Helping Your Employees Prioritize and Set Strong Goals

Helping your accounting and finance employees prioritize and set strong goals is essential for business success. Planning what your team should achieve in 2024 helps create a foundation for success.

Working with your employees on goal-setting provides steps that inspire and motivate them to attain your organization’s long-term vision. The results include increased employee engagement, productivity, and performance. These factors elevate employee morale, attraction and retention, and your bottom line.

Implement these tips to help your accounting and finance employees prioritize and set strong goals!

Develop SMART Goals

Your employees’ goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART):

  • Specify what should be achieved and why it is important.
  • Clarify what the measurements of progress and success will be.
  • Make sure each challenge can be overcome in a reasonable amount of time.
  • Focus on the benefits of each achievement for the employee and the organization.
  • Develop a sense of urgency to remain on track and reach each objective.

Create Similar Goals for Employees with Similar Jobs

Maintaining consistency in goal-setting for employees with similar job duties and responsibilities supports an environment focused on growth. Having employees work toward similar goals supports healthy competition to reach milestones and objectives. These activities help minimize employee frustration and resentment.

Monitor Employee Progress Toward Goal Attainment

Regularly check in with each employee to determine whether they are on track to reach their goals. Allow time to answer questions, provide constructive feedback, and offer support.

If an employee misses a deadline, help them determine what happened and how the issue can be resolved. Then, reset the deadline and follow up at the given time.

Reward Employee Goal Achievement

Recognize and reward each employee who reaches a goal. Include the steps taken to attain the objective and the impact on your company. Also, consider giving the employee a certificate, additional paid time off, bonus, pay increase, or promotion for their hard work.

Honoring employees who attain goals shows you value and respect their contributions and results. These actions encourage employees to continue their behaviors and increase their value to your organization.

Do You Need Help with Hiring?

Developing SMART goals provides your employees with guidance and motivation to increase their value for the organization. Also, creating similar goals for employees with similar jobs supports healthy competition to reach the objectives.

Monitoring employee progress toward goals helps your team stay on track and reach their objectives. Also, rewarding your employees for goal attainment encourages them to continuously increase their performance and elevate your company’s success.

If you need help with hiring, Casey Accounting & Finance Resources can provide you with skilled professionals who can help reach your business goals. Reach out to us to learn more today.

Three Team-Building Exercises That Can Help Your Team Grow

Team-building exercises are designed to help your team grow. The games and activities are created to build teammate relationships and support a positive company culture.

The goal of team-building exercises is to help teammates get to know, respect, and trust each other as they collaborate to achieve a desired outcome. The targeted skills include motivation, creativity, communication, and problem-solving.

Regularly organizing team-building exercises helps your team develop their skill sets and strengthen their commitment to their roles. These suggested activities can help.

Choose among these three types of team-building exercises to help your team grow.

1. Communication Exercises

Help your team to develop their communication skills with any of these exercises:

  • Blind Retriever: Divide your team into small groups. Provide each group with a blindfold. Have each group blindfold one member, then guide them to an object.
  • Building Blocks: Divide your team into pairs. Provide each pair with a pack of cards that have a different question written on each. Have your employees take turns asking and answering the questions.
  • Circle of Appreciation: Have your team form a circle. Ask each employee to share one thing they appreciate about the teammate to their left.

2. Creative Thinking Exercises

Support your team in developing their creative thinking skills with any of these exercises:

  • What’s My Name?: Provide each team member with a note card that has a famous person’s name on it. Have your team members walk around and ask each other questions to figure out each other’s person.
  • Design Battle: Divide your team into small groups. Provide each group with a product or service. Ask each group to create a poster for their offering.
  • Idea Day: Ask your team to share creative ideas to update company processes and procedures, develop new products or services, or create other business ideas. Choose the most beneficial idea to develop and implement as a team.

3. Problem-Solving Exercises

Encourage your team to develop their problem-solving skills with any of these exercises:

  • Barter Puzzle: Divide your team into small groups. Provide each group with a jigsaw puzzle that has a few pieces removed and given to other teams. Have the groups find ways to barter for the pieces needed to finish their puzzles.
  • Business Simulations: Divide your team into small groups. Provide each group with the same scenario involving a business problem, resources, and a deadline. Compare the solutions after the deadline passes.
  • Solution Day: Schedule a meeting for your team to share creative solutions to problems your company is facing.

Do You Need Help with Growing Your Team?

The goal of team-building exercises is to help your team grow. Depending on your goals, you might choose communication, creative thinking, or problem-solving exercises to enhance your team’s skill sets.

If you need help with growing your accounting and finance team, include Casey Accounting & Finance Resources in your hiring process. Get in touch with us to learn more today.

Thanksgiving Inspo, and Gratitude From Our Homes to Yours

Just about everyone is pretty pumped to plan their Thanksgiving celebrations. The preparations, cooking, table settings, decorating your home, matching outfits, and more. In advance of the upcoming holiday, we want to provide some valuable advice and inspiration so that you can whip up a great time – whether you go big or keep it on the light side. We’ve got your back!

The Food

Just Google search “best Thanksgiving food sites 2023,” and you’ll receive a myriad of ideas from the traditional to the trendy, homecooked or ordering meal kits online, restaurants that are open, or food trucks for a more casual affair. And, if turkey isn’t your jam, try alternatives like steak or prime rib, brisket, lamb, or a pot roast. Maybe this year, it’s a charcuterie Thanksgiving. Or breakfast/brunch becomes a new tradition for you and your friends and family. Whatever you decide, you’ll find plenty of ideas on the Internet.

Finally, if you have a cooking question on Thanksgiving Day, here is a list of several hotlines to help you with your needs.

The Decorations

Not all of us have a Martha Stewart gene in our family tree. Here are some easy DIY decorations that won’t require a glue gun and YouTube videos.

Don’t forget about your table settings. Find more dreamy inspiration at this website.

What We’re Thankful For

“I am very thankful for my family, friends, and co-workers who have always been supportive, nurturing, and loving to me. They are always there for me when I  need them.” – Eileen Renk, Casey Accounting & Finance Resources Director of Recruiting and Sales

“I’m thankful for the traveling I got to do this year! Aside from Midwest travel, I got to visit Colorado, Maine, Italy, and Mexico for Christmas.” – Julie Jurek, Arlington Resources Sourcing Specialist

“This season, I am thankful for joining a caring and thriving team. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be challenged every day by learning a new industry, interviewing top HR professionals, and serving our clients with top quality.” –  Courtney Thome, Arlington Resources Talent Acquisition Consultant

“I am most Thankful for my Good Health & Family. I am blessed to have my 92 year old grandfather on this earth still. Especially around the holidays is when I cherish making memories with him the most.” – Nina Salgado, HR Administrative Assistant

“So much to think about here, I am thankful for incredible friendships that I have built over many years now that I don’t have family anymore. The opportunity to be in a career for the past 26 years that allows me to change peoples’ lives every day and make an impact in our working world is very rewarding.  I am also thankful for the opportunities I have been presented in life that have helped me to grow and become a better person” – Denise Young, Arlington Resources Director of Recruiting and Sales

“I am thankful for my loving family, who are always there for me when I need them, and for having a hobby that brings me joy. Reading is a great escape from everyday life!”  Elizabeth Lanaghan, Arlington Resources Senior Recruiter & Sales Consultant

“Family is the most important to me always and for what I am most thankful. God has blessed me with an amazing husband and two daughters that have forever changed my life. I love my job and what I do on a daily basis, and I put my heart into it for my family.” – Cheryl Reinwald, Arlington Resources Director of Recruiting and Sales

Sending you a Harvest of Blessings

We hope Thanksgiving brings you reasons to be grateful, as we are so grateful for you. May your hearts be as warm as your kitchens, and we wish you good health and good times.

And remember, if you have a last-minute staffing need, we are here to fill your open positions so you can focus on filling your hearts and tummies.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Important Role Feedback Can Play for Employee Engagement

Feedback plays an important role in employee engagement. Sharing concrete examples of what an employee does well, how they could do better, and specific steps for improvement helps elevate performance.

Employees who implement feedback given understand exactly what they are working toward. As a result, these employees are likely to stay engaged as they finish their tasks. The results elevate your bottom line.

Discover the important role feedback can play in employee engagement.

Ongoing Communication

Feedback requires regular communication with your employees. Sharing ideas, perspectives, and suggestions to approach tasks helps minimize conflict and elevate performance.

Ongoing communication helps your employees feel heard and respected. As a result, your employees should effectively collaborate and remain engaged as they work toward their goals.

Employee Motivation

Sharing feedback shows you want the best for your employees. Therefore, your employees should feel valued and appreciated. They also should be motivated to stay engaged in their work as they improve their performance.

Minimal Errors

Sharing feedback helps ensure tasks are completed correctly. Not having to go back and fix mistakes saves significant time and money. The results include greater performance and productivity.

Stronger Leadership

The implementation of feedback helps your employees become more focused leaders. Leadership development is an effective method to increase employee engagement, performance, and retention.

Employees who consistently receive feedback can elevate their performance. As a result, these employees can take on additional responsibilities, grow into more senior roles, and provide additional value for your organization.

Tips to Provide Feedback

Implement these tips to properly provide feedback to your employees:

  • Provide specific examples of what your employee does well and what areas they could improve.
  • Include as many details as possible.
  • Remain nonjudgmental.
  • Focus on coaching to improve performance.
  • Show you have the employee’s best interest in mind.
  • Encourage your employees to engage during feedback conversations.

Do You Need to Hire Accounting and Finance Employees?

Feedback can play an important role in employee engagement. For instance, implementing feedback supports ongoing communication and provides motivation to improve performance. Also, regular feedback provides guidance to minimize mistakes and a strong foundation for leadership. These results help strengthen your bottom line.

If you need help with hiring accounting and finance employees, include Casey Accounting & Finance Resources in your process. Reach out to us to learn more today.

Interview Red Flags to Be Mindful of When Hiring

Being mindful of red flags when interviewing helps you make effective hiring decisions. Adding the right candidates to your accounting and finance team helps reduce hiring, onboarding, and training costs.

Discovering red flags during the interview process decreases the number of candidates who advance to the next step. Narrowing down your candidate pool helps you make more informed hiring decisions.

Be mindful of these four interview red flags when hiring.

1. Disinterest in the Job

A lack of interest in the role indicates the candidate likely does not anticipate remaining with your organization long-term. The candidate might just want an income source until they can find a position that better fits their interests.

If the candidate cannot provide a clear source of motivation to work for your company, they likely do not care enough to stay for an extended time. Therefore, you should focus on other candidates instead.

2. Speaking Negatively of Previous Employers

A candidate who shares negative opinions of previous managers, colleagues, or coworkers might be difficult to work with. The candidate could have a poor work ethic, lack accountability for their actions, or have difficulty getting along with others. As a result, you should continue to look for a different candidate.

3. Lack of Questions During the Interview

A candidate who asks questions during an interview is interested in the job and company. They want to learn as much as they can to determine whether the role and organization are a good fit for their goals and qualifications.

As a result, a candidate who asks no questions likely is not invested in working for your company. Therefore, you should find other candidates to interview.

4. Questionable References

An inability to reach any of the references a candidate provided suggests the references might be fictional. Because professional references are highly responsive, you should be able to get a hold of them within a reasonable amount of time.

Listing questionable references implies the candidate might have poor interpersonal skills and be difficult to work with. As a result, you should focus on other candidates instead.

Would You Like Help with Interviewing?

Be mindful of interview red flags such as disinterest in the job, speaking negatively of previous employers, a lack of questions during the interview, and providing questionable references. Candidates who display any of these issues might not be a good fit with your organization. Therefore, you should look for other candidates who could provide more value to your company.

Casey Accounting & Finance Resources is available to help you interview accounting and finance professionals. Contact us today to get started.

Four Ways You Can Support Your Employees and Their Mental Health

Increasing sources of stress at work and at home are adversely impacting employees’ mental health. As a result, many employees are struggling with anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns. Ongoing exposure to stress can lead to burnout.

As an accounting and finance manager, you must take steps to support your employees and their mental health. These suggestions can help.

Choose among these four ways to support your employees and their mental health:

1. Model Healthy Behaviors

Demonstrate healthy behaviors you would like to see in your employees. Examples include prioritizing self-care and maintaining boundaries.

For instance, you might share that you are taking a walk to clear your head, engaging in a therapy appointment after work, or planning a staycation for the following week. These behaviors support mental health and help prevent burnout.

2. Offer Flexibility

Provide your employees with the flexibility required to fill their changing personal needs. Examples include working remotely, having a flexible schedule, and taking additional time off as needed.

Regularly talk with your employees as they go through transition points. Find out whether your employees require additional support and how you can help them out.

3. Support Employee Connections

Regularly check in with your employees to see how they are doing. For instance, find out how your employees are handling their workloads, whether they have any questions or concerns, and whether they have any issues to address. Also, ask whether your employees require additional support and how you could best provide it.

Actively listen to your employees. Also, ask follow-up questions to gather more information. Additionally, repeat what you heard to check your understanding. Plus, respond with empathy.

4. Normalize Mental Health Discussions

Talk with your employees about mental health concerns. Because virtually everyone experiences problems with their mental health at some point, open discussions help reduce the stigma.

Be honest about your own mental health struggles. Include your methods for gaining support, such as taking antidepressants and seeing a therapist twice weekly.

Create a safe space for your employees to share their own mental health issues. Provide as much support as possible.

Discuss employee benefits that provide mental health support. Examples include employee resource groups (ERCs), meditation groups, and counseling services.

Do You Need Hiring Support?

Modeling healthy behaviors, offering flexibility, supporting employee connections, and normalizing mental health discussions help support your employees and their mental health. These actions increase employee engagement, performance, and productivity. The results include greater job satisfaction, employee morale, and attraction and retention rates.

If you are struggling to hire qualified accounting and finance professionals, Casey Accounting & Finance Resources can provide support. Reach out to us today.

Is Your Hiring Process Too Long? Six Strategies to Speed it Up.

Is your hiring process getting in the way of hiring the best candidates? Sometimes, we get into a hiring rut, and those bad habits may be preventing you from making a great hire.

How can you shorten your hiring process? “One of the first lessons I learned as a young recruiter was, ‘Time kills all deals,’” according to Mary Newgard, a senior search consultant. “Rarely do candidates or hiring managers mean to slow down the process, but it happens.”

Newgard offers these six ways to “push the pace in the hiring process.”

  1. Give Permission to Abandon Your Process. If you find a great candidate and the hiring manager believes the candidate is a great fit, go ahead and make an offer. Don’t lose good people because they haven’t gone through two or three rounds of interviews.
  2. Write Simple, Easy to Update Job Ads. You want your job ads to deliver qualified candidates. Keep the ads short. Make sure to add specific job qualifications and then post it. This more condensed version of the job ad can be quickly updated or refined during the search or for the next similar position.
  3. Deputize One Person to Screen Resumes. Having one person screen resumes provides consistency in selecting candidates for interviews.
  4. Automate Information Gathering. Consider what processes in the hiring process can be automated – correspondence emails, critical screening information, and some interview questions. Don’t let more than 24 hours pass between communications with ideal candidates.
  5. Scripting Interviews. Your hiring managers aren’t HR generalists, too. They may not know all the interview rules. Providing a script or list of Do’s and Don’ts prepares hiring managers, keeps interviews on track, and avoids EEO issues.
  6. Combine Hiring Teams for Similar Positions. For similar job openings, combine job ads and interview activity as much as possible.

Be prepared to move quickly with hiring decisions by having salary ranges, optional benefits, and other negotiating points at the ready. This will prevent more time wasted.

If you don’t want the hiring process to linger on and on, review your hiring processes and see where you can abbreviate steps. In this era of “instant gratification,” job seekers crave constant communication and a quicker process. Look for opportunities that will improve your hiring process.

We Can Help With Your Open Positions

Slowing down the hiring process costs time and money, and you might lose out on top talent.

If you want better results, talk with a Casey Accounting & Finance Resources team member today.

Tactics to Become a Stronger Active Listener with Your Workforce

Becoming a stronger active listener with your workforce is essential for business success. The rise of remote and hybrid work makes this skill more important than ever.

Your ability to read, interpret, and respond to verbal and nonverbal cues supports employee engagement, job satisfaction, and performance. These skills also increase employee productivity and attraction and retention rates.

As a result, you should take steps to develop your active listening skills. These suggestions can help.

Choose among these tactics to become a stronger active listener with your workforce.

Minimize Distractions

Reduce noise, interruptions, and other external distractions as much as possible. Also, put aside anything you may have been thinking about so you can focus on what your employee has to say.

Maintain Appropriate Body Language

Make appropriate eye contact and keep an open posture during the conversation. Also, nod your head to show you are actively listening.

Focus on Nonverbal Cues

Pay attention to the explicit and implicit information you receive. The employee’s tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language indicate the motivation and emotions behind the words expressed.

Repeat What You Heard

Show you are listening by sharing the last few words you heard. This action helps keep you focused during the conversation. It also lets you pause to collect your thoughts before replying.

Ask Follow-Up Questions

Gather more information by asking for more details about the topic. Asking additional questions ensures you have the complete picture and understand the message.

Wait for Your Turn to Respond

Focus on what your employee is saying before you respond. Ensure you have sufficient information and understand the situation before you reply.

Monitor Your Emotions

If you feel your emotions rising, slow the pace of the conversation. Also, focus on measured breathing to calm your reaction.

Avoid saying something that might cause your employee to disengage, you to tune them out, or an argument to begin. Instead, ask to pause the conversation so you have time to think about the topic. Then, set a time to calmly pick up where you left off.

Do You Need to Add to Your Accounting and Finance Team?

Minimizing distractions, maintaining open body language, and focusing on nonverbal cues help you become a stronger active listener. Repeating what you heard, asking follow-up questions, and waiting to respond help you pay attention to the message and appropriately answer.

If you want help with finding qualified accounting and finance employees, turn to Casey Accounting & Finance Resources. Get in touch today.

Salary Trends to Be Mindful of as 2023 Concludes

Heading into the last few months of the year, you should continue to be mindful of salary trends in the accounting and finance industry. You can use Casey Accounting & Finance Resources’ July 2023 salary data as a guide.

Using our salary survey list with updated facts, figures, and job descriptions for accounting and finance positions in the Chicago metropolitan area can help you understand what salary expectations should be. Being mindful as these salary trends continue to change helps employers present the best offer to job applicants.

What trends should you monitor?

Expectations of Higher Salaries and More

Inflation is one factor driving higher salaries for accounting and finance professionals. Because additional income is required to keep up with the increasing cost of living, these professionals want their employers to provide support.

Back in 2021 when there were so many job openings, demand for higher salaries was a key trend in recruiting accounting and finance professionals along with many other positions. Today companies might find jobs are harder to fill because candidates are not as willing to make a move right now as a result of a slower economy and accelerated inflation rates. So it is not that the talent isn’t there, it just has to be a perfect storm for them to make a move.

Increasing workloads are an additional factor elevating the desire for higher accounting and finance salaries. Rising turnover means the remaining employees must take on additional tasks until a replacement is hired. These employees want to be compensated accordingly, too.

Employers are re-evaluating their benefits package to encourage skilled talent to work for them long-term.

Generational Expectations and Technology Change the Recruitment Landscape

Communication, adaptation, and continuous learning are among the most in-demand skills in the industry. Also, treasury and accountancy support are among the roles that require skilled professionals. Monitoring applicant needs by generation can help you develop a robust and diverse workforce. Boomers have different needs and expectations from their employers than Gen-Z workers. The days of “one-size-fits-all” employment packages are long gone.

The rise of blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), and reliance on technology means many accounting and finance tasks are now automated to increase productivity. Therefore, considering candidates with skills that complement these tasks will most likely negotiate higher salaries that blend their accounting and finance acumen with their technology expertise.

Do You Need Additional Guidance on Salary Trends?

Accounting and finance professionals in 2023 expect higher salaries due to inflation, increasing workloads, and the specialized skills businesses need for growth.

If you need additional help with salary information or negotiations, reach out to Casey Accounting & Finance Resources. Get in touch today.

4 Tips For Mining Your Employee Alumni Database to Fill Open Positions

The need for skilled talent remains high, yet recruiters struggle to find candidates to fill their open jobs. With more companies requiring employees back to the office, economic challenges, fewer opportunities for remote work, and “the Great Resignation” waning, where are recruiters finding talent? It might surprise you that employers are communicating with their former employees – those who left for so-called “greener pastures” and those who retired –  to see if they’ll “boomerang back” to their former company.

According to an article in ALM Benefits Pro, “4 out of 10 employees who quit their jobs during the pandemic now admit they were better off at their old job, according to a multi-country survey by workforce solutions company UKG.” Harvard Business Review also recently noted that “statistics around the prevalence of boomerang employees vary by industry, but a hot-off-the-press study conducted by HR analytics firm Visier between 2019 and 2022 found that 28% of “new” hires were actually boomerang employees who couldn’t stay away more than three years.”

Wooing Back Former Employees With These 4 Strategies

Here are some things to win back former employees. Oftentimes, a conversation with the former employee on why they left and how they’re doing may shed some light on what it will take to rehire them:

  1. Employee Culture: If you already have an awesome culture, congratulations! Many boomerang employees return because they miss the caring culture and work/life balance. If your culture needs improvement, work on the “low-hanging fruit” and move forward from there. Perhaps the former employee would like to be part of the team to enhance the company culture.
  2. Alignment of Mission and Values: ALM Benefits Pro notes that the “the advancement of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives, employers are really being compelled to take a look at their own DNA — who they are as a company, what they stand for, whether they have the right talent on board.” Employees want to feel respected and valued for their contributions.
  3. Colleague Experience: If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it thousands of times – employees oftentimes love the people they work with but find the environment intolerable. When evaluating your employee culture, reassess benefits and perks, professional development and growth opportunities, and peer resource groups as options to improve the environment.
  4. Considering Retirees/Mature Employees: While some of your former employees may have retired, there are also many mature employees who would be valuable assets to your employee diversity. ALM Benefits Pro urges company executives to “rethink stereotypes of older employees as being less capable, less able to adapt and learn, and unwilling to roll up their sleeves and dig in. Organizations that eliminate age bias from their cultures and hiring practices understand and appreciate the merits of hiring mature candidates. A recent Deloitte study shows that age brings a sense of security and wisdom to teams that can be used to their advantage.” ALM Benefits Pro asserts that organizations with a “more collaborative spirit and the benefits of diverse teams that integrate youthful vitality with the insights of experience” may “become more innovative, profitable, and likely to reach its full potential.”

It’s a good sign that employers can tap into their alumni database for recruitment purposes, not only to rehire them but to seek referrals. By the way, these tips are important for all employers and could prevent employees from leaving in the first place.

Casey Accounting and Finance Resources is ready to help you with your labor shortages. Contact us today to see how we can solve your workforce challenges.