Beyond the Job Description: How ProducifyX is Humanizing Financial Services Recruiting

The financial services industry is in the midst of a talent recruiting crisis.

Despite signs that the labor market is finally slackening after years of abnormal tightness, financial companies — and nonfinancial employers looking to staff up their money-minded teams — continue to struggle with retention and recruitment.

It’s not that careers in finance are suddenly less rewarding than they have been. They’re still as lucrative as before and retain their appeal for a certain subset of highly motivated, ambitious, and competitive workers.

But in the new normal, “appeal for a certain subset” is not enough. If you’re hiring for finance roles right now, you can’t afford to leave any stones unturned. And while you should absolutely implement strategies to reduce employee turnover and control the resources you devote to recruiting fresh hires, you know deep down that dramatically curtailing turnover is a pipe dream. That’s not how this business works.

Even if it were, it’s unclear if you’d want to do everything possible to keep employees in place. Times change, after all, and dynamic organizations demand fresh thinking.

ProducifyX Helps Organizations Maximize Recruitment Efforts

Co-founders George Zimny and Ryan Drysdale are the brains behind ProducifyX, a talent acquisition advisory firm with a people-first approach to recruiting and hiring. Experts in top-of-the-funnel recruitment lead gen, ProducifyX becomes an extension of their client’s teams and saves them valuable time — and money.

According to company literature, these solutions cost as little as half the annual expense of adding an HR sourcing agent, and that could be an underestimate. According to recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics compensation data, larger organizations that can avoid adding a full-time director-level HR lead could save upward of $100,000 per year.

Aside from the obvious savings, ProducifyX’s value is especially evident in competitive, high-turnover industries like finance. In this business, talent often flows uphill toward the most generous compensation packages and fastest tracks to shareholder status. Despite laudable efforts by many finance businesses to build a sense of shared mission or purpose to help them attract higher-caliber workers, they still struggle to maintain a competitive edge.

A Byproduct of Years of Success in the Insurance Industry

Business partners Zimny and Drysdale, with over 30 years of collective experience, launched ProducifyX in May 2023. Originating from the insurance industry, their successful journey prompted them to explore recruitment. Initially a team of two, their insurance business grew to over 100 professionals in 10 offices across major U.S. markets. In their peak years, they attracted hundreds of new producers and later transitioned to serve on the board of the global executive search firm N2Growth, ranking in Forbes’ top 20 for seven consecutive years.

Their friendship and shared experiences led to the launch of ProducifyX, focusing on recruitment consulting tailored to business owners/operators’ needs. Their unique perspective, honed from their insurance business, drives their approach, prioritizing strategies beneficial to candidate attraction. This distinct perspective distinguishes ProducifyX in the recruiting-consulting sphere, offering unmatched value to clients.

Meet the Co-founders of ProducifyX

George Zimny, a Columbia, Missouri native, was raised in a 1920s farmhouse and has always been attracted to entrepreneurship, from scaling a national wellness company to growing his own insurance practice. He is a devoted husband to Stef and a proud father of two daughters. He also shares a love for music, favoring Coldplay and Taylor Swift, influenced by his role as a “girl dad.”

Zimny Family
Pictured: George and Stef Zimny and Children

His diverse interests span organic cooking, Ironman triathlons, scouting, travel, and sports. He holds a BS-BA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and spent some time living in Australia during college.

Ryan Drysdale, his wife Cara, and four children are also natives of Columbia, Missouri. Drysdale’s interests range from hobby farming and bow hunting to church involvement, reflecting a love for outdoor activities and community.

Drysdale Family
Pictured: Ryan and Cara Drysdale and Children

Ryan has a true entrepreneurial spirit and a background in building successful ventures, including an independent insurance agency in the Midwest. Ryan’s passion for hosting large family meals and his love for tacos underscore his commitment to family and enjoying life’s simple pleasures.

The two have an infectious energy and enthusiasm for helping their clients succeed. In industries like finance, where it is becoming increasingly difficult to source quality talent, the creation of ProducifyX is timely and much-needed.

The State of Financial Service Recruiting: Challenges and Opportunities

ProducifyX works with clients in various industries, including hospitality, real estate, and professional services. But Zimny and Drysdale’s professional backgrounds align especially well with the needs of ProducifyX financial services clients.

They understand the unique recruitment and retention challenges finance organizations face today and help them seize the opportunities waiting on the other side. They’re especially focused on these four hurdles right now:

Licensing and Expertise Gaps

Like so many other industries, finance faces a “skills gap.”

Among other factors, the relatively thin licensing pipeline — the flow of younger people into finance credentialing pathways, from CPA and MBA programs to insurance and securities broker licensing — is to blame. Ironically, employers (and candidates) have a strong economy to blame. Credentialing tends to be countercyclical, with renewed interest in “upskilling” during economic downturns.

At the same time, some corners of the industry are beginning to experience a demographic-induced “gray tsunami” as older employees retire, with fewer replacements coming up behind them. This has been happening in some spaces, like wealth management, for years, but it will soon become a broader trend.

Some finance employers try to address the licensing and expertise gaps by compromising on candidate quality or commitment in core roles. They may do this by:

  • Hiring FTEs below the minimum posted qualifications (that is, hiring employees with less work experience or fewer formal credentials than desired)
  • Hiring contractors or temp workers as a “temporary” solution
  • “Creating” core full-time roles by asking more of existing employees

These strategies make intuitive sense and might even produce acceptable results for a time, but they’re rarely the best long-term path forward for a finance business. For example, hiring freelancers or part-timers can be cost-effective on a quarter-by-quarter basis, but organizations with too many “mercenary” team members tend to have trouble building strong internal cultures or inspiring the sort of deep loyalty that drives results in competitive environments while reducing costly turnover.

“Dollars-driven” Job Seekers

In the popular imagination, finance jobs inevitably pay employees well and ask a great deal from them in return. While the reality is a bit more complicated, let’s accept that many financial professionals — from rockstar insurance brokers to white-glove financial advisors — do quite well for themselves.

For finance employers, this is both a blessing and a curse. Competitive compensation can and does attract the best and the brightest, but it also results in zero-sum thinking on both sides of the negotiating table. Top-tier recruits often have no compunction about taking the most generous offer, whatever the downsides around work-life balance, culture fit, etc.

Competition From Other Sectors

The mercenary aspects of some corners of the finance industry create another challenge for employers: weak loyalty. This isn’t true across the board — many finance professionals are intensely loyal to their organizations and remain in place for decades — but it’s enough of a problem that employers need to take it seriously.

One important driver of weak loyalty within the finance industry is that many employees see their work as a job rather than a calling. Sure, it’s a highly compensated job that can easily turn into a lucrative career, but it’s still just something that occupies the middle of most days. It doesn’t inspire the passion or sense of purpose common in other careers, like education or issue-driven nonprofit work.

Elusive Culture Fit

All three of these financial service recruiting challenges contribute to a fourth: elusive culture fit. This one is difficult to measure and can take different forms, but it boils down to the fact that today’s finance talent pool is light on candidates that “have what it takes.”

This could mean they:

  • Aren’t as self-motivated or “hungry” as recruiting organizations would like, which calls into question their ability to learn on the job and thrive in a fast-paced, competitive environment
  • Lack passion or a sense of purpose, which are especially important in nonprofit or government finance
  • Don’t share the values of the organization, which is, of course, not unique to the finance industry

Whatever your personal belief about the actual importance of “culture” in recruiting and retention or whether it’s overblown as a consideration for hiring managers, the data doesn’t lie. Even in competitive, “dollar-driven” industries like finance, culture is crucial for candidates. Hiring managers must treat it accordingly.

A New Approach to Financial Service Recruiting

Since culture fit is key to hiring the right team, how can hiring managers prioritize this when recruiting new talent? ProducifyX is making this process more seamless for its clients. Unlike other traditional recruiting methods, deep human connections are at the core of their strategy.

The premise is that while shared interests often spark conversation and some interest between people, shared values ultimately sustain relationships. By focusing on the things that connect people upfront, they can pre-qualify talent in such a way that allows companies to pick up leads and filter them through their existing HR processes with greater success.

“We help clients by sourcing and pre-qualifying talent, then acting as a talent feeder system, remaining at the top of the funnel throughout the process,” says Zimny. “Clients love our approach because it complements their own well-developed internal hiring function.”

According to ProducifyX, the cost of a one-year client relationship is typically equivalent to the cost of a single placement with a traditional staffing firm, offering potentially massive ROI for clients with high recruiting needs.

Zimny and Drysdale have been at it for less than a year, but their early clients are very happy. One raves that ProducifyX has “not only boosted the quality and quantity of our recruits but also streamlined our candidate selection process,” while another cheers its “efficient system for analyzing applicants and getting to the best candidates in the shortest amount of time.”

Finance employers frustrated by the current state of their recruiting operations should take notice. While ProducifyX might not be a magic solution for every hiring department, they’re clearly doing something right.

Images provided by: ProductifyX; Thanks!

The post Beyond the Job Description: How ProducifyX is Humanizing Financial Services Recruiting appeared first on Due.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

More Related Articles

Info icon

This data feed is not available at this time.

Sign up for the TradeTalks newsletter to receive your weekly dose of trading news, trends and education. Delivered Wednesdays.