How to Build a Positive Culture with Remote Teams

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of remote teams is on the rise. As the numbers increase, odds are you are or will be managing a remote team. One of the issues you’ll have to tackle is creating and maintaining a strong culture. This defines the experience your employees have working for your company or on your team. Having an established culture and positive employee experience increases engagement, productivity, and retention. These are a few reasons why you need an effective approach to building the culture you need for your team to be successful.

Consider these tips to create a strong culture with your remote team.

Match Communication Tools with Culture

Use communication tools that promote company culture. For instance, Slack can be used as a virtual water cooler. Employees can share random work discussions, talk about the news, tell jokes, and discuss pop culture. The company intranet or programs such as WordPress theme P2 can be used to post internal updates. Threaded comments make it easy to share posts welcoming new team members, discuss work issues, and share other topics your team needs to be informed about. Google Hangouts or Zoom can be used for team meetings. Even a simple, emailed newsletter updates employees and keeps them engaged.

Send Company Swag

Ship each employee company-branded materials. They can wear the clothing, display company items on their desk, and decorate their home office with posters to create the same design aesthetic and cultural life elements as the office.

Promote Team Building

Develop communication and trust through team-building activities. Randomly set up two members of your team every week to have a casual conversation. This gets the emphasis away from business and promotes camaraderie. Or, put employees in groups based on common interests. Let each group set up some time to chat.

Create Shared Leadership

Provide opportunities for employees to take on leadership tasks. Rather than simply assigning a list of things to do, let your team take initiative on certain projects or parts of a project. This may include mentoring new team members as part of the onboarding process or leading a virtual team-building exercise. This helps your team members experience managerial functions, learn other areas of the business and potentially move up within the organization.

Establish Traditions

Encourage your team to create traditions. Repeating these activities, processes, or events creates cohesion. Teammates feel they can trust each other and openly communicate because of these shared experiences. They’ll be more open to expressing their ideas and opinions, knowing they’ll be listened to and respected.

Promote Culture Among Your Remote Team

Remote work isn’t going away anytime soon. As it continues to grow, you must promote a strong culture among your team members to maintain a cohesive company.

To find qualified professionals for your accounting and finance team, reach out to Casey Accounting & Finance Resources. Our candidates understand the importance of promoting company culture while working remotely. Partner with us today.

The Name of the Game is Flexibility

If there is one thing we have learned through the COVID-19 pandemic, it is flexibility. There are countless examples of companies who are adapting their business operations, determining what work options employees have, and addressing ongoing or new project needs, to name a few. It’s not for the faint of heart, but strong business leaders have adapted well and companies with strong employee cultures are navigating how to keep remote workers engaged.

We’ve talked about how to keep employees as safe as possible in the work environment and we’ve talked about interview and onboarding practices when your workforce is offsite. What about when your business needs require the addition of employees or you’re hearing from current employees that they need more flexibility? Work still needs to be done, but the pandemic and business landscape continue to shift. What are the options?

And now that we realize this pandemic isn’t going away any time soon and kids are still in remote learning or hybrid academic environments, employees are also reviewing their options. Let’s face it. It was hard enough to work from home and help with homeschooling this spring. Rather than lose valuable employees, what if there were more creative ways to address your employee’s needs and your hiring needs? There is!

Working with our team, you have most likely used our services to fill both direct hire and temporary positions. Rather than jump further into the deep end of the pool of uncertainty, it seems logical that filling open positions with temporary workers makes the most sense. Plus, with most companies still allowing work-from-home options, your talent pool has grown exponentially. There is lots of potential to tap into from unemployed workers who aren’t even located nearby. Let’s snap up that talent. What a great position to be in.

How to Creatively Manage the Budget and the Workload

Here are some options and ideas to consider:

First, talk to your employees about any struggles they are having. Determine if there is a way to offer more flexible schedules or fewer hours. Help them address their family needs while keeping their job and getting work done.

Second, if you reduced your workforce earlier this year, look at that pool of former employees to see if some of them could fit well into the new flexible work schedule. Figure out what is being offloaded by current employees needing flexibility and/or fewer hours and determine who are the good candidates to handle the work. After all, they know the company and culture and would still make a great addition without bringing them back onto your payroll full-time.

Temp, Temp-to-Hire, Direct Hire and … Direct Sourcing

Besides temporary, temp-to-hire and direct hire opportunities, another option to consider throughout the pandemic is direct sourcing. This term is commonly referred to as the process by which you source the candidate or a member of your internal staff, and those “employees” are placed on our payroll. This might help with budgeting as you already have found the candidate, but you are uncertain how long you will need them. It’s the best of both worlds and here is how it might work for you.

In the previous example of a current employee who wants more flexibility or fewer hours, you could work out an arrangement where he or she switches over to our associate as a temporary. Then, if you have an employee who was furloughed who is also available to pick up the rest of the work, that employee can become our associate as well. The temporary needs can fluctuate based on the workload. When things improve and the pandemic is behind us, you can decide which associates convert to your payroll.

According to Staffing Industry Analyst’s Workforce Solutions Buyer Survey 2019 report, 26% of employers use direct sourcing today and 41% plan to seriously consider it within the next two years.

Being agile will win in the long term. Let us help you with your business strategies and develop the best blend of hiring options for you today and into the future.

Recognizing Mistakes Can Positively Impact Employee Performance

Employees make mistakes from time to time. Perhaps they don’t clearly understand what you want them to do.  Maybe they didn’t thoroughly consider all the information or potential results before making a decision. When mistakes occur, it’s your managerial duty to decide how to handle the situation. You need to take steps that involve the employee’s input for finding a solution and creating lasting change in their behavior.

Follow these suggestions to effectively talk about employee mistakes and improve performance.

Ask Questions

Come up with questions aimed at changing future behavior. For instance, “If we did this project again, what could we do differently to change the results?” Or, “How could I have better supported you and your team?” Ask the employee to get back with you the next day with their thoughts. This encourages them to focus on finding solutions rather than a new job.

Provide Feedback 

Give the employee feedback about the problem. They may need more information about a situation in order to change their behavior. Use “I” statements rather than “you” statements. For instance, instead of saying, “Can I give you some feedback?” say, “Here’s my reaction.” Rather than suggesting, “Here’s what you should do,” try, “Here’s what I would do.” Instead of saying, “You should do X” when asked for advice, respond with, “What do you feel you’re struggling with, and what have you done before that worked in a similar situation?”

Use the 8D Model

For a higher-level mistake, implement the 8D Model to modify employee behavior. The D stands for discipline, meaning an area of study or influence. This model encourages the team to understand the problem and provide an answer. Begin by planning the time, people, and resources required to resolve the issue. Choose individuals with diverse skill sets and product/process knowledge. Define the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the problem. Create and implement a temporary solution to contain the issue. Use tools such as cause-and-effect diagrams to determine the root causes of the problem. Create a permanent, systemic solution that addresses the root cause. Implement the corrective actions, then verify their effectiveness. Focus on areas of the solution that need work, then modify practices, procedures, and management and operation systems to address potential issues in the future. Recognize your team’s efforts in solving the problem.

Improve Employee Performance

Your employees won’t change their ways if you simply tell them what they’re doing is wrong. You need to ask questions, provide feedback, or use another effective method to enhance employee behavior and bring about lasting change.

When you need to hire top accounting and finance professionals in Rolling Meadows, turn to Casey Accounting & Finance Resources. We match you with candidates who have the skills and experience needed to solve problems. Get in touch with us today.

How to Ensure You’re Hiring a Diverse Talent Pool

Having a diverse accounting and finance team increases your company’s innovation. Cultivating different perspectives and backgrounds contributes to more creative ideas that effectively solve problems. This leads to better individual, team, and company performance. Building your group of qualified professionals regardless of their gender, background, race, religion, sexual orientation, or other personal characteristics, provides you increased access to top professionals needed to keep your company moving forward.

Here are five ways to include diversity in your candidate pool.

Revisit Your Job Postings

Rewrite your job ads to include language that speaks to a larger range of candidates. Certain words tend to discourage different types of candidates from applying. For instance, ads with words such as “ambitious,” “assertive,” and “self-reliant” tend to attract more male applicants. Ads with words such as “committed,” “interpersonal,” and “responsible” tend to attract more female applicants. By eliminating such gender-coded words, you can reduce the bias in your job ads. This includes using neutral job titles and descriptive language that includes both male- and female-coded descriptors.

Target Your Sourcing

Source candidates from diverse places they tend to hang out. For instance, if you’re looking for high caliber female finance candidates, this may include online and offline groups dedicated to women in finance. If you seek veterans, LGBTIQ people, or people with autism or disabilities, advertise your jobs in forums they may visit or magazines they may read. Niche job boards such as Diversity Working, Hire Autism, Hire Purpose, Recruit Disability, and 70 Million Jobs are options as well.

Request Employee Referrals

Ask your diverse employees to refer people they know. They should have networks of people with backgrounds similar to theirs. Encourage your team members to share job postings with their connections. Provide tools to promote company culture. Show that you value teammates’ ideas and input.

Provide Targeted Internships

Offer internships to people with a specific background. Reach out to local schools and community groups to form connections with students—team up with established programs that encourage growth. Internships provide work experience and immersion in company culture for potential new hires. Seeing firsthand what your company is like encourages diverse candidates to join your team.

Refocus Your Screening Process

Reconsider the traits to look for in candidates. Think about which skills, experience, and qualifications are most important for the role. Make sure they’re not favoring one group of people with similar backgrounds over other groups. Evaluate your interview questions and testing process. Determine whether the results are being steered toward specific types of people more than others. Include a diverse range of peers in conducting these evaluations. Change your methods as needed.

Diversify Your Talent Pool

Focusing on diversity among candidates increases engagement, productivity, and team performance. You gain access to a broader range of skills and experience needed to solve problems and drive innovation.

Find diverse talent by partnering with Casey Accounting & Finance Resources. We provide the experienced candidates needed to help bring your business to the next level. Get started with us today.

Applying Lessons Learned From the 2008 Recession as we Lead Employees Through COVID-19 and Beyond

Five months into the pandemic and we have seen many changes and shifts. Our businesses and employees are experiencing disruption, panic, and unpredictability as we adjust to this new and ever-changing landscape. As leaders and managers, we are probably experiencing most, if not all, of these same feelings. How can we be present to the emotions while keeping our employees motivated and meeting productivity goals with so much uncertainty?

Lessons Learned

This isn’t the first pandemic or recession and it won’t be the last. We do know that there is always a recovery. In a 1948 speech by Winston Churchill, this multi-dimensional leader paraphrased a previous statement from philosopher George Santayana. Churchill said, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” This article isn’t about doom and gloom, but it is a compilation of what strong leaders did right during a crisis.

Julie Bawden-Davis, a writer, author and speaker, offers these suggestions for today’s company leaders:

  1. Trust Your Instincts – While this pandemic wasn’t in the game plan, seasoned leaders can draw on past experiences and rely on their instincts to lead.
  2. Exude Calm – Bring order and structure to an otherwise out-of-control situation.
  3. Reassure Your Employees and Give Them Hope – Instill hope and be realistic to reassure employees and keep them focused.
  4. Focus on the Future or Resurrect Projects on the Back Burner – Restore projects on the back burner and/or strategize future projects, if possible. Review and revise company goals set at the beginning of the year and alter them as necessary to still achieve them.
  5. Face Reality and Be Transparent – Every business has been impacted by COVID-19. Keep employees plugged in by keeping communication lines open, providing regular status updates and sharing impacts to the organization as soon as you are certain those impacts will affect the employees.

Rick Bisio, an author and franchise coach, expressed these opinions in a recent Entrepreneur magazine article based on the lessons learned from the recession that spanned December 2007 to June 2009:

  1. Strengthen Your Operating Systems – A key factor for businesses that survived the recession is they had a strong operating system and the right people in place who understood the financials and goals and could effectively implement them.
  2. Always Be Prepared – Never get complacent and fail to think about the future. Always be prepared for what’s coming next, anticipate your next moves, and have a contingency plan. Read or reread Spencer Johnson’s Who Moved My Cheese for a great example of how to anticipate and react to change.
  3. Seize the Opportunity – Strong leaders look at situations as opportunities. Maybe there is less competition or more available employees. Position yourselves for greater success in the future.

To summarize, engaging in open conversations, setting clear expectations, and helping people cope with uncertainty will help your employees better orient through the crisis and regain some sense of control. These lessons and suggestions work particularly well if employee engagement was already high before the pandemic and employees feel their need for wellbeing is respected by their company. If not, review your employee engagement programs to see what you can implement right now.

Rick Bisio sums it up the best. “We don’t know everything about the future except it will be different, but it will also improve.”

3 Tips to Make Your Job Descriptions Stand Out

Part of hiring top talent involves creating an effective job description. Crafting an engaging, inclusive job description brings a range of highly qualified candidates into your pipeline. Combining details about the position, required skills, and competencies, and insight into company culture is key to presenting a role to job candidates.

Consider these three tips to create stand-out job descriptions.

Include Engaging Details

Craft up to four sentences about the major job functions, how the role contributes to company objectives, and why the position is important to both the business and society in general. Focus on how the role either helps make people’s lives better or solves existing business or social problems. Include invitational language such as “Join a creative team of… dedicated to…” to maximize interest. Sprinkle in keywords that candidates may be searching for. Avoid extreme language such as “best of the best” or “world-class.”

Emphasize Growth and Development

Use five to seven bullets to describe key job functions. Or, group two or three bullets under bigger categories, such as “technical skills” or “management skills.” Include the potential for advancement and how a candidate’s achievements can contribute to career progression. Show why candidates should be excited about your organization and the transformations taking place in your industry. Share what your business is doing within the industry, how technology makes it happen, and how working in the position can increase a candidate’s growth and development. For instance, “We anticipate growth beyond 25 percent this year.” Your objective is to attract goal- and action-oriented candidates who can move your organization forward.

Promote Company Culture

Ensure candidates will fit in and enjoy working with your team by emphasizing company culture. A candidate who’s a good culture fit typically will be more engaged and productive long-term than a candidate who isn’t a good fit. Highlight the benefits, bonuses, and perks your organization has to offer. This may include flexible schedules, remote work opportunities, or happy hour Fridays. Include photos, graphics, videos, and other multimedia in your job ads to attract diverse candidates.

Find Stand-Out Accounting & Finance Candidates

Making your job descriptions stand out encourages top talent to work with you. Gaining insight into how job responsibilities benefit the company and society encourages candidates to want to work for you. Focusing on growth and development, along with company culture fit, makes your organization a prime place for employment.

Turn to the experienced consultants at Casey Accounting & Finance Resources to find the talent you need when you need it. We provide innovative and creative solutions that exceed expectations to help achieve company goals and objectives. Get started with us today.

2020 Mid-Year Accounting and Finance Salary Survey Available!

Casey Accounting & Finance Resources has compiled updated salary data for the fields of accounting and finance. Having passed the middle portion of 2020, having the most up-to-date information is vital!

With compensation trends changing on a monthly basis, both sides can benefit from having this information during job negotiations.

Casey Accounting & Finance Resources can help financial professionals who want to learn more about what salary expectations should be. We have compiled our salary survey list with updated facts and figures including job descriptions for more than 110 accounting and finance positions for the Chicago metropolitan area.

Email us today at and we will be happy to share this with you.  In the “YOUR MESSAGE” section, please enter “2020 Mid-Year Accounting & Finance Salary Survey”.  Enjoy the rest of the summer!

4 Ways to Get Your Employees Involved in Corporate Culture

Investing time and energy into designing a unique, effective corporate culture results in a positive employee experience. Encouraging staff to get involved in creating and exhibiting your company mission, vision, and values promotes buy-in and improves engagement. Workers perform their best when who they are as people is reflected in what they do for a living. Having an attractive culture makes others want to work for your organization.

Choose among these ideas to involve your employees in corporate culture.

Emphasize Employee Stories

Show what it’s like to work for your company through employee experiences. You may decide to create a Culture Book filled with staff members’ definitions of corporate culture in their own words. Team members sharing what they enjoy most about working for your organization provides transparency, honesty, and authenticity that job candidates find attractive. Include a mix of videos on your website and social media posts featuring employee stories that highlight your culture.

Set Up an Informal Team Meeting with New Hires

Schedule a time for your new hire to meet with your team in a relaxed setting. Getting together in a low-key environment provides space to develop true connectedness and friendship. Integrating work and life promotes lasting relationships among colleagues. Staff can learn from each other, ask for guidance, and build camaraderie and trust. This can extend to one-on-one meetings for coffee or lunch to further get to know others on a personal basis.

Demonstrate How Employees Live Corporate Culture

Include staff in specific activities that exhibit your company’s mission, mission, and values. This may be through giving out WOW cards with a company value on each. Employees hand a card to one another when they see someone demonstrating a specific value. This peer-to-peer recognition emphasizes core values as part of everyday behavior. If physical health is a company value, offer bonuses to employees who participate in internal wellness events such as a 5K, fitness classes, health screenings, smoking cessation programs, or an on-site fitness center.

Create an Employee Facebook Group

Encourage a sense of community among employees by creating an employee Facebook Group. Everyone can keep in contact and see what others are up to, both personally and professionally. They can share videos, family pictures, events they’re hosting, and more. Employees can welcome new hires, share important information, and help them get acclimated.

Find Top Accounting and Finance Professionals

Involving employees in corporate culture encourages buy-in to the organization. When staff talk and behave in alignment with company mission, vision, and values, it creates an atmosphere conducive to productivity, engagement, and company loyalty. Attracting top talent to your organization keeps your company competitive.

If you’re looking for experienced accounting and finance candidates, reach out to Casey Accounting & Finance Resources. Being named one of Chicago’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For® shows our innovative and thoughtful approach to sourcing and placing qualified candidates. Learn more about our process today.


The New Remote Team Environment: What Employers Need to Know About Matching Candidates Best Suited to Work From Home

Over the past few months, employers and employees figured out how to manage technology and supervision and overcame concerns about productivity with their employees working from home. However, will we be able to go back to work as we knew it pre-COVID-19?

There’s No Going Back

In an April Gallup poll, 3 in 5 U.S. employees working from home want to continue to work remotely. While some miss their colleagues and in-person interactions, most employees feel more productive working from home because of the reduction in interruptions. They also enjoy the benefits of more time with family, no stress from commuting, and overall higher satisfaction with their job.

Is there an argument to bring employees back into the office? Yes, but a 10-week Indeed poll suggests nearly half those surveyed are still concerned about returning to work. According to Mark Spiegel, senior policy advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, “Going forward, the pace of economic recovery will depend on the progression of the pandemic…Given the substantive uncertainty concerning how the COVID-19 situation will develop, we offer two scenarios for the path of recovery.” Spiegel goes on to describe an early recovery scenario that assumes most social distancing measures are phased out by the end of the year. The delayed recovery scenario assumes these measures will initially be phased out at the same speed as in the first scenario but presumes increased infections leading to a reinstatement of shelter-in-place restrictions later in the year. Both scenarios presume that a vaccine against the virus will become available by mid-2021.

Are There Characteristics of Better-Suited Candidates to Work From Home?

Yes, we believe this added hiring element should be examined more closely when hiring candidates. As recruiters, we pride ourselves on our ability to match the best candidates for the job. Our trusted 8-Step Process includes an in-depth analysis of position specifications, company culture and defining of client parameters.  We have refined our evaluation techniques to measure not only a candidate’s experience but also to focus on personality and behavioral skills that prove the candidate would be successful working for your company as a remote worker. These characteristics include time management, organizational skills, attention to detail, self-discipline, prioritizing results over activity, and problem-solving.

Interestingly, data shows that older workers are well suited for telework. Paul Irving, chairman of the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging explains, “The world will look much older in the decades to come, and employers must adapt to this demographic shift.” Besides a strong work ethic, older workers bring a knowledge base that is a real asset to companies. They also don’t typically miss the social interactions younger workers need but still add value and mentoring to their younger counterparts.

Recruiters can also cast a wider net for ideal candidates since remote workers do not have to live near the company’s office. This unlocks more possibilities for finding qualified candidates.

What Employers Need Now

We recognize that the future will not look the same. While the majority of professional workers will continue to work from home for the foreseeable future, we recognize that managers now have the added responsibilities of hiring the best remote workers while also balancing ways to maintain productivity and coordinating work and motivating employees who tend to enjoy more social interactions.

With an unemployment rate of 13.3%, we might believe that matching candidates to job openings will be a cakewalk. We are here to strategize with your team to determine the most effective means for sourcing target candidates who will succeed in this ‘new normal.’

6 Benefits to Boost Morale During the Summer Months

With the sun shining, employees want to be outside. Given the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing requirements in 2020, it is more important than ever to get outdoors. As a manager, you need to find ways to boost morale by improving the balance between fulfilling work responsibilities and participating in summer activities.

Choose among these six ways to improve employee morale for your in-office or remote team.

Summer Hours

Implement summer hours so your team spends less time in the office. Have your team work a half-day on Friday or work longer Monday through Thursday and take off Fridays. Having an abbreviated workweek increases employee satisfaction, productivity, and morale.

Picture Sharing

Provide opportunities for your remote team to virtually share pictures of their summer activities. Engaging with others through photos and stories provides insight into their lives. Lively conversations about fun memories make everyone feel connected. This promotes team bonding, collaboration, and company culture.

Outdoor Activities

If local social distancing regulations allow, plan an outdoor activity for your team. Take them mini-golfing, camping, or to an outdoor movie. Or, set up a family-friendly barbeque at a local park or your home. Encourage everyone to sign up to bring food or a beverage to share. Include friendly competitions and prizes. Employees appreciate time to socialize with coworkers in the sunshine and fresh air.

The Perfect Summer Vacation

Ask your remote team to call a coworker and describe the perfect summer vacation. Emphasize that time and money are unlimited. When your team members finish, have them get together on a video conference to explain their coworker’s dream vacation as accurately as possible. This promotes listening and looking for common interests.

Volunteer Day

Choose a community event that your team wants to participate in. Find out which causes they care about most, then organize an activity around them. This may include picking up trash along a beach or park, walking dogs at an animal shelter, or setting up a food or clothing drive. You can arrange more than one volunteer day to accommodate as many interests as possible. Keep in mind there are plenty of ways to give back while doing so remotely.

Virtual Movie Night

Host an online movie night for your remote team. Remind everyone to have popcorn, snacks, and their beverage of choice ready. Stream the film through a video conference platform. Keep an instant messaging chat box open for team members to comment while watching. This provides an opportunity to relax, open up, and joke about things later on.

Plan Ahead for Summer Vacations

Working during the Summer instead of being outside can be challenging. Providing fun summer activities for in-office and remote teams to participate in promotes engagement, increases happiness, and boosts morale. Staff perform at higher levels and feel less stressed when they are able to have more fun with team members.

When you need to fill accounting and finance absences due to summer vacations, turn to Casey Accounting & Finance Resources. As a trusted staffing partner, we reduce your time spent on recruiting, evaluating, screening, and interviewing employees. Learn more today.