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,

How do I support the people working for me who are dealing with difficulty at home? I have several young to middle-aged women who have younger children and, in one case, older parents. During these times of quarantine they are struggling much more than the rest of us. I have two older children, one in her own apartment and one that just left for senior year of college. It’s quiet here all day and I can work whenever and however I want.

It’s notably different when we do Zoom team meetings and others have children crying in the background or someone has to jump off the call because there is a family emergency.

It is unbalanced but I don’t know what to do about it. I want to respect the differences, but it doesn’t seem right to give those with a more challenging personal situation a pass when others have to pick up their work.

I cannot believe we are the only team dealing with this. How are other firms handling this dynamic?

C.U.

Dear C.U.,

You are correct. I am hearing about this from many firms of all shapes and sizes. Yesterday a new client was talking about how they “bonus” the sales activity in their firm. They used to have a list of top—to—bottom in terms of new AUM they would publish to “incent” people to do more. In the last three months, all of the people at the bottom are those you have described – dealing with difficult family situations at home on top of trying to show strong professional performance. They cannot add the extra mental and physical bandwidth to selling, so they don’t score well. The firm has done away with this measurement for the time being because it seemed very unfair given the circumstances.