As we settle into 2024, we are finally seeing some small signs of a cooldown in the labor market, but the competition for top-tier Accounting and Finance talent remains fierce. Savvy leaders should continue to focus heavily on their retention strategies with a particular emphasis on employee engagement.
Setting your resolutions for the year?
Keep these four tips in mind to help retain top talent in the year ahead.
Bolster Company Culture
When it comes to improving company culture, organizations benefit from having a clearly defined higher purpose. Harvard Business Review observes: “Employees have to see a connection between their day-to-day work and the organization’s greater purpose.” In fact, many employees now rank a company’s purpose and culture as important as their own paycheck when it comes to satisfaction.
This begins with transparent communication of purpose, values, and goals. Each employee needs to understand and see how their work contributes to core values and the greater good of the organization.
Servant leadership and offering volunteer programs to support local or global communities is another way to connect purpose and work.
Company culture also improves through:
- Increasing employee autonomy and responsibility
- Providing new leadership opportunities and work tasks that cover diverse interests
- Offering holistic well-being programs that include physical and mental health
- Promoting a team atmosphere
- Giving and soliciting feedback for improvement
Promote Cross-Functional Collaboration
Cross-departmental connections also promote engagement and can increase retention. These might be called networks, task forces or internal working groups. They are de facto builders of diversity and inclusion, bringing together employees with common interests or values, regardless of where they fall on the organization chart.
Actively look for opportunities to create cross-functional groups, such as the rollout of a new organization-wide initiative, planning for company events, development of a health and wellness program, etc.
These avenues of camaraderie offer rewarding ways for employees to become invested in the success of their peers, and for this investment to be reciprocated. That’s a win for employees and a win for your organization.
Be Open About Compensation
The Great Resignation and the ongoing War for Talent brought a lot of deserved attention to compensation levels. We saw many employees jump ship for higher salaries with a new company (leading many to The Great Regret). Companies across every industry and sector had to take a step back and closely evaluate their compensation strategies.
Flash forward to 2024: Increasing salaries does not equate to boosted engagement — it’s more about trust and communication. Employees want to know that their employers are committed to fair pay. Leaders need to understand the market. Upgrade compensation for all-stars if their current salaries don’t align with current trends. But, more importantly, be transparent about how salaries are determined. Provide resources, such as ARG’s 2024 Finance and Accounting Salary Guide, so that your team members know their pay is in line with industry standards.
Periods of change also are the most important time to be hyper-communicative with your employees. Keep the team apprised of changes in the organization. Let them know how the company is doing and what plans the company has to weather any potential storm. If employees don’t know what’s going on, it’s human nature to imagine the worst.
Likewise, take every opportunity to celebrate wins, recognize team milestones and accomplishments, and always make a connection between the company’s success and the team’s contributions.
With a softening economy, global turmoil, elections and other factors shaping the economy, the year ahead is riddled with questions. What’s certain? Keeping your most valuable team members close will always be a winning strategy.
- Four Strategies for Keeping Your Team Engaged (ARG)
- A CFO Action Plan for 2024 (CFO.com)
- CFOs’ Balancing Act: Juggling Priorities to Build Resilience (McKinsey)