Money Isn’t Everything: How To Keep Quality Talent

Matthew Jarvis, CFP®, shares insights he learned from Jonathan Reynolds about how to attract and keep A-players on your team.

4.5 min read

One Little Thing Advisors Do To Tank Onboarding
Matthew Jarvis
Financial Planner, CFP®

It doesn’t matter if you have a team of two people or two hundred; when you take a group photo at a company retreat, everyone will look for themselves in that photo.

They want to see if their hair looks okay and ensure they don’t blink. They’ll decide if they like the way they look.

The same goes for your company’s big-picture vision. Your A-players will look for themselves in that picture, and if they like what they see, they’ll stay. If they don’t, they’ll leave for an employer with a better view.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Jonathan Reynolds, CEO of Titus Talent, and chat about strategies advisors can use to attract A-players and keep them on their teams.

Jonathan has spent his entire career helping employers find the right person for the job and pointed out that finding the right people for your business is only half the battle. Your key employees will walk out the back door if you don’t have a strategy to retain them.

Retaining talent in businesses of all sizes

You should have a three-year business plan that outlines what you want to achieve and accomplish in your practice. Your business plan should provide step-by-step planning to help you reach your goals.

What you envision for your practice is clear to you as the business owner. But can your employees see themselves in your plans?

What will the next three years look like for them, and what part will they play in the big picture?

When you can map out exactly how you intend to help them grow with your business and show your a-players how they contribute to the company’s greater good, people like Jonathan will have a more challenging time poaching them.

Keeping quality talent is actually more straightforward than you may think. You just need to show them the next steps in their careers and how they fit into your business plan. 

A-players don’t want to keep grinding day in and day out. They want to grow, develop, and feel like their work has a purpose. You need to map a career path for each individual in your practice to show their place in your business’ trajectory.

Even if you have a flat year and can’t increase compensation, you can still provide opportunities for your team members to stretch themselves and improve their careers.

If your team members don’t see themselves in your vision for the company, they’ll jump ship when a recruiter calls with a better vision.

You see, people stay when they feel employers are invested in their development and provide a plan for growth inside the company.

Recruiting and employee retention strategies

You’re not hiring a new employee to fill a seat and pull a lever. You’re hiring someone to become an integral part of your organization and accomplish things to help your practice reach its goals.

You want to hire someone who will stick around. But the average tenure right now is only 30 months—a significant drop from the average Boomer tenure of seven years.

No one wants to spend time and money rehiring employees every two and a half years, but if you can’t provide that three-year plan I mentioned earlier, you might as well plan on regular turnover.

When I was chatting with Jonathan, he told me how his company, Titus Talent, asked every one of their 170 employees what offers or opportunities they’d be willing to leave the company for.

Titus Talent management wanted to try to match those things employees wished to experience in their careers.

One younger employee wanted to fly on an airplane, meet a client, and have a meal with them. This employee felt personally meeting with clients was a sign of success, but they were not in a role where this could happen.

If a recruiter had contacted Jonathan’s employee and offered him an opportunity to visit with clients, his employee would have left. For Jonathan, inviting the employee to fly out to meet a client and have dinner was an easy way to scratch his employee’s itch for growth.

Compared to the cost of replacing the employee, the trip was marginal.

Jonathan’s story exemplifies how understanding your employee’s motivations can impact their decision to stay with the company.

Using generosity to attain and retain top talent

What motivates you to get up every morning and work hard in your practice? What gives you purpose and meaning in your life?

Many advisors define their success by their assets under management, the numbers in their bank accounts, or the amount of time they can spend with their families.

Whatever your motivation, when you understand what makes you feel really proud about your work, you can leverage that to help drive your success.

For Jonathan, a sign of success was getting to the point where he could hire top talent to do the tasks he struggled with. Once he was able to do that, he felt like he had “made it” in the industry.

But as Jonathan pointed out, getting to the point of hiring a quality team was only half the battle. He needed to motivate them to stay. 

One way that he suggested to help retain critical employees was to invest in what they care about and empower them to give back to their communities. 

Jonathan’s company puts aside money each year so that when an employee comes to him with fundraisers for new soccer jerseys, the company can cover that expense for the entire team or offer scholarships to the volleyball club that an employee’s daughter participates in. 

It’s a wonderful feeling for employees to say, “My company can cover that.” 

The ROI Jonathan sees in relationship equity is incredible. His team members will take a bullet for him because they know Jonathan has their back. 

Running a for-profit business can help you leverage generosity as an abundance play. Instead of writing a giant check to the Red Cross every year, consider how you can invest in the community programs your people are passionate about. 

You’ll get more juice for the squeeze when you show genuine interest in your employees and give to what they care about. 

Action Items

Set aside time this week to pull out your three-year business plan and use it as a guide to map out a three-year career trajectory for every employee in your practice.

Help them see how their work contributes to the company and how they can be compensated monetarily and through experience and professional development along the way.

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