Five ways to show your staff appreciation
In an increasingly competitive business world, the importance of showing gratitude and appreciation to staff members cannot be overstated. In fact, it can be used as a competitive advantage. This is especially true for accounting firms.
Whether it’s during the long hours of tax season or just a typical work day, showing your staff you appreciate them can go a long way. Through small acts of kindness and gratitude, your firm can reap big benefits in terms of staff engagement, productivity, and retention.
How to show staff appreciation
If you’re looking to make appreciation part of your firm’s growth strategy, here are five ways to show your staff how much you care.
- Prioritize well-being. When you invest in the well-being of your staff, the entire firm benefits. This is especially important if your firm runs lean in terms of headcount.
As accountants know all too well, the long hours and 24/7 demands of tax season (and beyond) can take a toll. Offering something as simple as a mental health day can symbolize your support and give staff members an opportunity to return to work recharged.
There are also many ways to use technology to prioritize your staff’s well-being while they are at work. If you’re still relying on outdated, manual processes, consider implementing tax and accounting software that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate workflow processes. Not only will you boost accuracy and optimize workflow, but you’ll save your staff the headaches and frustration that comes with menial tasks.
- Encourage deeper connections. Making time for individual conversations with colleagues, like a short chat or coffee break catch-up, can go a long way. Consider picking up the tab for staff meals, especially if they are coming in early or staying late. And be sure to take note of special occasions like birthdays and work anniversaries.
From a staff engagement standpoint, these simple acts of kindness or words of encouragement can strengthen relationships and build camaraderie. For many accounting firms, you may have known staff members and clients for many years. When you reinforce these connections through kind gestures, it is a mutually beneficial experience.
To further strengthen the relationship between staff and clients, consider moving to a value pricing model based on year-round advisory services. By eliminating billable hours, your firm can change the dynamic of the client relationship by laying out a clear scope of engagement throughout the year. For your staff, not having to mentally wrestle with billable hours can alleviate stress. And most importantly, shifting their focus to using their knowledge and experience to support clients can boost engagement.
- Acknowledge achievements. There’s nothing worse than working your tail off and not being recognized for it. When a staff member goes above and beyond, be sure to recognize their achievement. Whether in a team meeting or other staff channels, a quick shout-out or public acknowledgment can go a long way.
If public recognition isn’t your thing, consider sending cards or notes of appreciation to show gratitude for a job well done. A small gift card to a local restaurant or coffee shop is another great way to recognize hard work.
Remember: Your gesture doesn’t have to be expensive, but it can mean the world to your staff member that you’ve taken the time to recognize them—and they’ll be more willing to continue to work hard for you.
- Promote flexibility. Given the acceleration of remote work, it’s a no-brainer that working from home is here to stay. Offering flexible work schedules is another way to show your support and appreciation for staff. However, it is important to use this benefit effectively.
Technology enables staff and clients to share data and collaborate remotely via secure portals, making interactions with your firm seamless—whether you’re at home or in the office. Promoting flexible work schedules demonstrates that you trust your employees to get their work done no matter where they are.
That said, it is important to balance at-home and in-office work. Interactions at work can help staff members build a sense of community. The reduced separation between work and home life can feel like the work day is never-ending. Be sure not to overstep boundaries but instead encourage a well-balanced work schedule that incorporates positive habits and prioritizes trust.
- Offer opportunities for growth. Today’s job seekers are looking for meaningful work, growth opportunities, and a larger sense of purpose.
From a development standpoint, firms that offer “hands-on” training opportunities, along with an emphasis on community involvement initiatives, often have a competitive edge. Further, when it comes to providing a larger sense of purpose, consider offering your staff the ability to build niche practices, interact one-on-one with clients, and find new ways to help small business clients grow.
By creating a career path that encourages your staff members to grow along with your firm, you’ll demonstrate appreciation in a tangible way.
Appreciation as a competitive advantage
In today’s competitive world, appreciation is an invaluable and often overlooked tool. The simple act of recognizing and thanking team members for their hard work can reap big benefits. Creating an appreciative work environment that helps staff members grow is a competitive advantage that is sure to bring success—both personally and professionally.
So ask yourself, do you have a staff member to appreciate today?
Follow along with our Self-care blog series here for more tips and tricks on how to take care of your body and mind through self-care and make it through the busy season, with ease.