14 March 2017
Edward Fleischman, CEO and Founder of The Execu|Search Group, recently wrote an op-ed outlining the misconceptions many professionals have about millennials. While they are often stereotyped as selfish, lazy, or addicted to social media, Edward outlined points that suggest that while they may still be young, millennials are actually very hard-working. However, just like any generation, millennials do have their own unique set of needs. While many employers have caught onto those needs, some may still be wondering what millennials are looking for in an employer and why they should alter their practices to accommodate them. According to Forbes, more than 1 in 4 millennials are now in managerial roles, and this number will only continue to grow. For organizations that want to orchestrate a smooth transition into a millennial-dominated work force, strategically addressing their needs in the following areas will set the company up for long-term success: Recognize potential While you may feel as though some of your millennial employees are not yet ready for a leadership position, learn to recognize the signs of a potential leader, and focus your efforts on nurturing those employees. As a result, providing measured professional development opportunities will help to guide them in their eventual transition to a leadership role. For example, an employee who displays excellent communication skills or high emotional intelligence could one day make an effective manager. By providing them the experience that will help them learn and fill in their knowledge gaps, they can become an indispensable asset to the organization. Show millennials you trust them While many employers are often hesitant to invest in millennials who may leave the organization before such an investment pays off, many millennials leave their company for exactly that reason. Once you recognize those professionals who you believe can grow within the organization, it is important to prove that you are prepared to make a long-term investment in them. Without rebuilding this trust that has been lost between an employer and their employee, it is unlikely that they will stay. By offering those employees new learning opportunities and projects that help keep their skills up-to-date, they will be more likely to feel satisfied. Additionally, allowing them more autonomy over their work will show that you inherently trust that they are a competent employee. Promote work-life balance Because they grew up in the technology era, millennials have difficulty powering down from work. As a connected generation, they are constantly checking email, even on weekends and late at night. Additionally, entering the workforce during a recession has made them wary of unemployment, and millennials will often go to extra lengths to prove that they are indispensable to an employer. According to Harvard Business Review, more millennials forfeit unused vacation days than older generations—even though as younger workers, they earn less time off. While it may be nice to see employees working hard, this trend means that many millennials actually have an unhealthy work-life balance. Keep in mind that a burned out employee is no good to your organization, and encourage millennial employees to unplug and take time off when needed. Step up your communication In order to recognize and nurture leadership potential in your younger employees, you may need to spend a little more time getting to know them. By opening up the lines of communication, you can allow them to place more trust in you and tell you what’s on their mind. Plus, when you learn more about what each individual is looking for out of their job, you can better accommodate each employee, creating an environment that will make it more likely that they will rise through the ranks at your organization. On top of that, be sure to let employees know if you feel they are on track for a leadership role—those who know that they are up for a promotion will be likely to work harder and stay motivated.
14 March 2017
In the middle of busy season, it can sometimes be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. As the fatigue sets in, many public accounting professionals begin to feel like the grass is greener on the other side—accounting in private industry. “Between the long hours of busy season and extra client calls, public accountants feel like they need a break,” says Laura Gutierrez, a Senior Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Accounting/Finance division. “We see a lot of professionals struggling with what is the right move for their career, and while everyone is different, there are a lot more considerations to make than just the long hours of busy season,” says Laura. “When all of the factors are considered sometimes the best move is actually not private industry.” If you’re contemplating moving out of public accounting, Laura suggests asking yourself these questions first: Do you want to stay competitive in the job market? For accounting professionals looking to keep their skills up-to-date, the momentum and diversity of public accounting create the best environment to stay sharp. A career transition from public accounting to private industry may affect your marketability in the future. For anyone hiring an accounting professional, the candidates who have a background in public accounting will have an edge up on their competition. Because they’re exposed to a variety of different facets within the accounting industry, employers see strength in that diverse background. Do you want to become more specialized? While there are some professionals who move into private industry with the intention of becoming more specialized in one field, this may not be the right move for everyone. For some accounting professionals, they are passionate about a specific industry like nonprofit or entertainment, and they really want to specialize in that area. However, there are many job seekers who haven’t put enough thought into a private industry role before accepting, and they can inadvertently specialize in a field that they aren’t enthusiastic about in the long run. And once you’re specialized, it can be difficult to rid yourself of that perception in the job market. Are you looking to advance in your career quickly? Especially for accounting professionals early in their career, it is important to think further down the road than just your next job. “Each new job on your resume can set the pathway for the next one, and for accountants looking to move up the ladder quickly, a public accounting firm is the best environment to do so,” explains Laura. “While a private organization typically has one accounting team, the mere structure of a public accounting firm allows for immense flexibility in regards to both promotion and transition opportunities. When you are at a private organization, at some point you will most likely have to look outside of that company in order to move up.” Are you open to a pay cut? Although the extra work in public accounting can be tiring, you are sometimes earning more than certain organizations in private industry. In addition to that, with the exception of financial services, many private organizations offer a smaller bonus—or no bonus at all—compared to what public accountants may see at their firms. What kind of office culture do you want? While company culture is often overlooked, it is a crucial element of your overall satisfaction at work, and public accounting firms are beginning to shift their own culture to retain more employees—a strategy that is working. Not only are they providing a more casual environment with a relaxed dress code and ping-pong tables, but they’re really embracing the idea of flexible work. Many public accounting firms offer more flexible hours, as well as the option to work from home—benefits that can really decrease stress and contribute to a positive work-life balance. Will the slower pace be too slow? During busy season, it is really easy to convince yourself that the slower pace of private industry is what you want. However, Laura observes that many professionals don’t enjoy the leisurely tempo for very long. “It feels great at first, but after a few months, accounting professionals are craving the more challenging work they left behind,” she says. “They miss balancing various types of accounts with different problems to solve, and private industry suddenly feels very monotonous.”