The ‘second wave’ of COVID-19 brings a raft of challenges for our wealth management industry, ranging from many of our people seeking to continue to work from home to just a few more months of Job Keeper allowances for employers.

As wealth management industry roles become increasingly scarce and sought after by a rising labour pool, the immediate challenge for human resources departments is how to determine who is the most suitable candidate for the roles they need to fill – given the new ‘at home’ workplace regime.  

Some people aren’t going to be successful working from home, be it full or part-time.

Aspects to look for in potential employees include higher levels of:

  • optimism,  
  • self-motivation,
  • resilience, and
  • mental agility. 

By mental agility we mean the ability to pause, step back, reflect, shift perspectives, create options and choose wisely. 

Employers are also seeking people with not only suitable experience but also resilience. Many of us now work in constantly connected, always-on, highly demanding work cultures where stress and the risk of burnout are widespread. 

For candidates, since the pace and intensity of contemporary work culture are not likely to change, she suggests “it’s more important than ever to build resilience skills to effectively navigate your work life.

One of the most overlooked aspects of the resilience skill set is the ability to cultivate compassion — both self-compassion and compassion for others. According to research cited by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, compassion increases positive emotions, creates positive work relationships, and increases cooperation and collaboration.

How do you hire while maintaining social distancing?

Social distancing practices means that the industry’s hiring processes need to be transformed to be more successful. The old ways are no longer the best.

Traditional resumes and job interviews alone are poor predictors of actual job performance, as interviewees give rehearsed answers and interviewers pick candidates they like rather than those whom have a proven track record of delivering results. 

Research by LinkedIn found that traditionally the majority of candidates hired are selected on ‘gut feel’, despite the fact this is successful in only one in seven hires[1]. These are low odds for success and investment owners and managers would not invest in a stock or other asset with those odds. Yet this remains how most financial services HR departments hire. 

Almost two-thirds of HR teams also admit their traditional interviews failed at assessing candidates’ soft skills, according to the LinkedIn research. Now is a good time for HR departments to refine their recruiting practices as they engage more employees who will work, unsupervised, from home.

The solution

LinkedIn also notes that over three-quarters of candidates find their next role through a contact. Inhouse HR, which is rightly increasingly undertaking their own recruiting, needs to recognise this fact and harness it. This means that upon receiving a role brief, HR departments should search for candidates that are would be most suited to the role, all the while remembering the importance of evaluating the soft skills of resilience and compassion.

Wealth management organisations, now more than ever, need the best in the industry and those in the industry know who they area, those who can deliver results. The only way to assess that is through referrals. Wealth management firms should start this referral process before advertising and seeking resumes.

This is not the ‘old’ pay your own employees for referring a successful candidate, but a much more dedicated process of determining who are the best candidates in the industry for that role and enticing them. 

After all, there will only be limited budget for recruiting and you want to make every new hire as best as you can in today’s COVID world.

Super Recruiters is helping industry HR departments refine hiring during COID-19.

[1] Lasts in the role more than two years.