Accounting and finance leaders have plenty of concerns that keep them up at night. But surprisingly, their daily stressors aren’t always on the macroeconomic scale, such as gross domestic product, political instability abroad or global stock prices. According to a new survey, the causes for sleeplessness may be much closer to home-CFOs interviewed for a recent Robert Half Finance & Accounting survey were equally worried about issues that affect them personally.
One-quarter of respondents are stressed over conflicts with co-workers and supervisors, and an equal number are anxious about their own job performance.
Not far behind are concerns over finding and hiring talent, cited by 23 per cent. Slightly lesser worries are dissatisfied customers or clients who might take their business elsewhere (17 per cent) and cybersecurity issues (8 per cent).
A little stress can be good, but too much can lead to burnout and career setbacks. Here are six tips to help you manage stressors in the workplace.
- Nip problems in the bud. The longer you let any issue linger, the more complicated the situation is likely to become. This ranges from managing employee squabbles to unhappy clients to ageing technology. You’ll be far better off in the long run if you face uncomfortable challenges head on rather than letting them fester.
- Improve your communication skills. Some of your managerial headaches may come from unclear expectations or a disconnect with staff. If you can’t express yourself effectively, it will be difficult to build rapport with your employees. Start by really listening to each staff member when they come to you with questions or concerns. To be a master communicator, you should tailor your approach. For example, your millennial employees may want more frequent input from you than baby boomers.
- Seek additional education for yourself. Just because you’re a manager doesn’t mean you should stop your professional development. It’s quite the opposite. In particular, you need to be more skilled at managing people than when you didn’t supervise anyone. Ease some of your worries by learning how to be a better manager. Your options range from courses in executive communication to graduate school.
- Recognise your team. Address lacklustre employee performance with positive reinforcement. When workers are rewarded for innovation and hard work, they will repeat that behaviour. But when they give it their all on a successful project yet are ignored by management, staff are less likely to put in much effort the next time around. Take the time to thank valuable employees, which boosts morale, enriches the corporate culture, and leads to a happier and more productive workforce.
- Pay attention to retention. Worried about losing top talent to other businesses? That’s a legitimate concern because competition for top financial talent is fierce. In a recent Robert Half survey, 39 per cent of workers interviewed said inadequate salary and benefits are likely to lead them to quit their job. If you’re eager to keep star employees in their current roles, consider giving out merit raises. Look to resources like Robert Half’s 2017 Salary Guide for Finance & Accounting for the latest information on employee compensation and hiring trends. Don’t forget non-wage benefits like flexible schedule, telecommuting options, in-house gyms, tuition assistance, paid time off and even paid or unpaid sabbaticals. Executives whose firms offer top perks can rest easier, as workers realise the value of these workplace advantages and they are not as likely to seek greener pastures elsewhere.
- Be smarter about hiring. Are you losing top candidates to the competition? Try accelerating the hiring process, but not at the expense of failing to properly vet candidates. Revitalise your employee referral program so you can be more confident about how the people you hire will fit the workplace culture. Too busy to do a thorough job of hiring? A specialised staffing agency can help with recruiting and vetting applicants.
The factors that keep executives sleepless in the C-suite are often intertwined. Difficult relationships with staff negatively affect your own job performance, and not having a solid team in place leads to interdepartmental conflicts, among other problems. Consider taking these steps towards reducing work worries so you can sleep better at night.