Managing Remote Accounting Teams – Employee Retention Tips

Engage Your Team with 8 Retention Strategies

Employers with remote accounting teams often struggle with employee retention. Remote accounting team managers must be aware of the intricacies of working with remote employees. They also need to make sure that their team members are happy and healthy, and that their careers are on track toward their goals.

Poor employee retention is an avoidable burden on companies. It leads to low team morale, poor productivity, and higher costs. These factors combine to damage business performance.

What can accounting team managers do to improve employee retention of accountants working from home? Here are eight proven retention strategies to employ immediately, consistently, and constantly.

1.    Hire the Right People

When it comes to hiring remote employees, many companies make the mistake of hiring people who aren’t a good fit for remote work. They focus on technical skills instead of the soft skills that make people perfect for working from home. We can sum up the right people in a single sentence:

Self-motivated people who have great communication skills and the ability to produce quality work without supervision, and the personality to align with your company culture.

2.    Welcome Them Warmly

Onboarding is an essential part of any new employee’s experience, and one of the most important aspects of creating a positive first impression. It starts on day one, but it should be well coordinated beforehand.

On the first day, set up meetings with team members and introduce them to key people. Create a checklist of first-day tasks (documents that must be read and signed, software they need to install, information they must send to you, etc.). Also, put a 30/60/90-day plan together, describing projects they will work on and agreeing expectations for the new employee.

3.    Create a Positive Culture

One of the most important things about being a successful remote team is having a positive culture. Openness and honesty should be encouraged, and led by example.

One way is to work on building trust through face-to-face communication, where everyone can see one another and share their feelings without any barriers in between them. This could be done through video call, Skype, or Google Hangouts.

4.    Manage by Productivity, Not Time

Managers of remote teams need to manage them differently. They should set achievable goals, be clear and precise how they want to get there, and give the team specific instructions so that they can work independently.

They should also be aware that the best way to manage these goals is through communication, collaboration, and feedback, and measuring performance not by hours at a desk but by productivity.

5.    Allow for Autonomy

Research shows that remote employees are more engaged with their work when they have autonomy. They can take on more responsibilities without being micromanaged. The challenge for managers is to trust remote employees to do their work and not try to be in control of everything.

6.    Make Communication Easy by Leveraging Technology

One of the most challenging aspects of managing remote and dispersed teams is communication. Managers and team members don’t have the luxury of being within feet of each other. To overcome this challenge, leverage technology.

Employ tools that will help your team work together more coherently and productively. These include collaboration tools like Slack and Podio; project management software like Asana; and communication tools like Zoom and Skype.

7.    Be Available

Even though working remotely and autonomously, team members will need guidance and direction. Managers must be available if things should go wrong – or if a team member needs an impromptu chat.

8.    Have Weekly One-To-Ones

One-to-ones are a great opportunity for managers and employees to connect and develop a stronger relationship. Just because your team is not in the office, this does not mean you shouldn’t schedule regular meetings. In fact, it’s even more important to do so.

In video meetings, take the chance to provide constructive feedback about their progress, and set goals for the upcoming week. Ask for feedback, too. The feedback from one-to-ones is essential in helping managers learn how to improve their own performance.

Don’t make this meeting all about work, though. Ask about the employee, and take an interest in their life outside of work. Finally, always remind remote employees that they must take a break if they need it – just like they would if they were in the office.

Your Next Step – Hire the Right People

Great employee retention always starts with hiring the right people. Which is where we excel for our clients. Eliminate the risk of damaging your business by partnering with 6 Degrees for your staffing needs in accounting and finance jobs. Contact us to learn how we can help.

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