The accounting field has a turnover rate that's ten times the average when compared to other industries across the job market. So, how can you create a workplace that the accountants of the future will choose to stay in?
High employee turnover in any workplace has a negative impact on an organisation's performance and staff morale but by understanding the cause of turnover, employers can create strategies to reduce it.
First, our industry must look at creating a culture with flexibility and hybrid working to attract and retain the best talent. Hybrid working arrangement provides the best of both worlds – in-person collaboration at the office and time for concentration at home – allowing us the flexibility to choose where we are most productive on a given day.
Additionally, technological innovation has led the way in how accounting is done nowadays and it's crucial for organisations to equip teams with the best tools possible so that their employees can thrive no matter where they choose to work. New hires, and even seasoned professionals, want high-quality technology in the workplace, and if technology and culture fall short of their expectations, they won't hesitate to leave for a digital-first organisation. These tools and softwares must make the mundane feel easy, and the compliance feel fast.
Importantly too, organisations must make training a priority. Research found 49% of UK accountancy firms are facing "huge blows" amid the ongoing skills and salary war and 32% cited the current skillset in their firm as a growth inhibitor. Search Consultancy also reported that 74% of accountancy firms said they were "feeling the strain" from a lack of skilled workers.
Training and development are strongly connected to employee retention. Investing time in your employees and giving them opportunities to develop as individuals makes them feel valued and motivated. Motivated to grow in their role, to do their job well, and plug any knowledge gaps.
Let's not forget employee voice - a key enabler of effective staff engagement. To be effective, employers must listen, acknowledge, and respond. Open communication with employees that makes all voices feel heard requires respect and recognition and leads to a positive workplace culture. It allows people from all levels to speak openly and honestly without fear of reprisal or victimising. This way employees can contribute to discussions about the organisation's plans, projections, and challenges. Every team member can follow a narrative that is created by incorporating all viewpoints early, making sure they are followed up on, and providing explanations when ideas are unsuccessful.
Yet even with the best retention efforts, resignations will happen. Your top talent is probably being aggressively wooed by recruiters and competitors - or they're savvy enough to stay aware of their value in today's job market. Managers must continually reinforce the methods mentioned above to validate employee skills and convince them that staying in their current position is the best decision for their career. Don't assume what employees want; instead, know for sure. A strong team makes anything possible, so treat them as such.