Creating a Talent Development Strategy for Your Accounting Firm


Are you spending enough time, energy, and resources on developing top talent within your firm? If not, it’ll cost you. Employee development is an essential component of running a business. Failing to focus on this aspect of employee relations could lead to turnover of your most talented individuals.

Why You Should Focus on Talent Development

Many companies get so focused on the here and now that they don’t recognize top talent and potential like they should. They may also spend too much time on bureaucratic exercises or other time-consuming practices that are important, but perhaps not as fulfilling as talent development programs. This has led to a loss of talent in many areas.

The Harvard Business Review confirmed this point with a study that examined the reasons that talented entrepreneurs, managers, and leader-potential employees were leaving their jobs. They concluded that the most talented individuals were leaving because they were not being challenged and mentored enough to let their talents develop.

“We asked young managers what their employers do to help them grow in their jobs and what they'd like their employers to do, and found some large gaps,” the report stated. “Workers reported that companies generally satisfy their needs for on-the-job development and that they value these opportunities, which include high-visibility positions and significant increases in responsibility. But they're not getting much in the way of formal development, such as training, mentoring and coaching - things they also value highly."

If you’re struggling to retain top talent, focusing on development efforts may be the right solution for you. It might take careful planning and execution, but the results could be incredible.

Other benefits of implementing talent development include attracting highly-skilled individuals, maintaining a competitive edge in your industry, increasing morale and satisfaction among existing employees, and raising the leaders of your firm for the future.

You won’t be around forever, so having talented individuals to eventually take your place will keep your name and company alive and well.

How to Implement Talent Development in Your Firm

Since you’re now convinced of the value of employee development in your firm, you’ll want to develop a clear strategy for implementing such a program among your employees. But if you’ve been neglecting this area in the past, you likely don’t know where to start.

Don’t get overwhelmed with everything there is to do. Just take it one step at a time. You might consider using one of the following strategies to help your firm grow:

Create the Framework

Talent development is of little use if it’s not designed to benefit your business and move things in the right direction. You’ll need a framework or procedural outline that you can use when working with employees.

Every good program begins with clearly defined goals. Outline the vision you have for your company, the values you’d like your employees to stick to, and the business objectives. These items should work together, supporting your overall goals and encouraging every category of your business, from recruiting to management.

You’ll also want to design a roadmap of sorts that helps attract and retain talent that you can build through your program. Make tweaks as necessary to meet the needs of your firm and its targeted employees.

Use Accountability to Gain Diversity and Inclusion

A strong talent development program will seek to include people from all walks of life because managers know the value in unique perspectives and life experiences.

“We hear all the time that companies and leadership are concerned with and dedicated to creating this kind of strategy, but they’re not sure how and they know they’re not there yet,” writes talent-development expert Lynette Phillips in a Medium article, noting that if you want to succeed with this component, you need an element of accountability.

“As much as everyone may be on board, you’re much more likely to succeed if these measures are an essential component of something concrete, such as performance reviews or bonus structures,” she concludes.

This accountability structure should be present in all aspects of the business, from brand new hirelings to recruiting managers to executives. As managers take responsibility for the actions and skillsets of their employees, companies can develop a strong, diverse environment where talent will naturally flourish.

Track and Manage High Talent Potentials within Your Firm

You’ll be surprised how much talent resides within your firm once you start tracking and monitoring the potential within your business. Financial services icon HSBC Group discovered this for themselves when they started purposely looking for talent in their firm. They designed a system that tracked and managed talent pools in each of their offices.

Each talent pool was then assigned a manager to oversee their development and promote their growth. Talented individuals who prove their worth are promoted until they reach senior management with the goal to get to that point within 3-5 years.

In this system, communication is essential, relationships are nurtured, and mentoring is second nature. “The aim is to structure a set of experiences that leads to a deep knowledge of all aspects of the business as well as an understanding of the many different cultural environments in which HSBC operates,” explains a Harvard Business Review report.

In a small to medium-sized firm, you may not have the resources to generate such an in-depth network of talent development, but you can apply a few of these tactics in your own firm. Your talented employees are just waiting to be discovered and nurtured.

Support Learning Through Experience

There is a time and place for book-learning and coursework. If you feel that your employees could benefit from an assigned reading or a short continuing education course, it may be worthwhile to purchase it.

However, you’re more likely to sustain long-lasting success with your talent development program through consistent experiences. Employees learn best when they’re hands-on.

The Center for Creative Leadership Institute encourages those at the executive level to take the lead on this. “You, the manager, have a front-and-center role in making sure you have the right people doing the right work and having the right experiences, now and in the future,” they write in an article.

Their recommendation is to allow employees opportunities to grow beyond their typical job responsibilities. “Make a point of identifying stretch assignments…or experiences to help them develop specific competencies.”

You might also create new responsibilities or roles catered to help your top talent curate their abilities. Provide the support necessary for them to receive learning experiences and succeed.

Most importantly, allow people to fail. This can be an impactful learning experience if you “have conversations about what they’re learning from their experiences.” They may learn all they ever need about an ability or circumstance based on a single mistake.

Your employees are ultimately responsible for their learning and growth within their careers, but you can help them grow leaps and bounds simply by providing them the tools, connections, and opportunities to succeed. It’s of mutual benefit, as these select few will likely grow into your top executives one day. You’ll be amazed at the potential for leadership right under your very nose.

You Focus on Talents, Taxfyle Will Handle What’s Left

As you begin a talent-development program within your firm, you’ll likely need to redirect much of your time, resources, and responsibilities so that nothing gets dropped. Taxfyle is here to help. We offer tax preparation outsourcing services to help you keep up with your firm’s growth. Request a free demo of our services today, and let us free up some of your time so you can cultivate your top talents!

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