In our current business landscape, the talent war is waging and organizations are pressured to produce more with fewer resources. Millennials are raising the bar by voicing their needs and expectations, driving additional conversations about workplace culture.
Regardless of their generation, employees want to know they are valued and have the opportunity to contribute to their organization. Ironically, when we seek to understand our team members and focus on their needs and development, performance inevitably increases.
Here are three ways to help your organization retain top talent, increase performance, and free up time to focus on these strategies.
Understand Your Teammates’ Values
Did you know that there are five generations in the workplace today? This means that broadly speaking, every organization is comprised of at least five distinct sets of belief systems, expectations, ways of operating, and most importantly, five different generational value sets.
Carolyn Swora, founder and principal at Pinnacle Inc. says, “One of the biggest gaps in creating the results that organizations want and leaving individuals feeling fulfilled and connected to their work is largely based on the deeper held beliefs and values that drive us in the first place.”
Values drive human behavior. Whether this is conscious or not, each decision we make is based on our values. And with all of the generational differences in the workplace, it’s vital to understand why our teammates and bosses operate the way they do.
Identifying the value they are honoring in a particular situation provides invaluable insight. This deeper understanding can help us all work together more effectively, instead of focusing on why our coworkers don’t see things the same way we do.
Lean Into the Power of Connection
Organizations talk a lot about the importance of process improvement, and this is an essential step in driving shareholder value. But connecting with the people on our teams is equally important, as companies are only as effective as the people running them.
Making the effort to have a face-to-face conversation instead of sending an email goes a long way, and often opens the door for a broader discussion or collaboration.
But if we’re honest, most of us dread the question, ‘Do you have a minute?’ The reality is, we often don’t have time to spare during the workday, especially during the financial close. Swora reframes it like this: “Someone is coming to you because you have something to offer. Giving them five minutes of your undivided attention is a gift that you have to give.”
Being present is key. We often think that we can multi-task unnoticed during a conversation, but there is an energy shift when the person you’re talking to isn’t fully present. So the next time a co-worker engages you in conversation, turn away from your computer, put your phone down, and fully engage in what they’re saying.
Swora says, “Taking the time to have these micro-moments is easier than having the exit interview a few months down the road because that person didn’t feel valued.”
Technology is Key to Implementing These Ideas
It’s easy to get excited about implementing new strategies, but it’s just as easy to feel too overwhelmed to try because you lack the thing you need most: time.
Technology has been criticized for creating a disconnect in our culture, but ironically, automation is the key to increasing connection in accounting and finance organizations.
If accountants are continually buried by manual work, especially during the financial close, they don’t have the time or energy to invest in their coworkers. As a result, work relationships suffer or are never developed in the first place, and happiness suffers as well — both can be a predictor of churn.
The right technology can give you the time you need to pay attention to what your coworkers value, especially when things get heated, connect with them on a deeper level, and learn how to respond and lead more consistently.
This is a mindset shift that won’t happen overnight. But it is a shift that will increase both retention and performance, and it is one that can begin with you.
Read this blog to discover how a transformational leadership approach can drive your F&A organization to the next level.
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