Top Industry Benchmarks from 2021: A year in Review
2021 in Australia has been a year littered with challenges for all individuals, yet the increase in strain on different industries has varied greatly. One industry that has seen some of the greatest challenges is that of Accounting, Bookkeeping and Advisory. There have been a multitude of factors including additional workloads from the implementation of government support programs, increased time pressure from clients and a strain on the industry with a lack of quality talent available to fill the gaps.
But this is all anecdotal, at Everperform we live and breathe measurement and matching up what we are hearing from our customers with what we are seeing in their data gives us the full picture on performance from all dimensions.
The year to date has seen some highs, though perhaps moreso, some really significant lows. Wellbeing has consistently been the outlier across the Everperform Performance Hub as the lowest score across Productivity, Wellbeing and Relationships.
What would be a year long high came at the end of January 2021, before the index starting showing a gradual decline to the low point in June, only showing a slight reprieve around April. Perhaps the most significant event occurred on the 12th of August where there was a 1.17% drop in Wellbeing in a single day, to put this into context, this accounts for approximately 20% of the variance across the entire index. Interestingly, this sharp drop came almost to the day at the same time as lockdowns were announced in Melbourne, and lockdown extensions were announced in NSW. At the same time, Relationships and Productivity showed quite dramatic drops also, though not to the same size. In good news, Wellbeing is on the rise over the last two months, though Productivity and relationships have plateaued at relatively low levels.
The index is a great way to get a quick snapshot of how our customers are thinking and feeling, but analyzing the data further can give us even more insights.
Wellbeing took 69 days to recover after 1.17% drop on August 12, 2021
Wellbeing drops 3.87% between April 13 and June 2, accounting for approximately 83% of the variance in the last 12 months.
Relationships hit a low point of 71.41% on September 29, 2021.
Productivity hit low points on May 16 (71.8%) and September 15 (71.65%).
A lesson we have learned at Everperform a few times now is that it takes far less time for our clients to decline in their scores, then it does for them to recover back to where they started the downhill trend. For instance, after the August 12th drop, it took until October 19, 69 days later to recover to the previous wellbeing levels. What does this mean? Well it paints a very clear picture, that proactive care for your people is imperative, because the time it takes for you to get your people back to feeling and thinking their best is often 3 or 4 times longer than it took them to get into the hole in the first place. The challenge with being proactive, is that you need to have your finger on the pulse of how your people are feeling to support them and that is precisely the role that Everperform plays.
When you dig into the data more you can learn about some of the shared correlations that are evident in the index, and find what questions go up and down together. Two key insights came from this statistical modeling that we found fascinating. .
These correlations are not causal, but they do reinforce some really simple but powerful lessons. In the year of 2021, where much of it has been spent online at home, something as simple as getting outside for fresh air can be enormously helpful, particularly to break up the monotony of back-to-back zoom meetings, even if it's just for short periods of time. Likewise, the relationship between feeling a strong connection with your teammates and feeling good and energized drives home the need for employers to create a strong culture and employee connection.
But not all firms are built the same, with the index being an aggregation of all of our clients it's important to note that even with challenging circumstances presented to the accounting industry Australia wide, some firms completely outperformed their counterparts.
For instance, Power Tynan, a firm out of Toowoomba in Queensland consistently outscored the index when it came to their staff ‘Feeling good and energized’ by over 10%, to put this into context, Power Tynan consistently sit at around 75%, almost 5% higher than the index’s highest point this year. How do Power Tynan manage to do this? Well there are a number of factors at play, but it revolves around personalizing the Employee Experience to fit the lives of their employees, utilizing things such as Recharge Days, and flex-time. Read More Here
Another firm that has bucked the trend is that of Rowe Partners out of South Australia, with multiple offices and 44 employees. Time and time again, the challenges surrounding May 15 deadlines and End of Financial Year and the strain it puts on Accountants, Advisors and Bookkeepers is echoed throughout the industry. Yet across that period, Rowe Partners saw a 9% increase in work/life balance across the three month period surrounding the End of Financial Year. Read More Here
Both Rowe Partners and Power Tynan also have other reasons to be proud, historically high retention rates and growth profiles, make them firms to envy both in their performance and how they look after their employees.
As 2021 comes to a close, many of the stories that we hear are important building blocks for the year to come. ‘The Great Resignation’ is one, Languishing has been another, and being ‘Change Fatigued’ or simply ‘Too Busy’ is increasingly common. These stories that we hear are foundational when we think about what's ahead, some of them are true, but some of them need to be challenged with an eye for improvement. We have clients who fit the mould, yet we have many who buck the trend and are worth looking to for inspiration, because in the search for improvement, change is the first step.