Edward Jones Reaches Out to Women, Veterans

Working for a firm that hasn’t had a reduction in its workforce since the ’60s is a special privilege for Tim Blaskovich, talent acquisition manager at Edward Jones. The company has a unique model that relies heavily on adviser-client interaction. During the financial downturn, it didn’t lay off a single financial adviser. The firm has been steadily growing and is now looking to broaden its employee base by recruiting more highly motivated individuals, with an emphasis on hiring women, ethnically diverse individuals and military veterans.

Blaskovich recently spoke with Diversity Executive. Below are edited excerpts from the interview:

In what ways is Edward Jones attempting to reach more women and veterans?

We have an internal group of financial advisers who focus on female hiring initiatives; they participate in onboarding, support and training. Through this, we’ve set up an internal network that helps recruit and hire new female financial advisers. In addition, we made efforts to grow in Chicago by connecting with external organizations that help us attract top talent.

On the military veteran side, we have developed a “Forces” program that offers an additional eight weeks of training for those starting out in this field. This training provides invaluable support for transitioning military making the move into financial services.

Why has Edward Jones developed these new initiatives recently?

We see the opportunity to grow and serve our clients. To do this, we needed to recruit females, veterans and diverse candidates to support our growth. We have a vision to grow our firm and those areas of our hiring by the year 2020. Currently, 6 percent of our staff is diverse, 18 percent are female and 11 percent are military. Our goal by 2020 is to be at 10 percent diverse with 25 percent female financial advisers.

We see there’s talent across the board we would like to attract to our organization that can help us with our growth initiatives.

Why is Edward Jones trying to accommodate those without a finance background? What kind of training are you providing?

At Edward Jones, we often hire individuals who are career changers and are looking to make the transition into financial services. Typically, we find that individuals who thrive in autonomous and entrepreneurial environments do well at our firm because of our unique branch office structure.

Specifically, we have a lot of high-performing military veterans in our organization. We value their skills and we want to continue to be an attractive employer to those with military service.

In May 2012, Edward Jones launched the forces training program designed to help military veterans transition into a civilian position in financial services. We provide that eight weeks of additional training so they can hit the ground running when they open their Edward Jones branch office. Through this program, they have the opportunity to learn more about the industry and about their roles as an Edward Jones financial adviser.

Training includes the traditional track of self-study and classroom study as well as the opportunity to work out of one of the local financial adviser’s branch office for an extended period of time. They have the opportunity to observe the financial adviser’s work and learn more about the Edward Jones culture.

How do local branch offices feel about having to train new employees?

We have a rich tradition of collaboration and partnership. What you’ll see, at the end of the day, is that everyone wants to do what is best for the client and the company. There is a sense of paying it forward. The advisers who are helping to train other financial advisers welcome the opportunity because everyone in the company has a vested interest in their success.

How do you facilitate collaboration and cultivate an environment of partnerships?

What the firm does well is introduce support functions early in the training. There is a lot of one-on-one and group training, but this continues throughout a financial adviser’s career, not just during training. Advisers know they can reach out to each other for support, to share business ideas or seek advice.

What are you hoping for from these new recruiting initiatives?

We’re ultimately looking for people who have track records of success, who want to be entrepreneurs, who want to work with a client’s best interest in mind. We do well for our clients by establishing great relationships with them and relying on the firm’s partnership structure for support. We’re looking for people who want to be a part of that environment.

We get a lot of career changers from different backgrounds. People come to Edward Jones because they realize the culture, support, collaboration and training we offer. We are all focused on building that partnership and creating that single vision of collaboration.

Mary Camille Izlar is an editorial intern at Diversity Executive magazine. She can be reached at editor@diversity-executive.com.