Accountants are often expected to wear many hats, making it difficult for them to focus on the individual development of their team members. However, it’s important to understand that developing your staff’s skills will positively impact their career progression and the overall success of your business.
If you don’t allow your team the opportunity to learn new skills, they will stagnate and become less valuable as employees. This can lead to high turnover, which is bad news for your business and can negatively impact client relationships. The good news is that there are many ways to level up your team and help them develop their skills. Here are seven tips for developing and upskilling your team:
Help employees understand their strengths and weaknesses.
It’s important to understand what each member of your team excels at, as well as their weaknesses. Sit down with each employee individually or as a group and ask them what they like doing most or what they would like to see more of in their roles at the firm. Once you’ve identified each employee’s strengths and weaknesses, put together a development plan for each person based on those results. This should include short-term goals for the next few weeks or months and long-term goals for the next year plus.
Create a culture where personal development is valued and prioritized.
Create an environment where staff members know they have permission to take time off from their regular duties to pursue personal development projects. Consider offering training programs, including those that focus on improving general soft skills like communication, collaboration, and leadership — these are important for every staff member regardless of their role or specialty within the firm.
Have an open-door policy and encourage team members to discuss their aspirations and career goals. Make sure everyone knows they are welcome to discuss any professional matters directly with you at any time — this will help build trust among colleagues and promote open communication within your firm.
Encourage employees to try new things and keep learning.
Don’t pressure them with goals, but provide a direction for them to work towards. Ask them about their interests and hobbies; if there’s an opportunity for cross-training (for example, if they have experience in marketing), then let them know! Reward them for completing training courses or certifications with bonuses or extra time off.
Provide ongoing feedback.
Provide guidance when needed, but don’t get involved too much! The best way for someone to learn something is by doing it themselves! So let them do it wrong first and then step in, if necessary, with advice and guidance afterward! Allowing people to learn from their mistakes will help them develop confidence too!
Set up regular performance reviews so that employees can discuss their progress with you and each other. This helps them identify areas where they need improvement, allowing them to receive constructive feedback on their performance so they can improve on it going forward.
Provide opportunities for your team members to mentor others.
In the accounting industry, mentoring has been proven to be one of the most effective ways to improve employee performance within a company. Mentoring your employees is a great way to help them learn new skills and acquire valuable experience. The more experienced members of your team can act as mentors for junior employees, helping them build their confidence and develop their knowledge base.
Create opportunities for peer-to-peer learning through regular meetings or informal chats where staff members can share best practices, ask questions and get feedback on ideas they’re exploring. These meetings should be scheduled at least once every quarter so everyone stays engaged.
Recognize employees for their new skills and achievements.
Accountants are a diverse group of professionals who have different reasons for wanting to upskill. The most common reason is to advance their careers, but many also have personal goals they’re trying to meet. Being recognized by your employer as someone committed to learning new skills can be very motivating. Recognition not only boosts morale but also encourages employees to continue learning and growing within your organization.
If a staff member takes on a new role or project that requires additional expertise, recognize it by giving them a promotion or bonus. This will encourage them to continue developing their skills and may inspire others in the office to do the same.
These six tips should give you plenty to think about, but they’re only the start of your journey. Developing your team members is a process that requires dedication, commitment, and organizational leadership. If you want your team to truly thrive, your best bet is to develop a unique approach that suits your business model, vision, and mission. By investing in training, your staff will experience growth both as people and professionals, preparing them to take on new responsibilities. This growth will benefit the firm’s bottom line and help create a culture of success that you and your team can be proud of.