In order to remain independent as well as achieve long-term success, accounting firm partners must meet the challenges of the staff crisis for succession planning and having adequate staff capacity for growth. Firms may not be capable of achieving their short-term and long-term strategic goals and objectives if they fail to make the necessary changes within their organizations to create the proper culture and environment to retain quality and talented staff.
Developing a Staff-Centric Culture
How can firms retain the talent needed to support its client services, continue to grow their revenue base, and have a viable succession plan for the future? They must adopt a true staff-centric culture. Simply stated, a staff-centric culture is an array of interrelated comprehensive and customized policies, programs, attitudes, and behaviors that create the best possible environment in your firm to retain your most talented professionals.
The first step in creating a staff-centric culture is to develop a formal and documented staff retention plan. This plan should address the following retention factors:
- Career opportunities to the highest levels in a firm that is not top heavy.
- Fair and appropriate compensation, rewards, recognition, and bonus incentive systems.
- Respect for “quality of life” issues including a generous personal time off policy.
- Working with partners who conduct themselves professionally and act as good role models and mentors.
- Comfortable and contemporary working conditions in a desirable location.
- Formal career development programs, mentoring, and training at all levels.
- An appropriate amount of challenging and interesting work and on the job training.
- State of the art technology and appropriate training in leading edge software.
- A “teamwork” environment.
- Continuous and ongoing communications with staff, utilizing a variety of methods.
- The prestige of working for a firm that is held in high regard in the marketplace and is growing.
- A benefits package that is fair and competitive.
- A flexible work schedule and the ability to work remotely.
- Regular engagement/job performance reviews and feedback.
These retention factors are well known, but unfortunately seldom formalized through a staff retention plan that is implemented throughout the organization. Adapt to the marketplace and adopt a contemporary staff-centric culture.