Tips for Creating a More Inclusive Work Environment

Inclusion focuses on embracing and celebrating the differences and similarities between people. In the workforce, acknowledging these differences helps staff feel accepted and valued for who they are. This helps increase innovation, improve decision-making, and elevate revenue.

Implement these tips to promote inclusion in your work environment.

Connect with Employees at All Levels

Form personal relationships with staff throughout the organization. Getting to know who they are and what matters to them encourages them to open up. Your coworkers should feel they can talk with you and not be judged. Forming authentic relationships is one way to lead by example.

Celebrate Coworkers’ Traditions

Ask staff throughout the company to share their traditions with everyone. Request that they provide some background on the tradition and why it is so special. Include small holiday celebrations at the appropriate time of year as well. You may want to create a shared calendar for everyone to add festivities too. You might wish the staff a good Hanukkah, Chinese New Year, Kwanzaa, or Cinco de Mayo.

Talk with Your Team

Ask your team members about their experiences with inclusion. Find out what they feel is working within your organization and specific changes they would like to see. Make this part of ongoing public or private conversations that can take place at any time. Request that every team has similar conversations as well. Regularly share your findings with leadership to improve inclusion throughout the organization.

Hold Bias Training

Train employees at all levels to gain awareness and understanding of unconscious biases and the effect they can have on decision-making. Everyone has preferences in favor of or against certain individuals, groups, or things. This can result in assumptions or judgments about others that we are unaware of making. As a result, we may not consider the experiences, perspectives, and ideas that differ from ours. This affects who we choose to work with, ask for advice, and are involved in making decisions. Being consciously aware of our own biases and patterns of thinking helps us overcome them.

Create an Inclusive Work Environment

Creating a more inclusive workplace is beneficial for everyone. Staff at all levels tend to be more engaged, productive, and collaborative. This results in greater innovation, retention, and revenue.

When you need to add top talent to your accounting and finance team, reach out to Casey Accounting & Finance Resources. Find out more today.

Communication Skills You Should Have to Help Improve Company Culture

Strengthening communication skills in your organization provides a wealth of benefits. Among them are improved performance, stronger engagement, more cohesive teams, and innovative ideas. Because active listening and sharing are vital parts of your company’s success, they need to be embedded in your culture.

Promote these communication skills throughout your organization to enhance your culture.  

Inform Employees of Company News

Ensure that employees at every level find out company news at the same time. This shows that staff at all levels are valued and respected members of the organization. Include what the next steps are and how the news may impact specific departments or employees. Allow time to answer questions and provide support during transitions.

Clarify Expectations

Share with team members what your standards and expectations are. This is especially important if your staff is working remotely. For instance, let them know which individual and team projects should be worked on at a given time. Also, regularly check in to discuss timelines, issues, feedback, next steps, and questions. This helps keep everyone on the same page.

Recognize Employee Accomplishments

Publicly and privately, thank team members for their efforts and achievements. For instance, mention during individual and team meetings specific examples of how they positively impacted the company. Also, give your staff hand-written thank-you notes expressing appreciation for their hard work and results.

Check for Non-Verbal Cues

In addition to body language, look for non-verbal cues that may signal miscommunication, defensiveness, or conflict. This is especially important for remote employees who do not benefit from the in-person interactions of working onsite. For instance, check employee emails and messages for signs of distress, frustration, or burnout. Red flags include messages sent late at night, frequent errors, and a curt tone. Also, speak privately with employees who exhibit excessive absenteeism, non-participation in meetings, and other signs of disengagement. Work to better understand the situation and offer support.

Maintain Personal Connections

Stay in regular contact with employees, colleagues, and coworkers. For instance, have conversations about personal news and outside stressors that may be affecting their work. Also, check to see how your team is doing with their well-being and job satisfaction. Additionally, celebrate birthdays, work anniversaries, and special life events.

Make Open Communication Part of Your Culture

Open communication needs to be prioritized in your company culture to maximize business success. The more staff members at all levels actively listen, share ideas, and provide support for each other, the more cohesive your workforce will be. This results in greater goal attainment long into the future.

When you are in the market to add skilled accounting and finance professionals to your organization, get in touch with Casey Accounting & Finance Resources. Find out more today.

3 Old-School Ways That Still Yield Recruiting Results

As recruiters, we utilize many recruiting sources to match the right candidate to our clients’ job order requests. Even though the economy is improving and more people are going back to work, we can have difficulty in finding the best candidate. With our years of experience, we have used a number of tactics to break through recruiting challenges. While job boards are helpful, we thought we would share some of the older methods that are still very effective.

Discover three old-school methods that still generate strong candidates.

Build Relationships

Create and expand on your connections. The more people in your sphere of influence, the more folks you can seek out when you are recruiting for your next open position.

Ask for Referrals

Our current clients are a top source for future clients and job orders. We ask for referrals from the clients who trust us to exceed their expectations. We often find commonalities with the referrals who may operate in the same industry, are the same size or need similar roles filled. You can use your existing professional relationships to help with candidate referrals.

Monitor Your Ratios

Your recruiting primary ratio shows how many candidate presentations you must give to obtain a quality candidate. Your goal should be no higher than 3:1. You may want to invest time in researching and planning to find the types of candidates you need. Additionally, match your primary ratio of quality candidates to send-outs. The lower the ratio, the better you are at matching what your hiring managers are looking for with qualified candidates. Pay attention to the job requirements, a fit to your company culture, and hiring goals and objectives to keep this ratio at 2:1 or better.

Work with a Staffing Leader

Enhancing client relationships and asking for referrals are two ways to widen the pool of potential candidates. Paying attention to your ratios and working to improve them also is effective.

When you need your accounting and finance job orders filled, reach out to Casey Accounting & Finance Resources. We ranked on the Forbes 2020 top 250 Best Professional Recruiting Firms in America. Learn more about our services today.

How Customer-Centricity Factors into Successful Change Management

This is the second of a two-part series of articles on disruption and the importance of customer-centricity. The first part of this series was published in February’s newsletter. In this article, we’ll discuss the best predictors of successful organizational change. But first, let’s summarize the key highlights of last month’s article on How to use Disruption as an Opportunity for Change:
  • Most people are resistant to change, yet great leaders use disruption for capitalizing on change and improving customer-centricity.
  • The ways to prioritize change, and taking challenges, and turning them into opportunities included:
  • Gallup has also identified seven principles leaders can use for effective change management.
    • Clearly articulate the vision for change.
    • Involve the right people: limited vs. broad involvement.
    • Communicate the right information at the right time.
    • Always account for resistance to change.
    • Celebrate short-term wins without declaring premature victory.
    • Effectively anchor the change to the organization.
    • Always plan for change to be “the only constant.”

The Best Predictors of Successful Organizational Change

According to Gallup, the best predictors of successful organizational change are strong leadership and engaged employees. Plenty of articles outline successful organizations that have strong company cultures and strong customer-centric practices. So, how does this help with the change management process? Forrester Research states that to succeed, customer-centricity should be embedded in the way you do business. Therefore customers must be made the focal point of your business strategy and operations. Customer-centric organizations set high expectations for their employees to provide extraordinary experiences to customers, and in turn, customers reward these companies with trust. Customer-centric organizations also collect various data points that help determine ways to provide customers with better and additional services and products that, in turn, make their customers successful. Altogether, this knowledge helps drive decision-making processes, regardless of disruption. We all know that creating a strong customer-centric culture isn’t for the faint of heart, and it requires an ongoing commitment throughout the organization. What customer-centric organizations do well is they continuously build and strengthen customer relationships. So, how have they continued this strong bond during COVID-19, where everything is virtual? Scott Steinberg, a futurist and keynote speaker, offers these best practices to create meaningful relationships from a distance. Here are excerpts from one of his articles. To read the entire article, click here.

1. Create good reasons to be in contact.

Tactical takeaway: Rather than attempt routine check-ins with clients, instead create cleverly-packaged offers that help customers solve pressing problems—then creatively pitch these programs as can’t-miss insights, educational programs, and events.

2. Make a point to show your appreciation.

Tactical takeaway: Create fun, quirky and heartwarming mailers to surprise and delight your customers (and help you stay on their radar) with a message of appreciation or unexpected goodwill and cheer. Or, set up a virtual lunch and send your client’s favorite meal to his or her desk.

3. Become a go-to source of insight and education.

Tactical takeaway: Distill your expertise and insight into articles, guides, e-books, whitepapers, social media posts, videos, and other snackable content that can quickly steer clients towards the answers they need to help deal with ongoing challenges and disruptions.

4. Shine a spotlight on your clients.

Tactical takeaway: Establish partner-focused programs and publishing channels that put customers (and customer stories) front and center to show your appreciation, offer support and build awareness for their hard work and efforts.

5. Source partner feedback and input.

Tactical takeaway: Invite clients to offer feedback and input into the development process, create more opportunities for customers to share their opinion, and look for ways to promote greater ongoing collaboration. Steinberg comments, “The way forward in challenging times is always to work together – and, as ever, you and your customers can continue to do so successfully simply by looking for clever and creative ways to work (albeit digitally for the moment); hand-in-hand.” It’s never too late to lean into improved customer-centricity regardless of disruption. Don’t waste this opportunity to implement some or all these ideas or create your own.

How to Use Disruption as an Opportunity for Change

This is the first of a two-part series of articles on disruption and the importance of customer centricity. The second article will be shared in March’s newsletter.

In general, most people are resistant to change. However, one thing great leaders do is use the disruption for change. The COVID-19 pandemic is a perfect example. We can point to dozens of examples of companies, organizations, and the service industry who capitalized on this disturbance to address the needs of their customers and even gained new customers in the process by creating products and services to address these requirements.

C-suite executives who took this challenge turned it into opportunities. Is it too late to consider changes within your business? No, it’s not, and here are some ways to approach it.

Prioritizing Change

First, executives must determine what changes might be needed and then prioritize them. Sherzod Odilove, senior consultant and organizational effectiveness lead at Gallup, states that instead of wishing a crisis away, world-class leaders lean in and ask, ‘Which organizational change(s) should we prioritize?’

This decision matrix from Gallup® outlines the process.

 

Gallup has also identified seven principles leaders can use for effective change management.

  1. Clearly articulate the vision for change.
  2. Involve the right people: limited vs. broad involvement.
  3. Communicate the right information at the right time.
  4. Always account for resistance to change.
  5. Celebrate short-term wins without declaring premature victory.
  6. Effectively anchor the change to the organization.
  7. Always plan for change to be “the only constant.”

Finally, Gallup believes the best predictors of 0rganizational change success are strong leadership and engaged employees. Thriving organizations make strong company cultures and strong customer-centric practices important pieces of their business mission.

Next month’s article will share methods to build and strengthen customer relationships and why that is important in the change management decision-making process.

 

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.”