Marcum LLP
Thoughts of the Week

By Jeffrey M. Weiner, Chairman & CEO, Marcum LLP

 

Talent War

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Talent War
 

If you're waking up in the middle of the night thinking about how to attract great people to your company, you're not alone. Our new quarterly survey of middle-market CEOs (which you can download here) found recruiting is their No. 1 priority - with 36% saying their biggest investment over the next 12 months will be in human capital. It's not surprising, given that 99% are optimistic about their business prospects and primed for growth. Our survey focused on leaders of entrepreneurial companies with under $1 billion in revenue. We wanted to gauge their outlook on the current business environment, to gain insight into how the middle-market is approaching the near-term future (12 months).

Although the leaders we surveyed are bullish on recruiting, hiring is challenging right now, given the extremely tight labor market. U.S. unemployment is currently 4.1%. Against this backdrop, the availability of talent is the single most important influence for business planning in the next year, our survey found. This is true across industries, with CEOs in 14 of 16 categories saying this is the most important influence on their companies' near-term future.

So how do you attract the amazing employees you want to hire in this scenario? Leaders in middle-market firms often feel they're at a disadvantage compared to the Goliaths of their industry, who have deeper pockets for salaries and benefits. We understand their challenges because we are entrepreneurs ourselves and here at Marcum, we're running a middle-market firm in the accounting industry. That's why we partner with our clients so well.

Fortunately, middle-market firms may actually have an edge. Create a truly great place to work and talented employees will start flocking. Sometimes, it's easier to pull this off in a nimble middle-market firm than in a giant corporation.

We've seen this ourselves at Marcum. We've made it our top priority to nurture an entrepreneurial culture where smart, high-energy associates want to contribute. That's helped us attract team members who are more than qualified to work at the Big Four Accounting firms - and a great many who already have and who left the large-firm environment for the entrepreneurial culture at Marcum.

We've found middle-market firms can also gain an edge in recruiting by helping team members develop professionally. You may have heard that at Google, employees can pick up new skills via Googler to Googler (g2g), an internal volunteer network of more than 6,000 employees who teach courses to their peers, provide one-on-one mentoring and design course materials.

At Marcum, we've got our own approach to internal training. All professional associates take courses through Marcum University, a program offering many opportunities to sharpen their knowledge and skills on an ongoing basis. What they learn contributes to our overall entrepreneurial approach to serving our clients.

Comprehensive technical training is one key area. To keep our team sharp and ensure they fulfill their continuing education requirements, we offer a comprehensive curriculum of classes on audit, tax, and accounting services covering current tax law and best practices. We also help associates reach the next rung in their careers through soft-skills training in areas such as project management, business writing, public speaking and business etiquette, to name a few.

Investing in education is also important if you're introducing new technologies to your team - as many CEOs reported they are in the survey. Fifteen percent of middle-market CEOs said their largest investment in the next 12 months will be in technology. Given our own investment in new technology services to help our clients, such as robotic process automation, we're big believers in technical education for our team, as well.

If you need fresh ideas on how to win the war for talent, contact your Marcum team leader. We will be happy to share strategies that will put you in the driver's seat - including those we're using ourselves. In a time of rapid change, we can all be sure of one constant: we need the right talent on board to achieve big goals.

P.S. The second annual Marcum Retail Symposium is coming up on April 19 in Los Angeles. If you're a retailer, distributor, factor or service provider and want to know more, you can find the details here.



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Disclaimer

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Jeffrey M. Weiner and do not represent those of Marcum LLP, its partners or its employees.

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