The aging of the wealth management workforce
The average age of a financial advisor is 50, and only five percent of advisors are younger than 30, according to EY. “The aging of the financial advisor workforce comes at a time when demand for their advice is accelerating. The oldest baby boomers have started transferring wealth to their children,” writes Kim Moore in an Oregon Business article. “Many of these younger people don’t want to work with older advisors. They want an advisor who looks like them.” To diversify its wealth advisory division, Wells Fargo introduced a two-year training program, pairing new associates with senior financial advisor mentors. Other wealth-management firms, such as Portland-based The Partners Group, dropped the variable-compensation model in favor of a salary-based model to attract younger recruits. The transfer of wealth from the baby-boomer generation to the younger generations is expected to accelerate in the next decade. “Having a team of advisors who can engender confidence in both young and old will be essential,” says Steve Holwerda, managing director at investment advisory firm Ferguson Wellman Capital Management. “Everybody wants somebody they can relate to.”
Gen X: Least happy at work
Generation X, those between the ages of 38 and 53, accounts for one third of the U.S. workforce, but has long been overlooked by employers focused on attracting and retaining millennials (20 to 37). Now a new study confirms the impacts of this neglect. According to MetLife’s Annual U.S. Employee Study, gen X workers feel underappreciated and lag behind in key financial security indicators. Only 59 percent of gen x employees are confident in their finances, compared to 67 percent of millennials and 65 percent of boomers. Gen X is also the least happy generation of employees at work—just 68 percent report being happy, compared with 75 percent of millennials and 74 percent of boomers. Contributing to gen X unhappiness is that only 54 percent of gen X workers feel empowered and 62 percent feel respected in the workplace. “The combination of gen X’s financial stress with low engagement and the perceived lack of appreciation can have significant negative repercussions across the workplace, and employers need to take this seriously,” Todd Katz, executive vice president, Group Benefits at MetLife, told Business Wire.
Millennials face barriers to retirement savings
Millennials are behind in accumulating wealth and are facing retirement savings barriers their parents and grandparents didn’t, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution. In a Forbes blog post, Ted Knutson highlights the key findings: median wealth among millennials in 2016 was lower than among similarly aged workers in any year from 1989 to 2007, creating retirement savings obstacles. “Having to take more responsibility for their own retirement plans and marrying and bearing children at later ages will be barriers to retirement security past generations didn’t have to contend with,” he writes. However, the report also reveals that millennials have less credit-card debt and are better educated (60 percent vs. 46 percent have attended some college) than previous generations.
The benefits of a reverse-mentoring program
Financial services firm Baird is experimenting with a new way of engaging with its millennial workforce: a reverse-mentoring program, Fortune reports. In 2017, Baird’s CEO Steve Booth asked the talent development team to connect boomer-age leaders with the firm’s younger workers (30 percent of Baird’s workforce). Within months, a group of 10 senior leaders had been paired with junior counterparts in order to develop a millennial-conscious business strategy. “[My mentee] Bill asked what keeps millennials like myself at a company like Baird,” said Zach Arndt, a branch administrative manager who mentored Bill Mahler, Baird’s chairman of equity capital markets. “My answer was simple—it’s engagements like this.”
Aging workforce as an opportunity, not a problem
The aging of the U.S. workforce is a major opportunity to create a more inclusive society and a vibrant economy, according to Chris Farrell. The senior economics contributor to “Marketplace,” American Public Media’s nationally syndicated public radio program, Farrell argues that a more engaged older population will shape everyday life—everything from housing markets to public transportation, urban design and healthcare. “We have this image of the way life unfolds—you go to school, work and raise children and then retire somewhere else,” he told Reuters in an interview. “Plenty of our institutions have reflected that. But as people work longer and stay in urban areas longer, the impact will be profound—just for one example, older people tend to want public transportation, and so do younger people.” Participation in the labor force by older workers has been rising steadily in recent years, creating an inflection point where employers will be forced to accommodate older workers due to the overall tight labor market. “It’s not that employers have suddenly become enlightened, but they will have to look at older workers with a different eye, and think about hiring differently,” he said. “Do they want to fulfill their missions and grow their businesses, or not?”
L&D key to retaining young talent
According to Ryan Jenkins, the most comprehensive strategy to improve millennial and generation Z recruitment, engagement and retention is improved learning and development (L&D). In this Inc. blog post, he claims that the entrance of generation Z into the workplace and millennials taking leadership positions are exposing the weaknesses of training programs at many organizations. “Long, antiquated, and non-transformative training harms the recruitment, engagement, and retention of millennial and generation Z employees,” Jenkins writes. He believes training for the younger members of the workforce has to deliver cutting-edge content to help them overcome the workplace challenges they face. Jenkins also believes millennials and generation Z learn differently. “Training must be reimagined to ensure they use, apply and enjoy it,” he writes.
Millennials worry about the future of employee benefits
According to new research from Prudential, millennials are worried about retirement, healthcare and the possibility of employee benefits going away entirely. Roughly 79 percent of millennials think it’s likely people will no longer be able to comfortably retire in the future, and a similar number (72 percent) are also worried that their employers will stop providing healthcare and retirement benefits altogether, Prudential found. “Many have that longevity disconnect,” Harry Dalessio, head of full service solutions at Prudential Retirement, told Employee Benefit Adviser. “[They] can’t see themselves in retirement, but have to deal with the present. So we see the platform emerging from a financial wellness perspective to include employers offering student loan assistance, to offering emergency savings to get at those core needs.” Prudential also suggests offering benefits such as HSAs, to help manage healthcare costs, and 401(k) matches and savings plans, to help employees take charge of their finances.
Getting millennials to stay in insurance
According to a new survey, most millennials working in insurance (87 percent) would recommend a career in the industry to their peers, while 70 percent plan to work in the field as long as possible. Yet, Insurance Business Magazine’s Alicja Grzadkowska warns against insurers resting on the laurels of their success with the younger generation. “Getting millennials to stay in insurance requires a finely-tuned strategy that realizes the skills they have to offer and lifts the lid on the opportunities that exist in the industry for those who put in the time,” she writes. Grzadkowska claims the industry still has some weaknesses to overcome when attracting and retaining millennials. “Most people who aren’t in insurance or don’t have family working in the industry don’t know about the variety of professions you can have within insurance and that the jobs are way more exciting than what’s shown on television or in movies,” she writes. Grzadkowska recommends that insurers refrain from putting all the focus on millennials in a workforce that is comprised of a mix of generations, and to keep communication pipelines open across employees of all ages.
Generation Z more likely to switch jobs at a faster pace
According to a new survey from LinkedIn, Generation Z (employees aged 24 and younger) is three times more likely than Baby Boomers to change jobs, with 20 percent averaging four or more full-time jobs within a few short years. What motivates Generation Z to move around? “There’s no doubt that salary and benefits are an important part of a job, but when it comes to Millennials and Gen Z, they’re not everything. In fact, personal relationships, learning and growth opportunities, and simply enjoying the work they’re doing, were all important—signaling that culture is increasingly becoming one of the most important things for young professionals,” writes Blair Decembrele in a LinkedIn blog post. The research shows 70 percent of all professionals believe that their support system is one of the top factors for their success at work. Thirty-six percent of those under 24 told LinkedIn they would speak to their manager when thinking about a career change. They’re overwhelmingly (65 percent) looking for honest advice about what to do next, and for additional learning opportunities (35 percent). Decembrele also highlights the young professionals’ openness to relocating. “Half of professionals under 24 would consider moving for a new role, and nearly 20 percent said they would welcome the opportunity to travel,” she writes. “Gen Z is taking the cake as the most mobile professional generation.”
To retain millennials, offer this one benefit
Forget free snacks, gym memberships and ping-pong tables. In this Inc blog post, Melanie Curtin makes the case for the one benefit that will affect how long millennials will stay with a company: student loan repayment assistance. Curtin cites two studies to make her point. The first is a report by Citizens Bank, which found that millennial college graduates spend close to one-fifth of their annual income on student loan repayment. The second study found that those with student debt would stay with a company 36 percent longer if it helped them pay off their loan. “Offering student debt repayment assistance would say a lot about a company’s values,” Curtin writes. “It would send the message that the company understands the actual burden of this on their younger employees–that this is one of the major things on their minds.” She claims that adding student loan repayment assistance to the company’s benefits package would do more than just providing an incentive to young professionals to stick around. “It would let them know that their issues matter, and that one of the biggest stressors in their lives would actually be eased by sticking with you. It would demonstrate that you are the kind of organization that not only understands, but takes action on behalf of your people,” she concludes.
Engage millennials at work with more conversations
For Ashira Prossack, the secret to engaging millennials in the workplace is having more conversations with them. In this Women@Forbes blog post, she highlights two types of conversations that would provide millennials with the help they need to develop and grow within their roles: informal check-ins and goal-setting sessions. “The informal check-in helps to mitigate problems and challenges. If you catch a problem early on, it’s much easier to rectify than if it’s been going on for months,” Prossack writes. “Check-ins allow you to keep a pulse on your team and gauge things like employee productivity and team morale.” These meetings do not have to be held in person, but can be done virtually via video calls and messaging. The informal check-ins should occur at least twice month, while the goal-setting sessions should be held quarterly. “Goal setting sessions are crucial for helping your employees reach their potential and continue growing with the company,” she writes. “It also helps you identify which employees are ready to take on more responsibility.”
Millennials see insurance industry as a ‘well-kept secret’
According to participants of a roundtable on millennials in insurance, the industry has a hard time replacing its retiring workers because the younger generation doesn’t know how exciting it is, Insurance Journal reports. “Insurance is kind of a well-kept secret. It’s just not something that is run-of-the-mill conversation, but it is a very exciting industry,” one participant told IJ. Another explained how it was an unlikely career path for her. “Going through college, my whole life, I wanted to be in criminal justice. Then, I decided in my freshman year that maybe I wanted to do business. I ended up really loving insurance. That probably sounds kind of strange to say that you love insurance, but it just hit the right button for me.” The participants told IJ the insurance industry should market itself better at the college level. “If the industry can get out in front of young people at job fairs and things like that, it could explain that there’s a whole world out there if you pull that curtain back,” one suggested.
How to engage the millennial workforce
In this Oracle blog post, Lauren Antone argues that there is a disconnect between millennials and their workplace, in spite of organizations’ employee-engagement efforts. She cites three key statistics: 1. Only 33 percent of employees report being engaged at work. 2. A majority (70 percent) of employees are dissatisfied with future opportunities within their organization. 3. Nine in 10 millennials left their employer the last time they changed jobs. Antone then outlines what millennials really want and how to engage them. “Millennials highly value a job that will accelerate professional and career development,” she writes. “Perhaps it’s the stage of our lives that we are in, but this can be a big miss for organizations that are not prepared to show us what’s next.” When it comes to management, millennials prefer coaching to other methods. “My best managers have always taken the time to understand my personal goals and worked with me to align them with the business objectives, resulting in greater motivation and productivity,” Antone writes. Besides collaborative goal setting, she also underscores the importance of feedback to millennials. “We are the digital natives, and as such, we are used to getting instant feedback at the touch of a button in order to learn and grow,” she concludes.
What do young financial services recruits want?
Another new study by New Planner Recruiting and Angie Herbers LLC surveyed more than 300 participants to find out what is most important to young candidates when taking a job in financial services. Highlights of the study include: 78 percent are interested in comprehensive financial planning; less than 2 percent are interested in marketing and sales; 51 percent believe they can start working with clients immediately. The participants identified a firm’s culture (64 percent), client service (61 percent) and career track for advancement (53 percent) as the top traits they look for in an employer. “Typical new job seekers are more focused on what their time at the office will be like and their career trajectory than the immediate rewards. Therefore, if you have not invested in your culture, outlined your client experience and have a career track for advancement at your firm, you’re not going to win the talent war,” writes Angie Herbers in Think Advisor.
Personalization is key to training a multi-generational workforce
The workforce in the U.S. now spans five generations from ‘the greatest generation’ to generation Z, with millennials predicted to make up a majority of workers by 2020. While most small and midsize businesses prioritize training for millennials, Brian Westfall argues that a “one-size-fits-all” approach alienates a portion of the workforce and will fail to meet desired training outcomes. “The best solution to the challenge of multi-generational workforce training isn’t prioritization, but personalization,” he writes. “Organizations need to deliver personalized learning experiences to every single worker to engage them fully in the material and achieve positive results.” Westfall provides four steps to implementing a truly flexible training program for the multi-generational workforce. 1. Segment your training audience using hard data, not gut feel, to avoid generational stereotypes. 2. Flesh out training content with needed topics and formats to expand the offerings available to employees. 3. Establish learning paths and administer pre-training proficiency tests to align the right program to the right teams. 4. Leverage a learning management system (LMS) to analyze, adjust and automate.
Three tips on retaining millennial talent
Millennials will make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025, so it’s no wonder they continue to make the headlines in talent and organization news week after week. This TalentCulture piece offers three tips to retain millennials: 1. Rethink feedback. Instead of one annual performance review, offer employees ongoing, frequent feedback they can implement immediately. 2. Make learning and development a priority. Because they grew up in a rapidly changing digital landscape, millennials place a high value on growth opportunities. 3. Build a culture of flexible work. For millennials, work-life integration is key, whether working inside the office or remotely. “Traditional management styles fall flat for millennials. For employers, updating management practices isn’t just a nice thing to do – it’s absolutely necessary in order to develop and retain the next generation of leaders,” the article notes.
Inspire millennials with sustainability efforts
In this Forbes BrandVoice blog post, Chuck Leddy argues that organizations focusing on sustainability have a better chance of attracting and retaining younger employees. He outlines four steps to inspire and engage them: 1. Make your business operations sustainable with programs that reduce waste and save resources. 2. Start spreading the news by sharing stories on social media and through traditional media outlets. 3. Offer a sense of mission and meaning by articulating your company’s positive impact on the community and the world. 4. Promote volunteering with nonprofits and offer personalized volunteer time-off days for charities of their choice. “When you show your employees and customers that you care about sustainability, they’re likely to reciprocate by giving you their loyalty,” Leddy writes. “While caring about people and planet might seem like something that lies outside your core business, it may actually be the quickest way to build a community of employees and customers who care about sustaining you as a business.”
Millennials just say ‘No’ to jobs without training
According to research from the Wharton School’s Center for Human Resources, only a fifth of employees reported receiving on-the-job training from their employers in the five years leading up to 2011. For Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork, the consequences for young professionals are tragic and costly. “Traditional jobs aren’t providing them with new skills and therefore aren’t setting them up for success in their careers,” he writes in this piece for Entrepreneur. “Unsurprisingly, young workers aren’t happy with their employers, so they’re leaving—constantly. Disengaged from their jobs unlike any other generation and seeking new skills, they’re job-hopping.” Where do dismayed millennials go? According to Upwork’s Freelancing in America 2017 report, young workers are increasingly choosing to go their own ways, becoming their own bosses and training themselves. The report also found that 47 percent of millennials have freelanced over the past 12 months. “This trend means that reaching today’s talented youth is transforming before our own eyes. Put simply, to leverage the skills of many of the most talented, self-driven young workers, businesses increasingly require different hiring strategies,” Kasriel writes.
How to engage and retain millennials
In this guest blog for Oracle, Shelby Aprile, a self-described “millennial in tech,” gives a first-person account of what keeps her a happy, engaged and loyal employee. She highlights five elements that shaped her experience. 1. Training and development (learning opportunities prove a company’s investment in the professional and personal development of millennials). 2. Empowerment (feeling important and valued matters). 3. Flexibility (ability to transition and support different roles and projects within the company). 4. Brand pride (engaging and collaborating with customers and employees on a shared vision). 5. Supportive management and leadership (inspiring leaders that coach and mentor younger employees). “They invest in me, my growth, and my development, and so many of them continue to be valuable coaches and mentors. I’ve been given opportunities to get exposure to multiple domains and applications, and across multiple activities in our organization,” Aprile writes.
Reimagining banking for millennials, with coffee
“After considerable investment in online and mobile banking to compete in the fintech arena, Capital One is taking a new approach to build relationships with its young clients through approachable money coaches,” Insurance Journal reported last week. The company has placed “friendly ambassadors” in 29 Capital One Cafes across nine states, which feature open work spaces, ATMs and financial support for all online banking needs. According to the article, patrons using their Capital One credit card receive half-price coffee. “They are reimagining the banking experience for a generation that hasn’t connected with the traditional branch experience of their parents,” the Journal notes. “Inventing new ways to connect with prospects and clients to build loyalty while mobile applications vie for their attention, may require reimagining your way of doing business. You might consider sponsoring a trivia night at the local brewery, becoming the MC at an open-mic night or partnering with your favorite coffee shop for a few hours a week.”
The millennial-employee gap in insurance agencies
In this interview with Insurance Business Magazine, InsurBanc’s Robert Pettinicchi argues that insurance agencies aren’t doing enough to attract millennials and are losing recent risk-management graduates to carriers. “It’s a great field, but I really don’t believe that the industry does enough to promote just how good a field it is,” he says. “What the young agent can bring to an agency is how to market to a young person or to younger people. There’s a tremendous opportunity if the right talent is brought in to step into those roles.” Pettinicchi believes agencies should do more to expose young people to the work done to hone their sales skills and provide more opportunities for collaboration. “When it comes to that one-on-one sales process, that’s where they’ll need the development and there’s no greater place than an insurance agency to do that and learn that,” he says.
Millennials crave instant feedback in the workplace
Millennials, also known as generation Y, have created a demand for immediacy in the workplace, writes Rebecca Lundin in this blog post. “The generation Y is the most educated generation in history,” she argues. “They are used to the idea that most information should be available to almost anyone. Transparency, now!” She cites a recent Gallup report titled “How Millennials Want to Work and Live,” which revealed millennials are having difficulty finding good jobs that engage them. Immediate feedback contributes to a happier work environment for these younger workers and helps their retention within firms. Lundin cites another study, which found that generation Z is more than twice as likely to drop a brand for poor features or responsiveness on social media. “How responsive are you the needs of your employees? Are you future-proof staffing your organization?” she asks.
How to reward millennials in insurance
For insurers looking to attract and retain young employees, recognizing and rewarding millennials is key according to Kelly Lackner, head of global management at XL Caitlin. “Millennials crave learning and training opportunities, particularly in leadership development. To bridge this gap, consider incorporating a mentorship program,” Lackner said at the Millennials in Insurance conference in New York. Besides mentorship, millennials also crave innovation and are interested in data and analytics. “Data is well beyond a buzzword for millennials,” she said. “Many of the country’s top actuarial, insurance and risk programs are now strongly recommending minor coursework for mathematics, insurance and actuarial majors in data science.” Among the other top priorities of millennials are diversity and inclusion; flexible work arrangements; regular touchpoints; effective coaching and feedback; and pay for performance.
Community banks need millennial employees, too
Credit unions aren’t the only ones looking to close the talent gap. “The current talent gap at community banks throughout the country is noticeably wider than it’s ever been at a time when the industry’s direct competition includes some of the largest tech companies—as well as the biggest banks, hedge funds, private equity firms and other prestige employers,” writes Chris Petersen in this opinion piece for the American Banker. She believes community banks should allow entry-level employees to participate in cross-departmental decisions about platform conversions and let them sit in on brainstorming sessions on topics like how to improve the digital banking experience. “Millennials bring an intimate understanding of digital strategy, a truly innate knowledge of user experience that borders on the instinctive and a mindful, embedded approach to mobile engagement. Unlike generations that preceded them, they don’t have to retroactively acquire these skills. They grew up with them,” Petersen writes.
How to adapt to generation Z in the workforce
As generation Z (those born in 1995 and forward) gears to enter the workforce en masse, it’s important to understand what drives them, according to Michael Litt, a self-described millennial CEO. In this Forbes op-ed piece, Litt talks about what distinguishes generation Z from their millennial counterparts. “They are not just digital natives; they are mobile natives,” he writes, noting that generation Z hires prefer instant mobile platforms to email. Litt also underscores the younger generation’s proclivity for using video. “They have internalized the art of branding and self-presentation,” he writes. On the downside, Litt argues that while members of generation Z have serious ambitions, they may not be clear on what it takes to realize them. “With my younger hires, I often have to break down the process of advancement within the company — how to work their way up as part of a team and what’s a realistic measure of success,” he writes. “It’s just not possible to go from a new hire to an account executive in six months, no matter how dedicated they are.”
What work-life balance means to millennials
According to Ryan Jenkins, the author of “The Millennial Manual,” millennials have redefined work-life balance into “work-life harmony,” seamlessly blending their careers with life goals. In a blog post for Inc., he outlines the five main ways millennials are streamlining their personal and professional experiences. “Millennials aren’t driven by the thought of working hard for the next 40 years and then retiring,” Jenkins writes, explaining that they see “continuous reinventions and pivots” in the long term. Millennials use digital technology to integrate work and life and are fully engaged with the task at hand at a given time. “Millennials want work-life balance to be fluid, free, and flexible to prioritize whatever (work or life) is most important that day,” he writes, adding “a sense of freedom and flexibility” are crucial for the new generation of workers.
Millennials value passion over money
According to new research by Bank of America, 72 percent of millennials (23- to 37-year-olds) living in Seattle believe passion is more important than salary in their career. The Better Money Habits Millennial Report also found that 67 percent of Seattle millennials wish they had chosen a job with a better work/life balance, and 47 percent wish they had chosen a job they enjoyed more, 4-traders reports. Other findings of the study show that millennials in Seattle pay attention to finances: More than half (67 percent) are saving and 70 percent of those who have a savings goal usually meet it. Sixty-nine percent of Seattle millennials budget, compared to 54 percent nationally, and 72 percent of them stick to their budget every month or most months, on par with 73 percent nationally.
Singapore bank targets millennials
United Overseas Bank (UOB) is piloting a new digital branch concept designed for millennial customers in Tampines, Singapore, The Straits Times reports. The branch features self-service machines and a QR code wall that customers can use to find financial information that interests them. “In creating this concept, the bank drew on its insights and understanding of its customers in the early to mid-stage of their careers or who have young families,” said Janet Young, head of group channels and digitalization at UOB. “We know that UOB’s millennial customers prefer to bank through digital channels or by using self-service machines. Our data shows that when they visit a branch, it is more likely to be for services such as financial advisory.” The article notes that UOB chose its branch at Tampines to test its new branch concept because it anticipates more young professionals and young families setting up home in the area. According to The Times, the number of residents aged 25 to 34 has increased by 13 percent in the last decade, and they now make up 15 percent of all residents in Tampines.
Millennials ready for leadership
“Millennials may still seem like the young, new generation, but they’re already starting to emerge as leaders in the American workforce,” argues Larry Alton in this Forbes Under30blog post. Alton points to the fact that millennials have started “wandering into their 30s” and have enough experience for bigger roles. “Because there’s a growing power vacuum as managers from older generations leave or climb even higher, millennials are the most plentiful candidates to fill the void,” he adds. They are different than the older generations in a variety of ways, Alton notes: Millennials crave regular feedback; they are more adaptable to new technologies; they prefer flexible working hours and believe in brand values and company culture. “Values have always been an important cultural institution for millennials, when choosing an employer or a supplier, and now they get to create and enforce those values within the context of their own teams,” Alton writes.