As firm owners, we have heard the messaging over the last few years from voices like Simon Sinek and Adam Grant: Employees must come first and customers are not always right. We’ve all seen the recruitment strategies to get bodies in chairs in larger organizations, with signing bonuses, unlimited PTO, and promises of unrealistic growth opportunities.
This has been a stressful time on practices that want to grow, while also trying to provide consistency and opportunity to long-term staff. I have learned a lot from this workplace disruption, but most importantly, I’ve learned how to retain the right employees.
Provide Growth Pathways
Employees must understand how they are going to grow. To combat the companies that over promise or offer positions for people who are not ready to serve in those roles, we instead created a “Girl Scout” model of growth. We do not have time requirements in our positions. Instead, we have task-based accomplishments where employees can self-serve through shadowing, internal and external QuickBooks and industry certifications, and the ability to show they have mastered a task. Compensation growth is also transparent so employees can take ownership over where they want to be financially.
Always Be Learning
The key that we have found with high-producing employees is that if they get bored, they will leave. There cannot be a ceiling. If someone has learned everything they can in a role, we pivot, and add in leadership or soft skills growth. For example, I have a very high-performing senior consultant on our team who does not want to go into management. She has learned everything she can about managerial accounting, and QuickBooks functions and workflows. When I recognized the itch she was having to expand her knowledge, we introduced an additional QuickBooks app add-on software and asked her to become the expert on staff. The specialization and continued investment in education keeps her motivated.
Benefits are sometimes more important than pay because they describe your work culture. Work from home has always been a thing, but it’s been a thing for years with Fourlane; we are 100% remote. However, you can neither expect a creative mind to live down the street from you, nor want to stay put for their whole life. Flexibility in location removes the work restriction on living the life they want. Ancillary benefits such as home loan assistance, gym reimbursement, adoption and fertility assistance, or college loan reimbursement speaks to what you value in them as a person. If you can find a way to include family in your benefits, do it. We send a gift to all parents with kids under 10 once a quarter. The kids are excited, but it is also an activity for the parents to do with them. We are hoping they hear that family time is important and we support it.
It Takes Time
These are just a few ideas on retaining your employees. It took a long time for our firm to figure each one out. Start with one goal for improving retention to take one step forward. The loyalty you will build are well worth the efforts.
This blog is a paid partnership with Intuit.