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.

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.

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.

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.

Recognize and Repair Employee Burnout with These Management Tips

With the sudden transition to working from home during the pandemic, many employees were caught off guard. When offices, schools, and day cares closed due to social distancing requirements, staff quickly had to adapt. Parents had to handle homeschooling, childcare, and elder care on their own. Maintaining work productivity became a greater challenge. All these factors can lead to burnout. As part of your managerial role, how are you helping your employees navigate through these changes while maintaining work output?

Here are some tips to implement to recognize and protect against employee burnout.

Look for Signs of Burnout

Burnout often occurs when staff blur the boundaries between work and life. They may believe that working nights and weekends shows dedication to their company. However, employees who work more than 40 hours per week are less productive than those who limit their work week. Overworking is directly related to stress, anger, anxiety, and depression. A weakened immune system, trouble sleeping, low energy, cardiovascular issues, heart disease, and other health concerns can develop.

Promote Flexibility

To combat burnout, provide employees as much flexibility as possible. With social distancing enforcement and Safer at Home initiatives, there is limited control over everyday life. Letting staff decide where and when to work, including from home, lets them have a say in how they spend their day. Being able to control their schedule, workload, and types of work assignments is empowering. Regular check-ins and communication about managing workloads helps team members feel valued and supported.

Implement Traditional Office Activities

Remind employees that although work looks different right now, many office activities can take place remotely. Water cooler chats can be done through a Slack channel. Individual and team meetings, group discussions about COVID-19, virtual coffee, and happy hour can take place through Zoom. Employees can share stories, ask questions, and give and receive support as needed.

Establish Boundaries

Encourage employees to maintain physical and social boundaries, especially when working from home. Initially, being able to spend the day in pajamas may be welcoming. However, changing from the “home you” to the “work you” is an important way to tell the mind when to focus on work and when to relax. To promote this idea, encourage staff to get ready each morning as though they are going to the office. Suggest they replace commute time with a walk to a local park or around their home.

Get Help Managing Your Remote Accounting and Finance Team

The effects of COVID-19 can have a significant impact on employee burnout. Potentially having to work from home while balancing childcare and elder-care responsibilities is challenging. As a leader, guide your team through setting personal and professional boundaries, managing workloads, and reducing stress to avoid burnout.

If you need assistance managing your accounting and finance team from a distance, reach out to Casey Accounting & Finance Resources. We provide superior value to our business partners through innovation, creativity, and initiative. Find out more today.

What the Back-to-Work Office Looks Like?

Now that all 50 states have implemented phased re-openings, the question among executive leaders and their HR teams is: “What is our policy to get employees safely back into the office and what policies change?”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, before the COVID-19 pandemic eight percent of all wage and salaried employees worked from home at least one day a week; about two percent worked from home full-time. Now that nearly 100% of workers in positions that were considered non-public facing have gotten a taste of telecommuting, how will employers provide safe work environments?

And do employees really want to go back to the office? Global Workplace Analytics conducted a recent survey on the Global Work-From-Home Experience. President Kate Lister stated, “77% of the workforce wants to continue to work from home two to three days a week.” (the full survey results can be downloaded here)

As Corporate America and smaller business firms explore opening their offices again, what steps are being taken to put the proverbial genie “back into the bottle?” What should employers consider when balancing safety measures against pragmatic policies that benefit both employer and employee, decrease person-to-person contact and allow the practice of social distancing?

It Won’t Be The Same Office

What we do know is that people will not be coming back to the same office. Today, there are conversations about reconfiguring the office plan to lower the risk of contagion. Management is looking at providing hand sanitizer, masks and increasing cleaning procedures from nightly to several times a day. Sneeze guards are being installed and staggered workdays will result in fewer people in the office at a time.

Some offices will provide directional arrows throughout hallways and common spaces to reduce the possibility of employees passing one another face-to-face. Others are providing disposable placemats for shared desks and common areas. Chairs are being removed from worktables and conference rooms so employees maintain safe social distances. Touchpads to enter office spaces may also need to be reconfigured to a more sanitary solution.

Employers are also considering more generous sick leave policies to encourage workers to stay home when they are not feeling well.

The Pros and Cons of Telecommuting

You might ask yourself, “Isn’t telecommuting working out?” Yes and no. Some of the Pros for considering longer-term strategies of working from home include

  • Reduced costs on real estate, furniture, and supplying computers and printers.
  • Access to a broader pool of talent since geography is no longer an issue.
  • Higher employee retention rates for employees who enjoy the reduced stress that telecommuting and more time with family creates.

But what about the Cons?

  • Employee retention could also be a con. The level of loyalty that office comradery brings may become fragile and mentorship opportunities for new employees may suffer.
  • Companies may still need to address telecommuting security issues.
  • Managing could also become harder.

A virus-free work environment is unrealistic but considering some of the above ideas allows companies to reconfigure their office space into something safer.

Lastly,  whatever approach your company is taking, it is imperative to keep your employees informed and communication updated regularly about the virus and how your company is responding to new information.

 

Ensuring Employees’ Fears & Anxieties Are Addressed During Crisis

As we continue to deal with COVID-19, terms such as self-quarantine, safer at home, and social distancing are becoming common. While we stand at least six feet away from others, work remotely, and avoid face-to-face visits with loved ones, abnormal situations are becoming more normal. Because we don’t know how long this will go on, many employees are facing increased levels of stress and uncertainty. As a team leader, it’s your job to help them navigate through these unprecedented times.

Find out how you can help address your team members’ anxieties about COVID-19 through employee assistance programs.

Defining Employee Assistance Program

An employee assistance program (EAP) is a group of services created to improve and maintain productivity and healthy employee functioning by applying specialized knowledge and expertise about human behavior and mental health. Deploying an EAP begins with confidential, brief therapy or referrals for specific issues that are affecting job performance. Managers often are consulted to help troubled staff by enhancing the work environment, however possible. When services conclude, the impact on the team member is evaluated. Results are used to improve future assistance.

Relieving Employees’ Burdens

Putting EAPs to work means reducing the burdens employees may be facing. In the wake of COVID-19, many staff members are worried about financial security, childcare, providing basic necessities for their family, and what the future may hold. When team members are stressed about family issues, they’re typically unable to work to their full potential. By providing the tools and resources needed to reduce staff members’ anxiety about uncontrollable circumstances, they are better equipped to cope with their issues. Knowing they can count on employer-provided benefits to help navigate through difficulty helps employees return to typical performance levels.

Emphasizing EAP Benefits for Staff

Remind employees of the services your EAPs offer. During COVID-19, common mental health concerns impacting families include depression and anxiety, fear and isolation, health impairment, stress, and substance abuse. Other concerns may include sleeplessness, grief, child or elder care, virtual schooling, housing, or work challenges. Your EAP might provide mental health and substance abuse counselors, financial advisors, attorneys, family and child counselors, or other assistance. Educational and informational resources, including referrals to community services, may be available as well.

Use EAPs to Address Employees’ Anxieties

As we continue to deal with COVID-19, use the services provided by your EAP to increase staff members’ overall wellbeing. Find out what their biggest fears are, and which professionals can guide them through to a more productive way of thinking. Offer services in line with improving employees’ physical and mental health to continue productivity levels and business operations. Focus on coming out stronger when things have settled down.

If you need temporary accounting and finance professionals to cover for team members’ absences, reach out to Casey Accounting & Finance Resources. Our candidates have the necessary skills and training to quickly get up to speed and producing. Get started with us today.

 

COVID-19 – How to Lead Your Workplace Right Now

There is no playbook on how to respond to COVID-19. Social distancing, self-quarantines, and stockpiling supplies have become common responses. With many employees working from home, conferences have been postponed, canceled, or happening virtually. Due to the rapidly evolving concerns about the virus, leaders like you need to find a balance between being extremely cautious and conducting necessary business operations.

Here are some suggestions to help you navigate your team through COVID-19.

Deploy Your Crisis Management Committees

Put your crisis management teams into action. They need to provide information about COVID-19 awareness, prevention, management, and hygiene practices to leaders, managers, and front-line employees. The teams also must enact management protocols, and business continuity plans to lead current actions and potential responses to future events. These activities may include reducing to business-critical operations only, cross-training team members to fulfill critical responsibilities in case another teammate is quarantined, and restricting business travel. If an employee or family member is diagnosed with COVID-19, ensure they follow protocol. This may involve reporting confirmed cases to HR or management, disinfecting anything they may have touched, and informing coworkers, customers, and clients they may have had contact with.

Monitor Employees’ Wellbeing

Stay informed on team members’ overall wellbeing. Since most should be working from home, ask for regular updates on their physical and mental health. Remind staff members of the employee assistance programs available to them, including mental health services available for stress management. Provide information on employees’ compensation and benefits, such as employer-sponsored health insurance. Allow paid time off for team members who become symptomatic or need to care for a family member. Encourage the use of short-term disability insurance, time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act, childcare subsidies, or other existing benefits.

Frequently Communicate

Communicate with staff daily, weekly, or when new information becomes available. Everyone must remain updated on your company’s response to COVID-19 advice, policies, and protocols. Be sure to tailor email, text messages, hotlines, and internal systems communications to the recipients, such as leaders, managers, and employees. You may include FAQs or links to authorities such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The World Health Organization, or local governments. Remind everyone to obtain information from credible sources, stay calm, and not spread misinformation. Emphasize the importance of obtaining adequate food, water, medicine, and other essentials in case of quarantine.

Lead Your Workplace Through COVID-19

As a leader during COVID-19, your example to employees is more important now than ever. Overcommunicating with team members keeps everyone informed about changes within the company and professional organizations providing updates on the virus. Showing ongoing concern for staff members’ overall wellbeing reminds them you care about them. Demonstrating calm behavior encourages others to follow your lead while moving forward through uncertain times.

If you need temporary accounting and finance professionals to fill in for absent employees, contact Casey Accounting & Finance Resources. Our experienced candidates can jump right in and get started working remotely for you. Find out more today.

Now is the Time to Develop Your Recruiting Strategy During High Unemployment

In March, our work world was hit by a tornado called COVID-19. In the blink of an eye, we went from the challenge of recruiting during a 3% unemployment rate to furloughing employees, establishing work-from-home policies, embracing more technology for virtual meetings and other activities, and leading our teams with calm during a crisis.

As we talk with clients and other hiring managers, it’s clear you have your hands full adjusting and adhering to the new company and government policies and scrambling to create work environments that will minimize or prevent the spread of the virus.

As some states begin to loosen Stay Home policies and your company begins to bring employees back into the office, the last thing you might be thinking about is needing a strategy for recruiting during high unemployment. After all, won’t there be plenty of candidates to choose from?

True, but not necessarily a good thing. Let’s look at a few of business consultant Bridget Miller’s thoughts in a recent HR Daily Advisor article about recruiting during high unemployment:

  • Individual vacancies may have a higher number of applicants than usual, which may mean it will take more time to qualify applicants.
  • There may be more unqualified applicants than usual, as more people are looking for quick work to replace lost jobs. This may also mean that recruiting costs are unexpectedly higher than anticipated due to the extra work involved.
  • As time progresses, more and more applicants may have extended periods of unemployment. This does not necessarily mean they’re not great candidates for the job.
  • Skills gaps may persist, even with higher unemployment levels. This can be a frustration for employers that wish more applicants automatically meant more skills to choose from—but it may not.

Rethinking Your Recruiting Strategy

What is different this time is that COVID-19 isn’t going away which means this is unchartered territory. There are more obstacles to overcome beyond just recruiting to fill positions.

Our team has decades of recruiting experience under our belts and we have seen these cycles before. Each time we guide our clients in developing dynamic strategies and processes to bring on new talent quickly. We are positioned to overcome this latest obstacle. Let us help you implement a clever recruiting plan that sails across this new recruiting environment.

If you would like to connect and discuss further, please get in touch with our recruiters. We are happy to share our successes and strategies and welcome the chance to work with you.