The “Great Resignation” presented American employers with an immense challenge. Many professionals have enjoyed increased flexibility and improved work-life balance during the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting them to re-evaluate their jobs and careers. Not everyone liked what they found, and many began to look for greener pastures. In total, around 47.8 million Americans had quit their jobs by the end of 2021.
Almost every employment sector, including finance and accounting, is affected by the “Great Resignation”. And virtually every leader asks the same question: How can I keep my best employees from leaving?
The answer can be as simple as re-recruitment.
What is recruitment?
Put simply, Re-Recruiting recruits your current employees again. It’s about reminding them and (more importantly) showing them that they are valued by your organization and that their contributions further your mission and contribute to your company’s goals.
The main benefit of rehiring is that by being proactive, you help avert potential attrition and lost talent. Thinking of your best employees as top job candidates will keep them happier and less likely to leave them feeling burned out or switching to a competitor with better offers.
Recruitment doesn’t have to be complicated, and chances are you already have the tools to create a winning strategy.
It’s important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to reinstatement. To some extent, offerings need to be tailored to each employee’s unique needs and circumstances, so listening is key. With that in mind, here are some ways you can re-recruit your staff.
Salary and total compensation are crucial. Many accountants could be lured away by better pay. In fact, there is a growing gap between pay increases for taking on new jobs and those offered for staying in a role.
In addition, inflation is a major factor in employee frustration. In May, annual inflation in the US was 9.1%, the highest since 1981. Workers are feeling the effects of rising food, utility and gas costs, which means paychecks are thinner and employers are being pressured to increase salaries to offset these challenges. Standard increases are no longer sufficient. In fact, inflation is eroding their value. Instead, use the inflation rate as a guide and raise salaries 1-2% above that.
Other ways to retain employees through compensation include non-scheduled or surprise bonuses and improving pay equity. Make sure your salaries are commensurate with experience in all areas – men, women and staff from traditionally underserved groups should be paid in the same range.
Above all, don’t let your employees ask questions. If they come to you for a raise, it’s a clear indicator that they’re already unhappy and may be looking elsewhere. If budget is an issue, take some of your recruiting funds and use them to focus on employee retention. After all, retaining an outstanding employee is more cost-effective than hiring and onboarding a new employee.
As a result of the pandemic, employees no longer demand flexibility—they expect it. And if you can’t provide it, look for an employer who can. Everyone desires a healthier work-life balance, and employees who can achieve this are happier, more productive, and more likely to stay with their current employer.
The most obvious way to increase flexibility is to offer some form of remote work. At the height of the pandemic, nearly every accounting firm in America went remote in some form. Chances are your employees don’t need to be in the office every day to be effective, which is why hybrid schedules (some days in, some days out) can be a win-win for companies and their workforces.
Consider making fully remote and hybrid work a permanent fixture and allowing employees to do their work where they feel most comfortable and productive. You can also allow employees to adjust their working hours by offering compressed work weeks. All of this makes it easier for workers to balance the demands of their work and personal lives, resulting in less stress and more productivity and engagement.
You can also grant additional days off outside of the standard holidays. For example, some companies may do summer Fridays or offer extra time after tax season.
Rate your benefits
Ensuring you’re offering competitive benefits is another crucial step to retaining talent, and keeping your finger on the pulse of what your employees want in your rehire interviews is especially important.
In the wake of the pandemic, more and more employers are offering mental health services, such as B. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) that provide access to consultants. However, don’t make assumptions about what your employees want or need. When people prefer employee discounts to mindfulness classes, it’s not wise to tell them they’re wrong.
The benefits of financial planning are also growing in popularity as companies look to help their employees meet their budget goals. This can include things like planning sessions or even student loan assistance.
Childcare allowance is another benefit in demand, especially in the summer months. Some companies work with services that connect their employees with certified childcare workers so they have someone to look after their children in an emergency.
During your appraisal interviews, explain that you’re revising your benefits package, including evaluating your competition to ensure you’re filling any gaps.
Promote professional development
If you want to keep your employees, it’s important that they can see a future in your company, so you need to focus on professional development. If you are looking to fill an open position, consider internal candidates first. Promotion from within shows all your employees that growth is possible.
Mentoring programs are another effective way to invest in your employees, and recognizing their accomplishments — even if it’s just a simple “thank you” — can go a long way in making them feel valued.
All the “big resignation” talk may leave some CPA executives feeling at the mercy of market forces. But remember: Quitting is rarely an easy decision for a professional, no matter how talented. By recruiting them back to your company and getting them excited about the next stage in their career, you can make the decision to move on even harder.
Paul McDonald is Senior Executive Director at Robert Half, a talent solutions and recruitment firm. He frequently writes and speaks on topics such as hiring, the workplace, leadership, and career management. Over the course of more than 35 years in the human resources industry, he has advised thousands of corporate executives and job seekers on hiring and hiring.