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A holistic approach is key to supporting people

Written on Jul 27, 2023

By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager  

While the fight for talent rages on, one CPA partner is choosing to invest in his staff long-term to help keep top talent.   

“I believe that if we're giving team members a great experience here, and they're engaged in what they're doing and want to come to work, then the clients get excellent service,” said Rob Whittall, CPA, managing partner at Dyke Yaxley.  

As he’s grown throughout his career, Whittall said he’s realized what a strength it’s been when the firm is able to retain impressive performers instead of constantly having to hire and train new staff when people leave.  

“If I was a client of ours, I would want to deal with the same person,” he said. “You always want the same dentist, the same doctor, because you get comfortable with them. And the better job we can do in developing our team members then we can actually benefit our clients as well.”  

Whittall said he prefers the approach of work-life integration as opposed to work-life balance, since a perfect balance every day between work and personal life can be tough. Instead, he said there might be some days that one takes precedence over the other, and he trusts his team members to make those decisions.  

“It's about giving people the respect, responsibility, accountability and flexibility to get their work done,” he said.  

It’s critical now for firms to support their staff when it comes to mental health, Whittall said, and be able to support them when they need time away or to lessen their workload. If you’ve built a strong team, he said, other colleagues are happy to step in and help others out.  

When it comes to career development, he said you can’t assume people want to stay in one role or one area forever, especially as they’re looking to grow their skills. He said the firm works with wellness and professional development coaches that are available as a resource for staff.   

“It's rewarding to see how individuals who work with personal coaches have grown and how the benefits extend to the rest of the team,” Whittall said.  

Looking at the success of the firm like a journey is a valuable perspective, he said, since when everyone trusts each other, they are more willing to try new things as a way to grow personally and grow the firm, without fear of failure limiting them.   

“Everybody's willing to try something,” he said. “And we don't expect to get it right every time but we're willing to try it. We've got a philosophy that we're always trying to be better than yesterday.” 

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