FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) on Workflows: Why Advisors Should Get on Board with Better Processes

Nov 23, 2015


I’ll never forget the day our team was assigned to develop SEI’s workflow program. I strolled into my apartment after work all smitten, and my roommate asked how my day was. I replied, “So exciting! I got assigned to this new workflow project” to which she replied, “Whatever makes you happy, Missy…”
So how could someone like me be such a geek for something like workflow? I mean, let’s be honest here, workflow is not something you would:

  • Generally bring up when I’m out at happy hour with my friends (though I still do that anyways :))
  • See trending on my friends’ Twitter, Facebook or Instagram accounts
  • Usually view in a viral in a YouTube video or a meme that’s taken over the internet

Bottom line – workflow is not cool. I’m not going to argue you on that. However, I’ll tell you what is cool (at least to me) – some of the results we’ve seen with several of our clients who have implemented workflow. Because these firms committed themselves to investing in their people, processes and technology, I would argue that they not only opened themselves up to higher growth potential, but also higher employee engagement and retention.

Let it be known

Advisors who think they’re going to be successful in recruiting and retaining younger employees (arguably the life blood of their firm) without making those types of investments into their business are seriously mistaken. Millennials don’t want to operate in a workplace that feels outdated or stuck in its ways. And if they ever do find themselves in that scenario, you’ll find:

  • First, they’ll challenge you to address those inefficiencies. There’s a great article in Forbes that takes note of the fact that millennials react differently to authority than other generations, because our baby boomer parents taught us that our opinions mattered. There used to be the mentality that if a parent or manager told you to do something, like jump – You jumped. No questions asked, except maybe “Was that high enough?” Today, if you asked a millennial to do the same, they’re going to ask “why?” This is not because we don’t respect authority, but rather we’ve been taught not to accept status quo, which is not necessarily a negative thing. After all, you’ll never adapt if you don’t ever stop to ask the question “Is there a better way to do this?”
  • Then, if that doesn’t work, they’ll likely leave your firm. Millennials want to feel valued by their employer. Think about the message you’re sending employees when you appear either: 1) Unwilling to create change based on employee feedback, 2) Unable to embrace new ways of doing things or new technologies, or 3) Reluctant to invest in your people and infrastructure. The message certainly doesn’t read “Hey, we value really you. Please stay.” I just was talking to a young advisor, who started at a firm and was flabbergasted to find out it was basically running on a bunch of spreadsheets. Even outside our industry, so many of my friends were sold the dream and recruited to these seemingly reputable firms. They begin work there and are perplexed as to how their firm has managed to be so successful, despite all the inefficiencies. At first, they’ll wonder, ‘What did I get myself into?” Then when things don’t change, they’ll become disengaged and look for other opportunities outside the firm.

Don’t Fret

If you’re like the 55% of advisors who with SEI who do not currently have any workflows in place*, do not be discouraged. There’s still time to make a change, and we want to be a resource that enables you to make that change. On Monday, November 30 from 4:00-5:00PM EST, join me for a webinar where we’ll run through one advisor’s story of how she successfully implemented workflows. We’ll discuss how to overcome some of the key challenges advisors face when integrating workflows into their existing business. You’ll see the quantifiable results her firm achieved through this experience.

We’ll also touch on some of these more qualitative benefits of workflow like the ones I described to you above, in terms of engaging your staff to send the message that you’re an innovative firm, you embrace change, and you value your employees. Hope to see you there! Who knows…Maybe I’ll make a workflow geek out of you too?

*Results based upon a joint survey conducted by SEI and ActiFi™– November 2013; N=512

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Missy Pohlig

Missy Pohlig

Missy Pohlig is the millennial contributor for Practically Speaking and also serves as Program Manager for the Solutions Team in the SEI Advisor Network.

Learn More About Missy Pohlig



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