Just a few more weeks until a good portion of the busy season is over.
Right now, you are thick into the spreadsheets trying to figure out how to claw your way out of the open work papers.
Plus, add-on the additional stress of each one of your team members, busy season is enough to make every accountant want to switch careers.
However, since you already know that you value your employees, you also know that keeping them happy is not only essential for keeping them with the company, but also for keeping their productivity, efficiency, and customer service in tip-top shape.
So, to help keep your All-Star team with smiles on their faces during the remainder of this season, here are 9 cheap ways to keep your accountants happy, during the busy season.
1. Implement Flex Weekends
Let’s face it. Nobody wants to come to work on the weekends, after working 11+ hours on a weekday. Then, on top of it all, some public accounting firms make Mandatory Office Saturdays a requirement from January through April. No thank you.
Instead, keep your employees happy by implementing Flex Weekends. On Flex Weekends your employees can work from home in their pajamas after enjoying a nice stack of pancakes, and they are ready to knock out those tax returns. Mandatory Flex Weekends has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it!
2. $5 Thank You Flowers
Head to your local grocery store to pick up a couple dozen individual flowers for 5 bucks or less. Then, bring them into work, preferably on a Friday, and hand them out to your employees as a sign of appreciation for what they have done.
According to the Huffington Post, research consistently links indoor flowers with well-being. Put a smile on the faces of your employees, and for those of you who don’t like flowers, offer it as a gift to their spouse.
3. Send a Personalized Email Thanking Your Employee Once a Week
Craft a personalized thank you email to your employees, including key things they have done that you noticed in the past, and send it to them.
Most of your employees receive emails that will likely be either stressful, irritating or annoying. This email will be out of the blue and really meaningful to them. This gesture is simple, quick, yet effective in keeping a smile on your employee’s face.
4. Allow Individuality in Dress Code
Most accountants are perceived a certain way and are expected to dress in a certain outfit. What if your employee enjoys her day 10x more when wearing jeans and a business blouse, rather than the black pantsuit that may be itchy?
You can provide guidelines that explain what is appropriate and what isn't appropriate, depending on the office structure and client facing positions. But try not to make too stringent, if possible. Your employees will thank you for it.
5. Offer Bingo Games During Season
This action is a pretty typical event for larger public accounting firms, and it really keeps employees excited. Once a week, hand out bingo cards and announce a new set of numbers every morning.
Offering Bingo during busy season will give your employees something to look forward to, to talk about and to enjoy. Plus the reward of the Bingo winner could be something as simple as a $25 gift card to Starbucks or $50 gift card to Cheesecake Factory.
6. Feed Them
Another annoying thing to go through as an accountant is working 11+ hours straight on an empty stomach.
Offer work incentive programs or a gift a week of their choice - For example: Going out to dinner on the company. Plus, throw in the offer to pick up dessert. Now you have your employees looking forward to hitting the 11-hour mark so they can get a free meal!
7. Listen to Them
Most of the time, management will be asked how busy season went for them and their employees' response will be “Great! Everything seemed to go by smoothly.” Yet, on the flip side, you have a senior missing their husband’s birthday and a staff wishing he could just get a few more hours of sleep each night.
The only way to find out the truth of how your employees are feeling is to just ask them. Ask them through an informal meeting, a formal one-on-one lunch or even a quick break at the water cooler. Ask questions to find out how they are doing and make them feel heard. This action will take your relationship with your employees well past the burden of busy season and onto a career where you keep your accountants happy.
8. Offer “Caught in The Act” Programs
Let’s say your manager has just put forth the extra work to make sure the client’s financials were sent out correctly. Then, your manager took the extra step to train the intern and make sure the next engagement was rocking in rolling.
If you notice your employees are kicking butt, it's time to recognize them publicly. Send out a “Caught In The Act” type program where you announce recognition of employees who deserve to be highlighted. Then tag on a reward ($10 gift card, lunch with you, etc) to make it even more desirable for the employees to want to try to be a part of this program.
9. Create “Catch Up” Days and Sprinkle Them into Scheduling
This idea is something every accountant, especially your auditors, needs to implement. A day where your accountant can stop being bothered by emails, phone calls, and chat messages and a day to just catch up on the work they are trying to get done.
Offer anywhere between 1 to 2 days a month where your accountants can choose which day is their “Catch-Up” Day. Then, remind the manager not to bother them on this day. Allow them to really feel like they are no longer behind, and actually are moving forward on their work. This action will relieve the burden of stress for your accountants who are trying to juggle 4 jobs at one time.
Got any other tips on how to keep your accountants happy? Feel free to leave a comment to share with us!