How We Make The Right Hiring Decisions

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How We Make The Right Hiring Decisions

With the talent crunch not easing up any time soon, firms must work harder to increase their bench strength. Not only is labor scarce, but it is also costly, so growing internally has become a non-negotiable.

Bench strength is defined as “an organization’s ability to immediately fill critical positions with a talented internal candidate.”

At Accsurant, some of our staff are the most energized and motivated people you will meet. It’s not entirely by accident. How do we increase bench strength by making the right hires? We’ll tell you how:

Start by hiring well in the first place

We strive to employ people with the right balance of soft skills and technical skills at the outset. We love giving younger people opportunities. It’s part of our hiring plan.

We are excited by being able to give new entrants into the profession a chance to grow. They invariably have great energy and a thirst for learning. That said, if we need a more experienced person, we’re always open to hiring energetic mature candidates too.

We ask candidates to take a personality assessment, which gives us a more scientific understanding of what makes them tick. The idea is to balance our own judgement with a formal human capital assessment for greater rigor.

We make sure to plan their growth

We supplement the first part of our process by scoring their abilities in the following areas:

  • Are they collaborative and a team player?
  • Are they good at problem solving?
  • Do they communicate professionally?
  • Can they manage internal meetings?
  • Can they manage teams?
  • How are they in front of clients?

We also have a strong internal hiring mechanism by which we check their technical knowledge in areas such as individual accounting processes, financial analysis, end-to-end accounting processes, and accounting software and process management tools.

It’s never too soon after onboarding to craft a development plan for key employees. We devote so much time to landing each team member that it’s only natural to invest seriously in their growth.

Each team member should have an employee development plan with a well-defined set of criteria. We assess them closely on those criteria as time goes on, mapping the growth plan to different job levels.

You can also introduce mentoring and job shadowing as we successfully have. You can even cross train your staff in different roles. As part of a development plan, give them experiences in challenging client-facing work.

One evergreen piece of advice is to recognize high performers. To show commitment to nurturing talent, you must implement a robust performance management system that recognizes and rewards high-performing employees.

In our case, we acknowledge their contributions, provide constructive feedback, and offer advancement opportunities based on merit.

Create internal opportunities

It’s important to facilitate internal mobility by creating job rotations, cross-functional assignments, and transfers between departments. This way, your staff can learn end-to-end skills.

Internal mobility leads to more stimulated and satisfied staff and helps retain top talent as they are encouraged by a culture of growth and development.

Don’t forget succession planning. We identify high-potential employees and tell them about how their roles could change if they continue to develop. We isolate key positions and create development plans to prepare the right staff for future leadership roles.

It’s always good to foster a culture of continuous learning and encourage employees to seek out new challenges, acquire new skills, and keep up to date with industry trends. This could look like supporting employees in attending conferences, seminars, and webinars to expand their expertise.

Get clients to help train your teams

At Accsurant, we build up the skill level of our people so that we can trust them to operate independently.

By deploying our people to work closely with clients, we get the client to nurture the relationship, and in turn, they help give our staff more complex skills. Even though our people may start out at a lower level, they grow with the client.

It’s not about giving our clients inexperienced people to work with. There’s a real upside, which is that clients can help train our receptive teams to work in exactly the way the client wants.

Don’t forget these tips

Always aim to engage your employees. Creating a positive and engaging work environment is crucial. We achieve this through initiatives such as team-building activities, employee appreciation events, wellness programs, and social activities.

We also pay close attention to work-life balance. Every firm has a different idea of how to promote work-life balance. Sure, firms must get value from their hires, but this should not stop you from offering contextually flexible work arrangements and encouraging healthy work-life integration.

Happy staff tend to perform at their best and develop their skills when they operate in a conducive environment.

Use technology where appropriate

Embrace technology to streamline processes, enhance efficiency, and create new growth opportunities. One obvious example is how firms are using AI to make people more productive workers, rather than using it to replace them.

But it doesn’t always have to be rocket science. Remember the technical assessments we do? You could create a SharePoint list to track candidates and share comments on their suitability. You could upload standard sets of interview questions and save them to a central repository.

These simple but effective knowledge management tips are exactly the types of measures we’ve spoken about in the past when we encouraged centralizing your intellectual property. You can do it in the area of human capital too.

The bottom line

Bench strength is a vital way to stay ahead of the talent crunch. Firms can reap many different rewards from actively making employees feel valued, supported, and empowered. You can retain good people for longer and create powerful leaders to help your firm grow.

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Yann Beaullan-Thong

Yann Beaullan-Thong

Yann is Accsurant’s president. With 20 years experience and six different technology startups behind him, Yann has a proven track record in developing innovative solutions based on his technology and financial acumen.