As talent issues become more complex, the trends within them are worth noting. For corporate finance, where good talent is difficult to find, awareness of these trends can help managers and leaders navigate inevitable employee retention and work environment issues.
Quiet trends and phenomena like grumpy staying, labor hoarding, copycat layoffs, and boomerang employees are impacting employees and organizations at all levels. Developing a strategy around them can help facilitate a proactive approach to talent management.
More than Just Awareness
Not only are the above-mentioned emerging labor trends legitimate, according to Jim Dinneen, managing vice president of business services at Robert Half, but the pace at which they change and evolve requires more than just awareness.
“While the terms are evolving, the most important thing for managers is regular check-ins with their staff to determine morale and engagement.” Ultimately, managers (including CFOs) have to “determine what adjustments to the organization need to be made to retain a productive workforce,” Dinneen told CFO. “It’s worth the time because these workplace trends seemingly impact more employees by the day.”
Elements of the post-pandemic work environment also play a role in how these trends develop. They can infect a workforce quickly and threaten organizational productivity.
“A lot has transpired in the past few years with the emergence of remote and hybrid work,” said Dinneen. “It’s critical to stay up-to-date with these trends and terms and always listen and communicate with your team.”
Communication and culture, things other leaders credit their long-term retainment to, are critical to maintaining an equally productive and motivated workforce.
Dinneen stressed the importance of talking with employees — especially if they are remote — to discuss workloads. Performance discussions and feedback on strengths, improvement areas, and providing additional support are crucial throughout the year. Many organizations ause contract workers to help with heavy workloads, said Dineen, but employees may still be reluctant to take a break. But Dinneen said to encourage staffers to take time off.
“Support and model work-life balance by managing your own time effectively and reminding staff to use their vacation days,” Dinneen said.
Keeping workers productive when they are at work is not easy to accomplish. While culture can be an overwhelming term, the elements that make up the foundations of culture — communication, transparency, and authenticity — can help balance the juggling act morale and productivity enforcement has become for business leaders.
The Future of Work Environments
To set up future success, especially when the future talent pool is shrinking, accounting and finance leaders need to prioritize delegation to avoid taking on too many things at once.
“Now that in-office is making a comeback, it can be a challenge managing a team that has become accustomed to being remote or hybrid the past few years."
Managing Vice President, Robert Half
“It’s no secret that people have been leaving the accounting and finance sector in recent years, and put simply, organizations have not been able to replace them,” Dinneen said. “There aren’t adequate processes to onboard and train the next generation of talent, and CFOs and other finance leaders are stretched too thin. And keeping tabs on the team has become much more difficult because of the talent drain.”
The return to offices is complicating things, despite many employees saying they would rather give up pay than give up hybrid work. Dinneen says return-to-office initiatives limit a company’s talent reach geographically and put some employees who have stayed with companies throughout these changing work environments in a difficult spot.
“Now that in-office is making a comeback, it can be a challenge managing a team that has become accustomed to being remote or hybrid the past few years,” he said.
As per the impact of artificial intelligence, the two-decade consulting veteran believes AI tools will impact talent acquisition and retention. As accountants have noted, they are more likely to work with organizations that offer advanced technology; these tools may help with employee development, too.
“Many jobs and industries, including accounting and finance, are only partially exposed to automation and are more likely to be complemented rather than substituted by AI,” Dinneen said. “The advent of AI has also allowed companies to upskill their talent so that workers can spend time analyzing and make the most of all the data and analytics produced by AI and automation.”