Some employee turnover is inevitable (and even good), but it can become a problem if you have to replace valuable employees too often. Recruiting and hiring is a time-intensive, expensive process. The average accounting practice spends thousands of dollars recruiting, hiring, and training every new employee. It can be especially difficult to train young employees with less experience, and since workers in their 20s (including Millennials, who now make up the largest portion of the U.S. workforce) tend to change jobs more frequently than older workers, you’ll likely be training young new employees frequently. The solution is to adapt your practice culture in a way that attracts and retains young talent. So what can you do to retain millennial employees for more than a few years? Keeping your compensation packages competitive with strategic bonuses and raises is a must, but we have two suggestions that don’t involve breaking out your checkbook.
When questioned about what they value in a job, millennial employees consistently point to work-life balance and flexibility as one of their top considerations. Want to make your practice a more appealing workplace for Millennials? Consider adopting a more flexible work model—such as the option to work remotely and a flexible PTO policy.
In an industry built around the billable hour, flexibility-focused policies may be uncomfortable for many tax pros to consider. But as Millennials become a more influential part of the workforce, the dominance of the billable hour is losing ground to a value-added mindset—that is, the value of the task being performed is more important than the time required to perform the task. Millennial employees want to be valued for the work they perform, not the hours they spend behind their office desk.
Most millennial employees are in the early stages of their careers. Very few of them will work for a single employer for the entire course of that career, and they know it. They also know that to be valuable to future employers, they will need to expand their current skill set. They want to be mentored. Put them in situations where they have the opportunity to grow as young professionals. Teach them leadership skills. Let them be a part of decision-making processes.Your young employees will eventually take the skills they learn at your practice and apply them somewhere else, but that shouldn’t stop you from helping them grow. If you don’t help them grow, they will find another employer that will. Conversely, if you provide a workplace that challenges your young employees and helps them develop their professional skills, you won’t have to convince them to stay. They’ll want to stay.
Want to read more about how to adjust your practice to the growing millennial demographic? Here’s your guide to Understanding the Millennial Employees in your Accounting Firm.