Is there an “open door” policy at your firm? Most likely, this has been expressed at your shop, but is it really a true “open door” or is it simply lip service? Quite too often, it’s the latter. As Sandra Wiley, COO of Boomer Consulting, works with public accounting firms she finds this to occasionally be the scene due to partners declaring they are too busy or some other reason.
At last week’s Winning Is Everything conference, Sandra Wiley engaged an audience on various topics and issues relating to human resources. “Everyone is always looking for good employees,” stated Wiley, “and being in professional services, talented people know that they can go out and get another job, so partners and firms need to be aware and proactive.” This is especially challenging, given that through her work with these firms, Wiley regularly uncovers that employees are being quiet about what they are feeling or thinking—and often leave the firm without processing that “open door” option (even if one truly exists).
The good news is that Sandra Wiley helps turn over these rocks with partners and managers. “We’re in a people recovery mode. The profession is in a much more positive posture now than during the last several years.” While the future does look promising, employee issues still always exist in terms of hiring and retaining the right people. Of course, on top of those challenges, Wiley foresees the rest of the decade battling the very difficult issues surrounding:
1) Healthcare costs, keeping people healthy, wellness programs
2) Performance management systems, holding people accountable (especially at the partner level)
“Firms are in the position of turning these challenges into opportunities. We have to treat employees well or they will leave. It’s time to get back to basics at so many firms, with benefits, pay, communications,” Wiley proclaimed. She’s seen a lot—the good, the bad, the ugly.
On the subject of technology, we all know that’s a state of constant change, making it all about as easy to control as pinning Jell-O against a wall. I asked Sandra what she might change if she could travel back in time five years; she easily replied, “I would spend more time counseling partners on mobile technologies.” Join the club!
As for smartphones, Sandra Wiley told me that more and more firms are going to a flat fee reimbursement policy, with a lot of firms getting out of the ownership business on such devices.
This Kansas-based professional is a sharp cookie. Do you have H.R. questions? If you don’t, you have some time to come up with some! Sandra Willey will be doing a Live iShade Q&A Online Chat on Thursday, February 2, 1:00-3:00P CST. The event is sponsored by the fine folks at Halogen Software. Get your questions answered and learn new perspectives! No gimmicks, no sales pitches, just free, instant opportunities to gather intellectual capital.