While talent acquisition professionals are having their own set of issues trying to find better ways to attract and engage top talent across the country – millennials in particular – accounting firms struggle with their own unique set of challenges.
According to a 2016 Gallup survey, “only 29 percent of millennials are engaged in the workplace, meaning they are emotionally and behaviorally connected to their job and company.” This statistic reveals a growing trend among millennials to seek purpose and connection in the workplace.
In recent years, interest in how millennial career patterns affect the accounting industry has peaked. With “60 percent of millennials saying they are open to different job opportunities,” it begs the question: How can “old school” accounting firms provide an engaging atmosphere for millennials that drives loyalty and retention?
You Want Millennials Engaged: Here’s What You Should Know
Today’s younger generation of CPAs are highly motivated. They tend to thrive on professional development, engage in social issues, and value a healthy work/life balance. Companies that don’t interact with millennials in these ways run the risk of losing top talent and the significant financial investment spent cultivating young talent.
To many firms, millennials’ desires feel disconnected from the everyday. However, firms that fail to meet in the middle, and interact with millennials, do see a rise in turnover. Consequently, the increased turnover rates have a real impact on the economy; Gallup estimates that “millennial turnover due to lack of engagement costs the US economy $30.5 billion annually.”
What Millennials Want From Their Workplace
How can your firm create a millennial-friendly habitat? Here are four essentials millennials want from their workplace.
1. The Ability to Call (Some of) Their Own Shots
This is perhaps the single-most important factor millennials take into consideration when deciding whether to stay with a company. Millennials strive for a balance between their professional and personal lives.
Millennials want flexible work schedules, better parental leave, the ability to work from home, and more lenient policies on paid time off. They want to feel like they have some autonomy over their life, despite where they rank in the corporate structure. Firms that offer this balance give millennials the chance to advance their careers while simultaneously pursuing personal goals.
2. An Employer That Lends a Helping Hand
Now more than ever, people are more likely to be passionate about their job when they know they’re making a positive impact. They’re also more likely to stay with a company that participates in the broader community – beyond an annual display of corporate giving.
This can range from performing pro-bono work, occupying green-certified office buildings, or advancing programs to retain women and minorities in the profession. A firm that shows it cares about its employees’ concerns helps employees stay motivated to expand their social and professional role within the firm.
3. Someone That Invests in Them
Millennials want to climb the corporate ladder earlier in their careers. They are ambitious and aspire to continually learn more to improve their professional persona. Therefore, they thrive on professional development opportunities, such as additional training or certification classes.
Firms that invest in their staff by offering such opportunities reap the benefits by having their staff invest their expertise and hard work back into the firm. Furthermore, companies that offer mentorship and networking opportunities allow younger employees to approach career advice in a less formal atmosphere while building a wider connection to the firm.
4. Stay on Your Toes
In the same way that technology continues to impact business practices, so do the dynamics of different generations interacting in the workforce. As a result, it’s important to not only keep up to date with industry trends and changes, but to also be aware of internal changes that should be made to address the diverse needs and wants of each age group.
Although the nature of the accounting profession has always encouraged turnover, firms should look to reshape company culture to engage the growing number of millennials in today’s workforce.