Winning The Talent Game

[header_title add_title=”Keys to Attracting and Retaining Great Staff”]

In this webinar, learn how to overcome recruitment challenges and win the talent game from our CEO Nick Sinclair as well as how to effectively manage millennials in the workplace from our Chief of People Kerrie Brown.

Key insights:

  • The lack of candidates with the right skills is the number one challenge firms face
  • Understanding what makes the millennial workforce satisfied and motivated is the key to retaining them
  • How to craft a retention programme for your firm particularly if you have a global team

The war for talent is fierce.

That’s one of the very glaring things Nick noticed after talking to several firms is that recruiting the right talent has posed quite some challenges in the accounting industry today and unless addressed properly, firms will continue to miss out on increased productivity.

Here’s a quick poll:


Winning the talent game - how to manage millennials poll


Results showed that the biggest problem firms encounter in recruitment involved not being able to find candidates with the right skills (75%). Salary negotiation comes in second (25%) with recruiting inefficiencies (25%). While lack of actual candidates (13%) and the firm not having a too attractive of an image (13%) came in last.

Before that, let us define what a millennial is and what its impact on the workforce is.

LiveScience defines millennials as the “generation of people born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s.”

Also known as the Generation Y, this generation has received a bad rap. They have been called the Peter Pan or Boomerang Generation because of their tendency to move back with their parents due to economic constraints. One of the common misconceptions about this generation is that they have the tendency to delay some rites of passage, like marriage or establishing a career.

Millennials are notorious for jumping from one job to another, which can also be the reason why many think they’re lazy. There’s a certain degree of narcissism that’s associated with millennials due to the prevalence of social media (i.e. Instagram posts), which also, in some ways, fuels the notion that they are materialistic and are not concerned about helping the community.

However, millennials are also believed to be open-minded and expressive. Their confidence is one of their admirable traits and that’s also why they express their minds. Furthermore, millennials are receptive to new ideas that challenge the norms and offer new ways of living.

Talent shortages & impact


Organisations struggle with acquiring high calibre talents to boost their business. Globalisation connects these companies with reliable and low-cost labour and skills. This helps address the issue of talent shortage in Australia by offering companies the opportunity to harness the skills and expertise of professionals at a fraction of a cost. As Nick asserts,


Globalisation is about getting the right talent at the right cost in the right location.


In Australia, firms are having difficulties finding strong local talents. One reason is not all accounting graduates are taking the CPA exam mainly because of the additional 150-hour requirement. In addition, most schools offer undergraduate programs that don’t require as many hours so students may opt for this instead and focus on other specialisations in the field. Another reason is some new accountants may choose to go and set up their own practice instead of joining an existing one and count years and years before they progress with their career.

Asian economic development

This big surge in the region paves the way for access to a highly educated workforce who is culturally exposed to Western society.

Nick recognises that Asia is a booming market for offshoring. The Philippines, in particular, is considered the top outsourcing destination by the majority of international research and data companies.

It comes as no surprise because of the relatively low cost of living in the country. In addition, it boasts of a workforce that’s mainly composed of young and educated Filipinos with good English language skills.

It’s also foreseen to maintain its high position as one of the top 10 outsourcing destinations in the world.

Check out this article discussing the advantages of offshoring in Asia Pacific:

Domestic skills shortages

As CEO for The Outsourced Accountant, Nick talks to more than 80 accounting firms a week and what he’s noticed is that these firms get many applicants but they can’t find the right people with the skills they specifically need.

The problem is, even if they do find someone with the right skills, the challenge is keeping them in the firm because millennials have a different mindset as has been apparent in the recent trend on what’s been happening in the industry.

Movement of onshore employees

Another trend Nick has noticed is the large movement of onshore roles to offshore teams in countries like the Philippines. Our business grows more than 100 percent a year. Interestingly, however, for The Outsourced Accountant, despite the transfer of local jobs to another country, 95 percent of its clients are growing both onshore and offshore teams.

Clients who are offshoring are recruiting from their domestic talent pool for higher-level roles, or people who can do more client-facing work. Those that are not hiring graduates who essentially end up doing the grunt work and not the tasks that add more value to their customer service.

The importance of ‘why’

Based on the feedback Nick received from accountants (and even those in managerial positions), they are not satisfied with their jobs because of the type of work they do. This kind of disconnect will lead to job dissatisfaction and may  hinder professional growth.

If you look at firms that have offshore teams, you’ll notice that most of their staff are fast tracking their careers, meaning they do more client-facing work; they can provide better assistance to their clients. And that’s because they don’t do as much of the time-consuming and process-driven compliance work. Consequently, this will lead to higher satisfaction for both the employee and the clients.

The rise of the millennials

The ‘loyalty challenge’

There is plenty of negative talk about millennials, more specifically their loyalty. The lack of this could be a sign of neglect. And it may also create challenges for the workforce. This Deloitte study takes a look at the factors that cause the lack of loyalty.

Some of the factors include:

  • Being underutilised at work
  • Lack of leadership skills development
  • Lack of emphasis on employee wellbeing and growth

What Kerrie Brown, our Chief of People, suggests, is to not attach labels, establish clear communication lines with everyone, and most importantly, to map out a career plan for each staff.

Personal values

What’s notable about this generation is “they put their personal values ahead of organisational goals.” So much so that if a firm’s values do not align with theirs, they will not hesitate to disassociate themselves, oftentimes, leading to leaving their employer.

Millennials feel that businesses are only motivated by profit and don’t have any ambition beyond that. And since they give importance to their personal values, a number of them has shunned assignments and potential employers when they don’t align with their beliefs.

In 2016, millennials have been cited as not having enough confidence in businesses in pushing their potential to help society more. New data, however, has shown that millennials are starting to look at businesses in a positive manner. They think that 76 percent of businesses have a positive impact on society. However, they believe that multinational firms do not realise their potential in solving society’s challenges. However, in the same survey conducted by Deloitte the following year, it is reported that millennials now have softened their negative perceptions of corporate motivation and ethics and expressed positive views of businesses’s impact on society.

Career progression

Despite the bad rap millennials have been getting mostly from the generation that came before them, the Generation Y are known to:

  • Adapt well to changes
  • Acquire new skills quickly
  • Are very bright and are early adopters of technology

When it comes to choosing employers, millennials (and Gen Xers) have the following expectations:

  • Work for a firm that has the entire package
  • Be compensated well
  • Have a well articulated career path
  • Perks and benefits

Nick stated that the real challenge is the misunderstanding of millennials. This is because employers don’t have a real grasp of how to best deal with millennials.

When firms know what these are, they will be able to properly tap the talent from this demographic. More importantly, they will know how to identify the ways on how to keep them.

Data from Deloitte shows that 66 percent of millennials expect to leave their employment within a five-year mark and that a huge number will leave within two to three years. This shows the challenge on what to do (to make them stay) once they attract the right talent.

Furthermore, data showed that 7 out of 10 expect to leave their firm within the next five years .

What’s the best talent retention motivation?

It’s important to remember that millennials will ask one thing when looking for a firm to join: “what’s in it for them?”

Here’s another quick poll:


Winning the talent game: managing millennials at work


So how can firms keep their staff? Find out what best motivates employees and help them stay in a company.

Pay rise

In an emerging economy, compensation will play an important role in deciding which firm to work for. Pay is a key driver for the Filipino workforce. And it’s the same with most millennials. In one particular study, 90 percent of millennials surveyed said that annual raises would help them stay in a job for the next 10 years.

Know, however, that while compensation is important, most millennials value employers whose motivation is more than profit generation.

Career advancement courses

Millennials are more likely to stay longer in a company that offers developmental opportunities. However, only 24 percent of millennials are highly satisfied with their jobs, according to the Deloitte survey.

It’s important to note that this demographic wants to feel in control of their careers and based on data, professionals who feel in control are most likely to stay loyal to the company.

For its part, The Outsourced Accountant does it share in providing the necessary training to help employees advance in their careers.

Benefits, perks, flexibility

More than anything pay and financial benefits influence millennials in their choice of organisation. However, while it’s the strongest driver for millennials, creating a really good environment helps.

When faced with two companies that offer the same incentive, employees are most likely to go with one that offers other factors, like flexibility in terms of manner of working (work at home) and other perks and benefits like free food, regular massages, regular bonding activities with the team.

Another thing to consider is equity sharing. Of those who attended the webinar, 10 out of 100 consider equity sharing as an incentive.

In general, firms need to have an established set of incentive programs to attract and retain talents. For our part, The Outsourced Accountant has upgraded medical benefits packages, options for flexible working conditions, as well as perks like free lunches and massages. These are in addition to the usual benefits that are mandated by law.

Managing your offshore team

Appointing champions for both locations will make delegating tasks easy. Your champions can ensure a more streamlined operation and establish regular rhythms of communication. It’s very important to give your champions the authority to make decisions for the team.

Empowered champions should be able to carry out important tasks in the office, like ensuring each member meets set KPIs.

It’s also equally important to manage expectations properly. One of the first things firms need to do is talk to team members about their career plans and discuss ways on how you can help them achieve those.

Establish KPIs early on and make sure that everyone understands them well. Doing so can motivate employees to strive for excellence. Firms also need to ensure that the key performance indicators (KPIs) for both onshore and offshore teams connect with each other. Don’t forget to provide feedback and let team members know their efforts are appreciated and that they contribute to the company’s overall growth.

You can do this during meetings, which are very important to include in your routine. Implement one-on-one and weekly team meetings, preferably via video conferencing calls, to address important concerns and updates.

Since there are cultural nuances between the workforce in Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines, it’s important that you work on communication styles. Make sure to know their culture. Get personal and share stories. One distinctive trait of Filipinos is they can be shy. During conferences, for example, it will take them a while before they can get comfortable enough to ask questions or provide feedback. Understand your offshore team’s culture and see how it can work well with yours.

Furthermore, it’s crucial that you treat offshore team members like your local staff. Communicate with them as if you’re all in the same location. Establish social rituals. Simple morning greetings or enquiring about their weekend are good examples.

Takeaways from our roadshows:

The challenges firms experience in terms of finding the right talent can be addressed with the right solutions.


Managing millennials at work

Managing millennials at work


It is important to know that millennials are expecting more out of their employers. Aside from the usual considerations (pay, work-life balance, etc.) they are also interested in participating in activities involving charities and organisations that will impact the local environment. As for  The Outsourced Accountant, we have partnered with a local organisation called Tuloy Foundation, a local orphanage, which many of our employees took part in volunteering. We donated brand new computers to further help the children with their studies. We are happy to say that the take-up rate of employees who want to volunteer, donate, and engage has been overwhelming.


TOA and Tuloy Foundation

TOA and Tuloy Foundation

TOA and Tuloy Foundation

TOA and Tuloy FoundationOur Chief of People, Kerrie Brown, spearheaded the outreach program at the Tuloy Foundation facility in Angeles City, Pampanga, last August 22


How you manage your team can greatly influence company growth. If you are experiencing capacity restraints and looking to efficiently handle your team —call our offshoring specialists today at 1300 896 522.

Headquartered with an executive team in Australia, we provide dedicated team members as a high-quality offshore team. Growing rapidly with over 450+ qualified accountants and support staff in the Philippines we deliver all the recruitment, onboarding, facilities and amazing culture to support your workflow.