Project Manager Boomer Consulting Inc.
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What Matters Most to Today's Job Seekers

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Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, workers' expectations have changed, and firms that want to attract and retain top accounting talent should take note. In this article, Jacqueline Lombardo of Boomer Consulting explains how firms can provide benefits that will get the attention of rising talent. 

Nov 1st 2021
Project Manager Boomer Consulting Inc.
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In today's market, it can be hard to not only retain your top talent, but also to find and hire qualified and skilled candidates. From employees looking to make career changes to candidates considering job offers, workers are looking at more than just compensation. According to a new survey from staffing firm Accountemps, more than one-quarter of workers cited vacation time as the most important consideration, while corporate culture and the potential for career advancement came in close behind. In today's employment market, paying the highest salary isn't sufficient anymore. Organizations need to highlight the benefits that will attract top talent. Below, we look at four benefits that matter most to modern job seekers. 

Flexibility 

Work flexibility is an organization’s willingness to allow employees to choose how and when work gets done. What does this flexibility look like? 

  • Flexible schedules. This allows employees to arrive and depart at times that work for their life rather than the traditional 9-to-5 schedule. For example, an employee may want to work from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. to allow them to attend their kids' afterschool activities. Another employee may want to work from 10a.m. to 6p.m., allowing them to help elderly parents in the mornings.
  • Telecommuting. If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it's that work does not always have to be done in an office. Some employees may want to work in an office five days a week; others may work three days a week in the office and two days at home. Telecommuting can also be a huge benefit during inclement weather.
  • Condensed schedules. A condensed schedule fits in the same amount of work over a shorter amount of time. While it is important for employers to be flexible, it is equally important for employees to be flexible. For example, during tax season, an employee might be in the office working five days a week, but they telecommute or have a condensed schedule post-tax season. Flexibility does not have to be all or nothing.  

Culture 

Your organization's culture can either strengthen or undermine your organization's overall objectives. Creating a positive culture drives engagement and retention, impacts employee happiness and satisfaction and attracts talent. Your organization must define what it wants to be by:

•Leading by example 

•Not tolerating management styles that threaten employees or create a toxic work environment 

•Creating policies and procedures that fit your working environment •Defining and communicating a clear mission, vision and set of values 

Your organization's culture is always changing; it is important to step back and observe, evaluate and define your culture. Your organization's culture must be lived by your leadership and part of your firms' strategy. 

Career Advancement 

Career advancement is an important element of employee satisfaction and retention. Having clear opportunities for career advancement can motivate employees as they have tangible goals to work toward. What is hard about creating defined career advancement paths is that advancement looks different from employee to employee. Here are some career advancement ideas: 

  • Career path to partner. Too often, the path to partner is unclear. Start being transparent with your employees. If someone has the skills to be a partner one day, start talking to them about it now. This doesn't mean you have to offer them partner right now, but explain how they can get to a partner level, what skills they need to focus on and what partner expectations are. Creating transparency about the benefits and challenges of becoming a partner will help your employees. •Career path for non-partners. Not everyone wants to be a partner within an accounting firm. What does it look like at your firm if you are a CPA, but your goal is not to be a partner one day? What does that career path look like?
  • Career path for non-CPAs. Does your firm have a career path for your marketing team, IT department and human resources department? 
  • Customized career development plans. How can employees expand their skills and take on additional responsibilities? 

Acknowledge accomplishments through raises and promotions and focus on their professional development goals. It is impotent that you look at all positions within your firm and have clear opportunities for your employees. It will not be one-size-fits-all. But if you are transparent and help employees determine what career advancement means to them, you can help set your employees and your firm up for success. 

Salary 

At the end of the day, salaries will still be a huge factor for any job seeker. Employees will feel more invested in their careers if they feel they are valued by their organization. When determining salaries, it is important to consider: 

  • Market averages. It's critical to be aware of the market averages for talent based on different geographical regions. Cost of living is a major factor candidates consider when looking at opportunities.
  • Experience and education. The more education and experience someone has, the higher their expected compensation is.
  • Skills. It's important to consider a candidate's key skills when factoring in compensation. 
  • Supply and demand. If you are recruiting in an area where a skill set is in demand, be prepared to compensate more. When it comes to attracting top talent to your organization, it is important to show candidates what is in it for them. Depending on where people are in their lives, careers and families, what is important for one person may not be as important to another. 

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Geni Whitehouse
By Geni Whitehouse
Nov 1st 2021 16:01 EDT

Jacqueline, this is great information about WHAT and HOW we do the work that we do in firms, but none of this matters if we don't help people connect to WHY we do it and allow them to do work that makes an impact. I believe we accountants do this work so we can help make companies better. We need to feel like we are making a difference every day. I think that is the challenge that we face as a profession - How do we deliver actionable insights (not static history or legally compliant documents) that help our clients create better businesses - from a financial, customer, operational, and people perspective. The tools and technologies finally exist to support us in doing this work - now we need to learn how to apply our skills in different ways.

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