Win the trust of today’s talent with an entrepreneurial approach

December 17, 2019

As your firm searches for ways to attract, engage and retain new talent, consider the impact of recent findings from research conducted by MAVY Poll on behalf of the AICPA. This research was gathered among millennials who graduated from college in the last 24 months or will graduate in the next 12 months and are currently looking for employment – referred to as “young adult job seekers.”

  • Seven in ten young adult job seekers say the freedom of being their own boss is worth more than the benefit of working for someone else
  • Over half or fifty three percent are likely to start their own business in the future

Is your firm capturing their imagination and winning their trust by tapping into this entrepreneurial spirit? This article outlines practical tips and tools you can incorporate into your practice as you look to achieve success in 2020.

Seven best practices to help your firm get started

With busy season just around the corner, it is the perfect time to encourage more entrepreneurship in your firm. Find simple ways to introduce new behaviors into your team’s daily routine that help them move forward. Before you know it, these actions will become the norm. As a result, practitioners will be more engaged and take greater ownership of their roles knowing they are in control.

  1. Foster an entrepreneurial environment
    While today’s new generation may have a strong interest in one day becoming an entrepreneur, chances are good they already have an entrepreneurial state of mind. According to the study Millennials and the Future of Work by oDesk and Millennial Branding, millennials have a new definition of “entrepreneur.” For 90 percent of millennials surveyed, being an entrepreneur means having a certain mindset, rather than starting a company. Aspects of this mindset include being a self-starter, risk taker, visionary and someone who spots opportunity.1 Foster this way of thinking by encouraging your team to approach their role and career as an entrepreneur. Get clear on what being an entrepreneur means to them. Work with individuals to align their goals and interests with firm goals. Stay involved as they progress toward those goals.

  2. Encourage and support learning and mentoring
    Help your team develop their entrepreneurial prowess through targeted learning and mentoring. Start with basics about the firm and its brand. Show them how their role fits into the bigger picture. Discuss how they can bring the firm’s brand to life in their work. Educate them on the firm’s financial equation and how you grow the business. Showcase ways your practice gives back to the community. Encourage their involvement in community initiatives, campus recruiting and business development. Entrust them with assignments to flex their new knowledge and self-starting nature. Provide continuous support and feedback as they use their smarts and talents to enhance, improve and rethink established norms. Check out these ready to use tools you can put to work in your firm:
  3. Actively seek greater client value
    Successful entrepreneurs are constantly on the search for new ways to add value. Today’s clients want this type of input from their advisors. The secret to success is looking for it, so make this part of each engagement. Discovery is easiest when you are in front of a client or working on a client engagement. Opportunities present themselves in conversations. Clues appear in the work. Questions reveal new paths forward. Help your staff understand the types of things they are searching for and what the solutions might look like. Be clear, their ideas set the stage for additional engagements when the schedule allows. These new assignments can provide learning experiences they crave. Take a look at the PCPS Trusted Client Adviser Toolbox for more insight.

  4. Strengthen networking with entrepreneurial advisors  
    Expand your firm’s entrepreneurial focus with referral sources such as attorneys, brokers and chambers of commerce that share your interest in serving this segment. Host collaborative networking sessions to identify new practice building approaches. Discuss how and where you and your colleagues spend time and resources. Share success stories. Make it fun. Award prizes for the best ideas. Involve interested younger talent into these discussions. Make introductions to their peers and encourage the development of these relationships.

  5. Harness opportunities
    Entrepreneurs have a knack for spotting opportunities. Encourage your team to put their talent to work in the area of innovation and improvement. Challenge them be on the lookout for ways your firm can save time, produce greater results or make a more significant impact. Create an easy to use spreadsheet on your firm’s portal for individuals to record new ideas and observations. During non-peak times, hold innovation roundtables to discuss ‘ah-ha’ moments and discoveries with colleagues. Encourage everyone to present their ideas. Identify those the group wants to pursue and the people passionate about developing them. 

  6. Bring the entrepreneurial narrative into your firm’s recruiting
    Get good at telling stories to help potential recruits know what it is like to work in an entrepreneurial focused firm. Be specific so they understand what this can mean to them and their career. If you are a sole practitioner and want to add new talent, focus on your role as an entrepreneur and discuss how you will support them in developing these skills. Zero in on students with entrepreneurial promise in leading new programs on campus, heading volunteer activities or providing research and support for startup businesses. Let them know these types of characteristics are welcome and fostered in your firm. Visit the PCPS Recruiting and Prospecting section of the PCPS Human Capital Center for more tips and tools you can use in your recruiting.

  7. Inspire, recognize and reward successful action
    Entrepreneurs are proactive and curious rather than heads down and business as usual. Tap into these traits by inspiring your team to take action in areas they enjoy, whether it is getting involved in the community, discovering additional ways to help a client or identifying new approaches for the firm to operate more efficiently. Talk about success stories in team meetings. Recognize outstanding initiatives that exemplify the types of behavior you seek in your firm. Provide financial and other sought after incentives. Incorporate practitioners’ interests and goals into their annual career planning and track their performance along the way. Recognize and reward their progress against these goals.

Here’s to winning the attention and trust of a new generation of talent by encouraging an entrepreneurial environment in your firm.  

1 Millennials Are Rewriting the Rules of Work and Entrepreneurship, Reiva Lesonsky, Small Business Trends, updated February 12, 2019