Wealth management professionals who handle money, employee benefits, life insurance, and related resources for clients have an extraordinary responsibility. Your actions determine, to an extent, the quality of life your clients can expect. As Gary Sirak of Sirak Financial Services, Inc. says,
“In financial services, engagement is huge. When people call you with a problem, engagement means you’re aware of that problem and treat them with courtesy and kindness.”
Watch the full interview with Gary Sirak:
But not every employee in a wealth management company deals directly with clients, making it all too easy to feel disconnected from the end results, and as a result, disengaged.
This is why it’s so important to lead your company with an Engaged Purpose to which everyone, from the owner to the janitor, feels connected.
What an Engaged Purpose for wealth management looks like
Chris Hale, COO of Perigon Wealth Management, says his business is “a collection of teams, and those teams come together around helping families. When you’re building a team whose purpose is helping families achieve their goals, engagement is part of our alignment.”
Watch the full interview from Chris Hale:
That didn’t happen by accident. Perigon Wealth Management is one of our clients, and their strong purpose, helping families, was one of the first things they did with us.
Hale says it best:
“In wealth management, it’s easy for us to say ‘our purpose is to help clients manage their wealth.’ That’s not only boring, it’s not a real purpose. It’s a byproduct of what you do.”
But helping families is a real purpose, one which everyone can rally behind. It gets to the heart of why each employee’s contributions are important.
Clients like Hale and Sirak have seen the results that come from aligning everyone behind an Engaged Purpose.
As Sirak says,
“I had an email from a client of mine with an incredible comment about one of our staff: ‘I don’t know how you train these people, but this person was amazing. It was a really bad time for us and she treated me like I was a family member.”
“We’re having a record-breaking year… the numbers keep getting better, the contacts, and communication.”
5 steps to constructing an Engaged Purpose for your own wealth management company
Step 1: Don’t confuse an Engaged Purpose with a mission statement
When we speak with prospective clients about the importance of having an Engaged Purpose, the response we most often get is this: “We already have one!”
Yet, when we look at their purpose, it’s usually a mission statement. And they are not the same thing. Many people get their engaged purpose wrong.
A mission statement is written for the owners, possibly the clients or customers, or for the shareholders. It’s something to put on your website in a bid to show people what you’re about and to trust you a little more. That’s great – but it’s not what you need for employee engagement.
An “Engaged Purpose,” on the other hand, is written solely for your employees to give them a compelling “why” for showing up every day.
As our founder, Stefan Wissenbach, says: “When you create a big enough ‘why’ for people, they will become emotionally involved in finding a ‘how.’”
This is what an Engaged Purpose does.
Step 2: Find your own ‘why’ first
As an engaged owner, you have your own reasons for being in wealth management, and those reasons are an excellent place to start. What gratification do you get from working with customers? What do you love about your job? What aspects of your company and your work energize you? Why did you start your business in the first place? Where do you see it going in the future?
Step 3: Ask your employees what they love about what they do
You need your employees to buy into this Engaged Purpose, and the best way to do that is to involve them in the process of creating it. After all, it’s for them. Ask them a similar list of questions: Why are they in wealth management? How do they see themselves positively affecting the lives of others (coworkers, clients, etc.) What aspects of their jobs energize them? What keeps them coming to work, other than their paychecks?
Step 4: Bring everyone together to think about what impact your work has on your customers
Bring everyone together to brainstorm and share stories of how they’ve seen your work impact your clients. This is a wonderful way to energize everyone around the positive impact you have while gaining insights that will help you draft your purpose.
Step 5: Draft your purpose
Your format may vary, but your Engaged Purpose should include three core parts:
- What you do (and who you do it for)
- Why you do it
- How you do it
And, you should be able to check all of these boxes:
Is the statement written for your employees first and foremost?
Is the language clear and meaningful? (No jargon! It should be something employees could easily explain to their grandmothers.)
Is it something employees can feel genuinely proud of?
Is your purpose aspirational and attainable?
Does it provide guidance? (Your Purpose should be as useful as it is empowering.)
Our Engaged Purpose, for example, reads like this:
We enable business owners anywhere in the world to create Engaged Organizations because we are passionate about the transformational power of engagement. Utilizing exponential technologies, our goal is to help over 100 million people become measurably more engaged.
That statement comes directly out of the passion of our founder as well as the input of all of our employees, who really are passionate about engagement because we see the impact it has on our clients every day. We see their businesses grow, referral rates rise, employees measurably reporting becoming happier and more engaged, and the business owners themselves re-energize and get excited about the insights they’ve never had before.
We connect with our purpose through our work every day. It’s our foundation, our touchstone, and our compass.
And, we believe that energy translates into everything we do.
At the end of the day, it’s always about people. Financial services, when done well, is where compassion and finances, relationships, and resources come together. As any financial services professional will tell you, what they do is primarily about people. Finding ways to help people protect themselves and their loved ones, to save for uncertain futures, and in the best of circumstances, make lifelong dreams come true.
It’s very, very human. When you’re working on such intimate, high-impact matters as life insurance and retirement plans, you can’t afford to not be engaged. Your clients can’t afford for you not to be engaged either.