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What do millennial advisers really want?

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ORLANDO, Fla. – So you’ve hired a millennial adviser, now what?

“The industry has changed dramatically,” said Mark Albers, founder of Albers & Associates Consulting, at Pershing’s Insite conference. “So there is huge talent available.”

Many industry leaders turn to millennials to find that talent. However, many firms are not sure how to fully tap a millennial’s potential and some fear burning out their young employees.

“What I’m hearing from our millennials is that they want a dedicated mentor program,” said Shirl Penney, CEO of Dynasty Financial Partners. “It has to be real and have some teeth to it.”

He gained this knowledge by having a weekly lunch with his youngest employees in which they ask him about the direction of the firm and he quizzes them on what they want out of their careers.

“What I’m hearing from our millennials is that they want a dedicated mentor program," Shirl Penney, CEO, Dynasty Financial Partners.

“They also want what I’ll call a ‘professional development program.’ I found this out after talking to a lot of them,” he said. “Millennials don’t like to be trained. They like to be professionally developed.”

In addition, Penney mentioned that millennials want to jump right into having responsibilities, they want to “wear multiple hats” and they want to have a clear path articulated as to when they will move up to a new level in the firm.

“Millennials have never lived a day of their adult lives without the internet. They have so much information and they’re used to transparency,” he said. “So being transparent with them and letting them see the path forward is really important.”

Tom Daley, founder and CEO of Advisor Center, agreed with Penney by mentioning that his wife built a successful practice and she began “exclusively hiring millennials out of school.”

“The idea was to hire them into a role and specifically assign goals for them and they knew exactly when they were taking exams along the way,” he said. “Everything was laid out very specifically.”

In addition to a desire to see their own future, Penney mentioned that his millennial employees are very focused on everyone else’s.

“I think they are one of the most charitable, social-focused generations.”

To facilitate his millennial employees, Penney created a system in which his firm picks a charity and the employees donate their time for a cause for the day.

“The return on investment we’ve gotten from that with our millennials has just been huge,” said Penney. “They want to feel like they’re making a difference within the business, within the community.”

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