Let’s get one thing perfectly clear – millennials are NOT the lazy, self-absorbed narcissists who expect you to hand them a VP title and a six-figure salary. About the only aspect of the millennial stereotype that is true, is that they are indeed a technology-driven generation of information sharers. Millennials are values-based individuals with a heightened social awareness – exceedingly cause-driven and deeply charitable.
Having come of age during the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, they’ve seen firsthand the devastation wrought by the negligence and excesses of firms like Enron. And as a result, they’ve become some of the loudest voices, calling on business to play a more active and responsible role in society. A recent World Economic Forum study of 5,000 millennials found that even more than generating profits or driving innovation, young adults believe “improving society” should be the number one priority of businesses.
These are the future drivers of your business (the NextGen Advisors), so it’s well worth taking time to better understand what motivates them and what makes them tick. And the time to do that is today. Rather than looking up and realizing, “Hey, I need to find a NextGen advisor right now,” you’ll be far better served by creating a NextGen advisor program that will effectively address those needs down the road as they arise.
Finding and communicating with NextGen Advisors
Simply put, traditional recruiting methods rarely work with millennials. They’re scanners of information rather than readers, and as such, tend to prefer a steady stream of digestible nuggets. They’re far more likely to turn to social media rather than newspapers, radio and/or television for their information. And because of this deeply-rooted comfort with social networking, they tend to be far less private than previous generations. Millennials are generally open and honest in discussing personal issues, likes and dislikes, but they strongly prefer to do so in a more casual and informal setting.
A few firms like Northwestern Mutual have mastered it. For nearly two decades, their internship program has consistently ranked as one of the country’s Top 10. A principal reason for its success is the programs comprehensive and holistic advisory experience – interns aren’t merely being brought in to augment the firm’s sales effort, the training is designed to build a strong foundation of knowledge in sales, in the insurance and financial services business, and in financial planning.
Other firms have emerged to help advisory practices implement their own customized NextGen programs. Advisors Ahead not only hires recent college graduates and places them into entry level positions within Financial Advisors/Planners practices, but they continue to work hand-in-hand with both the new hire and the practice to provide training, mentoring, coaching and guidance as the candidate moves along his/her career path to becoming a future Financial Advisor.
Some advisors are successfully connecting with the NextGen even earlier. Last year, my son (a high school senior) who’s interested in financial planning was able to secure a non-paying internship at Pell Wealth Partners in New York through his school internship program. He loved the experience so much, he’s now actively seeking to secure a paid internship with the firm next summer as a college freshman. This is the exact type of culture that firm CEOs and COOs who want to cultivate relationships with the NextGen advisors should look to emulate.
That’s the motto of the U.S. Coast Guard, but it could equally apply to any advisory practice looking to attract NextGen advisors. From sourcing to onboarding, training and integrating them into your firm’s corporate culture, you need a well thought out and carefully crafted program. And it begins with shifting your focus – from the present to your future company, and the many different roles in a growing firm you’re going to need talent to fill.
Coaching Questions from this article:
- How are you currently thinking about building capacity and capability on your team?
- Think about your hiring plan for the future. Are you approaching it proactively with an eye on creating a durable and sustainable practice?
- What steps will you take to connect and communicate with NextGen advisors earlier and more effectively?