Prominent accountancy practice raise morale with values

A & S Partners are an accountancy practice offering advice in business management, tax, property consulting, accounting software, succession planning, depreciation, investment and general accounting.

Their twenty staff are a mix of administration support, accountants, managers and Partners. Their experience ranges from two to over ten years in the industry. All staff work towards maximising client satisfaction; and that can be stressful and demanding

Disgruntled staff create negative atmosphere

Management began noticing a dip in productivity. As they watched what was happening, it became clear that a couple of employees didn’t have their hearts in their jobs. This created a negative feeling in the office that impacted the people who were trying to do their work.

We’re also faced with a very mobile workforce. Agencies seem to advise graduates not to stay with one company for more than two years. They assume that moving from company to company gives them more experience. So keeping staff that are told this becomes a real challenge.

Jeffery Isaacs Partner

Basically the team had lost their direction and with morale depleted A & S Partners wanted to:

  • Determine common team values
  • Set team goals
  • Create better communication
  • Develop a sense of ownership and team spirit

Why Life Performance?

Partner Jeffery Isaacs knew of Carol Fox through the business and had attended a previous Life Performance workshop.

Quite a few years ago, I’d organised a Life Performance workshop for any interested employees. The people that did the workshop showed a dramatic change in how they felt about themselves and dealt with situations.

Jeffery also discussed the staffing issues with Carol. He felt confident that Carol’s open, honest, yet no-nonsense approach would inspire, motivate and involve all employees in the activities.

Outside the work zone

Twenty employees, including professional and administration staff, participated in the two-day workshop that was held off-site.

We were concerned about how the team would react to being together outside of the work environment and how freely and openly that they would join in to the workshop. Yet Carol knew why we were conducting the course and was able to bring out these issues in an indirect way so people could focus on what their issues were.

The main theme of the workshop was communication and Carol’s style gave opportunities for the group to bring any challenges they faced into the discussion.

Carol shared the realities of the different communication preferences, allowing each individual to understand their own motivations as well as those of their colleagues. They determined their own personal values and from these decided the common values that they, as a team, would support. The group was also shown how to set and achieve goals in a way that would maximize their chance of success.

Acting on decisions made

All members of the team participated during the workshop; they embraced the simple, yet highly effective communication strategies and techniques and began to interact more positively with each other. In general, they began to feel more focused and motivated. The team values helped them felt more a part of the organisation and meant that they could contribute towards the good of the firm as well as to their own professional development. The people that had made up their mind to leave and hadn’t taken that leap prior to the workshop left soon after.

The course helped them to realise that they’d made a decision and needed to act on it. When they left so did a lot of negative feeling.

For those that remained, employee teams helped keep the team values alive.

We have a fantastic administration team and they’ve really made sure we keep on track. They’re really helped drive the concepts and bring about change within the organisation.

The overall team maintains their motivation, focus and direction with regular group meetings. They keep the concepts they’ve learnt in the forefront so they can’t simply walk away from implementing them.

A surprising development for the A & S team was the return of two of the employees that left; one as a full-time employee and another as a part-time consultant.

We also did a retreat for the Partners and the Managers. One of the Managers left after the retreat, yet returned a month later.

And how do the employees that remained at A & S Partners feel about the return of their colleagues?

The people themselves were popular and weren’t on the outer so having them comeback was seen as a positive within the company.

Refreshing and updating

Life Performance followed the initial two-day workshop with another workshop six months later and another six monthly refresher. In fact, all Life Performance programs incorporate follow-up sessions. These sessions give the A & S Partners team an opportunity to refresh their skills; discuss their experiences with the techniques they’ve learnt and to be shown new strategies that add to their knowledge and development.

With any course follow-up is always important. It meant that there was always something to do; something else to focus on and keep us moving in the right direction.

“Feel very positive and enriched”

The team continues to be more motivated and focused on achieving results for themselves and for A & S Partners.

I always feel very positive and enriched after doing the different Life Performance courses. You can really see that it makes a difference to the people in the organisation. You start to relate to your colleagues on a personal level as well as professionally. And that’s fantastic because you spend most of your time in the office and before this people didn’t really know each other.

Jeffery Isaacs