Creating Finance Team Engagement: Accountability and Purpose

It’s annual review time. Your most talented finance team members are asking for more; more opportunities for self-development, increased role variety and elevated accountability.

Fearful their engagement is waning, your initial reaction is to presume that they are looking for a promotion. You want to give them professional development, but are struggling to find the opportunities. Perhaps there are no promotional openings, or more likely, you operate in a flat finance team structure where promotions are not that easy to come across. You’re not in a situation to move up, and they’re not ready, yet, to step into your role.

Sound familiar?

Take 5. It’s easy to assume that employees are looking for promotions, but it is harder to deal with the reasons why. Taking some time to fully appreciate what it actually is that is fuelling this conversation is far more valuable than merely dealing with the “promotion” question.

Before you begin, appreciate that the working philosophy of the generation of employees who have entered the workforce within the last 5-10 years is radically different to Generation X. Commonly known as “Millennials”, these employees want to feel like they are in a constant state of development, learning always and feeling continually challenged.

Understanding “development” and embracing “purpose”

Getting to the root cause of the reasons why they want “more” will help you to create effective solutions. Two of the most important factors in engaging this generation of future finance leaders are the concepts of accountability and meaningful employment. This is a generation of employees who derive motivation from organisational and job purpose. They care about what how their employer operates, and as students of the financial crisis, the Enron scandal and global socioeconomics, are more civic-minded than any generation previously.

Accountability

High-performers do not only want titles, they want accountability; ownership of challenging tasks, projects or leadership initiatives. To be given the trust that you believe they can drive positive business outcomes on their own, and the opportunity to prove it. Think about how you can assign real ownership of tasks to the potential leaders in your team – can you assign projects, business improvement initiatives or some of your own leadership tasks to them?

Corporate Social Responsibility

Your company probably already has a number of CSR projects in action, but if not, this is a great opportunity to introduce to your team an initiative that has been proven to have a positive effect on employee engagement. Encouraging opportunities for employees to lead CSR projects will encourage natural leadership opportunities while also instilling “purpose” and variety to their job role.

Creating effective employee engagement strategies is not simple, but helping your finance team to derive meaning, ownership and purpose from their duties will play a major part in improving job satisfaction. Above all, keeping an open and honest discourse with your employees to understand subtle changes in engagement is vital to reduce potential attrition.

(Barden recently published a piece of work on retaining and developing high performance finance teams…..for further information on this topic read the full article here)

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At Barden we invest our resources to bring you the very best insights on all things to do with your professional future.
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