One of the most provocative ideas from the DeVoe and Company M&A + Succession Summit was regarding the optimal age of an employee – 56. The expert presenter shared that the optimal age was where energy and experience intersected. Coincidentally I am 56 and I agree with the conclusion. This week we will examine why I agree.
Millennials have unbridled energy. Focusing the energy is a team sport. Management can be a good coach especially if they are honest and remember that they too were young and green once. Assigning a mentor can help both parties remain sane. I have watched several successful firms employ this strategy with their new hires. Both professionals will learn from the working together. My experience is the firm needs to hire an experienced professional to build and run the program. You will find that the investment will be your best performing investment.
The days of staying at the same company your entire career are over! Not to mention an Apple Watch does not have the panache of an engraved Rolex presented at your retirement party. The Information Age has increased the speed of data that business leaders use to make decisions. Speed usually manifests itself in restructurings. Restructurings typically involve cost reductions needed to adjust to new business realities. The most glaring costs that are reduced through restructurings are middle management. Sifting through the middle management heap could yield some gold for independent wealth management firms who need professional managers.
Diversification of skills is an important success factor for wealth management firms. Pairing young and older professionals creates a 1 + 1 = 3+. Sounds great on paper but effective implementation requires senior management buy-in. Thom Weisel supported the retail group at Montgomery Securities and his support demanded the attention of investment bankers who provided most of the client introductions. Experienced professionals will jump at the chance to work with energetic millennials. Without senior management involvement this match will be one sided and will not end well. You need a “prenup” that details what each party brings to the union and details how things will be distributed if the partnership doesn’t work. There are no guarantees just because you swipe right.
Experience can be identified on a CV or a LinkedIn profile. Energy is challenging. All I hope is my next employer doesn’t ask my 56 year old body to run the 40 yard dash before they offer me a job.