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Get Down with a Plan to Skill Up Employees

How do you feel about your organization’s ability to attract skilled accounting and finance staff? If you’re feeling confident, it might be time for a dose of reality. Most organizations are already having a hard time filling open positions. This trend is likely to continue into the foreseeable future. Korn Ferry’s 2018 Global Talent Crunch study predicts that in the financial and business services sector alone, there will be a labor skills shortage of 10.7 million workers, resulting in organizations missing out on generating $1.313 trillion in revenues by 2030.

That’s a scary scenario but one that is not without a solution. Organizations need to help their employees skill up. If you don’t currently have a formal learning and development program, implement one. Such a program might be the succession plan you need to evolve. When people don’t feel like they’re creating new opportunities in their career, they start to look elsewhere. Providing training and learning opportunities for your people can help you keep the employees you have and attract more of the talent you need.

With that in mind, here are some tips to skill up employees in the accounting and finance vertical.

Make learning personal

One mistake many organizations make is treating learning programs as a one-size-fits-all exercise where everyone receives the same training.

A more effective way to skill up employees is to create training programs that focus on individual interests and skills gaps. Combine data from employee reviews with the results of surveys asking employees want to learn. Then tailor training to address those areas.

A good example is leadership training. Many organizations provide this for executives, but new managers may be the ones who need these opportunities the most. Managers are often promoted based on technical ability but need a whole different set of skills once they enter leadership. Providing that training earlier will help you elevate technically adept managers into astute leaders.

Build a coaching culture

When your organization has a strong coaching culture, a lot of learning happens on the job and in the moment. Managers look for opportunities to help employees learn and coach their team to help them develop rather than just to address poor performance.

Building a coaching culture isn’t as simple as asserting the value of coaching and waiting for the culture to take shape. But you can embed coaching in some of your leadership development programs to help managers see themselves first and foremost as coaches offering on-the-go guidance and feedback.

Encourage external mentors

Many organizations implement in-house mentoring programs which can be valuable. But it’s also a good idea to encourage your star talent to develop their leadership capabilities by working with external mentors.

Many employees fail to truly embrace internal mentors. Many are concerned about confidentiality and the repercussions that candid discussions might have on their careers. An external mentor can provide a neutral and objective sounding board for concerns and challenges as well as offer a different perspective and foster some disruptive thinking.

Allow your employees to meet regularly with their mentor during work hours. This simple gesture can help employees feel like they are trusted and dramatically improve engagement.

As with any evolution, those who aren’t willing to adapt risk being left behind. Those that recognize the opportunities that upskilling employees provide and look for ways to leverage it will benefit not only their organization’s bottom line but also the well-being of the workforce.

Author

Accounting Principals

We're Accounting Principals--a leader in finance and accounting staffing. In fact, since 2010, we've been part of Adecco Group, a Global 500 company and leader in staffing services around the world. But this isn't staffing as usual. We take quite a different approach than most staffing agencies. A people-focused approach. We believe in forming real relationships with both our clients and our candidates. We want to understand the needs on both sides.

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