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Heart Matters

By Joey Havens

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This blog is the fifth in a five part series adapted from the AICPA White Paper, Becoming the Firm of the Future, which is available here.

So many businesses today truly make a difference in their service to clients and their team members. I see it every day in public accounting as we make a huge impact for our clients and provide opportunities of growth for our team members. What concerns me, however, is that what you and I might know and understand, often lacks being passionately communicated to our existing and new team members. 

We are in a free agency market for talent like we have never seen before. Many times in the accounting industry we are losing top talent—or they are leaving our profession very quickly after that first bad experience. Headhunters will tell you that many professionals leaving public accounting firms today are not looking for another public accounting position, instead they are looking outside the profession. Michael Platt of Inside Public Accounting was recently stressing this to me as we discussed turnover in our profession. “They are not giving the profession a second chance,” he said.  

This trend can be attributed to aspects of our culture which include negative perceptions around flexibility, personal sacrifice, purpose, passion, seniority and overall lack of high energy within our cultures. Other professions and industries carry their own stereotypes. Whether these perceptions are true in your experience is not the issue. The issue is that these perceptions do affect decisions, so how do we remain relevant in this free agency market for talent?  

“Employees today (particularly Millennials) are looking for employers that inspire passion and allow them to fulfill their professional, personal and social goals,” according to the 2014 Global Human Capital Trends Report published by Deloitte University Press. In the 2015 Global Human Capital Trends Report, culture has moved to the number one most important issue for leaders. Millennials, who now make up more than half the workforce, expect accelerated responsibility and paths to leadership. They seek greater purpose in their work and the culture of where their work matters. 

Going forward, we must be intentional (almost fanatical) in promoting our purpose as an organization.  We must communicate with transparency and passion our “Why.” Showing our heart is very much an important part of being relevant in the future. 

How would you answer these questions? 

  • Does your culture truly inspire passion? 
  • Do your team members describe your culture as high energy?
  • Do your team members connect to your mission and purpose?
  • How often do you communicate your purpose and mission?
  • Do you assume too much when it comes to showing your heart?

As a Millennial stated in her description of her generation’s search for a fulfilling career:

“Our generation seems to search for jobs that fulfill us. We’re looking for an entire experience, rather than focusing on the money we receive to purchase goods. All in all, we want jobs that we like and that like us, and I think we’re less likely to settle into a career that we don’t enjoy.”

Going forward, talent will migrate to those organizations where it is clearly evident that heart matters.