A high-performing team is a cornerstone of success for any company. Discover the best tips for boosting your team’s motivation and commitment.
An accounting firm can’t possibly build lasting success if its employees aren’t going all-in. Your firm offers a range of valuable services that need to work in cohesion to provide your clients with the results they’re looking for.
It’s just that many firm owners focus way too much on their clients. As a result, they don’t pay enough attention to what’s happening within the firm. After a while, this often results in a host of culture and engagement issues.
You might notice that your team isn’t as motivated as before. People might feel out of place and completely disengage. Unless you deal with these issues as soon as they arise, you’re putting your firm at risk.
If you’re afraid that this might be happening to your accounting business, I have great news. There’s a lot that you can do to keep your employees happy, motivated, and committed to doing their best work.
That’s how you can turn your firm into an ATM machine that never runs out of money because it gets outstanding results.
Our client Bill Hullum is well on his way. Bill recently closed an $11,250 deal in just ’16 hours of teamwork,’ as he puts it.
If this sounds appealing, you’re going to want to check out the following key factors for keeping your employees engaged.
1. Your Firm’s Vision
What your firm’s biggest, most ambitious goal?
Does everyone in the firm know it? More importantly, do they believe in the future that you’re trying to create?
If not, this is one of the core issues that you need to deal with.
Every member of your accounting practice needs to move in the same direction. Otherwise, they’re not going to think beyond the 9-5 work that they have to do. Some employees might even end up hating their job and having to show up every day.
To stop this from happening, define a clear vision that your whole team can believe in. Make your employees a part of something bigger than themselves.
In doing so, you’ll create a common goal that everyone’s in alignment with. Make sure that every team member understands their contribution to the vision and, above all, get them on the same page.
2. Strong Leadership
Running an accounting firm comes with great responsibilities. As the leader, you’re someone that everyone looks up to. If your people can’t rely on you to navigate the ship, they won’t be so willing to put their all into rowing it.
In other words, you need to lead by example and show people what engagement and commitment look like in practice.
Doing so will show people that you’re a true leader rather than just a boss. You need to be as committed to the firm’s goals as you expect the employees to be.
So, rather than just setting goals and delegating job, play an active role in your firm’s growth. When your team sees how much you care, they’ll start to care much more as well.
Also, don’t forget the key component of successful leadership, which is nurturing your team’s skills. You need to support your employees on their way to achieving big goals, not just telling them what needs to get done.
Invest in training, education, and everything else that will equip your team with the tools that they need to thrive.
3. High-Performing Culture
Company culture is a key component of all businesses, which of course include accounting firms. Unfortunately, many firm owners don’t know what it takes to establish a winning culture. In fact, many of them may not even know what makes a winning culture.
The truth is, there’s a lot that goes into keeping everyone motivated within the company culture. For the most part, this involves the creation of a stimulating and vibrant environment.
The accounting industry deals with lots of mundane and repetitive tasks. It’s not surprising that many accountants don’t feel challenged enough to get excited about their work. Whatever edge that they possessed dulls over time, leading to disengagement.
To create a high-performing culture, you must continue to find new ways to challenge your people such that they can evolve and thrive. Your employees should feel a sense of achievement for completing each project.
Are these the characteristics of your culture?
Relax, the following is one thing that you can work on right now.
4. Quarterly Themes
What can your firm and people look forward to in the next quarter?
Are you implementing new technologies? Adding new services? Or maybe there’s a demanding project that’s going to take up most of the following quarter?
Whatever it is, make it your quarterly theme and have fun with it.
For starters, you can dress your office up and have a party that celebrates the quarterly theme. It’s a great way to present the upcoming challenges as exciting rather than daunting. You could give the theme a fun factor, gamify the experience, or do anything else that can make the work more enjoyable.
You’ll be very surprised by the impact of something as simple as a quarterly theme. It can get your team pumped up and raring to go.
Of course, you’ll still have to focus on the actual work involved. Set daily metrics for tracking purposes. Your people should be able to follow their progress and get recognized for doing amazing work.
5. Full Transparency
Do your team members know the result that they’re creating for your company? Do you disclose your firm’s metrics like cash flow and profit?
If your team is in the dark regarding the firm’s results, they wouldn’t have any clue about their contribution either. As you can imagine, this makes it hard to stay engaged and committed to the work that your team is doing.
Besides, they’re accountants who can figure out the financials if they so wish. Hiding this information creates an atmosphere of mistrust that can only hurt your culture. You can’t expect your employees to be honest with you if you’re not willing to reciprocate.
Stop hiding your financial metrics and bring them out in the open. Not only will this make your people trust you more, but it will also give them insight into your firm’s KPIs. Their roles will be much clearer if they know what metrics to focus on.
6. Daily/Weekly Competitions
Another way to shake things up and galvanise the crew is through the promotion of competitiveness in your culture. As mentioned, people appreciate getting challenged, which is why you should promote healthy competition.
There are so many ways to ignite your team’s competitive spirit. It can be as simple as rewarding those who managed to complete a task first. The rewards don’t have to be anything big either, just enough to get people motivated.
Of course, you can make the challenges and rewards as exciting as you see fit. When things are a bit slower, for example, you can come up with activities for the team that don’t have anything to do with projects.
Remember to keep it fun and offer rewards that appeal to your employees. Think about what makes your team happy and go from there.
When everyone is aware of their role in the firm’s success, your people should be willing to hold themselves accountable for their action. If not, that’s going to make it hard to identify problems and their causes, preventing you from making the needed changes.
For this reason, you must make accountability a cornerstone of your culture. That means you should make it clear that mistakes aren’t catastrophic. You’re not going to throw a fit and there’s no punishment waiting for the employee who confesses.
Everyone fails on occasion. What matters is that your employees admit their mistakes and commit to doing better in the future.
Therefore, you and your team should embrace mistakes as a necessary part of success. While you’re certainly not encouraging them, there’s no need to punish either. Perhaps only if you see that there’s no motivation to work smarter and harder.
8. Frequent Face Time
How often do you hold team meetings? What do you discuss during those meetings?
Many accountants hold uncomfortable long meetings that don’t offer much value. If you’ve ever noticed your people nodding off during a meeting, you might be guilty.
Make the meetings short and effective. Discuss the objectives, potential issues, and important matters that your team should focus on. Keep it straight to the point and don’t linger.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should cut face time to a minimum. Even though it’s desirable to keep the meetings short, you’ll want to keep them regular and frequent. That’s how you can get the necessary feedback and motivate your people directly.
People are the heart and soul of your accounting practice. No technology or system can replace them today or anytime soon. Because of this, you need to put the effort into keeping your employees happy and engaged.
As you can see, there’s a lot that you can do to make this happen. Start applying the tips as described above and build an environment where everyone can thrive.
Here’s a hard-hitting look that might interest you in your quest to grow your firm:
The Accountants Strategy Roadmap will expose your firm’s strengths and weaknesses.