Meeting the challenge of Next Gen financial planners

Engage with the next generation and your business will reap the rewards.

Engage with the next generation and your business will reap the rewards.

Financial advice business owners are facing a raft of challenges in dealing with the new generation of financial planners who are not only very career focused but have expectations that can prove both challenging and confronting.

No matter how we label them; Generation Z, iGen, or Post-Millennials, this generation comes with a healthy amount of the self-esteem with its focus clearly on professional development and career path trajectory.

Generation Who?

This is the most educated generation yet with in excess of seventy percent completing high school, thirty five percent undertaking an undergraduate degree and forty percent completing some other post-secondary education. Furthermore thirty percent undertake part time work with a high proportion volunteering for community based activities.

While we are looking at a generation that values education and entering the workforce at an early stage, these young people not only react positively to change but actually embrace it. When it comes to adapting to innovation and adopting business efficiency initiatives, this generation is miles ahead of its predecessors particularly the Baby Boomers and GenX. The critical question for financial planning businesses is how to recruit, train and retain the best of this generation.

Engaging the Next Gens

A major challenge in dealing with Next Gens is managing expectations as to the scope of their roles particularly those that don’t provide significant intellectual stimulation. Next Gens are hungry to learn and will devour all that interests them but may see the more routine tasks as suitable for someone else. However it is not all hard work as most will adapt when they understand the importance of the interconnecting parts of the business and how it all results in a valuable client offering of which they are a part.

Next Gen financial planners have inquisitive minds and will be unrelenting in gaining a thorough understanding of a particular issue. This is highlighted in their positon as natural adapters of technology. Those business owners who are not on top of the raft of technological innovations that are entering the market including the proliferation of diverse robo advice models will be able to draw on Next Gens as a valuable resource.

Disruption for Baby Boomers and Gen X may be at times confronting but to Next Gens it’s duck to water.

The Next Gen talent pool

With the upscaling of financial planning educational requirements there will be a marked increase in Next Gen’s who will be sourced from universities that offer relevant qualifications. However, many will initially gravitate to financial services companies that offer entry level call centre, client service and administration roles. Institutions with scale operations have training programs that provide a comprehensive orientation to the industry along with product and client service information.

Next Gens are not only adept at getting the most out of training but are keen to put what they learn in to practice and make themselves targets for financial planning practices who are looking for new talent.

Institutionally owned advice businesses draw on new entrants in their own organisations to feed their financial planning practices, however specialist financial services recruiters see these companies as talent pools for their clients. Next Gens have a propensity to explore new opportunities and readily engage with those who offer them career advancement.

Rising to the challenge

Small to medium sized financial planning practices often find recruiting Next Gens a challenge. This starts from the commencement of a recruitment program where the practice may struggle to identify best fit candidates and when they do they fail to coherently demonstrate their relevance to the candidate by effectively positioning their value proposition.

Many business owners turn to their colleagues as a source of referrals and when this doesn’t prove effective place piecemeal advertisements on job boards. If suitable candidates make themselves available for interview it is critical that whoever is conducting the interviews is fully conversant as to not only interview techniques (including having a structured interview questionnaire) but able to present themselves in a professional manner.

Preparation is critical as Next Gens will quickly make an assessment of whether they identify with the interviewer who is the gateway to the business.

Five tips to recruiting Next Gen candidates for your business

  • Invest time on mapping out your recruitment strategy. Not only do you need an effective road map of how you are going to identify relevant candidates but how you are going to conduct interviews, gain the proffered candidate’s commitment to your business, conduct psychological evaluations and instigate a rigorous reference procedure.
  • If you have little or an experience recruiting Next Gen employees then consider drawing on the services of a professional recruiter who has a track record of recruiting Next Gens.
  • Next Gens are savvy as to what they perceive to be employers of choice, which includes an inclusive culture that welcomes their ideas. The initial discussion is an opportunity to position your business as forward thinking and welcoming them as a respected colleague not as an indentured apprentice.
  • Next Gens will do their homework on your business and it is critical that you have a web presence that is in accord with the professionalism of your practice. Next Gens will also look at your LinkedIn and Facebook pages. If yours are looking tired then freshen them up in terms of design and content. Additionally, do you have a Twitter presence? Next Gens see Twitter as a core social media platform so if you don’t have a presence or even worse you think a twitter is something that should be left with the birds then you will struggle to engage with them.
  • While to some this may seem a given, it is important that the interviewer presents themselves in a professional manner. Making sure that there is appropriate time for the interview, that the interviewer is on time and they don’t enter the meeting in a dishevelled manner is critical to the candidate making an assessment of the professional standards of the practice.

Next Gens are the future of financial planning and as much as they will welcome the opportunity to learn from you with all the experience you have garnered over the years and you will have the opportunity to benefit from their knowledge, abilities and enthusiasm.

Peter Dawson, Principal, The Dawson Partnership

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