If you’re hoping to grow your accounting business, employee engagement could be your secret weapon. When employees are actively engaged with their jobs, they tend to be happier, more productive, and more likely to stick around — all things that help your company thrive. Not sure where to start? Try taking your cues from the biggest accounting firms in the world.
How to Motivate Employees: Ideas From Deloitte
As one of the biggest professional services firms in Canada, Deloitte has more than 8,000 employees. To keep all of those workers happy, the company offers a mix of big, cultural initiatives and small, but meaningful employee perks. If you’re ready to do the same in your company, here are some ways you can use Deloitte’s ideas to engage your workers.
Personal Care Days
Deloitte understands that work-life balance is important. To make sure that their employees have time to take care of their own needs, they offer personal care days and family care days. You can follow Deloitte’s lead by allowing room for flexibility in employees’ schedules. If you can’t afford paid leave, consider unpaid time off. Alternatively, you could offer flexible working arrangements. No matter which option you choose, you’re showing employees that you care about them as professionals and people.
Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion are a big deal at Deloitte. To make sure that everyone feels welcome and valued, the company uses Deloitte Communities—support networks for workers in different minority groups. Each community provides coaching and guidance for members. More importantly, they educate the rest of the company about the issues they face, which builds awareness and understanding.
If you want to follow suit, you can take small steps to create a more inclusive workplace. Make sure that everyone has a voice, and that minority opinions get fair consideration. You might also encourage employees to share the struggles they face, and help them find mentors with similar backgrounds. Keep in mind not just ethnic minorities need support. Deloitte’s communities include groups for dads, women and baby boomers.
When an employee at Deloitte wants to take a class or get a certification, the company pays part or all of the cost. Employees know that the company is invested in their success, so they’re more likely to be motivated and loyal.
As a small accounting business, you may not have the budget to cover education programs for every employee. Instead, you might bring in teachers for a skills-development workshop, or buy a subscription for an online learning platform such as Lynda.com.
How to Use KPMG’s Employee Engagement Strategies
KPMG provides audit, tax, and advisory services at more than 40 locations around Canada. The company’s 6,000+ employees enjoy the Total Rewards benefits package, which includes:
Recognition for Employees
KPMG believes in recognition—so strongly, in fact, that they’ve made it a pillar of their culture. With the Thanks and Spotlight programs, employees can recognize each other for a job well done. You don’t need an official program to borrow this idea. All you need to do is make a point to mention great work whenever you see it. To take it a step further, encourage your workers to recognize each other. Do they have a hard time vocalizing their appreciation? Try a “Secret Santa” game where employees leave each other surprise notes of thanks. Recognition reminds your staff that their work matters, which can make them feel more connected to your mission.
Mental Health Support
KPMG knows that when workers’ mental health is strong, they’re better able to focus and stay motivated at work. To that end, they help pay for mental health services. While you may not be able to match their $2,000 per-employee budget, you can create a balanced, supportive environment. To start, it might be helpful to bring in a trainer to help your employees recognize the signs of stress, depression and employee burnout. This is especially important during tax time, when your staff is more prone to stress. The following are other things you can do to promote better mental health at work:
- Set manageable workloads
- Provide ways to resolve conflicts
- Clearly define your employees’ responsibilities
Do you have service-minded employees? Follow KPMG’s example and find ways to support their volunteer work. You might do as KPMG does and make donations to your employees’ favorite charities. If that’s not financially feasible, you can find other ways to support your community. Try letting your team pick one volunteer activity a month — then, participate as a group. You could also spearhead a company fundraiser and split the funds among your workers to donate as they please. In addition to the warm and fuzzies that come with helping others, your employees can feel proud to work for a community-minded company.
Employee Engagement Ideas From PricewaterhouseCoopers
A global powerhouse, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is no stranger to employee engagement. This massive company encourages connection and motivation with a series of well-organized employee perks and benefits.
The accounting world can feel overwhelming, especially when you’re just starting out. PwC helps its employees stay engaged and active by providing a career coach. This person stays with the employees as they grow, offering guidance and helping them find ways to move up. You can use the same concept in your firm, even if you only have one or two employees. Instead of a formal program, which can be expensive, you might try a more personal approach. At the beginning of each year, meet with your employees one-on-one to set professional goals. Then, find ways to help them achieve each one. You could allow them to take on new duties, for example, or reach out to friends in the industry to act as mentors.
Encourage Employee Feedback
In an effort to find the best ideas and approaches, PwC encourages employees to speak up and speak out. In fact, company leadership loves it when employees challenge the status quo. That means that workers feel empowered to offer innovative ideas, no matter what their level.
If you’re looking for a free way to engage your employees, this type of open communication is a great option. All you need to do is encourage honest feedback at every opportunity. More importantly, you need to show your employees that you truly want their input by listening carefully, considering each idea seriously, and implementing the ones that work. When employees feel safe, they can offer insights that make your company more efficient and productive.
PwC offers employees a unique perk: the alumni program. This system helps current and former staff stay in touch, even after they’ve left the company. How does that affect engagement? Employees feel safe building strong relationships because they know they don’t end on their last day. As an employer, you can create a similar feeling of safety and connection by staying in touch with your former employees. You might not have the budget for an official network, but you can make valuable business connections between current and former workers. Another free option? Create a private Facebook group so your alumni and staff can network freely.
Employee Engagement at Ernst & Young
Ernst & Young (EY) believes that engaged employees are more enthusiastic and happier in their jobs. They take engagement seriously, offering a range of employee perks and benefits to help workers feel connected to their jobs and the organization.
One perk of working for EY is employee discounts. The company negotiates deals to make workers’ lives a little bit easier. It’s a small benefit, but one that has a big impact. You might not have the pull of a multinational corporation, but you can still make your employees feel like you’re working hard on their behalf. Start with local businesses, and consider a trade. You might offer to file a local gym owner’s taxes in return for free staff memberships, for example. Another option? Swap discounts with another company.
Life Issue Support
Have you ever wished you had someone to guide you on life issues? Your employees probably have wished that too. Help them by emulating EY, and hire someone to help employees work through problems. You could bring in a counselor once a month to chat with staff. They can talk about family problems, ask for advice on a life transition, or simply talk. Occasional visits are more affordable than employer-sponsored therapy, and as a bonus, your staff can feel supported and cared for.
A friendly, fun atmosphere can make it a joy to come to work—and happy employees are naturally more engaged. EY does this by building communities within the company where employees can connect and create relationships. As a small accounting business, you can do this on a small scale. How? Find opportunities for fun group activities. You could join a community sports league, or train for a local 5K together. Even something as simple as a weekly potluck lunch can bring your team together.
Great employee engagement can transform your accounting company’s culture. With scaled-down versions of the Big Four’s strategies, you can help your workers engage with their jobs and find natural motivation. Need help keeping track of your initiatives and your business? QuickBooks Online Accountant helps you manage projects, tasks and clients together. Sign up for free.