Here’s an interesting fact for you…
About 3 quarters of your team are unsatisfied with their personal development right now.
Shocking isn’t it?
Because surveys suggest that up to 74% of employees believe they don’t achieve their full potential at work.
Which is quite an alarming statistic for me…
Because if your team aren’t achieving their full potential, then how can your business?
One of the biggest obstacles to business growth is a lack of individual growth within your team
So as your accountancy practice develops, it’s important that your team grows alongside it.
And this can only be achieved if you focus on and encourage the development of each individual.
Without focus on their personal development, team members can easily start to feel unsatisfied with their professional life and lack of growth.
As a result, motivation could plummet, or they could seek opportunities elsewhere.
Putting it simply, if your team members aren’t developing, the chances are your practice won’t be either.
So how do we continually develop our team to keep them satisfied and a maintain a continuously growing practice?
Here are 5 ways to encourage team development in your practice…
1. Weekly Development Time
It’s important that your team members actually have the opportunity and time to work on their personal development.
So, it’s worthwhile encouraging team members (and also allowing them) to dedicate a specific block of time each week to focus on their own development.
This allocated time could be spent:
- Working on courses and exams (ACCA Qualifications etc.)
- Goal setting and reflection
- Updating or creating a personal development plan
- Innovating and pursuing new ideas to help the practice grow
Weekly development time will put the individual in the driving seat for their own development.
And by showing an interest in their research and listening to what they want to do, you’ll get a clear idea of the direction they want to head in.
The more involved in the development process you are, the more opportunities you will have to contribute.
Whether these contributions are offering to pay for courses or additional training, or simply assigning new projects or tasks to help their build experience.
2. Regular Staff Appraisals
It’s important that you regularly take the time out to sit with your team and have an appraisal.
Whether this be quarterly or bi-annually.
Your team should be regularly thinking about their own performance and aspirations so it’s important that you compare and discuss this with other perspectives too.
Conducting a personal review gives you the chance to:
- Ask questions to determine team satisfaction
- Discuss development opportunities
- Review progress and performance
- Set short and long-term goals
Team development is a two-way street.
So, you need to ensure you have a great level of communication and ensure, where possible, that you are providing your team member with the tools and support needed to grow.
A great tool you could use to keep your finger on the pulse is 15Five.
This allows you to check in with your team on a weekly basis to see how they’re feeling, what their wins were, what their learnings were, and whether they have any issues that they want to share.
3. Team Training
Undoubtedly one of the biggest aids to your team development is offering additional training.
And this training can be investment in further skills training e.g. tax, legislative updates or software run throughs.
Or it could be skills that will develop your team members on a more personal level.
A few examples could be:
- Becoming effective communicators
- Presentation skills
Team training doesn’t necessarily have to be directly related to the everyday compliance tasks your practice works through.
It can be focused upon anything that can improve your individual team members’ competency and contribute to the overall efficiency of your practice.
4. Ownership & Delegation
An easy way to support team development is to encourage an ownership mentality.
And this goes hand in hand with delegation.
If you have forward-thinking team members then you can encourage them to make informed decisions and use their initiative.
Part of this involves placing a certain amount of trust in your employees.
Which, if they have bought into your practice vision shouldn’t be a problem.
A simple way of encouraging ownership could be to delegate specific projects to certain team members and make them responsible for their progress and completion.
A few examples could be:
- Giving team members the lead with clients within specific industries
- Giving team members ownership of a client care/customer service project
- Allowing a team member to take the lead on a Facebook/twitter account
By giving individuals a certain level of autonomy you are effectively developing their ability to work without constant input from yourself.
Which will ultimately free up more of your own time and improve the team member’s efficiency.
5. Establish Core Values & Team Culture
A healthy and vibrant team culture will ultimately encourage them to want to come to work each day.
And as I mentioned earlier, if your team members have bought into your practice vision then they are more likely to be trustworthy, valuable assets to your business.
An important part of creating a team culture is the introduction of core values and beliefs.
These core values should be actively communicated to all members of the team, and any communication or development opportunities should be made in reference to these values.
So, in your team member’s quarterly and weekly development meetings, ensure that all ideas and targets are (in one way or another) related to the practice values.
That way, any development of individuals in the team is guaranteed to have a positive impact on the practice as a whole.
You Grow When They Grow
You can’t grow and develop your practice if you aren’t paying attention to the development of the individuals within it.
Maintaining regular communication and closely tracking your team members progress is crucial.
By nurturing and promoting team members to reach greater levels of success, then I can guarantee your practice will similar heights.
“There’s only one thing worse than training employees and then losing them, and that’s not training them and keeping them” Zig Ziglar.