Mentoring Your Team: Having a Complete Strategy

Part of growing your accounting team and developing their skills as capable, integral members of your organization is helping them grow professionally. Mentoring your employees is a huge part of this. Working to help build junior staff members’ confidence and work prowess not only helps your team to be more effective, but also helps you identify and foster these employees for their futures within the company – or perhaps even your job, some day. Here are a few tips on mentoring your team and encouraging them to grow and develop as important parts of your business.

Establishing a Program

Many companies lack a formalized mentorship process or program, which often makes the opportunities for new or growing employees to receive additional training opportunities unclear. Mentoring in these organizations is done passively or on a need-to-know basis, meaning that there may often be skills gaps that don’t become clear until there’s an extended leave of absence or employee departure that leaves knowledge holes in your team. By identifying the key players in your organization and working together with them to outline a mentorship program that that is clear and actionable, you can set yourself – and your team – up for future success. This can be one-on-one partnerships between junior and senior accountants or a rotation program that teams up team members with leaders in other aspects of the business. However you approach mentoring, making the process defined and clear will help it be a success.

MentorshipAsk, Don’t Tell

One common failure is that mentors show instead of grow, says the Journal of Accountancy. Instead of developing an employee, these mentors tend to go through a process in full, showing the mentored team member their process from start to finish without engaging them to think for themselves. This is akin to the old idiom of teaching a man to fish. By showing the employee, they don’t gain the growth in their own decision-making, reasoning and evaluation that can help them tackle unexpected issues or make the right judgement calls on the fly. A more sound strategy is to present staffers with a scenario or project and ask them leading questions to get them to think through their own process. As they work through the problem, you can work to guide their decisions or let them engage in different strategies to see what works and what doesn’t, building their own knowledge and abilities in the process.

Pathway to Advancement – and Retention

Lastly, mentorship programs offer your company a clear way to take your junior members into positions of greater responsibility in the business, increased visibility in the organization, and advancement of title and pay. Many businesses struggle with retention in their ranks, with new hires in organizations large and small nationwide often continuing to look for opportunities to make more money or have a better job title or benefits elsewhere. Working to identify your employees’ needs and desires and working with them directly to address them can help drive staffers to take a more direct stake in your company, which is not only good for their future at your organization, but also for building your business. Employees with a sense of ownership are more committed to succeed with both their own goals and your company’s, and growing these mentees to advance into senior leadership roles helps reward them for their efforts. In addition, by seeing your efforts to foster growth and reward it, other members of your team will see that you take your staffing seriously and are working to set not only a clear advancement and succession plan, but keep employees engaged and happy as part of your retention efforts, as well.

At CSS, we work diligently to find highly qualified candidates for accounting and finance positions in firms of all sizes. Whether you’re growing your business, expanding your operation or just looking to replace departing team members, we can help you find the right person for the job. We are constantly developing and growing our own business as well, and in the past month alone, 28 percent of our orders were made by new customers. Find out why so many new companies and repeat clients turn to us for their professional staffing needs. Contact us today and let us help you find the right candidate to add to your team!