RIA Talent Advantage®

Onboarding and retention

A successful recruitment process doesn't end with an offer letter; it continues via the implementation of comprehensive onboarding and retention strategies. Talent development is a critical component of an effective retention strategy and may improve employee engagement, loyalty, and job performance. 

Follow these best practices to ensure a smooth onboarding process—and to help retain the talent you've worked so hard to recruit:

To increase the likelihood that your offer will be accepted, follow these best practices:

  • Finalize the details
    Work with your management team or HR counterpart to confirm the definition of the role and the compensation and benefits package you plan to offer. For help developing a competitive compensation strategy, see Schwab's RIA Benchmarking Study
  • Extend a verbal offer
    Ask the hiring manager to speak directly with the candidate as soon as possible to show the firm's interest in having him or her join the team. 
  • Draft an offer-of-employment letter
    Spell out the role's responsibilities, compensation, and benefits as shown in this sample offer letter. Be sure to add a response deadline that is not more than seven business days from the date of the letter. 
  • Stay in contact with the candidate
    Check in with the candidate if you haven't received a response within the first few days. This gives the candidate an opportunity to ask additional questions and shows your continued interest.

Onboarding your new employee begins before the first day on the job and can extend through the first year of employment. Use our onboarding process checklist to help you manage the process. Here are some key milestones:

  • Offer accepted—lead-up to first day
    Send a personal note of welcome, prepare an office or workspace, and identify a colleague to help the new hire throughout the first year. 
  • The crucial first day 
    Give a tour of the firm, introduce the new hire to colleagues, and explain his or her responsibilities and expectations.
  • First 90 days 
    Identify training opportunities and schedule regular check-ins with the new hire's manager or mentor. 
  • One-year anniversary 
    Conduct a performance review and outline areas for further development and advancement.

By prioritizing people as one of your most important investments, you'll be creating a signature firm culture, offering the client experience investors are looking for, and ensuring your firm's long-term success.

To help develop talent at your firm:

  • Create clearly defined career paths with well-defined expectations. 
  • Develop a mentorship or sponsorship program that matches senior leaders with junior staff. 
  • Invite junior staff to join senior leaders at networking events. 
  • Cultivate an "open door" policy to encourage junior staff to share their ideas and have one-on-one discussions with senior leaders. 
  • Hire external coaches to serve as safe and reliable sources of feedback. 
  • Invite junior staff to client meetings and hold debriefings afterward. 
  • Build accountability into partner behaviors by linking compensation to talent development.

Schwab offers a wide range of events and educational programs to support talent development, including online learning opportunities, conferences, regional workshops, and best practices. Check out Events and Education under News & Resources on Schwab Advisor Center® for a list of available resources (password is required).

Realizing the value of a diverse workforce is one thing. Building a firm where diverse talent is represented and well integrated throughout all levels of the organization is a different matter. It starts with taking an honest look at the working environment at your firm—and making a commitment to creating an inclusive culture that empowers everyone to reach their full potential.

To support diversity and inclusiveness at your firm:

  • Provide opportunities for every employee to be heard and empower them to contribute ideas on how they can help the firm grow. 
  • Identify high-potential junior staff early on and provide them with the training and guidance to help them reach leadership positions; set clear steps for career development. 
  • Build internal affinity groups and professional networks to promote mutual support, mentoring, the exchange of ideas, and relationship building. 
  • Provide networking opportunities that allow junior staff to meet senior leaders, such as off-site leadership events for affinity groups, including educational and skill-building seminars. 
  • Encourage employees to participate in industry groups and events focused on advocating for women (e.g., Ellevate, Smart Woman Securities, and the Financial Women's Association) and minorities (e.g., Ascend Foundation and the Association of African American Financial Advisors). There are many such affinity groups and associations, including MBA associations and professional and undergraduate organizations. 
  • Organize client appreciation and networking events that appeal to a broad audience, such as music or sporting events, wine tastings, and team volunteering opportunities.

Retention is 25% higher for employees who have engaged in company-sponsored mentoring.1

Learn more

Our RIA Talent Advantage® Recruitment Playbook offers more tips, tools, and resources on recruiting the right talent for your firm.

These additional resources from Schwab can help you reach out to prospects, post jobs and search for candidates, and see current compensation data.


1. Deloitte Talent Edge: Blueprints for the New Normal, 2012.

The RIA Talent Advantage® Program supports advisors with tools, resources, and networking opportunities to attract, develop, and retain diverse talent to serve investors. 

This material is for institutional investor use only. This material may not be forwarded or made available, in part or in whole, to any party that is not an institutional investor. For general informational and educational purposes only.

Third-party firms and their employees are not affiliated with or employed by Schwab. Their mention should not be construed as a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship by Schwab. The views expressed are those of the third-parties and are provided for informational purposes only. The experiences shared are no guarantee of future performance or success and may not be representative of you or your experience. Third-party trademarks are the property of their respective owners and used with their permission.