Are We Too Focused on Making Money?

Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

I am having difficulty getting past the events of the last couple of years. During COVID, our team culture took a significant hit. We were always very close and shared so much. Now everyone is in their cubicle doing their work and we rarely talk. I’ve implemented team events such as pizza on Wednesdays (for hump day) and a return to our Monday and Friday huddles where we discuss what is upcoming and what we’ve accomplished for the week. Recently, I sent a survey asking what else we should be doing because I don’t see us getting back to the conversations and togetherness we always had. One of the comments I got in return was that we have “become totally focused on AUM and fees. It isn’t a nice place to work anymore.”

We had our best year ever in 2021, and we are already breaking that milestone in 2022. I have been communicating this to thank everyone for their efforts. Could this be misconstrued as focusing solely on the financials? I believed we had a culture of fun, inclusion and team orientation. This is sobering because I don’t think we are dollar focused. But I do believe we should be celebrating success, and that means validating what the team is doing well.

I don’t want my team members to become defensive if I reach out to ask for clarification. But I need to handle this. How best do I address it?