Attracting and retaining talent is not easy. Even before the current battle for talent, it was hard. Now it’s practically impossible, especially for small-to-medium enterprises that don’t have large recruitment budgets, strong brand recognition and an arsenal of perks.

Desperate businesses are being pushed to settle for good enough as work piles up, but poor hiring decisions often create problems down the track including lost productivity and low team morale. Business leaders understand only too well the pain of managing unsuitable people.

All this strengthens the case for developing talent in-house, particularly young advisers. An obvious way of doing this is to offer a Professional Year program.

While taking on a PY candidate can be challenging, it is also extremely rewarding. As the expression goes: nothing worth having comes easy.

Advice businesses must provide a range of advisory and support role experiences to help participants develop the professional competence to provide financial advice. Within a 12-month period, participants must complete at least 1500 hours of work activities and 100 hours of structured training, under the supervision and mentorship of a senior supervising adviser.

And despite being called a Professional Year, the time commitment involved in developing and nurturing talent extends far beyond 12 months. It spans the years before commencement, when a person first joins an organisation, typically in an administration, paraplanning or client services role.

It includes the years after completing a PY, when businesses facilitate ongoing training and development. Senior advisers often play a rainmaker role, progressively handing over clients to a PY graduate. This creates a career path for future leaders including promotions, pay rises and equity participation.

The process requires patience, perseverance and flexibility from both parties but those that stay the course, stand to reap enormous benefits. (In my experience, people overestimate what can be achieved in a year and underestimate what can be achieved in a decade.)

Home grown talent is typically easier to manage and more loyal because they have been mentored by senior colleagues and feel a strong connection to the business. They intimately understand their organisation’s vision, strategy, priorities, processes, systems and culture.

They have been given unique opportunities to gain the skills they need to succeed, which boosts employee satisfaction and retention. Many have been promoted to their current role or have had roles created specifically for them.