Talent is the foundation and lifeblood of an organization. It is the most essential component for current and future sustainable success and growth. Firms that are successful at attracting talent have figured out the “secret sauce” in their recruiting process. But how do you differentiate yourself during the recruiting process?
It begins and ends with the candidate experience. This is all-encompassing and offers the candidate visibility into what he/she should expect if they were to join. This should consist of timely communication and engagement throughout the process, along with the opportunity to meet multiple employees at different levels (both tenured and newer employees) who are willing to share their experiences and offer their insights into your culture and organizational structure. Additionally, a streamlined interview process that minimizes gaps between interviews, is accommodating and yields a timely decision-making process is also key. You have one opportunity to get the candidate experience right. A favorable first impression is often the difference between the candidate selecting your firm or your competitor.
Understanding what candidates desire in a firm is equally important. Most candidates are motivated by several factors; how they prioritize them may differ. Candidates tend to concentrate on the following:
- Inclusive culture
- Clear path for ongoing career advancement
- Work-life balance
- Sense of belonging
- Feeling valued
- Challenging work in a preferred discipline
- Working in a growing, yet stable organization
Organizations must understand what the candidate truly values in a job. The interview process presents an opportunity for both the candidate and the firm to perform due diligence on each other. It is a fact-finding mission that should be an open dialogue, not a Q&A. Transparency by both parties significantly increases the likelihood of a successful hire.
The candidate decides to join your firm, so the hard work is done, right? No. The real challenge lies in retaining your talent. How do the best firms retain employees? They deliver on what they advertised and promised during the interview process and more. If they fail to deliver on their promises, employees WILL LEAVE as trust is broken and it fractures any loyalty to the organization.
Accounting firms with the lowest turnover demonstrate all or most of the following characteristics:
- They are focused on successful employee integration. Performing check-ins within the first few months of the employee starting will help to ensure the experience has been favorable.
- Leadership is invested in employees’ success and ongoing development (continued education/training and career mentorship).
- Leadership shares a consistent and clear communication strategy around the firm’s vision.
- Rewards and recognition are a key ingredient for retention.
- There is a correlation between compensation, promotion opportunities and value derived. No employee wants to feel that the firm is squeezing the last bead of sweat out of them to improve margins.
- They provide flexibility and a reasonable work-life balance, which lends itself to positive mental health. Employees value their life outside the office.
- They maintain the optimal number of resources to ensure they are not over-burdening employees.
- They hire the RIGHT talent (high integrity and empathetic people) who align with the firm’s culture; diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy; and overall core values. Employees notice the firm’s commitment to hiring talent.
- They offer a pleasant environment. Employees want to work with people they like, and it helps with retention.
Recruiting and retention are woven together in a tapestry, and the most successful firms excel at both.