2020 has permanently changed the viability of remote work—maybe not in the way you would expect.
While many stodgy companies are struggling with the thought of permanently working from home, they tend to miss the underlying reason why people would even want to return to the office. Here’s a hint: it’s the culture.
Most businesses miss that a good culture starts and ends with employee satisfaction and happiness.
All employees want a fulfilling job and career, but the new age of employees expect more—a strong employee compensation and benefits package.
Guess what? Remote work has made employees double down on this demand because now employers are competing nationwide for talent! Financial advisors in small towns can no longer get by with a subpar employee benefits package and rely on the simple fact that they are the only game in town.
The internet and availability of information were slowly exposing Scrooge McDuck employers, but the viability of remote work just blew the lid off it.
As the war for talent rages on across the country, how companies treat their employees will determine the winners.
The cat is out of the bag. Employers across the country have successfully survived the working from home experiment.
Employees no longer must choose between appeasing their boss by being present or taking their kid on a field trip.
I always recall one of my favorite speeches from the Former Coca-Cola CEO Bryan Dyson regarding work-life balance. Even though this was delivered in 1972, his insight is as valuable today as it was then.
“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them—work, family, health, friends and spirit—and you're keeping all of these in the air.
“You will soon understand that ‘work’ is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls—family, health, friends and spirit—are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.”
Force your employees back into the office, and you will watch them all leave one by one.
Financial advisors strive to make sure their clients reach their retirement goals. This same mentality needs to be applied to your employees.
As an employer, you are one of the major providers of future retirement income since our country moved away from a pension-based system to one dominated by 401(k)s.
It’s not enough to merely offer a 401(k) and pat yourself on the back. It’s your duty to provide a strong matching program as well as making profit-sharing contributions.
You must educate, match and contribute! If you don’t, someone else will.
Our current system relies on employer-provided health care, but simply providing access to a plan is no longer enough.
If you want your staff to be the best versions of themselves, why would you let them worry about health care costs? Your job is to ease their concern.
Now I understand that health care is expensive and can be a large line item for smaller advisors. Sorry but suck it up!
This is a non-negotiable if you want to staff up with the best talent.
Tiger Woods doesn’t play golf with a set of Fisher Price clubs. (Not that it wouldn’t be fun to watch him try). Likewise, your staff can’t operate at their best with a dollar-store setup.
It is our responsibility to furnish and properly equip our employees with the best items money can buy. There are limits, of course, but don’t curb your team’s abilities for the sake of being cheap.
Happiness isn’t always about compensation and, at times, it can be the little things in life. Remote work can be a challenge for team building, but you need to put in a little bit of effort to bring everyone together.
You don’t need a massive plan. Try a monthly happy hour where food and drinks are delivered to each employee—utilize food delivery services to have group meals with your team members.
The ultimate point is to keep employees engaged and a part of the process.
Manish Khatta is President and Chief Investment Officer at Potomac Fund Management