Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

I recently attended an event where they were talking about how to deal with support staff and younger advisors. The leader talked about how you should never consider your staff to be “just servicing,” and how you need to get them involved directly with clients and bring them into your meetings.

As the leader of our firm, I don’t know whether this is feasible. We have clearly defined roles and people enjoy what they do. We do active coaching, performance reviews and are very focused on employee development. I pride myself on the tenure of our staff, including those who are starting their careers. We have lost two people (out of 19) in the last five years – one ended up staying at home with her children and the other left the industry to pursue a teaching career.

What is your view on this suggestion? Are we doing a disservice to our team members by not involving them all in client meetings?

B.K.

Dear B.K.,

I commend you – a team of 19 and you are actively coaching, caring about employee development, and doing what sounds to be productive performance reviews! That is very unusual, but what a wonderful gift to your employees. This speaks to your culture of caring about them, and is likely one of the keys to your success in retention.

I wholeheartedly disagree that every individual should get involved in meeting with clients directly and play a role in working with them. I’ve worked with behavioral profiles long enough to know that different things are important depending on someone’s style and preferences. Many people actually enjoy playing the “support” role – they like to know they are contributing and are part of the team, but they have no need to be in direct client contact.