Manny Maceda, the global Managing Partner of Bain & Co recently said that, “More than 70% of millennials now expect their employers to focus on societal or mission-driven problems.”
What is the implication of this trend for professional services?
Meaning is a particular issue for many professionals. Professionals can sometimes complain of a lack of meaning or satisfaction in their work.
This is a growing problem for professional services because increasingly millennials are turning away from these traditional career paths. And increasing turnover in firms significantly impacts on the client experience. It is no accident that there is a high correlation between happy staff and happy clients as this Harvard Business Review article article outlines.
On average many professional sectors (particularly legal) have higher rates of depression than the general population. Perfectionism might be part of it. But an inability for young professionals to look outside of themselves and focus on the client, rather than the timesheet in front of them, might also play a role. Helping people is rewarding. Helping people brings meaning.
If you want to change behaviours you have to start with beliefs. The often unbeatable rugby team the All Blacks have a very strong belief that permeates the culture. It is said that they regard themselves at a very deep and fundamental level as warriors. They just happen to be playing football. When the going gets tough this shared identity helps them dig a little deeper.
What do professionals believe about themselves? What is their identity? And is there such a thing as firm identity (outside of the marketing speak)?
Do your staff believe that they work to help people? If they do, with this mindset, you can’t help but provide a great client experience. Or are your teams more focused on billing more time and advancing their own careers. This is normal of course. And staff need to be very focused on learning the craft of their profession. But the more you can connect your people to the clients they serve the better the experience for your clients and your staff.