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Expect Wide Variety in the New Normal of the Future

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This is the fourth in a series of Special Guest posts designed to share ideas from industry consultants and financial advisors. The insights from these industry leaders, we believe, may be helpful as you consider next steps to managing through this crisis and coming out stronger on the other side. 

Fran Skinner is co-founder of AUM Partners, a leadership development and talent assessment boutique consulting firm that works exclusively with financial services firms. She’s a corporate board member for Fenimore Asset Management in New York State and on the Board of Women Investment Professionals, chairing their Strategic Planning Committee.  

Fran joined us on in a recent episode of The Flexible Advisor podcast to talk about how she is coaching her clients through these uncertain times. We found her insights in a recent Barron’s article -- Why Now is the Time to Pursue Top Talent quite helpful. We asked her to address the topic of leadership and building top talent pipelines in more detail. Listen to the full podcast episode here.

What do you expect will be “new normal” of doing business over the coming months and years? I’ve been asking clients that question over the last few weeks and found the answers widely vary. On one end of the spectrum are Group A advisors, who fully expect things to eventually return to the way they were: 100% of employees will be back in the office working their normal schedules. On the other end of the spectrum are Group B advisors, who believe events over the last few months will permanently change the way they manage their team regarding flexible schedules and remote work. Then, there’s everyone in between, who see differing degrees of lasting change based on recent experiences.

Everyone will be correct.

There are managers counting the minutes to when they can have their team under one roof again and are no longer experiencing screen fatigue from long days on video meetings. They’re the ones busy planning office configurations that adhere to social distancing, disinfecting spaces, and rules around common area usage when they return to the office. They will hang out the “Open” sign just as soon as they can safely do so.

Then, there are managers having meaningful discussions with their team regarding retaining various forms of work-from-home capabilities, flexible work schedules, and video conferences for internal and external meetings. As one manager said to me, “if you would have told me four months ago that I’d now be an advocate for these things, I would not have believed it. But, I’ve seen it work really well and our people are highly productive and happy”.

What will be important going forward is understanding that high performers are in Groups A and B, too. Some top talent I’ve spoken with have said they never want to go back to the Monday through Friday commuting grind, and are now rethinking where they’ll work and live. Others can’t wait to “put on pants that button and be with people”, as one high performer put it.

As you look at the top performers on your team today, do you know if they’re in Group A or B? Recent events have created a great opportunity for savvy managers to support strengthening engagement and happiness of high performers on their teams. It’s important to ask each person, in one-on-one conversations, about their work environment preferences, and collaborate with them to create an arrangement that aligns their preferences, traits and strengths with the needs of the business.

Because if you don’t, some savvy manager out there will. 

If you would like to learn more from Fran, please contact her directly. To hear and read more content like this, subscribe to The Flexible Advisor Podcast or to receive an email when new briefs go live.

*These special guest briefs are meant to provide information from a variety of industry experts, and are not an endorsement by FlexShares Exchange Traded Funds of any firm, service or product.

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