Today’s accountants want more insight regarding their roles and companies, but research indicates employers aren’t providing this information frequently enough. In the Robert Half Management Resources survey, more than half of professionals said they would like more visibility as to how their contributions affect their company’s bottom line.
Employee communication is a vital component of your staff management plan, so it’s worth your while to step up efforts in providing staff members with the knowledge they desire. Doing so benefits you as well, as a morale booster and engagement enhancer that leads to greater productivity.
The trickle-down effect of employee communication
There are many reasons employees want to know what’s going on with both the company and their individual career paths. Information regarding the organization’s financial performance gives workers a sense of ownership, making them more engaged and productive.
Likewise, teams who can connect the dots between their duties and the bottom line are able to make more informed decisions — and even propose more efficient workflows. The greater accountants’ business acumen, the better they can innovate and exercise sound judgment.
But when you leave employees puzzled about the accounting firm or their futures, they’re more apt to lose interest in their jobs, which can lead to poor productivity, dissatisfaction and greater turnover.
How to boost employee communication
Don’t leave your accounting staff in the dark. Here are ways you can share information to help bolster your team and give them the details they want.
Regarding company matters
- Provide updates promptly. No one likes to be caught off guard. As soon as you’re allowed to share news of events like restructurings or mergers or acquisitions, call a meeting to inform the team. Your staff should never first hear such announcements through the media or their social networks.
- Make meetings a conduit of information. Set aside time during your regular meetings to talk about the business’s present and future. This means updating the team on the firm’s financial performance, next year’s targets, plans for new services and so forth. Wrap up with time for Q&A to show employees their concerns matter.
- Talk specifics. Have individual conversations with staff members about how their roles contribute to the organization’s success. These conversations should take place, at a minimum, during regular check-ins and formal performance reviews.
- Be inclusive. Involve all levels of workers in conversations regarding company matters — not just top talent or senior-level staff. Also invite interim accounting professionals to join the conversation. After all, you could wind up hiring them on a full-time basis.
Regarding the future
- Set career pathing sessions. Have you ever discussed employees’ futures with the firm? If not, now is the time. Ask where they envision themselves in three, five or 10 years. Then, have them create a hypothetical resume for the job they want down the line, including the additional skills and experiences they’ll need to get there.
- Address skills gaps. Discuss how employees can reach their professional goals. These pathways could include mentorships, professional development, another degree or certification, or even a lateral career move. Also highlight specific steps you and the firm will take to help staff members reach their objectives.
- Check in often. The annual performance review isn’t gone but is showing its age. Today’s employees, especially millennials, appreciate more frequent feedback. Meet with staff on a biweekly or monthly basis to review their achievements and evaluate how they’re doing in terms of meeting their career milestones.
Effective employer-employee communication doesn’t just happen on its own. It takes serious time and effort. But the more your staff know about where the firm is headed and what their role is in its future, the more invested they’ll be in their jobs. They’ll be happier at work, too.
Paul McDonald is senior executive director at Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm. He writes and speaks frequently on hiring, workplace and career-management topics. Over the course of more than 30 years in the recruiting field, McDonald has advised thousands of company leaders and job seekers on how to hire and get hired.