In any workplace, younger employees benefit from the wisdom older colleagues provide. The relationship between older professionals and younger peers can be incredibly important for retention. According to a research report from LIMRA, millennial financial professionals who have a mentoring relationship with an older colleague are significantly more likely to stay in the business.
Older financial professionals who want to grow their business and ensure its long term-health should create a system that allows for positive mentoring relationships between experienced financial professionals and new producers on staff. These connections ease new employees’ transition into the business and allow a practice to outlast the working lives of its founders.
The value of mentoring
LIMRA spoke with insurance professionals under the age of 40 and specifically addressed the mentoring and support they received during their first two years in the industry. Researchers found that workers who had been assigned a mentor appreciated the relationship, while those who had not received a mentor wanted a more experienced partner.
Mentors serve several roles in the workplace, but they are most often a resource when new financial professionals have questions that need to be answered. That gives younger professionals a higher level of confidence and ensures that they will feel comfortable asking questions, which is likely to cut down on mistakes and other issues that grow out of confusion. LIMRA found that workplaces with a mentor-mentee program were more collaborative than places without this type of system in place. When people are given a safe space to ask questions early on, they seem to feel more comfortable asking questions and working with others after they gain experience.
Setting up a program
While many offices have a certain individual who will take the initiative to work with new hires, the most effective mentoring programs are organized by management to pair suitable teams of experienced workers and younger employees.
According to Success Magazine, the best mentoring programs provide some agency for the mentees in the process. Good pairings are critical to a successful mentorship program and forge connections that improve the working life for both parties. To ensure amicable pairings, mentees and mentors should have a say in their placements. This allows people who share common interests and goals to identify each other and creates mentee-mentor relationships that are more like friendships than working relationships.
To make a successful program, managers should get regular feedback from the current mentor and mentee pairings by scheduling meetings on a monthly or quarterly basis to discuss how the program is successful and how it could be improved. By making the mentorship program an integral part of the workplace culture, managers can create a collaborative culture that benefits everyone involved.
While it might appear that mentees are the main beneficiaries from this type of relationship, these connections have a positive effect on mentors as well. Because mentees are younger, they may have a better understanding of technology and newer workplace practices than their older peers. They can use that information to educate older workers and help them adjust to rapid technological change. LIMRA pointed out that young professionals may have greater success working with young clients, which can be valuable if a practice currently has an aging client base.
A mentoring relationship makes the process of joining a practice easier for young financial professionals and makes them more likely to succeed and stay in the industry. These professionals will connect with the next generation of high net worth individuals, so making them comfortable as producers should be a top priority.