The average accountant in the industry is well over 50 years old. Approaching retirement, millennials (born between years 1981 to 1996) will inevitably take over the accounting jobs, especially since over one-third of millennials will cover the global workforce in the year 2020.
Hence, what recruitment strategies shall we use to grab the best millennial accountants from the pool? Beyond punching numbers, the role of accountant has evolved to using an accounting software proficiently and analysing charts and graphs into meaningful information for shareholders and stakeholders.
The first step therefore in the recruitment and selection process is attracting the right candidate! In the job search, millennials are found to prioritise money, security and time off. Hence, show how your company can fulfil their needs, and you will naturally attract the right talent!
Fulfil the money need
A slightly higher salary than market rate might pull the right talent in. During the interview, look for three essentials, which are integrity, a teachable spirit and competence.
Outline clear job roles and draw a realistic picture of how they can advance in their careers through mastery of technical skills by levels. By setting a clear structure in place, this emphasises promotion based on merits and performance, instead of favouritism or political play. Include as well how non-technical skills like soft skills and presentation flair, are also important considerations for promotion. That way, they have a clear vision of how their career advancement works in your company.
Fulfil the security need
To increase their sense of security, continual development is important to millennials in increasing their employability.
Hence, start a mentor-mentee program (if you don’t have one) by getting the baby boomers and generation X to mentor them. Assure the older generation of their value and help them see the mutually beneficial relationship. For example, the older can pass down their wise business acumen while the younger can share effective usage of online accounting software or cloud accounting software.
Also, offer upskilling classes to the millennial accountants. Assign projects at the stretch-zone of their ability and set up bi-weekly performance meetings to coach them into improvement. Allow them to share their opinions and apply their creativity in completing a project, as long as the objective is reached.
Most importantly, don’t stifle their need to grow. If one day, they have grown beyond their job role, use this maturity to expand and diversify the company’s portfolio. Harness their talents and risk-taking appetite to take on bigger roles.
Fulfil the work-life balance need
Millennials must understand that work-life balance is only opened to them when they have demonstrated the ability to handle that freedom.
Cloud accounting software is built for this purpose. No longer one needs to be at the office, but work can be done anywhere with internet access. However, in running a company through cloud, we must give to each accountant clear job roles, objectives and deadlines.
In this case, it’s always helpful to come up with granular tasks instead of broad strokes. This is to prevent overlaps between the accounting team members. Also set in place a standardised system so that each accountant can track the status, facilitating better cooperation and results.
If a millennial demonstrates high accountability and performance through this, congratulations! You have successfully trained a talent to work cross-borders independently. This candidate can even lead a team internationally with little supervision.
In conclusion, with the proper environment, a millennial accountant can be groomed to take the company into greater heights beyond the traditional role. Many millennials are also looking for a purpose in their work. Perhaps, when they have matured, their purpose lies in mentoring their younger accountants for a successful career they have.
Now the question is, are you ready to take on this challenge?