hours, extra unpaid leave.

For others it may mean that eventually their goals see them leave your business with a whole bunch of skills that you helped them develop over many years. This can often be much harder for business owners to embrace, but embrace it they must in my view. Attracting and retaining the best people is essential for businesses that really want to succeed. To do that successfully it might be time to start thinking differently about this area of your business, and to build some new skills that can really set you apart.

Visit the FP Advance website 

Check out The Dream Manager on Amazon
The Dream Manager cover




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