How to Keep Employees Engaged for Tax Season
Busy season can take a toll on accounting professionals. Late nights, skipped meals, and frayed nerves can lead to decreased productivity and an unpleasant environment. There are things you can do to ensure your employees remain happy and motivated this year.
Set Them up for Success
Provide your team with the resources they need to succeed. It all starts with having the right talent in place before the season begins. If your firm is short on headcount going in, the extra work will be spread among the rest of the staff leading to longer hours and shorter fuses.
While attracting talent to your firm may be a challenge, it’s best to remain proactive by adopting strategies – like creating a favorable culture – to draw them in.
If despite your efforts you find yourself understaffed, this is the time to hire interns or part-time help. Plan early. Get them in the door and up-to-speed before the season kicks into full swing.
Feed Them Well
It seems that the way to employees’ hearts is through their stomachs. According to a recent survey by grocery-delivery service Peapod of more than 1,000 full-time office workers, 56% reported being “extremely” or “very” happy at their current job—but that number jumped to 67% among those with free access to food at their office.
Furthermore, 48% of respondents said that if they were looking for a new job, they would weigh the availability of snacks in their decision.
Free food ranked high on the list of perks offered to accountants during busy season among the firms we quizzed. One of those firms, Traphagen Financial Group of NJ, treats their staff very well. During busy season, employees can anticipate bagels, fruit and yogurt, and the occasional catered hot breakfast, among other things.
Keep Them Healthy
Long hours sitting at their desks and unlimited access to food can have a negative effect on your employees’ overall health. Provide plenty of opportunities for physical activity. Consider bringing an instructor on site a few days a week to lead a yoga or fitness class. Or provide incentives for the team to get moving, like a fitness tracker challenge, awarding a gift certificate to the person who logs the most steps.
Don’t overlook their mental well-being. Make time and space for relaxation and plan plenty of activities for them to let off some steam. The occasional chair massage is always a welcome bonus.
Have Some Fun
Speaking of activities, don’t forget to schedule time for some fun. Traphagen Financial once again scores high in this area as the firm makes every effort to encourage a “fun, family-based” culture. They rent out a local theater and host a “Family Night at the Movies” that provides an opportunity for associates to spend some much-needed time with their families.
Another highlight at the firm is Purple Day, which has become a highly-anticipated tradition according to Executive Assistant Eneildaliz Noboa. “Everyone sports purple attire in an effort to outdo each other–shoes, hats, even tutus! It serves as a much needed mood lightener during a very ‘taxing’ time.”
Lastly, Give Them Something to Look Forward To
Once the last “i” is dotted and “t” is crossed, it’s time to party. Plan a special celebration to reward your team for a job well-done. The Hunter Group of Fair Lawn, NJ changes up the venue every year to keep it interesting. A catered party, a baseball game, horse racing, and a cruise around Manhattan are just a few of the events the team has enjoyed over the years.
The best part of planning such an event? The anticipation. Counting down the days is a great way to show your team there is a light at the end of the seemingly never-ending tax season tunnel.
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