5 best practices that will make your staff want to stay

minute read

Last Updated September 29, 2023


Ross Desmond

Why do employees search for greener pastures?

In the case of accounting employees, there are several reasons they might be inclined to search for new job opportunities, such as:

  • Lack of opportunity—Like any employee, accounting professionals want to advance their careers and learn new skills. If their current employer doesn’t offer the necessary resources or opportunities for them to do so, they may decide to search for other options.
  • Lack of job satisfaction—Whether it’s due to a lack of autonomy, a shortage of interesting and challenging assignments or the absence of work-life balance, when your staff members aren’t fulfilled in their current role, they may be ready to move on to opportunities that align with their interests and career goals.
  • Financial compensation—While salary might not be the sole motivator for accounting professionals, it’s an important aspect of job satisfaction. If your staff feel they’re not being compensated adequately for their efforts, they may explore other options that offer higher compensation.
  • Company culture—A damaging company culture can create a toxic work environment, which can lead to dissatisfaction and a sense of unfulfillment among employees. Employees may look for a more positive environment if they feel that the company culture is incompatible with their values.
  • Personal circumstances—A change in a team member’s personal life (e.g., relocation, caring for a family member, new career path) can also play a role in a decision to look for new job opportunities.

The elephant in the room: tax season

Tax season is the most demanding time of year for accounting professionals, as they’re required to work long hours, meet tight deadlines and handle a high volume of work. In addition to the reasons mentioned above, the stress of tax season is one of the most common reasons accounting employees consider leaving the profession. The pressure can take a definite physical and mental toll, causing them to seek out new job opportunities that offer a more manageable workload.

During tax season, employees can be overwhelmed by a lack of work-life balance, which can lead to burnout that affects their overall job satisfaction and motivation. The pressure of meeting tight deadlines and ensuring accuracy in their work can pile on even more stress and anxiety.

Employees may also feel that their current employer doesn’t provide enough support or resources to manage the workload. Employers need to be aware of the challenges their teams face during tax season and supply the necessary support and resources to help them manage workloads, support a healthy work-life balance and reduce stress levels.

Reasons to stay

From a lack of advancement prospects and job satisfaction to financial compensation, company culture and personal circumstances, there are multiple factors that can influence an employee’s decision to explore new employment opportunities. It’s crucial for accounting firms to understand and address these issues to retain their valuable employees and keep them satisfied with their job. So, how do we do it?

Here are five important best practices that firm leaders can implement to help achieve this goal:

  1. Offer opportunities for professional growth and development. This can include training and development programs, mentoring and clear career progression paths. By investing in their staff’s professional growth, employers show they value their contributions and are committed to helping them reach their full potential. If you’re a Rootworks member looking for ideas or suggestions on how to appropriately manage staff and foster an environment that promotes professional growth, check out this Rootworks lesson on staff growth and development plans.
  2. Offer a competitive compensation and benefits package. This includes fair salaries and benefits such as remote work options, health insurance, retirement plans and paid time off. When employees feel they’re being fairly compensated and have access to valuable benefits, they’re more likely to feel satisfied with their job and stay with the company. Inside the staff management lesson linked above, Rootworks members can find a specific module that reviews how to best determine staff compensation and incentive plans.
  3. Create a positive company culture. Employers can foster a positive culture by encouraging open communication, promoting diversity and inclusion, and recognizing and rewarding employees for their contributions. This creates a sense of belonging and encourages employees to feel that they’re part of a team. Rootworks has an entire Business Model Basic dedicated to culture and the 4 C’s that can brighten any firm’s environment.
  4. Provide a healthy work-life balance. Employers should be flexible in terms of working hours and allow employees to take time off when needed. Employers should also encourage employees to unplug and disconnect from work-related activities during their free time. Properly delegating work so that the right people are working on the right projects is crucial to the happiness and success of your employees. Rootworks members can use the Rootworks guide on SMART goal setting to ensure your team members are not doing just any work, but the right work to balance their work and personal lives.
  5. Regularly communicate with employees. Regular communication with staff is crucial for understanding their needs and concerns and addressing them in a timely manner—and employers should make sure that they’re available to address any questions or concerns. If you don’t already have annual reviews, consider implementing them immediately. If you do have them, consider adding additional quarterly touch points like Rootworks’ 3-3-1 Meetings to check in with staff and ensure that their strengths and accomplishments are being recognized, along with identifying opportunities for them to improve.

When employers make the effort to implement these key practices to ensure their employees are satisfied, motivated and engaged in their work, they’ll be rewarded with a stable and productive workforce.

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