Most accounting firms are suffering from the same things these days: how do you keep your staff around? With jobs so easy to find, especially in the accounting industry, employers need to find new ways to encourage employees to develop career commitments.
Development of a mentoring program can go a long way in helping staff see that you are serious about helping develop their careers. Partner new staff up with members of your staff that have been around longer, including partners, to help figure out where your new staff member is going to best succeed.
Each employee is going to be different. Try to get the best performance out of them by fitting them into the right niche. Everybody is going to have to do their fair share of tax and audit, but what about consulting services? Part of what makes partners so valuable to each other is that often each of them specializes in another area. Encourage new staff to investigate an area that they'd eventually like to work in and then help in their education of that service. The additional benefit to you is that new staff tends to bond with each other and share information readily. By introducing them each to new services, you are going a long way to teaching them about cross-selling services.
Don't forget about marketing. Often it isn't until a staff member is higher up in the ranks that they are encouraged to start working on their referral base and networking techniques. While your staff needs to be busy learning the technical end of the business, it's easier to instill an attitude earlier instead of later. Let them know that bringing in clients is going to be important to their future and help them learn how to do it.
Each mentoring program is going to be different depending on the firm and what the culture is like. However, working with staff from the beginning will help show that your firm is a place where they can develop a career commitment.