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6 Tips to Handle a Multi-Generational Workforce During Tax Season

What is the best way to handle a multi-generational workforce?

There are typically four types of employees in an organization. Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, and Generation Z  born between 1946-1964, 1965-1977, 1978-1989, and 1990-1999, respectively.  Each age group exhibits a different set of qualities and behaviors at work which means these four groups may not always work in tandem with each other.

A survey by Robert Half Management Resources revealed that 93% of Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) feel the biggest generational differences are seen in how an employee communicates, responds to change, and uses technology.

  • Communication skills: Baby boomers are reserved. Gen X likes to control and command. Gen Y loves a collaborative approach towards communication, and Gen Z prefers in-house communication.
  • Openness to change: Generations X and Y see a change in the company as an opportunity to grow. But Gen Z expects a change to happen on a continuous basis.
  • Technology skills: Instructor-led training and self-learning tools are more for Baby Boomers and Gen X. The other two groups prefer collaborative and technology-centric options.

The story at an accounting firm is no different. Now that the tax season will officially begin on January 29, 2018, stress levels of CPAs will be at their highest and it is all the more important to maintain peace and harmony in the office.

It doesn’t matter whether you are running an accounting firm or are a part of a team, create a positive and motivating environment for those working with you. Thankfully, here are 6 ways to manage a multi-generational workforce during the busy period:

1. It’s not personal, it’s business

During the tax season, every accounting professional is on their toes taking client phone calls, filing tax returns, and simply meeting deadlines. Everybody is trying to do a good job because in the end, they are accountable to not just their clients but also to themselves – never forget that.

2. Focus on their individual needs

Tailor your management style as per each person’s strengths, personalities, and aspirations. You can’t just put emphasis on keeping the company’s foundation afloat. Every generation comes with a set of beliefs, goals, and work ethics, and you can’t manage your employees efficiently if you don’t take this into account.

3. Organize get-togethers

Your workforce can breeze through the tax season if they bond well with one another, and one way to ensure this is to organize team building events! These social gatherings should be long enough for everyone to get out of their work mode to unwind a bit, and interact with each other casually. Pizza parties or happy hours are hot favorites.

4. Give your less-seasoned staff a voice

In a traditional work space, the veteran employees have more control and command, and a lot has got to do with their years of experience. That’s fine but it is also important to allow young working professionals to express their insights, and share ideas/advice with the more experienced generation.

5. Create diverse project groups

Include employees who not only belong to different generations but also offer multifarious skills and perspectives. This will give your employees a formal platform to communicate, work and yield better results together.

6. Get external help for overflow tax work

Tax season doesn’t mean your teams should waste time on tedious accounting jobs. If outsourcing is an option, then you must consider it. Let your team focus on high-end jobs such as client servicing and research which require attention during the busy season.

Having to work with or manage a multi-generational workforce is actually a boon. Different perspectives, different ideas, different work ethics – there’s so much variety everywhere. Think of all the positives!

Jeremias Ramos is a CPA working at a nationally recognized full-service accounting, tax, and consulting firm with offices conveniently located throughout the Northeast. Jeremias specializes in tax and business consulting with focus areas in real estate, professional service providers, medical practitioners, and eCommerce businesses.

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