Although stress can be used as a form of motivation, it can have negative effects down the road so we need to start thinking about preventative measures now. Some employees can be working about 40 hours a week during the off season and can drastically jump to working 60-70 hours a week during the tax season. Your business and everyone involved is part of a cycle. Your clients need you, you need your employees, and your employees need your clients – everyone needs each other. Any breakdown from either party can be detrimental to the rest of the cycle.
How does tax season stress affect us internally? When stress is activated for too often or too long, your “fight or flight” instincts are set. To simply put it, adrenaline will be released into your system. So who cares? Just to stress you out even more, constant adrenaline releases can lead to high blood pressure and cholesterol. This could be happening to the employees in your office – how will it affect your business during and post-tax season?
When employees are focusing on multiple tasks, their ability to remember them and the processes will become cluttered. In Canada, your team is going to start seeing the wave come up around February and March. When anxiety and stress begins to build up, their minds will start to be easily distracted with their internal frustrations rather than the task at hand. This can lead to mistakes when dealing with one of your client’s most important assets – their data. As soon as everything is built up and in the peak of the season, maybe there will be simple computation errors or misspelled names that can have your team backtracking.
With the increased chances of error, productivity will be lost. A buildup of errors and extra tasks arising to fix those errors will follow a snowball effect. Minimizing stress levels will lead to performance being conducted with precision by your employees. You not only want them to be productive but you also want them to be efficient.
Gallup conducted a study that involved workplaces in more than 140 countries in 2013. What they found was that the cost of disengaged employees cost the US $450 billion to $550 billion per year. It is also said that hiring and training a new employee can cost about 30% of that employee’s annual salary.
“If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple.”
-Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group
Although some of you may be hiring seasonal workers for the tax season, you still have to worry about the stress levels of the other loyal employees. For the most part, high turnover and disengagement comes with employee dissatisfaction. When employees are being overworked and unable to meet deadlines, they will continue to have that increased blood pressure even after they leave the workplace. Now we know how important employees are to the business – you wouldn’t be here without them. Reduce stress – reduce turnover – reduce cost.
Studies show that news of bad experiences with a company can reach more than twice as many viewers compared to the praise of a good service experience. It also takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience.
Going back to the cycle, happy clients come from happy employees. It is important to retain the goodwill of your customers to ensure the prosperity of your business. The reason why your clients go to you in the first place is because they see that you can solve their tax season problems and other financing needs. If you or your employees start producing work with errors, you may hear from them through websites that leave company reviews. We are in the age of information and future potential customers may find stories of the bad experience your past clients may have had. Some of your reviews can be found in http://www.vault.com/company-rankings/accounting/ or http://www.yelp.com/.
Stress during the tax season is inevitable but minimizing it will come with many benefits. Improved employee retention and engagement, increased client goodwill, efficient operations and reduced costs. Get ready for the tax season – there will be a lot of obstacles but your team will help each other get through it and come out triumphant. The best place to start is by ensuring everyone is prepped with the correct mindset.
If you wish to download Gallup’s report you can visit: http://www.gallup.com/services/176735/state-global-workplace.aspx