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how to prepare for the great resignation in financial services
November 23, 2021

Preserving Financial Services Knowledge During the Great Resignation

how to prepare for the great resignation in financial services

Does your financial services firm have a succession plan? Many firms are on the brink of losing senior advisors to retirement during the “Great Resignation.” In the third quarter of 2020, nearly 30 million Baby Boomers left the job market and retired, according to the Pew Research Center.

This trend means the potential loss of long-held expertise and customer relationships that have taken years to foster. The challenge facing financial services firms is how to capture and share this wisdom—before it’s too late.

When I was a young advisor, I was told to find mentors in the office and at the firm who could figuratively put me on their shoulders to have me see what they had seen so that I could excel. I would engage them in conversation, ask many questions, and take copious notes to capture their wisdom.

I literally had notebooks of these kernels of truth and referred to them often to sharpen my skills. Today firms can turn to technology solutions to scale and preserve institutional knowledge for the next generation of advisors.

Preserving Institutional Knowledge

Many financial services reps were hired between 1987 and 1994. According to a 2019 J.D. Power study, the average financial advisor is 55 years old and 20% are 65 and older. Only about 10% of advisors are under 35, says Cerulli Associates, and efforts to recruit younger advisors haven’t panned out.

When these financial services professionals retire, they’ll take twenty, thirty, or more years of experience with them, leaving younger players to pick up the slack. For the financial services industry, the customer insights and product knowledge they take with them are critical to revenue generation and growth.

Firms can not wait until veterans retire to capture their knowledge. They must take steps now to identify the insights that are mission-critical, and be proactive about preserving them. This planning will pay dividends long into the future, as the process can be used not only to harvest the wisdom of retirees but of any top performer at the company.

Replicating “A” Players

But the wisdom of senior advisors isn’t the only thing at risk. Every year, millions of people change jobs for a variety of reasons—advancement, flexibility, layoffs, stress, or a bigger paycheck. Think of how many resources go into hiring and training new workers to replace departing ones. Not to mention the loss of productivity while new hires get up to speed.

This impact crosses corporate functions, but is especially concerning for sales teams. Every sales organization has its top performers—the standout sellers who beat their quotas month after month, quarter after quarter, year after year. They all have one thing in common: a deep understanding of the firm’s products and client needs.

These advisors deploy best practices and insights that set them apart from the rest. No matter whether these “A” players are about to retire or move to another organization, they’ll take experience with them, leaving green teams scrambling to catch up. Wouldn’t it be better to leverage that expertise now, to raise seller proficiency across the board?

Capturing and Sharing Institutional Knowledge

Harvesting the institutional knowledge of advisors, product managers, and subject matter experts (SMEs) is essential. You need to be able to preserve it so that you can pass it onto the next generation, preventing a massive outlay for training. And you need to be able to train new hires so that they can model their behavior on the best practices of current stars.

Financial services firms can capture these insights:

  • “A” player talk tracks and best practices
  • Product knowledge
  • Customer specific knowledge
  • Shifting market conditions and trends
  • Compliance changes

Taking the First Step with Video

Taking steps to improve internal knowledge sharing is the first step. Identifying a solution comes next. Today, proactive firms are turning to video to capture institutional knowledge.

According to Aberdeen Group, best-in-class sales organizations are 30 percent more likely to formally collect and share sales “tribal knowledge” than under-performing firms. Having a best practice library of short videos capturing and categorizing this is proving to be the most effective way.

By simply asking your product managers/specialists and other SMEs to speak on a particular topic, you can create a catalog of assets that can be easily shared and accessed across the company. Imagine how much better equipped an advisor is when they have access to recordings of other sellers delivering the perfect pitch and handling any potential objections?

This kind of just-in-time access to company-specific insights on how to deliver client solutions has raised the bar for financial services firms. At many companies, it has created an environment of ongoing peer-to-peer learning where executives and managers can leverage the collaborative strength of their teams—even when spread out over large territories.

Preparing for a New Era

Industry consolidation and increased competition are putting pressure on firms to find new ways to scale, reduce cost, and go after challengers. At the same time, the pandemic has ushered in a new era of remote training and hybrid selling situations. Preserving company information on video and harnessing the wisdom of your advisors is one tactic that can keep financial services firms in the black.

Learn More

Watch Don’t Wait: How to Capture Veteran Know-How and Drive Expert Knowledge Sharing to find out how you can capture critical institutional knowledge to drive seller proficiency.

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