In the wake of the “Great Resignation,” when employees are actively and consistently searching for greener pastures, managers are left wondering how they can continue to attract top talent and empower their existing team members in a tough market. Standing right next to compensation and benefits as the key differentiating factors between accounting and finance jobs is an idea everyone experiences, but few can define: company culture.
Culture is what defines the attitudes, practices, and general state of being in a workplace. It is what characterizes a team, makes new hires feel welcome (or not), and greatly impacts how long each employee sticks around. It is what influences how they feel on Sunday night when contemplating the upcoming work week.
So, culture is obviously crucial to maintaining a healthy and thriving team. From the team who has helped source hundreds of finance and accounting jobs in the D.C. area, here are several key steps you can take to improve the culture of your company.
1. First, Define It
Before you can chart a course, you need a destination. Take a moment to delineate what exactly the ideal culture of your firm looks like. To do this, answer some key questions such as:
- What are the core values of our firm?
- How should employees interact with each other on a daily basis?
- What 5 adjectives best describe our team?
- How would I describe my firm to a high-achieving applicant?
Once you have answered some of these questions, it’s important to address the distinction between your ideal company culture and the existing one. How closely are you following your guiding principles? What needs to be done to bring this vision to fruition?
2. Put It into Practice
Next, it’s time to develop a plan to get your company culture where it needs to be. Start by brainstorming with the leadership team regarding any necessary changes. Identify areas in which your core values are not shining through the daily operations of the business, and workshop concrete strategies for addressing the issues.
After you have clearly defined your culture goals, update your company handbook, website, job descriptions, and promotional materials to reflect the adjusted aims. Make sure your employees take stock of the new direction of the firm, and hold managers accountable for reinforcing it throughout their workflows.
3. Focus on the Employee Experience
As you roll out your new plan, your culture will flourish if you consistently and intentionally prioritize the employee experience. Your people are your most valuable asset: they will determine the financial and cultural health of your business, so make sure they are taken care of. Reevaluate any programs and facilities through the eyes of an employee who engages with them on a daily basis. What could be improved? How can we align employee tasks with the core values of the firm? The more satisfied and equipped your employees are, the more favorably they will view their work, and the more positive your company culture will become.
4. Use Technology to Your Advantage
Technology is not just a way to differentiate yourself within the marketplace – it can also serve as a powerful tool to revolutionize your culture. Workers love to feel like their firm is on the cutting edge, rather than behind the times. Investing in high-quality equipment, software, and training so your employees can execute their job tasks more effectively and productively will inspire a sense of freedom and control that breeds positivity. Embracing technology also includes considering remote or hybrid work models. Employees note that flexible work arrangements are a key factor in choosing between similar finance and accounting jobs, so leaning into this benefit can help with retention.
5. Continually Reinforce Your Values
Culture is not something that is decided overnight. It is continually adjusted, improved, and developed over the course of months or even years. Culture can change as leadership does, and even the season can affect how employees view and carry out their work.
Your firm’s adherence to your core values and prioritization of culture must be a continual, effortful project. If camaraderie and collaboration are key for your business, team bonding events or happy hours should be scheduled on a regular basis to foster those characteristics. If initiative and independence are important, you must continually give your employees opportunities to “own” projects and exhibit decisiveness. Culture should always be top of mind for your leadership team, and cultivation of a positive work environment should be an agenda item every week.
6. Incentivize Positive Qualities
Incentives are immensely powerful. As your culture grows and takes shape, you can’t rely on intentional reinforcement alone. Create workflows and incentives that bring about the behavior your firm needs to be successful. For example, if excellence and work ethic are part of your ideal culture, reward top performers with bonuses or small getaways. If gratitude and teamwork are on your list, roll out a practice of publicly recognizing the contributors to a successful project. The more you can lead your employees towards reinforcing positive culture on their own accord, the deeper the roots of that culture will become.
7. Hire with Cultural Fit in Mind
If all goes well, your newly defined culture will lead your business to new heights. Finally, you will need to impart the values your existing team is working to cultivate unto your new hires. During the hiring process, put an emphasis on cultural fit when deliberating between candidates. Your executive search firm partner can help you narrow your search to focus on candidates of specific backgrounds and demonstrated qualities. Make an effort to only bring on new team members who positively influence the culture of your firm and are a welcome addition to it, and all parties involved will benefit.
An Executive Search Firm that Cares About Your Business
Turn2Partners is one of D.C.’s most reliable and effective executive search firms, and we want to see your business thrive. Our team specializes in matching top local and national candidates with finance, accounting, technology, and HR jobs that create a mutually beneficial connection. We will work alongside your leadership to develop a talent pipeline that works for your growth trajectory and hiring needs. Visit our website today to get started.
Looking for more corporate and career insights? Check out the Turn2Partners blog here.