Oversharing is a virtue

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Just as employees value frequent performance reviews because they give them a clear sense of the direction of their careers (see Day 4), they also want to hear more, and in more detail, about their firms’ progress – and top workplaces are more than ready to share.

Two-thirds of the chief executives of the 2018 Best Firms to Work For (68 percent) meet at least quarterly with their employees to brief them on the state of the firm, and two-fifths do it on a monthly basis.

“Transparency” is the watchword at Jacksonville, Florida’s Ennis, Pellum & Associates, which claims an “open book” philosophy: “We take great care to communicate and involve our people in our goals and plans, how we'll get there, and progress updates, and everyone is encouraged to share ideas on improvements and opportunities.”

HeimLantz CPAs in Maryland, meanwhile, is also seriously committed to transparency: “Every month we present the firm's finances to every team member, advising where we are compared to our goals and what we think is leading to success or what changes we need to make to reach our goals,” the firm reported. Staff are eligible for bonuses if the firm hits its overall profitability goal, so they’re already incentivized, but clear communication with useful information also drives serious engagement. “The result is that everyone from our staff accountants, to managers and admin act like business owners. There is an investment to everyone that the firm does well and everyone works together to hit our goals,” the firm reports.

It’s also important to remember that communication isn’t just about all-hands get-togethers: Besides its annual firmwide meeting, Atlanta’s Williams Benator & Libby aims for “open communications” through weekly emails from their managing partner, quarterly breakfasts with the MP, and monthly department meetings, among other things.

Whatever the method, the point is to engage employees by giving them a clear picture of the growth and success that their individual efforts are contributing to, as well as drawing them into the firm’s plans for overcoming any challenges it may face.

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