Ever since I entered the accounting industry, local CPA societies would send out surveys asking what the top issues facing the profession were and without exception one of the top three would be staffing, specifically finding quality people. Finding and retaining quality team members has consistently been an issue since I can remember. Today, finding and retaining quality team members has become exponentially more difficult. However, the constant that was true then and continues to be true now, is that “YOU”, the leader of your business is 100% responsible for that result. Yes, that is correct – you are responsible for the culture in your organization. You are responsible for how people feel about work they are doing. You are responsible for communicating the values you and your team stand for. You are responsible for eliminating the occasional bad apple that can spoil the entire bunch. Until we as leaders take responsibility for the ultimate outcome of the values and culture of our organization, we do not have the ability to change it. Until we examine our actions to make the necessary changes needed, we will continue to get what we are getting. Below are some simple things you can do right now to make your workplace a better environment to be at:
Establish company values you and everyone creates and believes in. Integrity, kindness, compassion, and teamwork are great examples. Post these in areas with a lot of team visibility, such as break rooms, for all to see and be reminded.
Communicate these values to your team on a regular basis and recognize people for living these values.
Have regular meetings to communicate the daily, weekly, and monthly issues at hand and the challenges you face as a team.
Stop calling your team members “Staff”, “Employees”, etc. If you want them to feel a part of something bigger and included on your team, treat them that way!
Always be looking for team members that live your values. You can teach skills, but you can not teach values such as integrity.
Consider updating your website to be more inviting for future team members. Is your website boring and mundane, or does it say come join our team? We have fun, love what we do, and love who we do it with.
Stop procrastinating dealing with that team member that does not live by your values. This individual is bringing the rest of your team down, and it sets the standard of what is acceptable behavior in your organization.
Building a values-based culture is not easy, but it must be something you focus on and be one of your priorities. As a leader, I have spent countless hours reading and educating myself on ways to be more in tune with my team and to find ways to strengthen our culture. A good mentor of mine once said, “If you are not reading, you are not leading.”. It takes effort, but it will make all the difference in your business, your team, and your eventual bottom line.
Jeff Milligan, CPA | Managing Partner
Baker Milligan® 2022