The 2013 tax
season is behind us, but that certainly does not mean that we can take a
break. It is time to refocus on other
important things in our firm, and one of those is talent. Specifically, the human resources trends that
every business should be spending time on.
The trends below represent the HR issues that should be on your radar as
you move forward in 2013.
Health Care Costs:
It comes as no surprise that health care costs are not going down in the
years ahead. If you are choosing the
passive road and simply waiting and seeing what your health care vendor tells
you the new rates will be, don't be surprised when you have a panic attack
after seeing your new premiums. Start
now and proactively talk to your health care provider about the steps your firm
can take to hold costs down or change your plan to reduce prices. Some firms are finding that developing
"health programs" in their firm and then turning in the ongoing
results to their health care providers is a positive step. The results of their proactive program being
tied to lower usage is equating to lower increases in overall premiums.
Shortage of Skilled Professionals:
This challenge does not come as a huge shock to anyone in our
profession. We have amazing talent in our
firms, but we just want more of them. At
the core of the problem is that there are simply less people in the current Gen
X and Y age groups than there are in the retiring baby boomer generation. Pair that fact with the lower number of
individuals that are choosing to stay in the public accounting arena and we
just have less people to work with today.
This challenge must be met with a stronger emphasis on moving top talent
into higher level work faster and more time spent mentoring, teaching and
motivating the best of the best.
Retiring Baby Boomers:
Given the fact that we know we will have less people to replace those
that are leaving, retiring Partners might be a bit discouraged about their ability
to leave the firm when they had planned to.
We simply must start thinking in a new way about mandatory retirement
ages, ways to attract younger team members to buy into the ownership track, the
amount of time we spend in knowledge transfer and the expectations we have of
our new leadership team. All of these
old rules and mindsets must change as we move to the next generation of
leadership and management in our firms.
Decline in Employees' Retirement Savings:
The recession hurt our country and our profession and one area that is
not recovering as fast as we had hoped it would is employee retirement savings
contributions. While some firm leaders
would say "that is their problem, we give them the opportunity and it is
up to them to take advantage of it", I contend that as leaders we need to
insure that we are educating and encouraging our team in the management and
necessity of their future retirement planning.
This is a great area to collaborate with an outside vendor to work with
your firm. Asking an outside financial
planning professional to meet with team members can be extremely valuable to
the firm and the individual.
Threat of Another Recession:
When you are clobbered once it is hard to trust that everything will be
ok in the future. The experts agree that
we are recovering slowly. The experts do
not agree as to the likelihood of another recession. The challenge is to not let your firm leaders
get into a position of being scared.
Scared says that you are in the position of retreat or standing
still. You must continue to push
forward, improve and strengthen your firm.
Greater Demand for Life and Work Balance: The conversation around life and work balance was once thought to be a passing fad. Today we know that this is not just a "next gen" issue. This is an "about everyone" issue. Everyone is searching for more balance including a career that they are passionate about as well as a personal life that is fulfilling. Firms have to continue their quest to develop accountability at work which includes setting professional goals that will help each individual accomplish the life they want, but will almost never look the same as the next person that walks through the door. That is where the challenge comes. We must have a system in place that allows for flexibility that will connect the needs of the firm with the goals of the individual.
As I stated
earlier, now is the time to act as leaders and be courageous. Use the trends above to develop strategies
that will enable your firm to navigate the talent trends of 2013 and end the
year in a positive way.