My Older Advisors Don’t “Get” the Younger Generation

Beverly FlaxingtonBeverly 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,

We have a clear focus on hiring young people. I am proud to say of the 19 people, 12 of them are under 30-years old. The problem is that our older advisors (four of them in their 60s) are not comfortable bringing the younger team members into their client meetings. It isn’t they don’t think they are smart and educated; it is their “style.” This means the way they dress, the tattoos on their wrists and necks and the way they use a lot of “ums and ahs” when they speak.

This is entirely a generational thing (I am 39). Times are changing and things have shifted. Our older team members say the clients are in their age group (or older) and will have the same hesitation or concerns they have.

I am expected to share their feedback and/or coach these younger people to help them get to the next level of professionalism (that’s how it is characterized). But I don’t see it as my place to do this. What should I say, “Get your tattoos removed and stop saying ‘uh’ so much?”