exit interview

Exit Interview Tips

Exit interviews can offer useful information about your organization’s policies, procedures, and practices. They can teach you which policies are working and which policies may need to be revised. For employees, exit interviews are an opportunity to give a review of their experience.

When both the employer and employee focus on constructively learning from each other, exit interviews can end on a positive note. Many times the feedback employees provide is positive, and when it’s not, it gives you valuable insight on how to fix it for other employees.

Determine Who is Best for the Interview

Consider having the HR manager or an outside consultant conduct the exit interview.

  • Although it seems expedient to have the department manager be responsible, doing so can obstruct useful information.
  • That can occur based on relationship dynamics or the desire for a good reference.

Learn Why Employees Leave

Employees resign for many reasons. Carefully crafted questions can help to identify course corrections your organization can consider for improved employee performance and retention.

  • Ask why the employee is leaving. Listen and request more information if doing so adds value.
    • When did you first decide to move on?
    • Was there a particular event that led to this decision?
  • Inquire about key junctures during a person’s employment:
    • As you look back on your onboarding weeks, were there steps in the process that should be changed? Please describe.
    • What, if any, changes should be made in the employee performance appraisal process?
  • Ask questions about the compensation, benefits, and perks of the workplace.
    • What is your opinion about our company’s salary and benefits package?
    • Are there suggestions you have for improving these or company perks?

Conduct an Open-Ended Interview

Allow sufficient time to listen to suggestions and/or complaints the departing employee offers.

  • Inquire about their feelings about leaving the company without letting it become negative.
    • How do they feel about leaving?
    • What are the top two things about working here?
    • What three aspects of this organization would you change?
    • Please elaborate on the most important change we should make.
  • Ask for information specific to their time with the organization.
    • What was your most important achievement at this job?
    • What is one thing you hoped to accomplish and did not?
    • What supported you with the first and limited you with the second?

Closing Thoughts

  • Express appreciation for the employee’s service and contributions to the organization.
  • Close with a simple statement. Thank you for making the time for this exit interview. Add words that are relevant for this now past employee.

Check out How to Keep Your Employees from Fleeing

employee perks

Employee Perks to Boost Retention

Low unemployment, concerns about upward mobility, and a desire for work and life balance are creating new employee demands. On the business side, maintaining a competitive edge means blending innovation with careful pricing and recession proofing steps. In both cases, keeping valued employees happy and on the payroll is a given. PayScale has released its 2019 report about practices that promise to guide you in keeping employees during competitive times.

Top Reasons for Leaving a Job

In 2018 a study was done on the top reasons employees left current positions. The top three account for over 60% for the representative sample of over 7,000 respondents. The data is listed from the highest and reveals a vital trend for you to consider as part of retention planning:

  • Personal reasons
  • Professional advancement
  • Better compensation elsewhere

Trends in Employee Perks

This data provides a revealing balance to that of reasons for leaving. Roughly one third of organizations are now offering:

  • Flex time—this benefit permits employees to care for family, pursue advanced education, or other life goals.
  • Remote work interests by some employees is receiving more employer support.
  • Paid family leave supports employees who are caring for a new family member, senior relatives, or a loved one who is ill.
  • 10% of organizations are instituting 4-day work weeks that offer these and other advantages for employees.
  • The report describes a recent doubling in organizations offering paid time off (PTO) that benefits employee well-being.

Compensation Trends and Retention

The report projects increased organizational interest in compensation incentives to boost retention. These include:

  • Increases in base pay rates.
  • More variable pay benefits for high performing employees. One example is the award of bonuses outside of annual salary.

Despite these positive changes, organizations are still reluctant to be transparent with wage scales. One finding of the PayScale research is that employees of businesses that focus on a “strong pay brand” are more satisfied. Yet other businesses have yet to pay branding as one means of boosting retention.

You can download the Payscale report here.

For more information about Ways to Motivate Employees, click here

mergers and acquisitions

Weighing In: Do M&A Deals Add Value?

The organization you lead is doing well overall. International trade changes along with on-and-off recession concerns create pricing challenges for companies. Some are interested in pursuing mergers or acquisitions (M&A) to both appease current shareholders as well as attract new ones. To best guide client businesses, we have decided to weigh in on the current pros and cons of M&A deals.

Pros for Companies

A merger involves one company acquiring another to extend its reach and market potential. This happened in 2017 when Amazon acquired Whole Foods. On a more local level, an acquisition may occur when a large telecommunications firm purchases another with more limited service range and capabilities.

In either case there are pros for each company.

  • Existing infrastructure creates expedient expansion and upgrades.
  • Consumers see the benefits of expanded services in the form of improved pricing, as is the case with retail bulk buying and distribution.
  • Each company’s strengths add to overall value.
    • A smaller business gains from large scale management expertise and systems.
    • A larger business gains from the smaller firm’s assets, such as technological innovation.
  • Increased profits contribute to research and development.

 

What About Cons for Companies?

  • Leadership changes for either company can destabilize operations for months or more.
  • The potential loss of jobs within a sector or region.
  • Negative effects on markets, such as loss of services for local areas.
  • The potential for increased prices and service changes for consumers, particularly if the merger creates a monopoly.
  • Economies of scale may falter if communication, coordination, and efficiency lag.

Shareholder Value: What to Expect

Mergers affect both companies with shareholders seeing stock volatility as the acquisition is implemented.

  • Stock value of both companies is likely to experience alterations until the merger stabilizes.
    • The acquiring company’s stock is likely to dip in value.
    • The merging company is positioned to see a temporary increase.
  • Shareholders experience a period of voting instability related to stock distribution.
  • Board composition will shift in terms of numbers and representation.
  • Successful acquisition of a company within the midst of economic promise is likely to lead to stock gains. 
habits of successful people

Habits Practiced by Highly Successful People

Our best days are usually the days in which we are highly productive and still able to make time for ourselves.  To make this happen, we need to be mindful with how we utilize the minutes of our day. 

Below is a compilation of some of the habits of highly successful people.

Expressing Gratitude

Many successful people, like Oprah Winfrey and Richard Branson, express gratitude on a regular basis  Gratitude doesn’t have to be for anything fancy.  Remember the last time you saw a rainbow? Did it make you smile? That’s a form of gratitude. Express thanks however you prefer. Being grateful for everyday gifts is part of the recipe for success.

Being Fearless

This is about the fear of success. It’s real—it causes inaction that interferes with moving toward personal success.

“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.” —Henry Ford

Being Persistent -There’s No Such Thing as Failure

Not trying is true failure. Take riding a bicycle. If a cycling champion never jumped on a bike, they would never know the thrill and success to be found atop two wheels.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

Practicing Stillness

There’s a saying that “silence is golden.” New ideas flourish in a quiet mind. A good listener knows the gift of being still during another’s story. Nature’s sounds amplify in hushed settings.

Staying Active

Be physical. Move around. Breathe deeply. Action boosts circulation, clear thinking, and enthusiasm. Each of these is success in itself.

Embracing Creativity

Everyone is creative. Denying it limits success big time. Honor yours. If it’s playing hide and seek, go out and find it!

Living with Purpose.

Commit to a purposeful life and find something that drives you. 

Listening Be attentive in every meeting.  Don’t listen with the intent to reply; listen with the intent to understand.  

“Efforts and Courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” – John F. Kennedy

Click here to find out about our group of highly successful team leaders

clearing your mind

Clearing Your Mind So You Can Do A Better Job

You have a full and busy life. There are countless things that occupy your days and weeks. Sometimes your head feels awhirl just trying to balance all of your responsibilities. Before engaging in any type of project, you need to be mentally and physically prepared. Trying to think strategically is nearly impossible if you are not in the right frame of mind.

A leading source of distraction is the act of attempting to remember all of your daily tasks and commitments, which can lead to cognitive overload. By writing down or calendaring your tasks, you can free-up space in your mind, allowing you to focus more clearly on “what you are doing” and not “what are you supposed to be doing.”  This critical thinking technique is referred to as the Mind Sweep in David Allen’s Getting Things Done System.    Below, we have some more useful tips to help you do your best work and feel better, too.

Simple Stress Busters

Tension and stress disrupt clear thinking. They limit focus, create tight muscles, cause headaches, and upset digestion. To bust stress in simple ways:

  • Focus on your breathing.
  • Do stretches at your desk or even the photo copier.
  • Drive different routes to work to break up the routine.
  • Rotate your wrists and ankles several times a day to reduce tension and promote circulation.
  • Smile, even when you don’t have a reason…it works!

 

Be Active!

Being active includes exercise, though not entirely. Give yourself credit for the many ways you are active, including these and others.

  • Using the stairs multiple times per day at home or work.
  • Yard and house work.
  • Dancing, regardless of who is watching.

Use Food to Clear Your Mind

Food can boost or break your focus. Read the following and see what you think!

  • Limit dense carbs that slow digestion.
  • Caffeine boosts focus—too much will cause jitters.
  • A piece of fruit or cup of juice adds focus.
  • Eat a daily dose of nuts, seeds, and dark chocolate to boost focus.

 


 After you have mastered clearing your mind, check out these tips about how to Become More Successful at Work.

finance and accounting consultant

Why Consulting is Good for Your Finance and Accounting Career

Many seasoned Finance and Accounting professionals are taking the consulting route because they desire exposure to diverse industries, short-term projects and flexible schedules that can provide them with better work-life balance.  

Consulting is good for your career because you will:

Stay on Top of Your Game

The minute you become a consultant, you are seen as the expert in the room. Finance and accounting teams will look to you for up-to-date information about:

  • Trends in their business sectors.
  • Financial system management. 
  • Changes in current laws and regulations at federal, state, and local levels that affect their business.

Become Informed about Real World Concerns

Working with various companies that serve a range of clientele and communities, informs your consulting role.

  • Your knowledge of financial effects is broadened.
  • Real world challenges and solutions from large and small businesses carry over to your work with others.

 

Build Your Network

You will meet businesses and individuals who learn about your consulting skills.

  • Your growing network will include other consultants with diverse experiences. Promote opportunities to learn from each other.
  • Reach out to other financial consultants within a sector or community to expand your knowledge and contacts.

Increase Vision and Innovation

Consulting promotes innovation. Take these steps to assure that’s true for you!

  • Watch as your knowledge and perspective expand and deepen.
  • Reflect on the dominant challenges that clients confront.

Consulting can be a rewarding path and Finance and Accounting Consultants are becoming more attractive to companies that need quality financial talent on an interim basis.  With that in mind, now is the perfect time to consider making the move. 

If you have the right combination of skills, education and experience to meet the high standards of today’s employers, take a look at our current opportunities by clicking here.

team

Strategies for Building a High-Performing Team

Building a high-performing team is complex. It requires patience, learning, training,  trial and error, and encouragement. This blog consolidates a wealth of information that supports your pursuit of excellence.  Laying out a clear vision of the team’s goal, and inspiring its members to achieve it, is fundamental to the team’s success.

Characteristics of a High-Performing Team

A team’s excellence stands out to others and to its members.

  • Each member of the team is solidly committed to its purpose, each other, and its customers.
  • Talents are complementary, with each member’s unique skills adding to group strength.
  • High performance expectations are made of each team member.
  • The team keeps each other accountable for their responsibilities.
  • Members share mutual trust.
  • They routinely exchange information and ideas.
  • The team genuinely enjoys its work.

Use These Strategies to Build Performance

You can use lessons from high-performing teams to select strategies that boost a team’s function.

  • Adopt a coaching style of leadership that encourages innovation as it supports each member’s unique skills and contributions.
  • The leader should run interference to assure that external influences do not impede the team’s work.
  • Select highly motivated, talented team members—doing so increases performance.
  • Offer incentives to encourage individual and group performance. These can include monetary and skill development options as external motivators.
  • Encourage morale and internal motivation by supporting innovation, risk-taking, and open sharing of vison and ideas.
  • Use open communication to manage conflict.
  • Engage the team in shared decision-making to foster communication and cooperation.
  • Take time outs to assess progress without judgment.
  • Have the team identify ways to celebrate success.

Team Development Indicators

Watch for these indicators of your team’s increasing performance.

  • Team members resolve conflicts independently.
  • Individuals cheer each other on and readily share talents and information.
  • Group performance meetings are interactive.
  • Your leadership role shifts as the group leads itself.

Click here to learn about our high-performing team leaders.

reduce costs

How to Reduce Costs Without Hurting Morale

You realize the need to reduce costs. Now you must consider where, when, and the effects of the cuts on your business. You are aware that employee and customer confidence and loyalty go hand-in-hand, adding one more dimension to your dilemma. 

The Bottom Line: Cutting Costs Without Losing Quality

Your goal is to trim expenses to improve your bottom line.

  • Take time to review the factors that add the most value to your business quality. Prioritize these, moving those with the highest quality yield to a “wait-and-see” column.
  • Engage employees in the expense review process.
    • Requesting employee participation helps morale and adds potentially useful ideas.
    • Those working directly with tasks know how to streamline processes, and therefore costs.
    • Employees who work with customers know the factors that add the most value to your services/products.

Employee Associated Expense Reductions

Audit staff related expenses, from space and travel, to salary and benefits. Keep an open mind as you find methods to creatively save money and morale.

  • Explore flex time and telecommuting.
  • Reduce meeting/conference/travel expenses by meeting online and purchasing downloads of conference materials.
  • Review benefits packages to determine if you are receiving the most cost-effective benefits.
  • Determine if any benefit contracts can be renegotiated for fiscal conservation.
  • Work with employees to identify perks they can do without in favor of preferred options.

Reduce Invisible Consumables

Electricity and technology are necessary, yet each offers opportunity for cost reductions without limiting quality. Employees can help you identify cost-saving ideas.

  • Save on energy.
    • Equipment that is turned off still costs money because of a draw on phantom energy. Plugging devices into accessible power strips helps reduce energy expenses.
    • Conduct an energy audit to determine if air and heating systems are current and well maintained.
    • Consider energy-efficient lighting.
  • Look at connectivity costs. Are you getting full advantage of your tech dollars?
    • Are you using technology that is not giving a good return on investment?
    • Negotiate a package that may upgrade quality as it reduces costs.
  • Review credit card fees for hidden losses.

For more employee morale advice check out Management Tricks to Make You More Likeable

Great Leaders

Qualities that Make Great Leaders

Opinions vary about the traits of great leaders. However, a common thread seems to be that, those who focus on being an effective leader, are likely to become better leaders; perhaps even great.

The Leader is There for the Business

This quality is all-encompassing! It involves being available for customers, employees, vendors, stakeholders, and the community-at-large.

The leader:

  • Takes extra steps to keep the lines of communication open on the behalf of the business.
  • Consistently develops and updates business strategies.
  • Recognizes their colleagues’ efforts and triumphs.

Great Leaders Live with Leadership

Our history’s greatest leaders have all  had the habit of carrying their leadership with them, day in and out.

  • Leaders use words, tone of voice, a smile, or an encouraging gesture to show appreciation for others’ work and abilities.
  • They balance the serious side of the workplace with positivity and enthusiasm.
  • A leader shows trust by supporting others with the tasks at hand. No micro-managing or off-putting comments. Just guidance, encouragement, and reflection when something is amiss.

 

Great Leaders Continually Assess Themselves

They check in with others and their internal radars to decide next steps for becoming more effective. Some read about other leaders, learning to adopt the practices of people they admire. Others journal to ferret out negativity.

  • Changing one’s behaviors is noticed by others.
    • Leaders proudly take steps to advance their abilities.
  • A leader who seeks feedback garners respect and trust.

Great Leaders Communicate Well

Communication is key to building and strengthening relationships and businesses. Great leaders continually:

  • Listen, observe, reflect, and ask questions.
  • Keep their emotions in check.
  • Acknowledge mistakes and know how to apologize.
  • Avoid making hasty decisions and jumping to conclusions.
  • Gather input from others to make sound decisions.
  • Express gratitude.
  • Encourage others to pursue their own growth.

To learn about our great leaders, click here

Thank you note

Post Interview Thank You Note Tips

Your big interview is over. Now is the time to follow-up with a well-crafted post-interview thank you note.   You will not get the job simply because you sent a thank note, but you will be remembered for not sending one.  If the decision comes down to you and one other candidate, you want to be the one who wrote a thoughtfully composed thank you note with substance.

Creating a template ahead of time helps with the interview preparation, including the points to focus on as follow up.  It’s okay to use a thank you note template when writing your note. However,  be sure to customize it enough so that doesn’t look like one. In your email, reference something unique to your conversation with the interviewer.

First, a Few E-mail Reminders

Follow this set of reminders to assure your message is timely and appropriate.

  • Send within 24 hours following the interview.
  • Send from the same email address included on your resume. Use one with a professional tone.
  • Avoid sending from your phone as formatting may change.

General Guidelines

Your e-mail is most likely to be opened and read if:

  • The subject line includes the words “Thank you” with the job title and interview date.

An email with “no subject” line can appear unprofessional and careless. When you create your subject line, it should be specific and not overly creative.

  • Prepare your e-mail in business formal language.
    • Use professional terms, such as those associated with the position you seek.
  • Be clear and concise.
    • This gives the impression that you have thought about the interview and can express yourself efficiently.
    • Vary sentence length. Best to keep each one under 20 words.
    • Break content into short paragraphs of 2 to 3 sentences each.
  • Be sure to individualize thank you e-mails for each interviewer you met.

Thank You E-mail Format

  • Paragraph 1: Begin your note with a “thank you” for the time that they extended to speak with you, followed by a compliment about the interview process, a key takeaway about the position that excites you, and how this solidifies your confidence in your ability to be successful in the position.

This will let the recruiter know that you paid attention and reassure them of your compatibility.

  • Paragraph 2: Refer back to the interview discussion, focusing on the experiences/skills you bring to the position. Succinctly state your unique qualifications and readiness to contribute to the position and company.
  • Paragraph 3: Briefly state your enthusiasm for joining the company, and your availability for a follow up call or e-mail.
  • The last line states your understanding of when you will receive an interview follow up.
  • “Best regards” or “Sincerely” is suitable for the closing.  Below your signature, make sure to include your full contact information and any professional links, such as your LinkedIn profile or other online portfolio.   Your personal Facebook, Instagram or Twitter should not be included unless you are asked for them.

For more interview tips check out, Words to Use in an Interview