Is there anything worse than getting a client’s escalated call after a deadline? Or losing a client with no reason given? If you’ve been in this situation recently, it’s likely that you’ve wondered how to improve the performance of your employees.
It’s tough being the world’s best boss every day. But as you grow your firm, you need to take extra special care of your employees to ensure they take excellent care of your clients and help you to continue growing your business.
You may have on-boarded each client when you started your own accounting firm, but the handling of your client’s recurring work may not pass your desk anymore. The only way you can control that work is through providing tools for your employees to do their jobs efficiently and the strategy to grow your firm.
Why Improving Work Performance Gives You an Edge Over Your Competition
There are many ways to edge out your competitors in your business, such as price, client service, location, or quality of work delivered. Have you ever thought about your employees as your competitive advantage?
The saying goes that happy workers mean happy customers. Of course, that makes sense. But it goes so much deeper than customer service. In every way, your collective work product is what sets you apart from your competition. So it stands to reason that the employees you hire, how they do their work, and what they do every day ties in directly to your place on the totem pole against competing accounting firms in your area of expertise.
The Importance of the Employee Experience and Retaining Top Talent
For every 1-star increase in Glassdoor ratings by employees, a Harvard study found a thirty-percent increase in customer satisfaction. For reference, Glassdoor is a global review site for employees around the world to rate their current, past, or prospective employers on their experience. These ratings and comments can include descriptions of benefits, time-off, CEO approval, salaries, and the interview process.
Even if your firm may not be large enough to have a Glassdoor account, the information is still valuable to consider. Now more than ever, company policies are out in the open for all to read online. In many ways, your employees can be considered your customers also.
Investing in Your Employees Benefits Your Clients
Investing in your employees is a tall order. There are many factors that contribute to the employee experience, like:
- Salary, commission, and bonus pay
- Time-off, vacation, PTO, sick days, holidays
- Medical and health benefits (Medical, dental, vision)
- Commuter benefits or assistance programs
- Workspace and office building
- Remote working or flexible hours
- Computer hardware and technology support
- Workflow management software and processes
Unfortunately, if you own a smaller firm, you may only have a single HR representative to assist in all aspects of the employment process. Or, you may wear that hat along with the other hats you juggle each day.
Bottom line: The employee experience doesn’t end when you hire a new employee. If you don’t have a human resources department or dedicated resource, be sure to delegate each task above to team members to ensure they’re not only determined in the first place, but they are each continually updated and revisited as you grow your firm.
3 Ways to Improve Work Performance in Your Accounting Firm
There are many ways to improve your company processes and procedures tactically. In this post, we’re going to look at key ways to boost performance; oftentimes, performance is tied to intrinsic and extrinsic motivations for employees to do a good job.
If employees are rewarded appropriately, they’ll be motivated to do their jobs well. Each employee is motivated by different things, but there are three main ways to improve work performance overall. Let’s take a look.
- Implement a comprehensive onboarding and continuing training program for your employees.
The first day of work at a new job is an important one. Some say that employers treat you the best they ever will during the interview process. The first day is pretty important too.
When you started your firm, you may have thought you’d hire an assistant or a few employees. Or, maybe not? Regardless, the best time to create an employee onboarding program is any time you think of it.
So, if you don’t have one now, make sure you set some time aside to create training programs for new hires and employees that include:
- Benefits election and enrollment
- Payroll enrollment and tax withholding selections
- Tax documentation
- Role description and responsibilities (update these regularly)
- A walk through of credentials and key programs yourself or with a job shadowing program
- Overview of your firm’s clients, services and products, and expectations
- Standardize operating procedures and processes.
A task without instructions is frustrating whether it’s a piece of inexpensive, minimalist Swedish furniture or a set of complex financials for a key client. The secret to creating great work processes is to follow the lottery rule: Make sure the work is easy enough for someone to pick up if an employee wins the lottery and quits their job.
Standard operating procedures (or SOPs) create a guideline and framework for all work processes. A workflow tool itself does not a process make. Instead, you need to author detailed procedures that inform the workflow management software to do great work through your team.
For example, if you want all client inquiries to be responded to within 24 hours, that should be included in the SOP for your firm. All employees will follow this standard as it applies to his or her specific job or task at any given time. Develop your SOPs with guiding principles and standards across your organization. Then, carve out individual processes and workflows for tasks, clients, and key deliverables based on role, team, or client requirements.
- Empower your employees to do their best work.
This step doesn’t necessarily mean you compliment your employees and shower them with bonuses and gift cards. Empowering your employees means not only rewarding them when they do something well, but it also covers corrective action you need to take when an employee’s performance is below expectations.
When rewarding employees for good work, you need to consider the many ways in which employees can be motivated. Not everyone is motivated by money or recognition. So you want to ensure your employee reward and recognition programs motivate your employees to participate.
Work Performance Problems Solved with a Workflow Software
You became your own boss to do great work for clients you love. Translating your vision to employees can be tricky, but you can improve the work performance of your employees when you provide them with the tools they need to do their jobs and reward them for their great work.
Try Jetpack Workflow free for 14 days, and work with your team to improve work performance and client satisfaction together. You’d rather reward employees than discipline them, so get back to being the world’s best boss and rest easy.