Naturally, every growth-oriented CPA practice owner wants to retain their best, most competent employees. Why, then, do so many CPAs that I meet complain about the “revolving door” in their firm?
It all boils down to one simple word: appreciation.
I truly believe few employees wake up in the morning and say, “Hey, I’m going to do the worst possible job today!” However, as firm owners, it’s our duty to create an environment that inspires our team to give us their best. Whether you realized it or not, when you signed up to be the owner of a practice that employs other people, you signed up for the responsibility of motivating your team.
If you suspect you could be doing better, here’s a tip: start keeping your eyes and ears open. Look for examples of your team members performing especially well. Be on the lookout for situations like these:
- An employee handles a client situation with extreme diplomacy and/or professionalism
- An employee takes the time and energy to offer suggestions for improvement
- An employee completes a project ahead of time, or with notable efficiency
- An employee makes a positive contribution to the firm’s goals
When you identify an example of outstanding performance, take the opportunity to give recognition. But how? Here are just a few ideas:
- Say “thank you” on a regular basis, verbally. Add a handshake.
- Send a thank you note with a $25 Dunkin’ Donuts gift card.
- Award him/her with a subscription to their favorite magazine.
- Bring back a souvenir from your next trip.
- Take your staff out for lunch, and let them pick the restaurant.
- Bring in bagels, doughnuts, or another treat.
- Invite an employee to your home for a meal.
A little appreciation goes a long way. Sadly, in many practices, it’s a scarce commodity. Take steps this year to change that in your own practice. What you’ll get in return is a staff that’s fiercely loyal to you and dedicated to your firm’s success.
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