How to attract and retain talent for your accounting firm in 2022

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Attracting talent is increasingly difficult in 2022. At the end of December, there were 10.9 million vacancies and 4.3 million people left their jobs in the last month of the year. Competition to attract top talent is strong – especially for CPA firms.

COVID and shifting deadlines over the past 2 years have led to endless intense tax seasons that have demanded long hours and grueling schedules.

Accounting firms looking to hire need to take a different approach to attracting and retaining talent. You need to create a positive work culture that helps employees excel and attracts the talent your business needs to keep growing.

How do you create a business that people want to be part of in 2022?

Build a business that people Want to join

People want to be part of teams where they know their role is important. For example, an accountant who joins your team must understand that their role is crucial to the success of your business. Perhaps you hire an employee who is responsible for taxes and small business tax planning.

You should be:

  • Position their role as essential in building your company’s small business revenue.
  • Share customer “victories” with the employee.

Continuing with the example, if the employee helped create a tax plan that allowed the client to expand operations, let them know that their role was imperative to the client’s success.

In short, let your employees (or potential recruits) know that they are appreciated.

Plus, there are things you can do to make potential recruits see your brand in a good light. Some of the things you can do – and we’ll discuss them in more detail in the next section – are to:

  • Create a brand that potentially recruits want to be part of.
  • Make current employees happy.
  • Create a brand that people talk about and share.

In fact, it has worked well for my business recently. In the past two months, we have hired two new team members who we are very pleased with and who were recommended by current employees who like our work atmosphere. It turns out that our team members are our best recruiters!

How do you create a brand that people want to be part of now and in the future?

  • Create a value proposition that differentiates your business from others.
  • Develop different, innovative and interesting services.
  • Create different reward systems and use different communication styles that match employee preferences – not everyone is the same!
  • Offer innovative working styles, such as allowing employees to work from home occasionally or allowing flexible working hours.

If you’re struggling to find ways to make your company stand out from the crowd, send out a workplace survey and ask your employees what they want. Not only will you find a way to strengthen your workplace, but you’ll also show current employees that you value their opinion. Just be sure to follow up on their suggestions in some way so they feel heard and respected, and to encourage further suggestions.

Build a team that wants to stay and grow with your business

Once you start attracting talent, you want keep that talent. In fact, in 2020, it cost about 30% the salary of an employee to replace them. Why? There are costs related to termination, vacancy, recruitment, interviews, training and learning curves.

Avoiding turnover, especially in today’s highly competitive marketplace, is critical to the success of your business. Ultimately, employees want to be happy, and there are many ways you can make employees happy. Here are some ways to do it:

  • Support: Provide employees with the best tools, training, support and environment to do their jobs. Really think about it. For example, you may have recently updated your tech stack, but how ergonomic are your chairs and workspaces?
  • Communication: Employees will help you achieve your goals, but you need to keep the communication channels open. Schedule time for managers and partners to meet with staff. Meet individually or call employees via Zoom periodically to check in on how work is going and how their lives are going. Be there to support employees in their challenges and to recognize and share their victories. Showing interest in your team and expressing your appreciation for them goes a long way.
  • Assess: Work should be fulfilling and employees should feel valued. They need to know that their work matters. One thing we do at my firm is bring in existing clients occasionally to share their stories with our team, highlighting how our team’s hard work has helped them overcome their challenges and contributed to their success.
  • Amusing: Bond with team members and have fun. Go out for lunch. Keep the work environment fluid and changing.
  • Growth: Finally, employees want to evolve in all aspects of their lives. Growing their technical skills is important, but think about how you can help them grow in other areas. Provide leadership training. Bring in motivational speakers. Offer gym perks. Use nutritional coaches. Provide communication training. Help your team members grow professionally and personally.

If you keep your employees happy and engaged, you increase the chances that your team will stick around and grow with your business.

Wrap

Hiring and retaining talent in 2022 is Continued just a matter of salary. While money certainly matters, employees want to know their efforts matter and want to feel valued, appreciated, and respected. If you follow the recommendations above, I believe your turnover will be minimized and recruiting will become less of a challenge for your business.

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Christopher Hayden, CPA, CMA, CGMA is the Managing Partner of Hayden Nelson & Yoder, a Pennsylvania-based CPA firm. You can find out more about him and/or the firm on their website https://hnycpas.com/.

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