For staff in accounting & advisory firms, what does best places to work mean? Here’s a list of some common criteria:
- • Work/life balance
- • Not a sweat shop
- • Strong training programs
- • Great benefits
- • Fair compensation
- • Trusting the people you work for
- • Caring managers
- • High staff engagement
- • Interesting work
- We could go on, but these are enough criteria to show the common thread. The focus of these criteria is mostly on working conditions rather than on opportunity. Our experience, particularly in these types of firms is that what really makes a firm a great place to work is where partners exhibit these five key behaviors with their staffs:
- – Understanding how to conduct coaching conversations with staff members and doing so successfully — using the several key coaching behaviors: questioning, listening and relating.
- – Making the personal and emotional investment in sharing experiences, giving advice and advocating for staff.
- – Learning to be clear and crisp while at the same time displaying empathy and being supportive. Having the courage to deliver important messages in a broad number of contexts.
- – Working selflessly to strengthen their team for the broader benefit of its members and the firm. Proactively and unselfishly proposing team members for new opportunities.
- – Living the positive aspects of your firm’s culture with passion — setting the right example for staff who will emulate what partners do.
- If partners exhibit these behaviors, the firm will truly be a great place to work. Achieving this takes a bit of a change in direction. It means moving from thinking about winning “Best Places to Work” Awards to thinking about being a great place to work. We’re not saying that working conditions are not important, just that they are superficial if they not coupled with these key partner behaviors. It also means attracting and engaging the right staff who want the opportunity to work hard and do great work.