Effective strategies to keep your staff happy

  • 26-10-16
  • Geoff Balmer

In an active accounting job market, retaining employees is hard, which begs the question how do you retain good employees? Here are seven quick, low-cost effective employee retention strategies that should help to keep your finance team happy and feeling valued.


Take each employee out for a coffee or lunch and get to know them in a casual setting, away from work. Hear what your staff members have to say professionally and personally. Ask how they are feeling about work, about the team and about the company culture. Identify early if there are any issues with their work or job satisfaction and encourage them to give you constructive feedback. By letting them know that their ideas are valued, you are creating open communication channels with your team members which will in turn have a positive effective on employee engagement.


Thank you. Two words that won’t cost you a cent, yet are easily forgotten when we are busy. Acknowledging a great piece of work leaves your team members feeling good and builds their confidence. Recognition goes a long way in reducing employee turnover and boosting morale. An additional benefit lies in reinforcing the activities and behaviours you most want to see your team repeat.


Many managers encourage people to only do the job that they are hired for. This is a mistake and also a missed opportunity. Your employees have broad experience and skills that they bring to work every day – and they want to contribute more to the work environment. Find out what their skills are and if you aren’t already, give them an opportunity to use them. Not only is there potential to uncover a gold mine in your own team but your company culture and bottom line will benefit from greater employee engagement.


 At exit interviews, employees often state the main reason they have chosen to move is due to a lack of career development. Before looking to hire externally, consider whether a vacant position could be filled by an internal team member. Employees are more likely to stay engaged and loyal if they can see that the business regularly promotes and develops the team within.


Hold two-way discussion groups and ask your people for their opinion on matters concerning the business. Listen to the responses openly, try not to take negative feedback personally, and probe deeper to understand the source of any discontent. These open forums can often lead to great initiatives in retaining employees and allow you to catch dissatisfaction early and act on it. 


 Look for the signs of increased stress, increased emotion or inconsistent behaviour. There may be a change required in their work environment or level of responsibilities. Be aware of when your team members are starting to tire and encourage them to take a break or even some paid time off if they are demonstrating any of these signals before burnout becomes a real problem. 


 Employees need to feel valued as individuals. Encourage a healthy work-life balance – it is a major factor affecting stress levels in employees and job satisfaction. Encourage flexible work hours and health benefits such as discounted gym memberships. Have fun as a team, take a break at lunch together or grab a drink after work to really bond with staff members. Lead by example and show your team that it is ok to have fun. Letting them get to know you as a person, will also help foster a more open company culture.

Having implemented a number of these staff retention ideas personally, I am pleased to report that the benefits speak for themselves. By prioritising employee engagement, career development and flexible work initiatives, we have benefited from low employee turnover and a positive work environment. I wish you every success in implementing these strategies for your teams.

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If you want to understand the reason of why you staff might or does leave, please have look at On The Move Again? The Real Reasons Why Staff Resign and Opportunity knocks – Why your staff resign and move onto new roles.

To understand why people leave in the first place, pleave look at The Most Common Reasons Accounting Professionals Leave And What To Do About It.

There is more skills an employer can train to retain employees. Please watch The 8 Essentials Every Employer Needs – With Kim Seeling Smith for better understanding.

Here are 6 more ways to improve your retention rate: Low Cost, High Impact Staff Retention Tools.