How are firms withstanding the Great Resignation?

Each year, we look to the winners of the InvestmentNews Best Places to Work for Financial Advisers to glean lessons on how to keep employees happy. The task seems especially pertinent a year into the Great Resignation, the ongoing wave of employee turnover spurred by the pandemic’s disruption to the rhythms of working life.

Indeed, the 2022 Best Places to Work show how a content workforce helps firms succeed. Collectively, this year’s winning firms reported an annual turnover rate of only 6.2%. Economy-wide, a study by analytics firm Visier found that one in four workers left their job in 2021. The financial sector’s workforce is steadier, but voluntary turnover — those quitting their jobs, as a proportion of the total workforce — stood at 17.7% even before the pandemic, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Best Places to Work are drawn from surveys of employee satisfaction at participating firms, in combination with a survey of employers on the benefits available to their staff. Looking at the key differentiators — where the Best Places most outpaced other firms in policy implementation — reveals the ways these firms have responded to the challenges of recent years and kept employees happily on board.


Financial sector employees stay in their jobs a median of about five years, according to the BLS. Once workers reach 55 — the average age of the financial advice profession — median tenure with an employer about doubles to a decade. Add to that a substantial investment in building their book of business, and the typical financial adviser is looking for a relatively long-term relationship with their firm.

For those advisers, and even for younger advisers just joining the company, clarity on the firm’s long-term trajectory is an important part of retention. And succession planning — what happens when the firm’s current management group rolls over — is an integral part of providing that clarity. At Best Places firms, 91% have a formalized program for succession planning, compared to only two-thirds (67%) of other firms, the largest difference observed in our surveys.

Whether by planning for long-term organizational leadership or by other means, the Best Places score high marks from employees when it comes to long-term clarity. At winning firms, 98% of employees say they understand the long-term strategy of their organization, and the same number have high confidence in their organization’s leadership.


While confidence in the long-term strategy and stability of the organization was a defining characteristic of Best Places winners this year, the firm’s day-to-day success and staff’s ability to share in it were also important gauges of employee satisfaction. Compared with other firms, the Best Places to Work were more proactive in developing employee talent and rewarding contributions.

According to surveys of employees, 92% of staff at winning firms felt they received sufficient initial training for their roles and 94% agreed their need for ongoing training has been met, compared with 86% and 89%, respectively, at other firms. Put another way: 97% of employees at Best Places said their organization encourages their professional development.

Employees at the Best Places aren’t only set up for success, they’re rewarded for it, too. About half (48%) of Best Places have a profit-sharing plan, compared with only 35% of other firms. These are usually pooled from a fund of firm profits and distributed to eligible employees through a predetermined formula and are in addition to individual incentive programs, which were offered by all of this year’s winning firms. The results of sharing the wealth are evident: 96% of staff at winning firms felt valued in their organization.


Even before the pandemic hit, remote and flexible work arrangements were emerging both as a plum incentive for new recruits and a way to retain current employees as they navigated life’s changes. Now telecommuting options are firmly established as an expectation among employees. According to Gallup surveys, two-thirds of U.S. white-collar works remain fully or partially remote. Among remote workers, 91% expect to continue at least partial remote working post-pandemic, and 30% say they are likely to seek new opportunities if employers enforced a full-time return to the office.

The Best Places have been on top of this trend from the beginning. Before Covid, 16% of employees at these firms were remote, double the share at other firms. As offices shuttered in March 2020, almost all (93%) transitioned to telecommuting, and most remain remote. Currently, 61% of staff at Best Places are working from home, compared with 46% at other firms.

The ability to operate a remote workforce can be a proxy for the health of an organization. Keeping employees engaged when they are no longer showing up in-person requires frequent and detailed communication; adequate access to technology and timely resolution of issues that arise; and a shared sense of purpose. On all these points, Best Places achieved high marks from their employees.

In the end, becoming a top destination for employees is not merely about pleasing staff; it’s about laying the groundwork for a successful and adaptable organization. In the past two years, and with this group of firms, we’ve seen that in action.

[More: The industry must expand its search for diverse talent]

The post How are firms withstanding the Great Resignation? appeared first on InvestmentNews.

Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He’s also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.

Andrew Vincent
Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He's also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.
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