It’s time for companies to start making decisions about work environments, according to Hunter Judson Jr., a wealth management practice director at executive search firm Judson Group.

“There's no good answer, there's no right answer. I've seen everything across this one,” Judson said earlier this month — referring to work arrangements — during a session on workforce and competition at Pershing’s Insite 22 conference in Texas.

“So, I've seen that you either have to make a decision on fully in-office or a set policy. But ambiguity is not helping,” he added.

Citing an example of how ambiguity impacts hiring talent, Judson said a candidate turned down a $250,000 job because of the uncertainty over in-person versus remote options at the company.

Financial services firms trying to get staff back to the office are facing operational challenges and pushback from a revamped workforce, forcing some to change their plans.

A year after insisting that most JPMorgan employees will need to work at the office full time, chief executive officer Jamie Dimon has said, for example, that only about half will have to be in the office after all. Around 40% of the firm’s staff will be able to work in a hybrid arrangement, about half will need to work “at a location” full time and 10% will be able to work remotely full time.

What companies decide for their work arrangement is also a reflection of their culture, which participants of the workforce and competition conference session agreed is important.

During the workforce conference session, the conversation also focused on what employers prioritize within their companies and what prospective employees are looking for.

Culture is the “backbone” of Tolleson Wealth Management, according to Jennifer Wagoner Kirksey, managing director of wealth operations at the firm.

“I think we really do focus on culture first, because I think that's what keeps everyone working towards the same vision and motivates them,” Kirksey said at the conference.

Judson agreed that “culture is really good for retention” but noted that “it’s harder to use culture to attract talent” because every company will insist they are the best.

The “number one thing people are looking for is a career path,” especially given all the mergers in acquisitions in the industry, according to Judson.

Getting employee feedback and acting on it is also critical to retention, according to Wendy Taylor Wampler, director of leader and organizational effectiveness at employer hiring platform Indeed.

Wampler said her main priority is “listening, and then doing something about it.” At Indeed, “anyone can submit a question” to the chief executive officer, she said.

Meanwhile, Wampler said the term “The Great Resignation” has been tossed around to describe the current workforce trend, but describing the shift as “The Great Reshuffle” seems more appropriate, especially for low-wage positions.

“It's about trying to find something better and which you can do now in this talent market. You can find something that's higher pay with better benefits,” Wampler said.

“And we're not seeing that people aren't returning to the workforce. That's just not true. They're just doing it in a different way,” she added.

Tolleson Wealth Management’s Kirksey noted that advisor turnover in her firm has been low and she’s even increasing the headcount.

The advisory industry has indeed been spared The Great Resignation.

Advisors “are almost always in the driver’s seat” when it comes to making a work change, Louis Diamond, president at recruiting firm Diamond Consultants, told FA-IQ previously.

“If the advisor feels like they’re underpaid, underappreciated, don’t have the flexibility they need or if they’re just looking for something different, most advisors have portable books of business, which is their golden ticket,” Diamond said.

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