By: Greg Thorpe
Many finance candidates are looking for career development and progression when searching for a new role. They want to know that their new employer will support them with training and CPD so they can achieve their career goals. In return they promise loyalty, increased performance, and build long term professional relationships: both with colleagues and clients.
Without a doubt, this can be an excellent way of attracting and retaining employees. In many companies, the practice is well established for those in junior roles as they gain relevant accounting and finance qualifications ‘on the job’. However, once qualified those employees may find their careers stagnating, as further opportunities for career development are not offered.
Why do some employers not support further training?
For the employer, cost is usually the reason that further career development through training is not supported. Training costs can be high and often there is a very real concern that once qualified, staff may leave to better paid jobs.
Any training programme offering a quantifiable return on investment needs to provide high quality training, and perhaps unsurprisingly quality training comes at a price. Having trained your staff to such a high degree, they also become a lot more desirable on the job market.
Furthermore, if you do train your people so they can fill more senior roles, you then need to recruit more junior staff to fill their vacant desks.
Balancing demand with costs and churn
One approach that balances demand from candidates and employees for career progression and training, with costs and employee churn considerations, is to identify opportunities for quick wins. This means investing in training where the organisation will benefit from the new skills and competencies in a short time frame. This ensures that positive ROI is achieved before an employee moves on to pastures new.
Another strategy is to look at roles that are relatively easy to fill and on board new employees into quickly. While you may assume that these will be junior roles, they don’t necessarily have to be. The aim is to focus on areas where there’s a pipeline of talent waiting to take a job when an existing employee is promoted. Therefore, these could be qualified staff looking for their next move having gained a few years’ experience. These candidates need to be quick to recruit and on board, reducing the cost of recruitment which should be factored into your training costs.
While there are pros and cons to offering training to staff, there are also benefits to be had from introducing some new talent – especially at intermediate and senior levels.
If all your staff have been promoted from within, having joined the junior accountancy or finance programme; your department risks becoming very introspective and staid. New employees come with new ideas and experiences that can help keep your team fresh and inspired. They can also introduce an element of healthy competition that motivates existing staff to perform better and even pursue CPD in their own time.
The ideal scenario is to offer some training opportunities at different levels to up-skill existing employees, but also identify roles where a fresh outlook is beneficial and recruit new talent to these.