Being flexible and understanding female staff within an advisory firm can translate into a better relationship with female clients.
In an Association of Financial Advisers webinar, national practitioner chair, John Cachia, and financial planner, Tim Henry, discussed how to help women in both advice firms and as clients.
This included factoring in maternity leave, the gender wage and superannuation gap, and childcare costs.
Henry said: “It’s upon all of us, whether we are male or female, to understand the people we are delivering advice to and how we can try to improve or gain knowledge about the challenges they are going through.”
Henry said he often asked female staff in his office what they would think of the advice and how they would want it delivered to them.
Cachia added: “You want to be in touch with their needs and being skilled in those areas is really important so that we are delivering advice in a way that is easy for them to receive with whatever pressures they have on in their life.
He said he had partnered with Financy which was an organisation to help women’s financial progress and highlight gender equality. It gave the firm a “great framework” for which questions to ask female clients.
Cachia added it was important to be flexible with the firm’s own staff and accommodate female or parental needs.
“Having that flexibility, not just for females, but for parents and other people in the business, it pays back in spades and it shows you don’t just see them as a number but as a person.
“We encouraged one staff member to go back to university and get her financial planning degree. We want her to get her studies and give her that higher level of flexibility in regard to education.”
Some small businesses could be wary about hiring a woman as they were concerned about the cost but the pair said this was a short-sighted attitude.
“I don’t think you can afford to avoid it and if you do, your business is not going to be around much longer,” Cachia said.
“We’re in an environment where employees are going to command a lot more power because they can. Everyone is short staffed and if you’re not going to be a great place to work then you’re going to have a lot of turnover.”