Developing the skills and knowledge of financial advisors is an important function of advisory firms and financial institutions. In other businesses, clients look for these attributes as well, but when it comes to money management, clients set a higher bar for those they entrust with their assets.
Many initiatives help a company grow, and it can be hard to prioritize. While the day-to-day challenges are at the forefront, don’t let employee development fall to the wayside. Put it on the list of your operating prioritizes.
Competence, trust and reliability are all important qualities clients look for in their financial planners. Employee development fosters these characteristics, thereby ensuring your firm is better positioned for long-term growth.
Provide professional development opportunities
Look to provide your employees with professional development opportunities. You can accomplish this in many different ways, either structured or informal and flexible:
- Continuing education opportunities.
- In-house or external seminars.
- Web or app-based e-learning resources.
- Opportunities to join professional organizations.
These and other options can help your employees feel more empowered in their roles as they look to grow upward in their career paths. Through the resources you provide, they’ll stay up to date on trends and changing industry regulations, and they might even carve a few additional niches into their skillsets.
Conduct voluntary cross-departmental training
Cross-departmental training is a win-win situation for your firm. Staff shortages are a problem in the financial industry because you need a person to have specific skills or licenses to conduct certain types of transactions. Inevitably, there comes a time where you’ll be short-staffed and need additional coverage. By cross-training your employees, you ensure you have coverage at all times in case an advisor:
- Goes on vacation.
- Becomes ill.
Cross-training also fosters teamwork and camaraderie across the firm because everyone gets an opportunity to explore what others do and better understand their roles.
On the employees’ side, cross-training is a great opportunity for them to:
- Grow professionally, gaining a diversified skillset.
- Be challenged, stimulating their interest levels.
- Feel empowered, becoming confident in their industry knowledge.
When considering cross-training, keep in mind that employees who are provided with optional opportunities are more likely to embrace these initiatives. Forcing it might result in resentment, but with a voluntary situation, people might feel less pressured and more willing to do it.
Establish coaching and mentoring programs
Mentorship is important to today’s employees, especially millennials and Gen Zers. Statistics suggest 79% of them want their bosses to serve as a mentor or coach. In fact, many of them anticipate some sort of mentoring while on the job.
By offering coaching and mentoring programs, you manage beyond delegation and tracking metrics. You’re helping your employees learn from your (or your senior advisors’) experience and knowledge. Through mentorships, your employees will gain confidence and learn how to become leaders themselves, perhaps one day passing on their tacit knowledge to younger team members, which will add long-term value to your organization.
Development of soft skills
Soft skills are no longer limited to certain job titles. They’re critical in all industries, especially when working closely with customers, as financial advisors do.
If an advisor doesn’t have strong verbal and written communication skills or strong social skills, they’ll find it hard to succeed in your industry. Try to give your employees challenges or other tasks to help them improve these areas. Consider training that highlights skills like empathy, problem-solving, conflict resolution and critical observation.
You want your customers to be able to successfully build strong relationships with the person who is managing their money. The better your employees utilize soft skills, the more valuable your employees will be.
Provide emotional support and personal development
Employees are not robots who are programmed to perform their daily tasks. They are whole human beings. As such, for them to grow professionally in their advisor roles, they’ll need personal development in tandem with professional development; it should be a holistic experience.
Check in with your staff to ensure they aren’t overstressed or struggling. Essentially, be supportive and ensure they have emotional balance and don’t feel isolated, or worse, alienated.
Additionally, listen to your employees. Get to know their personal goals, and try to offer opportunities that can propel them towards reaching those goals.
By providing your employees with the emotional support they need and helping them achieve their personal aspirations, they’ll feel more valued as employees. In return, they’ll be more inclined to offer you their loyalty.
Where to start
To earn client trust, your financial firm should consider heavy investment into your employees. In exchange for your efforts, you’ll receive an ROI because you can reduce employee turnover, strengthen morale, and essentially, have more stability, which strengthens your firm’s reputation and sustainability.
A staff equipped to offer the best knowledge and decision-making in the industry can go a long way towards boosting your firm to the top. Securities Training Corporation offers qualified education training and licensing preparation for financial professionals. To learn more about our programs, contact us today.