How is the ‘Great Resignation’ Impacting Accounting Firm Marketing?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in September. By the end of the second quarter this year, there were nearly 10 million open jobs nationwide. Popularly termed “the Great Resignation,” few industries have been left untouched. 

Notable entities in the world of accounting have responded by publicly addressing working conditions, elevating brand presence/language, and offering greater flexibility and accommodations. For instance, PwC announced on September 30 that it will allow all 40,000 employees to work from home. 

Firms of all sizes are adapting to new realities in talent acquisition, and this directly relates to marketing activities in four key ways.

1. Firm Branding is a Higher Priority Than Ever

Does your firm have a brand and brand message strategy? Accounting hasn’t always been the fastest industry to adopt new practices, and branding reflects that. Firm logos, firm messaging, firm website copy: all of these are often inherited and reused without much thought. 

In a new age where positioning is important not just for clients but for new team members, branding is more important than ever. How does your brand show up online? In what ways is messaging going out and effectiveness being measured? Are managing partners accountable to represent the brand and provide thought leadership? 

All of these activities have a dual fold impact on lead generation from the client side and finding talent on the hiring side. People want to work for solid, well-developed brands with consistent messaging. If people are going to have more choices than ever, this point of incentive can’t be ignored.

2. No Team Members Can Afford to be Invisible Online

There used to be an imaginary demarcation between how different team members in different roles were expected to engage online. Sometimes drawn along generational lines, this idea is outdated, and somewhat perilous. Now, there is a widespread expectation that, as people respond to job postings and investigate your firm, they will also investigate managing partners and team members online. 

If they do, how does your firm show up? The goal should be: fully represented and actively engaged. Even if you outsource social media management, public relations, and social marketing, you must do it. It’s too easy to imagine being outbid not by a higher salary but by a more appealing online presence.

3. Data-Driven Decisions Make all of the Difference

In marketing, everything can be measured. The lead generation tactics for new hires is no different, and works in tandem with all of the inbound marketing your firm already does. Or at least, it should. There are many choices when it comes to job postings for accounting positions online, and this shouldn’t be guesswork. In the same way you would deploy a strategy for acquiring new leads on a specific marketing channel, you need to test, market, post, and analyze performance for the places you post jobs online. 

There are endless factors that could impact your success on various hiring platforms, from Indeed to LinkedIn to Monster to your own website. High-value talent exists out there, the question is: are they finding you and can you find them? Without a reliable pipeline for this, and the right marketing tactics to attract the right people, you’ll lose a competitive advantage.

4. Firms Must Market the Workplace Culture

With any sound digital marketing strategy, you’ll have a process in place for sales, retention, feedback, and more. Even if this is a well-oiled machine, the time is now to add in a new element: marketing your workplace culture. This doesn’t have to dominate marketing, but it does need to play a role. When prospective employees land on your website or online properties, how would they perceive your firm as a possible place of work? This can be anything from your firm’s about page to partner bios to published thought leadership pieces to employee testimonials. 

Accounting hasn’t been particularly well-known for work-life balance. But as the priorities of rising talent change, culture has to change along with it. Out of the four, this component impacts the most areas of a business and may require the longest-term implementation. But PwC’s Global Culture Survey in 2021 paints a clear picture: 72% of worldwide leaders in the field report that culture helps successful change initiatives happen, and 69% say that a strong culture gives them a competitive advantage.

Building Resilience and Retention

As a firm grows, the need for new employees increases. That simple math forces everyone — from managing partners to marketing departments — to think more creatively about the message. What your firm is in the market is no longer just about the products or services you offer, it’s about the people offering them. To find the right people, you need on-point branding and an active online presence that solidly reflects your firm’s values.

Even the best firms in the world struggle with this: and we can help. Contact Winding River Consulting for expert guidance in all of these arenas, from branding to digital marketing to firm growth.