Advisor showing investment returnsThe advisory industry is facing a recruitment crisis.

The average insurance advisor is pushing 60, and more than half of advisors are over the age of 50. With this aging workforce, the industry is poised for a changing of the guard. There’s just one problem: between the imminent mass retirement and high washout rates (nearly 90% of advisors don’t make it past 5 years), there’s no one to take up the mantle—despite the fact that there are more than enough millennials to fill the gap.

But firms aren’t having much luck attracting young advisors, likely because only 4% of millennials are interested in pursuing a career within the sector. So, the reality is the pipeline just can’t keep pace with the growing number of positions that need to be filled. With that number expected to exceed 200,000 unfilled jobs by 2022, the advisor role remains one of the most difficult roles to fill in the U.S.

But why?

Well, there’s a new generation in the workforce with a new set of values that you have to appeal to.

Spoiler alert! Millennials want a different kind of training.

So, what do millennials value most? Flexible working hours? Cash bonuses? Free healthcare? Nope. (Although, those are among the top-ranked benefits.) The benefit millennials value the most is training and development. This makes sense, since effective training has been shown to impact job satisfaction (as evidenced in a recent PMG Intelligence report).

That’s kind of perfect when you think about it. I mean, the thing millennials value the most is actually mandatory. Which begs the question, if you’re already delivering training, why is it still so hard to attract young, modern advisors?

The answer is simple: you’re likely not delivering the right kind of training.

Why traditional training doesn’t work

If you’re anything like the majority of organizations, your new hires are put through rigorous days or weeks of onboarding with classroom style lectures and eLearning modules (let’s call this “traditional training”), and then sent out into the company to produce.

The problem with this traditional approach to training is that it’s scientifically proven not to work. When organizations try to boil the ocean and blast new hires with way too much information all at once, it just goes in one ear and out the other, leaving advisors feeling overwhelmed, underprepared, and like they’ve been thrown to the wolves.

Besides this problem, there’s something called the forgetting curve that shows people forget 90% of what they learn within 30 days if it isn’t reinforced. So if your advisors attend training and the concepts are never repeated again, the information just doesn’t stick and you don’t get the results you set out to achieve by training them in the first place.

This sounds more like a recipe for disaster than success, doesn’t it?

You can hardly blame new advisors for dropping like flies and millennials for their lack of interest in the industry!

Modern training for the modern advisor

Millennials want to feel like their employers are invested in their professional development. Training is a great way for organizations to demonstrate a commitment to an advisor’s growth. But here’s the rub: the modern advisor is extremely busy and only has 1% of their work week to spend on training. That means advisors have less than 5 minutes a day to dedicate to staying on top of the latest products and services, keeping up with changing regulations, ensuring compliance, etc.—all while producing results for clients and the company.

That’s a lot to ask of a seasoned advisor, let alone a new hire! But you’d be surprised what you can do with less than 5 minutes a day.

Give the people what they want

So, what’s the simple secret to solving the recruiting crisis? Give the people what they want: effective, modern training—or, microlearning.

But what exactly is microlearning and how can it help you attract, develop and retain advisors?

Microlearning is an approach to training that delivers content in short, focused bites. To be effective, microlearning must fit naturally into the employee’s daily workflow, drive voluntary participation, be based on brain science principles (how people actually learn), adapt continuously to ingrain the knowledge employees need to be successful, and ultimately drive behaviors that impact specific business results.

With microlearning in your back pocket, you could:

  • Offer prospective employees a personalized training program that adapts with them as they develop and supports them—not just during the onboarding phase, but from recruitment to retirement. (That’s an offer they can’t refuse.)
  • Provide current advisors with ongoing training that keeps them engaged, informed and satisfied while building confidence so that they can continue to perform, produce and profit. (Talk about a great retention strategy!)
  • Future-proof your workforce, set your advisors up for success and drive business results.


And you could do it all in just 3-5 minutes a day.

Want to better understand how you can use microlearning to attract, develop and retain the best advisors? Read our Everything you need to know about microlearning guide.

Carol Leaman

Author: Carol Leaman

Carol’s not your typical CEO. Sure, she’s built several startups into multi-million-dollar successes, and as Axonify’s President and CEO is currently driving a revolutionary approach to employee knowledge. But she’s more the doors-open, come-see-me-anytime sort of executive. Her ambitions are sky-high, but her approach is warm and down-to-earth; Carol doesn’t just dream big, she makes big things happen.

You can read more of her writing at ATD, CLO and Training Industry Magazine. She’s also a regular contributor for Fortune.

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