Retaining valuable staff members is becoming increasingly difficult in today's competitive environment. In addition to ideas about flexible work arrangements, compensation and benefits, consider these recommendations for retaining valuable employees:
Re-recruit top performers before they get a better offer. Retaining valued staff means being proactive. Remind top performers of their value to your firm and discuss opportunities with them.
Implement a comprehensive mentoring program. Mentoring may involve one-on-one relationships with someone close in experience level to the employee or in a group setting led by managers and partners whose compensation and advancement is tied to their success in developing those they mentor. Other examples include mentoring rings composed of two team leaders and up to 12 high-potential individuals who meet confidentially once a month. These groups are geared toward helping employees meet their professional aspirations and enhance their positive attributes.
Offer better career visibility. Current and prospective employees need a clear vision of their career potential. According to the AICPA’s Private Companies Practice Section 2006 Top Talent Study , 80% of young professionals said growth opportunities are the primary reasons they join a firm (see http://tinyurl.com/3an6tn for more information). This may mean being creative about providing opportunities for career advancement in firms where openings due to attrition are not available.
Explore various work options for retirement-age employees. Rethink policies on mandatory retirement. Develop new work arrangements such as project-based roles, phased retirements or cyclical work periods to retain the knowledge and expertise of staff nearing retirement age.
Use explicit ranking systems tied to incentives. An individualized approach to development enhances career satisfaction of top performers and increases the likelihood that they will stay with the firm. Transparent ranking systems classify employees into quadrants based on performance and potential. Development plans are tailored to those in each quadrant to help them improve.
Consider changes in managerial style to accommodate younger workers. The values and expectations of businesses and managers may need to be altered to become more in tune with those of newer members of the work force.
Emphasize cross-training and diverse experiences to build skills and maintain employee interest. Cross-training develops new skills and improves employee motivation and job interest while creating a more versatile team.
Re-emphasize the CPA exam’s importance. Committing to a career path in accounting includes becoming a CPA. Employees who have their company’s support in obtaining a CPA (in terms of reimbursement and providing time and resources) are more likely to remain loyal to the firm.
Plan for succession and knowledge transfer. Managing succession planning through the transfer of knowledge from experienced employees to younger members of the work force helps professionals see opportunities for advancement.
Broaden the concept of retention. Retention today means expanding the definition of what a long-term employer-employee relationship means. Workers may move in and out of employment with a firm over the course of their career. The concept means valued professionals can maintain a long-term relationship with former employers.
Source: Charting the Future of the Accounting, Finance and Audit Professions, The Robert Half International Financial Leadership Council, www.financialleadershipcouncil.com.