As part of its research on young advisors, LIMRA studied the effects of mentoring on professionals looking to establish sales careers in financial services.
Among young advisors, 3 in 4 had a mentoring relationship. For the most part, their mentors were fellow advisors in the same firm. (Managers are more likely to serve as mentors in the affiliated insurance and independent channels.) Almost 60 percent of the time, the mentoring developed naturally without a formal program. (See chart.)
Young advisors said the most valuable benefit they receive from their mentor is simply having someone to approach with a question. Overall, 86 percent said this was a benefit and more than half chose it as the top mentoring benefit. Seven in ten said their mentor advised them about managing their practice with nearly a quarter saying this was the top benefit of having a mentor.
Participation in mentoring can often lead to "reverse mentoring" where mentor and mentee learn from each other and can form even stronger work relationships. For example, a mentor can help a Gen Y advisor with presentation skills and provide insight on how to build a successful practice. At the same time, the Gen Y professional can teach an experienced colleague about timesaving technology innovations and how to effectively incorporate social media into a practice.
The Hanover is one company that encourages mentoring relationships to benefit both mentor and mentee.
“Our new talent is eager to learn from our experienced employees, while our early-in-career professionals bring a new perspective and reverse mentoring for fresh ideas and new technological skills,” said Christine Bilotti-Peterson, senior vice president and chief human resources officer at The Hanover. “When coupled with the vast industry knowledge of our tenured employees, our multigenerational workforce is coming up with some very creative solutions. It’s a win for new talent, a win for experienced employees, and a win for our company.”
Beyond mentoring relationships, a majority of young advisors partner at least some of the time with another professional. Forty-four percent said they plan to partner more. These partnering efforts bring together financial professionals of all ages and result in more varied service offerings to their clients and prospects.
Whether they work with a mentor or form networking and study groups, Gen Y advisors have found that collaboration can lead to financial success. Prior LIMRA research found that insurance professionals who collaborate earn 49 percent more than those who do not.
The absence of a mentoring relationship can also have an impact. Twenty percent of young advisors did not have a mentor but wish they had one. Compared to those who had a mentor, this group was less likely to be “very satisfied” with their career and less certain they will "absolutely stay" in it.