< Go Back

What Exactly is Work-Life Balance?

Work-life balance is the balance between time allocated for work and other aspects of life that an individual seeks. So how does one achieve this balance when there’s no calculation for it? That’s where things get tricky.

In today’s job market there’s an increasing demand for employers that understand the importance of work-life balance. Job seekers are motivated by the “perks” that companies offer. They’re looking for flexibility, vacation time, the ability to work remotely, maternity/paternity leave, and more. That’s not to say that everyone desires the same incentives. Those are just some of the general offerings that are in demand.

So, the question is, are employers responsible for contributing to an employee’s work-life balance? Technically, no. The rules governing benefits have remained comparable to those of recent past. So why are so many companies adjusting their offerings and advertising it? The answer is simple. They want to attract and retain talent.

Satisfied employees are more efficient, and loyal, than dissatisfied ones.

Weighing Costs of Delivering Work-Life Balance

The costs of providing incentives to employees can be significant, but they must be weighed against the costs of lower productivity, staff turnover, recruiting efforts, and onboarding and training labor. In many industries, those costs have caused the demise of historically robust establishments.

For example, let’s look at the wealth management industry. There’s been a significant shift in power over recent years. Financial advisors are leaving wirehouses and joining or opening independent firms. The trend is creating a demand for experienced talent in a relatively new sector.

The problem is that recruiting for this sector can be challenging. Employers are independently-run small businesses, and their staffing needs are inconsistent. Job requirements vary based on a company’s business model, and position titles are often arbitrary.

Many independent advisors view the wirehouses as talent pools. However, attempting to recruit staff from the wirehouses can be difficult. Large institutions, especially in the wealth management industry, can provide their employees with an abundance of benefits. Associates have access to 401(k) plans with contribution matches, stock options, paid maternity/paternity leave, bonus structures, and much more. The reality is, many small businesses can’t provide those same perks.

So how do you entice prospective candidates when the industry titans have the upper hand, and your sector is saturated with a lot of demand and little supply? Create new solutions.

How to Get Creative with Benefits

Evaluate your business and determine what benefits you can offer. Consider the current demand for work-life balance and figure out how you can contribute to the pursuit. You don’t need a large pool of candidates to choose from. All you need is one applicant that you consider to be the right fit. If you can attract that person, then you need only focus on how to provide an environment that he/she can thrive in.

The wirehouses might be able to offer more benefits, but that doesn’t mean they are offering the right benefits.

In my experience, the wirehouse culture was well off the mark in terms of helping me achieve the work-life balance. Vacation time was capped and significantly lower than other industries. It had to be coordinated with other employees to ensure proper coverage and was forbidden on certain days of the year.

Yearly bonuses and raises were calculated based on the productivity of each region and division of the company and relied heavily on inconsistent performance evaluations. Human resources often considered the fact that advisors were encouraged to pay associates in addition to their base salaries, but there were no rules requiring them to do so. As a result, compensation packages were significantly different based on who you were assigned to work with.

Creating a culture that emphasizes the work-life balance and provides defined measures for success is essential to attracting talent. Whether you’re perusing the list of wirehouse employees, or attempting to find candidates among other independent firms, your presentation matters.

Consider Utilizing a Recruiter

One way to attract prospective personnel is by using a recruiter. Listing your job opening on mainstream channels might get you a lot of applicants, but they aren’t guaranteed to be qualified or seriously interested. Recruiters can tap into their network to efficiently target the type of talent you’re looking for. They’re able to determine suitability and weed out candidates so you don’t have to interrupt your normal business functions to do so.

Invest in the future of your business. Focus on finding, and retaining, people who will positively affect that future. People who are equally motivated to succeed. Recognize that success is defined and determined individually.

Be a contributing factor to someone else’s work-life balance, as they will be a contributing factor to yours.

Grier L. Rubeling

Grier is the owner and operator of Advisor Transition Services. She established the company in 2018 after serving 10+ years in the financial industry in various roles.

In 2007, after graduating from Virginia Tech with a B.S. in Marketing Management, Grier started her career in Baltimore as a Client Service Associate with Smith Barney. She left in 2008 to transition an advisor’s book of business to UBS Financial Services. The transition process highlighted her abilities to perform under pressure, work efficiently on a strict timeline, and handle difficult situations with poise and professional. The new role gave her the confidence to take on more responsibilities, and she served as a coach to other client service associates and a transition liaison to newly recruited financial advisors.

After moving to North Carolina in 2012, Grier accepted a position in the Raleigh UBS office. In 2013, she, along with two other advisors, left the wirehouse scene and established an RIA, Emerald Investment Partners. Grier served as the Director of Operations and Transition Consultant. During her time at Emerald, she assisted with the transitions of five advisors and consulted on six others.