LAS VEGAS -- Financial advisory firms must engage and retain Gen Y employees if they want to expand their Gen Y clientele, says David Grant of Vantage Financial Partners (and a Financial Planning columnist) at the NAPFA conference in Las Vegas. 

Here's six tips from Grant for advisory firms to keep in mind:

1. Make a good first impression. What does your website look like? From the perspective of a potential Gen Y employee, a lack of social media presence will likely also detract from an advisory firm's overall image, Grant says. Display technological competence, and express a desire to bring Gen Y on board to add to that competence. 

2. Assess work/life balance. "That's important for Gen Y employees. They're looking for flexibility and don't see work as 9-5 anymore. Times have changed," says Grant. 

3. Have a clear career path. After about a year, check in with employees. "Ask if the firm has met their expectations," Grant says. 

4. Diversify job tasks. "Nothing causes burnout faster than putting someone in a back office to write plans without interacting with clients," Grant explains. Be clear in expressing the timelines of certain responsibilities.

5. Address compensation. Explain the road to equity ownership (if any), and review compensation periodically. 

6. Provide education and conference assistance. Invest in employees for them to improve on their skills. Give them time off and pay for them to attend industry events. "By doing this, employees will bring in more clients -- and they'll be more confident," Grant explains. 

The takeaway? Personnel development is key to making firms successful. The risk of not putting in the effort to develop employees is having potential successors walking out the door. "Why would you not want your newest employees to be superstars?" Grant says.

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