Engaging Employees with a Transparent Firm Environment 

by Victor Amaya, CPA 

Employee engagement is critical to the performance of your firm. When you have an engaged workforce, you have people who truly care about the clients they are serving and the work they are producing. Successful employee engagement results in a visible increase in effort and dedication, rather than just going through the motions of doing the work. At ClearPath Accountants, we strive to engage employees by maintaining transparency throughout the firm in terms of financials and our strategic plan.

Staff at every level in our firm have a clear understanding of how the practice is performing. We openly and regularly share our firm’s financial information among our team. In fact, we just recently had an “all hands” meeting, where everyone in the firm gathered to discuss our performance last busy season, look at projections for next year and identify areas where we could improve in the coming year. This is an annual meeting where all staff actively participate. As an additional incentive, any employee who has been with the firm for two years can participate in our profit sharing program. This provides extra encouragement for employees to maintain an active stake in the firm’s performance.

Strengthen Relationships with Outside Events
Another way we incite employee engagement is by encouraging our staff to participate in events outside of the office. We will often take part in events arranged by our clients, which has the added benefit of strengthening our client relationships as well as providing team building opportunities. We make sure to encourage staff at all levels to participate in these events, as it’s never too early to begin building those relationships with clients.

In addition, we strongly encourage our staff to be active in their local community through volunteerism. Employees are always welcome to approach us with ideas for activities where they would like to be involved. We often are willing to provide time or donations, and sometimes both, for causes that resonate with our people. For example, we just had one employee participate in a toy drive for cancer patients. Our firm sponsored this event and, in addition to the employee who brought it to our attention, I and another staff member also attended and assisted with the drive. This was a great event for us to be a part of, and it was something that was brought to us by an employee. We encourage all staff to be on the lookout for opportunities like this that can get our firm more involved in the local community.

Engagement as a Retention Tool
Outside of giving staff a transparent view of the firm and encouraging community involvement, we also try to schedule a few fun events each year. We have a holiday party each year to unwind and let loose before moving into our busiest season. We also have an after tax season party to reward the team for the hard work they’ve accomplished. April 15th is definitely a holiday of its own in our profession.

Employee engagement is a key element in running a successful firm. It’s important that your people feel like they have a voice and that the firm is willing to support them in their endeavors. Engagement initiatives are an excellent retention tool and also provide an opportunity for us to expand on the traditional ideas of what our profession is really like. Let your people know that they are valued and being heard. They have to know that one person is not simply driving the boat, but that we are all rowing together.

ClearPath Accountants, LLC is a small firm with offices in Denver, CO and Fort Collins, CO. Victor Amaya, CPA is a partner.


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