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Breakthrough Growth
1. A Question Of Engagement

1. A Question Of Engagement

Are next gen advisors engaged employees? It depends who you ask. While 64% of next gen advisors report that they’re highly engaged, only 32% of team leaders report the same, according to a survey by and Breakthrough for Growth. That means that though most next gen advisers feel fully committed and interested in their work, their bosses interpret their behavior differently. More concerning is that a full 14% of team leaders say their young advisors are somewhat disengaged or not at all engaged.

This is a problem for multiple reasons. First, engagement is critical to the next generation’s success. As expected, research reveals that engaged employees are more productive, perform better and are less likely to leave their jobs.1 And if next gen advisors are engaged — but their supervisors think otherwise — that disconnect can threaten the relationship and the advancement of the young advisors. And how frustrating to a next gen advisor to rate one’s self as engaged but have your superior think entirely the opposite.

1Hay Group Engagement Report

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Bridging The Engagement Gap

The two generations need to reach agreement on the meaning of engagement. Defining what engagement is and looks like and then providing opportunities for the next gen to be engaged is very important. And whether it appears so, the next gen wants to contribute more—and believes that they can so lead advisors would be well served to give them opportunities to do so.

Some engagement steps for leaders to take include:

• Creating clear expectations. Talk with your next gen advisors about what you expect from them. Ask how they believe they can contribute to the firm and what they need to develop into a valuable team member.

• Connecting tasks to the firm’s mission and to younger advisers’ overall development. It’s hard to stay motivated if you’re not sure why you’re doing what you are doing. Discuss with your next gen advisers what they should be learning and taking away from their everyday work. And remember: The next generation is motivated by having a purpose and mission. Connect.

To improve the perception of their engagement, next gen advisors can:

• Study the business. Show your leaders you’re passionate by offering opinions, asking questions and contributing whenever you can. Contemplate the unique ways your presence can benefit the firm, whether it’s offering new viewpoints or a different skill set.

• Understand what’s expected. Make sure you’re clear on your team leader’s expectations and that you understand what the firm needs from you. If you need help to achieve those goals, ask for guidance.

• Architect your own success. If you don’t have specific milestones or the ones you have are too broad or long-ranged, sketch out some goals of your own and ask for help refining a roadmap that all agree will put you on the path to success.

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Breakthrough Growth, LLC is a joint venture between The Collaborative and Purpose Consulting Group. Established by two industry veterans to meet the need for effective hands-on resources to accelerate productivity of the next generation of advisors and their leaders.  

Christine Gaze is president of Purpose Consulting Group, a practice management consulting firm that works with financial services leaders to develop strategies and thought leadership programs that engage and advance financial advisors.  In the last 20 years, she has held a variety of leadership roles in practice management and human capital at firms such as Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, AllianceBernstein and TD Ameritrade.  She is a frequent speaker, avid researcher, and writer.

Beverly D. Flaxington (The Human Behavior Coach™) has spent more than 25 years in the investment industry as a sales and marketing expert, corporate consultant, college professor and Gold-award winning author She has been quoted in hundreds of media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. Her latest bestselling book is titled Understanding Other People: The Five Secrets to Human Behavior.

Next: Becoming a Better Leader

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