Thinking Outside the Box in Terms of Staff Retention
Society and the media now seemingly tells us that one career for life is no longer the norm, or perhaps, even likely. We need to accept that some or maybe many of our employees, and perhaps even our partners, will be with us for a short time rather than a long time, deciding instead to pursue careers at other firms or even careers in different industries.

In a recent publication by CBA titled ‘Accounting Market Pulse’, it was interesting to note that one of the key challenges documented by both large and small firms alike was finding and retaining quality staff. It remains the age old problem and whilst we have certainly been hearing of late that more candidates seem to be in the market, some concern remains around the quality of these personnel.

With this in mind, we have begun noticing that some firms are becoming more flexible in their approach to retaining key personnel. Importantly, it has definitely been noted that such approaches wouldn’t be offered to all staff, however for those quality key personnel that the firm really want to retain, they’re open to having such personnel work remotely. Now this mightn’t sound like anything new, but this more than simply enables personnel to work from home for part of the working week.

Typically the scenario comes about that a particular staff member is going to move, often interstate, perhaps to follow their partner who has been relocated for work. Rather than the firm losing a really good employee and having to source a replacement, the firm elects to offer that staff member continued employment in their new location. They will either set up the staff member at home with all of the necessary technology or the firm may even set up a serviced office environment or more, just depending on whether they already have some clients in that local area. However, locally based clients are not the key driver here.

Obviously the key is there must be mutual trust between employer and employee to be comfortable that what needs to get done will get done. However, there is less concern around when the work is actually performed as long as the expected hours are performed, and the quality of work is maintained. Communication with clients is still performed and in some cases clients will be aware that the staff member works remotely. Essentially it’s another form of outsourcing, albeit that the staff member had originally worked inside the firm, where the relationship was developed, including with clients, and is now maintained with the staff member based in the alternate location.

A winning outcome for all concerned.

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