Team building has always been an important priority for my firm. Though our employees are all 100% remote, we have had to use a variety of techniques to keep our staff motivated, especially after busy season has ended and vacation breaks are on everyone’s minds. So to help you continue to motivate your employees post- busy season, I have created a comprehensive list of 12 effective & genuine techniques to help motivate your accounting staff this month. Tactic #1 - Goal Setting Around Their Wants Do you know the desires of your employees? If they want to become partner? Do they wan to just stay a senior and work less so they can spend more time with their kids? Find out what your employees want and set up a plan to make sure it is in place to help keep them motivated. Tactic #2 - Implement Flexible Work Arrangements As with Tactic #1, if your employees start telling you they are looking to work remotely or want reduced hours, then devise a plan within your firm to implement a flexible work arrangement. If you are struggling with this concept, check out CPA Firm Resources on FlexCPAs.com. Tactic #3 - Recognize Good Work, Constantly A pat on the back is nice, every once in a while, but a pat on the back, in front of the team with the partner doing the patting means way more. Make it a point to recognize a different team member, each week on something they have done or accomplished. The highly sought after recognition from a partner means way more than a $10 Starbucks gift card. I promise. Tactic #4 - Create Bit-Sized Goals If you have ever created a to-do list before, chances are the list was 20+ lines and you knocked off only 1 that day. This is how your employee feels every time they go into work with a ton of stuff on their plate. Instead of having an ongoing to-do list, help your staff narrow down what’s important and focus on that. This effort will help with motivation, after knocking off a few things on the to-do list. Then there is nothing left over to do. Small Wins = Small Smiles = Happy Employees = Happy Company Tactic #5 - Create Interactive Games To Pump Up Your Team When was the last time you ran a fun competition in your firm? Or a game for your employees to play to compete against each other? All of us like to be a part of a fun game here so creating this little activity will help get their minds off of their to-do list and more on realizing how much they enjoyed their days. A few ideas are to implement Weekly Bingo, mini-golf in the office, Who can solve an Excel trick the fastest, the best nickname for the office partners, etc (yes your accountants will love this). Tactic #6 - Take Your Accountants Out To Lunch (Individually) If you are in the office, and you see a staff or senior that has been out on audit engagements the past few months, ask them to go out to lunch. During the lunch, learn more about their personal lives, what makes them tick, what they want and why are they happy working at your firm. Give them a chance to open up to you and make them feel important. It seems simple, but it is extremely effective. Tactic #7 - Radiate Positivity Remember, your staff tends to look and act how they see their seniors and partners look and act. So if you offer “Jeans Day” on Friday, and you are in a 3 piece suit, your staff won’t feel comfortable coming to work in jeans. Same goes with your attitude. If you are usually cool, calm and collected, your staff will see this and not feel like they need to walk on egg shells around you. Be the type of person you want your staff to mimic, and you will be surprised how much your firm’s culture will change. Tactic #8 - Have An Open-Door Policy Alongside radiating positivity, you also want to make sure your are available to your team members if ever an issue comes up. The best way to showcase an “Open-Door” Policy is every morning, before you start jumping into meetings, walk around the office to say hi to everyone. Make small talk, 1 to 2 minutes with each team member so they feel noticed by you. This way will give you a good indication of how everyone is doing. If you sense an issue, ask your team member to come to your office to talk further about it. This 5 minute walk-around-the- office exercise could save you a ton of headache and allow you to become more proactive when issues around are about to arise. Tactic #9 - Let Your Accountants Lead You do not need to be running every single meeting. Plus, if you are on the audit side, let your staff and seniors run the planning meetings. This choice gives them a chance to step up into the spotlight and shine. Tactic #10 - When All Else Fails, Offer Awesome $ Rewards Though most people are not motivated specifically because of money, it does help to win a $100 gift card or receive a $1000 bonus once in a while. So if you are looking at your numbers and can provide an incentive or bonus to your team, do it, and give them a reason why they deserved it. Or, if you do not have the funds to throw a huge bonus, offer a happy hour on the firm’s dime, or a night out with drinks to get your team to interact and receive some free food. Who doesn’t want to come to an all- expenses-paid happy hour! Tactic #11 - One-Day Visit To An Amusement Park (or Driving Range) Yes, I said it. Take your team on rollercoasters and see them smile. After a long busy season or a huge team project that went well, reward the team with a fun day out together. If rollercoasters aren’t your firm’s thing, switch it up and implement a Driving Range Golf Day or a Bowling Day to just relax and get to know your teams better. Tactic #12 - Give a Surprised Day Off (or the Week Off) The best thing when I was an employee was to receive an email from the managing partner that on Friday, the office was shutting down at 3pm, or Monday was off completely. With a few days notice, give a surprised day off to your team to celebrate their hard work. Or, if you want to go even bigger, give an entire week off (example being 4th of July week). This action will give your staff the nice long break to relax and refresh and remember how much they like working for your firm.