Empowered employees are loyal employees

Finance professionals in Central and Eastern Europe are less likely to change companies if they feel empowered to continuously improve their working environment, according to a survey.

Employees naturally are drawn to jobs that offer more money and more of a sense of empowerment — but not necessarily in that order.

Workers aren't shy about changing jobs in the current landscape, but they're less likely to abandon ship if they feel empowered to continuously improve their working environment, and if they received a wage increase in the last year — in that order.

That's among the findings from a recent survey of 270 finance professionals conducted by AICPA & CIMA, together as the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, in cooperation with PwC in Central and Eastern Europe.

"Finance professionals are motivated by a desire to grow and have become clearer about what they want from their role," Andrew Harding, FCMA, CGMA, chief executive–Management Accounting, AICPA & CIMA, wrote in the foreword of Finance and the Great Reshuffle.

Harding continued: "Employers need to equip their finance teams with the skills necessary to thrive in a rapidly changing business environment. If they do not, they run the risk of losing their best people, who are their most important asset.

"Our profession proved its worth during the pandemic and remains critical in helping organisations navigate through the current difficult economic environment. We now need to adapt to the era of the great reshuffle by investing in our people's development needs."

Money matters, and it always will. Fifty-nine per cent of respondents who said they're open to changing jobs cited a desire for a salary increase, but that was edged out by a desire for promotion and career advancement (63%).

A feeling of empowerment changes the equation.

Fifty per cent of respondents who didn't get a wage increase last year and don't feel empowered said they plan to change jobs, but those getting a wage increase, while still not feeling empowered, only decreased the number planning to leave by two percentage points.

On the other hand, just 26% who didn't get a wage increase but felt empowered plan to change jobs. Pair a wage increase with a feeling of empowerment, and just 13% said they plan to leave.

"A sense of belonging and empowerment brings out the best in people," said Mariusz Dziurdzia, partner at PwC Poland, Clients & Markets and CFO Compass leader. "… Ensuring an environment where everyone is entitled to motivate and inspire others, as well as providing the right tools and skillset to work and communicate with impact, is crucial to the collective success of the finance team and the entire organisation."

Creating that mindset matters because the survey found that 24% of all respondents plan to change jobs with the next year, while another 29% said it was "hard to say" if they will change jobs. Twenty-six per cent said they began working for their current company within the last year, and 54% consider it easy to find a new job in the current market.

The survey also found that:

  • Twice the percentage of employees currently in an office-based work model are willing to change jobs compared with those in hybrid environments.
  • Hybrid workers are less likely to report symptoms of burnout. Symptoms of burnout were most common amongst middle management.
  • Twice as many respondents said that in the coming years, soft skills will increase in importance versus accounting and finance competencies.

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