During my time working for Macquarie Bank it was well-known, although never publicly acknowledged, that every year around April there would be a statistically-improbable peak of Macquarie resumes hitting recruitment agents, followed by a host of farewell parties, handsomely paid for by someone’s bonus packet.
Financial planners typically follow more of the July-June financial year calendar, and so, as the financial year comes to a close, profits are locked in, and bonuses are calculated, we can also start to expect the annual migration of planners again over the next several weeks as people use the opportunity to cash out and take stock of their careers.
This is all well and good, and we should always be encouraging people to take an active approach to their career, however, in such a people-intensive industry such as financial planning, and with the average practice consisting of just 4-5 people, the loss of even one person can have a major impact on the ability of your business to operate and service your customers properly.
Of course, the most common response to such staff movements usually consists of, “Well, it just happens. Nothing we can do about.”
But let’s be honest and frank here. I know this. You know this. Anyone who has ever been an employee knows this. Of course we put on a congenial face when, as an employee, we part ways with a company. Even people who have gone through a forced redundancy will, on their parting day, find some nice words to say. We are civilised people after all. And only pyromaniacs like to burn bridges.
But we’d be lying to ourselves if we 1) took it at face value, and 2) told ourselves that there’s no way to prevent or improve the situation. A copout that means we are constantly losing vital skills and talent and in-built organisational knowledge every time an employee walks out the door. (Of course, if you want them to leave, that’s a different story.)
Let’s look at it a different way. If you think through all the possible reasons that someone ‘moves on’ from a role, they all come back to two fundamental themes:
- “I’m moving to a different country.”
- “I won the lotto.”
- “I want to try something different.”
- “I’m not earning enough / I need to earn more.”
- “I don’t agree with where the company is heading.”
- “I don’t feel that I make a difference / that my opinion is being heard”
When it reasons of circumstance, like a career change or a planner looking to start their own practice, of course, stopping it is near impossible. But that doesn’t mean you can’t 1) be forewarned about it, and 2) slow or ease the transition and minimise the impact to your practice.
Because, shy of sudden ill health or unexpected accidents and the lucky lotto scenario, most circumstantial reasons build up over a period of time. Meaning that, if you are a good manager that active listens to your staff, and is someone whom they trust, you should be able to pick up on hints early on that will allow you to manage the relationship beneficially for both parties.
The important thing is that the intent isn’t in itself to stop it from happening. If a planner does indeed want to start their own practice one day, putting roadblocks in their way is about as likely to engender goodwill as running over your next door neighbour’s dog is going to get you invited to the Christmas bbq.
But by paying attention and knowing your staff’s plans beforehand, you can plan accordingly, and even support them in their development, and in doing so, probably find that they will be much more accommodating later on when it comes time for them to ‘give back’ the assistance you gave them. This could mean them putting their plans aside an extra three months to help train up a replacement or similar, which, when you are a small business, every little bit helps.
Of course, when it comes to reasons of dissatisfaction, that’s a topic for another day, suffice to say that 1) you will rarely get the real reason voluntarily given to you, and 2) you can actually do something about it, whether it be through reward and recognition, greater say and input, work flexibility, etc.
So with that in mind, enjoy our last newsletter for this financial year, and look forward to our next one in the new year.
Until next time,