What is ‘intrinsic motivation’ and how it can help you survive the Great Resignation, according to the experts

The world is evolving, so is accounting. Natural selection in the business world has transformed into the ability to adapt, where ‘survival of the fittest’ might be one of the most accurate ways to describe the beginning of this decade.

With the post-pandemic reality becoming clearer as time goes on, those in the accounting industry have made many necessary changes—just to survive.

A significant contributing factor to this reality is the Great Resignation. Countless people have quit their jobs to remap their priorities, rebalance their work-life equation, change professions, or pursue a long-forgotten dream. More than 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September 2021 alone.

So what effect can the Great Resignation have on your firm? Is it something inevitably damaging or an opportunity to adapt to a new reality (and leap ahead of your competition)? 

To wrap up 2021, we hosted a panel of global accounting experts, where they discussed the Great Resignation, what it means for the accounting industry, and what you can be doing to come out on top.

It’s not only about money

Monetary compensation has always been a classic way to motivate employees, but it’s no longer a key factor. Although money is a necessity to survive, you need to consider something beyond that to safeguard your employees’ happiness. Modern employees demand intrinsic motivators.

Zac McClure, Co-Founder & CEO of leading cryptocurrency tax accounting firm TokenTax sees intrinsic motivators as a key aspect of employee satisfaction. Zac firmly believes in a personal approach when it comes to employee motivation.

You have to pay people not just with money, but by meeting them where they are.

Zac McClure, Co-Founder & CEO, Token Tax

What are intrinsic motivators?

Intrinsic motivators can help you keep your employees motivated, money aside. These motivators can take a different and less tangible form of reward, such as: 

If the only way you motivate your employees is with money, you are at risk of losing them to competitors who simply offer a bigger paycheck. Employees need to have a sense of belonging, they need to be inspired. And this presents a big opportunity for you as an accounting firm owner: you have an advantage over large conglomerates to inspire your employees on a more individual and personal level.

It’s a huge opportunity because people want to work somewhere where they feel inspired.

Zac McClure, Co-Founder & CEO, Token Tax

Steven Byler, President & Co-Founder at GrowthLab Financial Services, thinks that purpose is what employees are looking for in their next job.

People are looking for more than just money. They are looking for more than just a different job. They are looking for a purpose. As a small business owner, you are able to keep that talent engaged and purpose-driven.

Steven Byler, President & Co-Founder, GrowthLab Financial Services, Inc.

While some see the Great Resignation as a threat, some experts suggest it’s a great time to rethink how you do business. Recent talent shortages make it more competitive to find top talent in the market. You need to stand out and use it as an opportunity, rather than a pitfall.

Joyce Ong, Founder of Tax Nuggets Academy, used the Great Resignation as an opportunity to open her own online learning platform for accountants. 

The Great Resignation is real and I am a living example of it. It’s never been easier to set up your own business. The components of starting your own business have been ‘Lego-lized’ into small Legos that you can buy off the shelf and put together yourself. Businesses will start finding that there is now more competition out there.

Joyce Ong, Founder, Tax Nuggets Academy

Any change in the world brings opportunity, and the Great Resignation is no exception. What might seem to be an unavoidable challenge, may actually be a hidden answer for your unanswered questions.

Be prepared and come out on top

Whatever your role in the accounting industry is, chances are that the Great Resignation will impact you and/ or your colleagues at some point. 

So, it’s best to be prepared.

Use this opportunity to reflect on what intrinsic motivators you’re providing your team members, and how you help them find purpose to better-position your accounting firm.