Edward Jones Canada's head of human resources highlights strategies and initiatives to prevent disengagement
With the current climate of pessimism and economic challenges, professionals across industries are feeling exhaustion and fatigue. A wave of “quiet quitting” is washing over the world of business as individuals feel the need to set boundaries and not let work consume them.
But can that desire go too far? And is it something that financial advisors should be concerned about?
“When I think about quiet quitting, it encompasses a wide spectrum. On one end, there’s setting appropriate boundaries between work and life and just trying to find that right balance,” says Naveen Rakkar, head of Human Resources at Edward Jones Canada. “On the other end of the spectrum, you also have concerns around associates getting burnt out or disengaged from their work.”
During the COVID crisis and up to now, advisors have seen a spike in interactions with clients raising concerns about their personal finances. From Rakkar’s experience, the risk of quiet quitting among advisors is very low because of advisors’ commitment to their clients – a passion that might in fact be redoubled as calls for help come in – especially since wealth management is a relationship-based business.
Still, that doesn’t mean there’s zero risk. A recent survey conducted by Mental Health Research Canada for Canada Life’s Workplace Strategies for Mental Health found 35% of working Canadians are feeling burned out. In the professional service space that includes finance, legal, and insurance firms, that percentage goes up to 39%.
“If you see quiet quitting in the advisor occupation, there’s a trickle-down effect,” Rakkar says. “It doesn’t just affect the advisor and the members of their branch team; it will end up affecting clients as well. So, we really double down on equipping our advisors with the tools and resources that they need to succeed both personally and professionally.”
To ensure the well-being of advisors and branch teams, Rakkar says Edward Jones Canada provides wellness support, and empowers its associates to have professional growth opportunities. Flexible work arrangements are also provided to help advisors find balance.
“We really want to help them maintain their strong sense of purpose, which is to have a positive impact to improve the lives of our clients,” she adds. “By providing the tools, the resources, and the guidance to help navigate these markets and anchor them to this really strong sense of purpose, we neutralize that risk of quiet quitting that could also impact the clients they work with.”
Rakkar says advisors at Edward Jones get support through a regional structure. That includes regional leaders, as well as volunteer leaders who help their peers with advice to navigate volatility in the markets, professional challenges, and other hurdles they might encounter as they advance in their careers.
The firm’s Branch Team Advisory Board, meanwhile, offers a constant feedback loop between branch teams and the home office, keeping associates apprised of updates in technology, regulation, and other major changes to keep disruption to a minimum. Listening is also a crucial function for the board, which keeps an ear out for associates to identify their pain points and asks what priorities they’d like to see the home office set that would contribute to their practice’s success.
Finally, Rakkar highlights Edward Jones’s human-centred approach of telling individuals that if they need to reassess their priorities, the firm will be there to support them through different means like employee assistance programs, support groups, or giving them time to rebound.
“We also want to create psychological safety for all of our associates, including our advisors, to be comfortable speaking up about factors that are causing them stress,” she says. “We partner four positive impacts: to improve the lives of our clients, our colleagues, and together better our communities and society. That’s front and centre for everyone, and it’s the anchor that helps us through challenging times.”