Having recently moved to the outsourcing side of Paraplanning, I now only have to get my own permission to go to events. I’m quite lucky as I’m very easy to persuade about the merits of these things, but many Paraplanners struggle to get to them at all.
I’ve been at events where Paraplanners have told me they were not allowed time out the office to come so had taken the day as holiday. I’ve been in similar situations in the past and while this is admirable; a Paraplanner taking ownership of their own development, they should not really have to.
The reasons they can’t go does vary; ‘I’m not allowed as I might get stolen’ or ‘there’s nothing you can you learn there you can’t get from the in house L&D team’, or even just, ‘it’s not worth it’.
The result of this is of course the Paraplanner is unlikely to feel valued in their role. If they are not supported with their development and progression, they are far more likely to jump ship.
I’m not advocating attendance of everything of course. No-one would disagree time out the office has to be well spent, so the content has to be relevant to the role and the needs of the business. If an event will do this, Paraplanners are putting together really strong reasons why they should go when approaching their boss.
They’re demonstrating how what they’ll learn will provide a tangible benefit to the business and most importantly, the client. When presented with a compelling, well put together business case for it, you would expect any reasonable employer to agree.
As Paraplanners gain more responsibility, become more integral to many business models and key in ensuring great client service, support of their development grows. The Paraplanner increases their knowledge and quite often their confidence, and the business benefits from their growing technical abilities and skills, all of which help improve service and enhance our clients’ relationships with us.
From a practical perspective, the firm has a Paraplanner who feels valued so there will be lower staff turnover. Given the apparent shortage of Paraplanners and how notoriously difficult to recruit they are, this alone could be worth the cost of the odd day out the office.
I did meet a very new paraplanner at the recent Paraplanners’ Powwow. She’d been ‘sent’ there by her boss so she could learn and meet other Paraplanners. I know several employers like this and I’m hopeful this is our future direction of travel. Having businesses who not only value, but actively seek out and encourage their Paraplanners to go to events they know they’ll benefit from is brilliant and long may it last.
Caroline Stuart FPFS is a Chartered Financial Planner and founder of Sparrow Paraplanning