Think outside the books

With job mobility on the rise, hanging on to talented employees can be a challenge. So how can you build a workplace that encourages up-and-coming staff to stick around for the long haul?

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According to a recent international study by Deloitte1 , millennials — those born after 1982 — are regularly on the lookout for new professional opportunities. In fact, 44% of the millennials surveyed would like to leave their current employer within two years, with a quarter hoping to switch jobs within the next 12 months.

In a market that’s hungry for top talent, it’s more important than ever to attract and retain the right people ― and support as they develop the right skills to help your business thrive.

“The key is to engage your junior team members, right from the start,” said Helga Baxter, Managing Director of accounting and advisory firm Crosby Dalwood. “Each employee needs to feel that they’re contributing to the success of the business.”
So what steps should you take to ensure your team feel nurtured, valued and challenged?

1. Be a mentor

According to Baxter, mentoring and training are essential for ensuring that team members feel included and valued.

“By coaching junior team members, you engage them in the strategy, goals and values of the business,” she said. “As a result, they’ll be more invested in working to achieve your shared vision.”

The research shows that millennials who have a mentor are more than twice as likely to stay with their employer for at least five years. This highlights the importance of matching each junior employee with a suitable mentor from among your senior staff.

2. Encourage skill development

According to the study, only 28% of millennials believe their employer is making full use of their skill set. For those who plan to leave their organisation sometime soon, a lack of professional development opportunities is often the driving factor.
Baxter commented: “When graduates come out of university, they often don’t have a real understanding of financial advice and the different professional pathways that are open to them. It’s vital to create an individual plan and give each employee strategies for their own development, with long-term targets.”

By identifying each employee’s strengths and weaknesses, you’ll be able to identify areas they need to work on so they can excel in their roles.

3. Offer incentives

As Baxter noted, “Staff with the potential to become future leaders within the business need to know how to help the business grow. We believe in engaging even our most junior team members in setting new business targets.”

For Crosby Dalwood, this has included creating an incentive pool for the entire team. If they collectively exceed their profit targets, then everyone in the team reaps the rewards. The firm also presents monthly awards to staff who have gone above and beyond their regular duties.

4. Welcome staff input

Millennials are full of ideas ― and they want to be heard. A simple way to help them feel engaged and valued is to involve them in your business decisions.

“Many firms apply a top-down management style, but recently we’ve been encouraging the team to become more active in our decision-making,” said Baxter. “By listening to our team there’s more buy-in because everyone knows they have a voice.”

The Crosby Dalwood management regularly ask their employees to come up with ideas for ways to improve their services or reduce expenses — with prizes offered for the best suggestions.

5. Create a positive workspace

To build a supportive culture, it helps to have a working environment that encourages collaboration. When Crosby Dalwood recently moved offices, they took the opportunity to reinvent their workspace so accounting and advisory teams could work together in an open-plan setting. There’s also a café space where team members get together for lunch, along with a balcony where they enjoy monthly barbecues.

“We’re also making a conscious effort to bring different team members together in our meetings, so staff can get to know each other better and find new ways to collaborate,” Baxter said.

By following these simple steps to nurture and develop your internal talent now, your firm will be well-placed to meet the business challenges of tomorrow.

In Succession Planning Part 3, we’ll find out how you can attract the best young talent to your firm.

1 The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey: Winning Over the Next Generation of Leaders, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.