Do you want to ensure that your top performers stay engaged and productive over the long term? Do you want to keep them on the path to partner to ensure your firm has a viable succession plan?
Investing in leadership development for your supervisors and managers is one of the most effective ways to do this.
Often, professionals get promoted due to their technical skills and seniority rather than their soft skills, such as coaching and mentoring, giving feedback, and developing new business. As a result, they reach a level in their careers where those skills are required and they feel unprepared and inadequate.
Providing success skills training allows you to recognize individuals who have already demonstrated excellence while encouraging them toward even greater heights.
Why invest in success skills development for top performers
Investing in soft skills development for top performers can help you retain your best talent, ensure successful succession planning and keep employee engagement high.
Most firms are feeling the pain of the talent shortage in accounting right now, and investing in your people can help you become an employer of choice for new candidates and hold on to the talent you have.
In fact, according to Lorman Education Services, 70% of employees would be somewhat likely to leave their current job to work for an organization known for investing in employee learning and development, and retention rates are 30% to 50% higher for companies with strong learning cultures.
How to develop success skills in your top performers
Deciding to invest in people is the first step to helping your top performers prepare for the next phase of their careers. But what comes next?
Identify the Skills Your Top Performers Need
Everyone has unique skills and talents, so a one-size-fits-all learning and development program isn't as effective as individual skills assessments.
Skills assessments help you determine the current competency levels of your employees and identify any skill gaps that may exist. This allows you to customize learning and development programs to address areas that need improvement.
Your HR team can help you conduct a skills gap analysis by first identifying the specific skills needed to perform a role in the firm. For example, you may determine that people at the supervisor level need to know how to teach others, provide feedback to other staff members, manage engagements, and have consultative conversations with clients. Managers need to be able to give feedback and develop new business.
Once you compare those skills against the actual skills employees have, you can identify which skills development efforts are most needed and beneficial for the firm.
Establish clear objectives and goals for future leaders
Once you know which skills you want each future leader to work on developing, you can establish objectives and goals. Each individual should be given clear direction on what success looks like in their role and be encouraged to take the initiative and develop their own ideas.
Any goals you set for their professional development should measurable and time-bound to ensure you can track progress is tracked and measure results.
Provide continuous support and feedback
Once you have identified the necessary leadership skills for your top performers and established clear objectives and goals, you need to provide continuous support as they work on developing those skills. This includes allowing time for professional development and a budget for attending conferences, taking courses or joining peer networks.
Regular check-ins about the progress they're making and the results let your up-and-coming leaders know their efforts are appreciated and that they have an opportunity to improve continuously. This will help ensure that your leaders stay motivated and engaged throughout the development process, leading to better results for your firm.
Developing leadership skills among your top performers is essential, and it doesn't happen simply because someone has an accounting degree or a CPA license. By making an intentional effort to help your top performers develop the skills of a successful leader, you can ensure your firm has a deep bench of talent for the future. This will lead to improved performance, increased job satisfaction among your team and a boost in profitability for your firm.
Are you ready to upskill your team and transform your firm?
The Boomer Learning & Development Circle is a peer group of learning and development professionals in the accounting profession who share tools and resources to properly support their firms' learning and development goals. Apply now to ensure you're focusing on the right skills, engaging learners and demonstrating value to other firm leaders.
As a Solutions Advisor for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Kylie Pruser is excited about engaging with clients, helping them solve their problems, enrich their businesses and grow. Her primary focus is on communities, including the Talent Circle, Learning & Development Circle, and Operations Circles.