Employee Retention is Not Only a Problem for Public Accounting Firms

Today I came across an article relating to how to stop young professionals from leaving public accounting [see: Article].  Young professionals leaving their first job(s) prematurely has become a bit of an epidemic across all types of firms.  The biggest complaint I hear when chatting with my counterparts at other companies is that they cannot keep their new-hires long enough to obtain a significant return on investment from them.

So why is this occurring?  Some of the reasons are:

  • College programs are teaching students that your first job is not your last job, and that one should go and explore a few career opportunities before picking a permanent path
  • Companies do not offer pensions or other retirement benefits that motivate employees to stay for longer periods of time
  • Advances in technology are making information and job searches easier than in the past
  • Younger workers value their personal time more, making them want more flexible work arrangements

With the chips stacked against them, what can employers do to retain younger employees longer?  The following is a list of suggestions, some of which were highlighted in the related article:

  • Take the time to explain to newer employees the bigger picture of their assignment.  How will their role impact the end result and what value is the company providing to the end client?  Make employees feel like part of the team.
  • Get employees involved.  Bring them along to a client meeting, have them participate in conference calls, and have them provide their input on client decisions.
  • Create a culture that is social and fun.  However, this should not come at the expense of productivity or quality of work.
  • Offer incentive bonuses so employees can share in the success of the firm
  • Offer 401(k) matching, but have a vesting schedule so employees will have to stay a longer period of time to earn the full value of the matching

It is usually prudent for someone who takes a job to stay for at least 2 to 3 years.  This allows them time to learn their role, provide value to their employer, and gain skills and proficiency.  Employers are looking for young professionals to become future leaders.  High rates of turnover run contrary to this goal.

Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2013/01/employee-retention-is-not-only-a-problem-for-public-accounting-firms/

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