Broker/dealers, by their nature, are businesses with far-flung stakeholders: advisors, super offices of supervisory jurisdiction (OSJ) and even home-office staff separated by thousands of miles. The various technologies we use to communicate with each other can help close the distance, yet like any organization, connection and culture matter.
Joining together as a firm—home-office staff and advisors, plus both groups’ loved ones—to volunteer or donate to charity is one way to strengthen bonds between people who don’t always work in the same physical space. It’s also a way to build a culture of mutual respect and collaboration.
Doing good deeds together can strengthen an organization by giving all those who have a common interest in seeing it succeed a shared sense of purpose. Moreover, the positive bonds that home-office staff and advisors build among themselves tend to permeate the broader company. This can transcend the feelings of personal fulfillment that stem from philanthropy and help fortify a positive culture for the business.
For current home-office staff and advisors, doing charitable activities outside of the 9-to-5 grind and encouraging their families to participate will help solidify intra-organization trust. In our industry, we often talk about building trust between advisors and clients to cultivate long, productive relationships, but it’s also crucial to create the same type of dynamic among advisors and the home office.
If employees trust each other and advisors trust their home-office staff, it can smooth out any potential bumps in their day-to-day interactions and during rare crisis situations. Team members who have a track record of positive interactions with one another will work more effectively together when it really matters.
Aside from bolstering morale, doing charity together can help home-office staff and advisors feel a connection to the organization that may dissuade them from leaving when faced with outside opportunities. The simple fact is that we are all human, and every decision we make is as much driven by our feelings as it is by more objective factors such as financial incentives. A feeling of connection to the organization and to each other can be a strong countervailing force against the drive to jump ship.
Further, for an independent firm, being seen within their community as an organization that does the right thing and helps the less fortunate is an asset when it comes to attracting talent. That includes hiring talented professionals to join the home-office staff and recruiting advisors to the platform. There’s evidence that Americans, particularly millennials and Gen Z, want to align their careers with their values, and any organization that shows external audiences this side of itself has an advantage attracting people with that inclination, all other things being equal.
Leveraging Annual Conferences
Practically speaking, it might not be possible to get home-office staff and advisors who live far apart to come together to volunteer very often. But quality matters more than quantity in this respect, and firms in our industry with sufficient foresight and planning can incorporate charity or volunteering opportunities into the annual events that draw home-office staff and advisors together. This could be a top-producers conference or the firm’s national conference.
The bottom line is that an independent broker/dealer is a community that will go only as far as home-office staff and advisors can work together to attract new clients and serve current ones better. They will fulfill those goals more effectively if they trust one another and work in an environment that encourages collaboration and a sense of common purpose. Being more engaged and connected to those they work with will help them find more meaning, stay around longer and do their jobs better.
Patrick Farrell is CEO of Investacorp, a Miami-based independent advisory and brokerage subsidiary firm of Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services.