Business structures


30 Jan 2024

4 strategies for engaging and retaining your accounting talent


4 min

How to retain employee engagement and retention in shifting times.

In today's ever-changing work environment, the crucial connection between employee engagement and retention is becoming increasingly apparent. Companies that prioritise engaging their employees often enjoy the benefits of higher retention rates. Recognising and appreciating this link, and then taking proactive steps, is particularly crucial in industries facing a shortage of skilled professionals. According to a survey by People2people [i], 46 percent of accounting teams are experiencing a shortage of accountants, with 6 percent being significantly understaffed.

Understanding employee engagement

Employee engagement goes beyond being just a trendy term. It signifies the dedication employees have for their work and the organisation. Engaged employees go beyond job satisfaction; they are enthusiastic, motivated, and deeply connected to the company's goals. This emotional investment significantly impacts their performance, productivity, and overall job satisfaction.

The strong connection between engagement and retention

The relationship between employee engagement and retention is compelling. According to Culture Amp [ii], engaged employees are more likely to stay committed to their roles and the organisation as a whole. A workplace that values, listens, and appreciates its employees fosters a sense of loyalty that goes beyond the paycheck. Engaged individuals find meaning and purpose in their work, creating a natural resistance to seeking opportunities elsewhere.

 Additionally, engaged employees often feel a stronger sense of belonging within the organisation. This sense of belonging is a critical component of job satisfaction, reducing the likelihood of turnover. In contrast, disengaged employees may feel disconnected, increasing the likelihood of exploring alternative employment options.

Strategies for boosting employee engagement and retention

1. Clear communication and transparency

Open and transparent communication is the foundation of trust within an organisation. Employees appreciate being informed about company developments, future goals, and their role in achieving those objectives. This understanding encourages long-term engagement. At Worrells, successful communication strategies include:

  • Quarterly business update sessions

  • A communication hub for organisation-wide announcements and interaction, and

  • Bi-annual planning sessions for reflection and planning.

2. Recognition and rewards programs

Acknowledging and appreciating employees for their hard work is a powerful engagement driver. Recognition programs, whether through verbal praise or tangible incentives, reinforce positive behaviour and foster a culture of appreciation. Recognising employees for embodying Worrells’ core values has proven successful.

3. Investment in professional development

Offering opportunities for skill development and career advancement demonstrates a commitment to your employees' growth. Engaged employees are more likely to stay when they see their organisation investing in their professional success. This contributes to a more skilled and capable workforce, benefiting the entire organisation.

4. Work-life balance

Prioritising work-life balance supports employee well-being. Burnout and stress are significant causes of employee dissatisfaction and turnover. Promoting a healthy work-life balance enhances engagement and reduces the risk of employees seeking alternative employment. Understanding individual preferences for work-life balance through dialogue facilitates alignment between the organisation and the employee. When considering an approach to enhancing work-life balance, organisations should not ignore the advantages of offering flexible work arrangements.

In the current talent shortage scenario, the connection between employee engagement and retention becomes even more critical. Organisations must acknowledge the challenges posed by the scarcity of skilled professionals and implement strategies not only to attract but also retain talent. By prioritizing engagement through effective communication, professional development, recognition, and work-life balance, organisations can navigate the talent shortage successfully, creating an environment where professionals choose to stay and thrive. In leveraging this relationship, organisations strengthen their talent pool, increasing the likelihood of long-term success in a competitive and challenging landscape. 

[i] Australia's Leading 2023 Employment and Salary Report I people2people recruitment

[ii] How (and why) to measure employee engagement | Culture Amp

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