How wealth managers can avoid losing key people to the great resignation


There is a very competitive ‘war’ for the best talent, and this is pushing up some salaries.

Besides the election, this year is throwing new challenges to the nation’s wealth management industry. An immediate challenge is for leaders to keep their teams safe and well given continuing high COVID numbers – as well as engaged given the so-called ‘great resignation’.

Working from home has created new challenges for wealth management human resources (HR) teams, with the ‘great resignation’ seeing many people more open to moving, notes Darran Irving, Senior Consultant at Super Recruiters and the SR Network, a HR consulting service to the wealth management sector.

Mr Irving says: “Many wealth management organisations are striving to get back to where they were before COVID. Returning to where we were is no longer an option. Wealth managers need to be transforming themselves into the workplaces of the future,” he said. “If they don’t others are, and they will be the new leaders.”

“Employees have experienced the benefits of flexibility and they don’t want to lose that – and will move to organisations that offer that flexibility. This even includes some senior executives.

“This is why it is harder for many organisations to find suitable candidates to fill the roles they have. Candidates are being more selective than they ever have before, more selective beyond the salary dollars.”

Mr Irving suggests: “To retain people and attract new ones, wealth managers need to offer flexible work, especially in terms of where, be it a mix of at home and in the office, and how often.

“The trend in the industry is to three days in the office and two working from home. Though it varies from one organisation to another and department to department.”

Wealth managers need to transform people approach

Mr Irving said the second most important way to retain and attract good people was to develop a culture where employees were valued.

“Our people want – and need – to feel more valued, more valued than they ever have before. This requires new skills for some of our leaders, such as increased empathy towards their people and rewards in ways other than money.”

“A key aspect of this transformation is the development of an over-arching vision of what the organisation stands for, why it exists, and where the c-suite and their people want to it to be in three to five years. And developing this with their people, so that everyone is engaged and working towards the sake goal through-out the organisation.

“This is not about stating the objective is greatest possible returns for investors, but rather how those returns are generated. And what additional value the organisation adds.”

“Those organisations that can articulate and demonstrate such purpose are attracting more of the best candidates as well as retaining their people from external poaching.”

Mr Irving noted: “Look at what is already happening in the tech and software space in Australia in terms of war for talent and skill shortages. For example, key projects I am championing at MNF Group, a software company, are bold retention and recruitment programs. It’s a preview for wealth management firms.”

SR Network sees itself consulting to more and more to wealth management leaders on how to keep their people. “There is a very competitive ‘war’ for the best talent, and this is pushing up some salaries,” he said.

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