Creating a cycle of opportunity for employees


June 24, 2020

By Meredith Richard, Senior Manager, Communications  

This year, the COVID-19 pandemic upended the workplace as we knew it. Independent investment advisors had to swiftly adapt to serving their clients in a virtual environment. Firm leaders asked employees to be incredibly resilient and manage a lot of change in a short period.

“It’s always been about putting the client first, but the pandemic made it really obvious to leaders of top-performing firms that they needed to give some attention and love to their employees,” said Nikolee Turner, managing director, Business Consulting, at Schwab Advisor Services.

Turner notes that as firm leaders checked in with employees on an emotional level as well as from a business perspective, they had the opportunity to take stock of their existing organizational strategies. For example, were people really set up in roles and teams that most effectively enable them to deliver services that are aligned with the client experience they intend to offer?

“If you get the right people but you have them in the wrong seats, you’re going to go to the wrong place,” said Turner. “It’s now that focus inward, and this could be the time for advisors to tweak organizational structure to get scale, efficiency, and the right client experience.”

On top of that, the talent story may change, in that there has been a complete reversal of the tight labor market that advisors have experienced in the past several years. At the same time, firm leaders may need to reconsider their sourcing and hiring strategies to attract new talent.  In that vein, there are opportunities to grow a firm that reflects today’s investors. Leveraging the diverse strengths of a team provides a firm foundation for decision making, and it’s more important than ever to bring every voice to the table (considering race/ethnicity, gender, age) to solve existing problems and position the firm for success. 

Nikolee quote

“It’s increasingly important for firms to develop teams that offer a range of perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds. And for example, firms that have a flexible approach to workplace location and schedules have a definite advantage in attracting the new generation of workers.”

Nikolee Turner, managing director, Business Consulting, Schwab Advisor Services
Nikolee Turner, managing director, Business Consulting, at Schwab Advisor Services


In addition, leaders now need to focus on cultivating virtual relationships within their firms. In the new environment, it’s still essential to build trust, nurture relationships, proactively communicate, and coach.

“Firm leaders need to make sure that managers are prepared to manage their people remotely and that advisors get coaching on giving client meetings virtually,” said Turner. “It’s not just a matter of picking up your desk and moving it home.”

To help firms of all kinds continue to evolve their talent strategies and attract next-gen talent, Schwab Advisor ServicesTM recently introduced Talent Resource Center, a set of online self-service tools and resources. Creating a cycle of opportunity to attract, develop, and retain talent can help firms grow at an increased rate. The cycle of opportunity includes organizational strategy, compensation and incentives, sourcing and hiring, development and retention, and succession planning. Together these strategies help firms ensure continuity of people, culture, and values as they prepare for the future. Firms can engage in the process at any stage of their lifecycles. To learn more, visit


Schwab Advisor Services™ serves independent investment advisors and includes the custody, trading, and support of Schwab.

Independent investment advisors are not owned by, affiliated with, or supervised by Schwab. For informational purposes only.

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