Management vs. Leadership: What’s the Difference? | Southern California Staffing

While the terms are often used interchangeably, leadership and management are not the same thing. The differences are sometimes subtle, but recognizing the distinctions can help those in senior positions gain a better understanding of their roles and responsibilities.

It’s also important to define these terms because in today’s competitive business environment, the people who work for you can no longer be viewed as cogs in the machine. Human resources are the most important asset for any company, and managers must strive to become better leaders in order to cultivate those essential resources.

What sets managers and leaders apart

Leadership and management go hand in hand, but the terms carry slightly different meanings. Where management is concerned with organization and planning, the role of leadership is to motivate and inspire. Specifically, here’s where they differ:

Focus. The drivers for management’s actions tend to be focused on operations. Managers are concerned with systems and structures. They work to maintain the status quo and keep things running smoothly, with an eye toward the company’s bottom line.

By contrast, leaders focus on people. Instead of maintaining current conditions, they work to develop the environment and inspire employees to concern themselves with systems, structures, and profitability. Leaders look toward the future of the company.

Implementation. Much of a manager’s working methodology centers around administration and control. They operate within the existing framework of the company, carrying out procedures that have already achieved proven results. Leaders may use existing protocols, but their actions are often built on innovation and inspiring trust from their teams.

Viewpoint. The function of a manager is not necessarily as callous and calculating as it sounds. Managers must meet certain targets, and most of their actions are colored by the lens of corporate goals and responsibilities. While not all managers take a “my way or the highway” approach to achieving their targets, they usually focus on the short-range view, asking how and when things will be done.

On the other hand, leaders adopt a long-range perspective. By asking what needs to be done and why, they seek out solutions that will benefit the company both now and in the future—even if those solutions challenge the existing practices and procedures.

Similarities between management and leadership

Despite the distinctions separating them, leadership and management are built on the same foundation. Both managers and leaders hold supervisory roles, and are responsible for directing a team of employees in pursuit of a set of common goals.

Regardless of the techniques and strategies they use, these senior roles carry additional responsibilities. Both are held accountable for the employees they supervise, sharing in the successes and the failures of their teams. Finally, managers and leaders are equally invested in the performance of the company as a whole.

How managers can move toward leadership roles

In today’s business landscape, those who adhere strictly to management principles will struggle to thrive. In order to cultivate a truly efficient and productive team, managers must incorporate aspects of leadership into their roles and learn to stretch existing boundaries.

Rather than simply assigning tasks to employees, managers should define a purpose for each team member. Telling them what to do is important, but telling them why they should do it helps them understand their own roles in the company, and allows them to feel like valued contributors to the team.

Encouraging employee participation—not just in production, but also in opinions on workplace issues and development of the business—is an important leadership tool that managers should embrace. This increases employee engagement, which naturally boosts productivity and improves efficiency.

We’re here to help

Helpmates Staffing has worked with the Southern California business market and its candidates for more than 40 years, providing highly qualified talent with leadership capabilities for companies like yours. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for your management team.

Spotlight on Financial Staffing: CPAs–Avoid Emergency Hiring with a Strong Retention Strategy

The hiring process can be painful and uncertain for employees and employers alike. Unfortunately, many accounting firms may not have a choice. The American Institute of CPAs reports that 61% of executive CPAs expect business growth over the next year—but only 12% are eager to hire now. If your firm is anticipating growth, one of the best things you can do is to focus on employee retention. The ability to keep your best employees on board not only helps you avoid the stress of emergency hiring, but also strengthens your company as a whole.

What can employee retention do for you?

Accounting professions don’t typically have a high turnover rate. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the financial industry’s business-employer separation rate was 2.8% in August of 2012. However, this rate can be higher on a firm-by-firm basis, depending on what your company has to offer employees. A study from the American Institute of CPAs finds that 91% of accountants cite career growth opportunities as the number one reason for selecting an employer—or for leaving an employer with a lack of opportunities.

Employee retention strategies are vital for your organization’s success. With strong retention practices in place, you can attract and keep top talent, and give your company a competitive edge.

Tips for retaining your top accountants

What is your firm doing to keep your employees satisfied? Here are some steps to consider in fine-tuning your retention strategies:

  • Hire for the future. Most employers limit hiring to positions that need to be filled now, or in the immediate future. However, considering your hiring needs for the next three to five years and “hiring ahead” is a great way to improve employee retention. Employees who are hired for long-term needs feel valued and sought-after, and will plan to contribute to your company for years to come.
  • Understand employee motivation. Do you know the real reason why your employees are working for you? If you’ve made assumptions, you’re probably wrong. It’s essential to engage continuously with your employees and ask them direct questions about what motivates them to perform well. Because a majority of accountants look for growth opportunities, you should also set clear, established goals for advancement within the company that your employees can work toward.
  • Provide an exceptional environment. Employees will succeed when they’re given the tools they need. Make sure you’re providing office equipment and computer resources that will make your employees’ jobs easier—instead of frustrating them with outdated software and malfunctioning equipment. Invite employee suggestions for tools or technologies that will help them perform better, and implement the requests whenever possible and appropriate.
  • Offer outstanding benefits. Salaries keep your employees coming to work, but additional benefits help ensure they’re happy to be there. Consider the demographics of your employees, and come up with appropriate perks that will keep them motivated. For example, employees with families might prefer health insurance, while single employees may be interested in stock options or company shares.

We’re here for you

Helpmates Financial Staffing can help you develop a long-term hiring strategy to boost employee retention and give your firm a competitive edge. Our exceptional client service, as evidence by client satisfaction and loyalty scores of more than twice the industry average, combined with our focused approach in Southern California offers a unique experience for our clients and candidates alike. Contact us today to find out how we can ease your hiring concerns and help you attract and retain top talent.

Specialty Spotlight: Accounting Careers

Helpmates Image Dec. PostIf you’re practical minded with a strong attention to detail, a love for numbers, and a penchant for solving logical problems—and also enjoy working with figures, columns, and spreadsheets—then accounting is a great career for you. There’s more good news for accountants and aspiring accountants: the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that accounting careers will grow by 15.7 percent between 2010 and 2020, opening up plenty of employment opportunities.

In our career spotlight, we’ll take a look at what you need to be an accountant, and what you’ll get from this rewarding career.

Educational requirements

For most accounting careers, you’ll need a four-year bachelor’s degree in either accounting or a related field. While not a requirement, many accountants elect to obtain certification, which can further your career choices. The most common of these is to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Most states require a minimum of 150 hours of related coursework before you can take the CPA certification exam.

In some cases, accountants continue their education beyond a bachelor’s degree, so they can work in specialized fields. Many of these professionals are public accountants who work with a variety of clients on a range of financial projects, but there are also opportunities for management accountants, government accountants, and even forensic accountants.

Show me the money

It’s no surprise that accountants, whose work requires a specialized skill set, earn healthy salaries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median salary for accountants in the United States is slightly higher than $60,000 a year. In addition, the top 10 percent of accountants earn more than $100,000 annually, in a career that provides ample opportunity for growth and advancement.

We’re here to help

Helpmates Staffing can help you find the ideal career in accounting. For more than 40 years, we’ve worked with top employers throughout Southern California, and we offer job candidates unique opportunities that aren’t available anywhere else. Contact us today to learn more about how Helpmates can further your career.

How to Define Your Employment Brand. And Why It Is Important

Branding has become an essential part of marketing your business to customers. However, many employers don’t realize that branding strategies can also help you sell your company to current and potential employees—resulting in a stronger workforce that pays off in big dividends for your business.

An employment brand paints a picture of your company’s internal culture, attitudes, environment, and beliefs, letting people know what it’s like to work for you. There are several advantages to developing your employment brand that not only strengthen your team, but also spill over into customer satisfaction and community goodwill.

Here, we’ll take a look at some of the benefits of having a clearly defined employment brand.

Increase your employee retention

Every employer is familiar with the costs of high turnover. Lost time and lost production, administrative paperwork for termination, severance or unemployment pay, and all the expenses and hassle associated with hiring and training can add up to substantial losses.

With a strong employment brand, you can more readily identify employment candidates who suit your business culture. The closer the fit for the employee, the longer they’re likely to stick around and enjoy their work. Defining your employment brand also helps you attract the most relevant candidates. If people have a clear picture of what it’s like to work for your company, you’ll receive more applicants who are truly interested in a business environment like yours. You’ll be able to cut down on your budget for advertising openings, spend less time weeding through applicants, and avoid last-minute hiring mistakes. This means a lowered turnover and reduced investments in future hiring and training expenses.

Build your employee engagement

In the process of defining your employment brand, you’ll arrive at a set of values for your company that your employees can support, rally around, and spread to their peers—and your customers. Employee engagement has proven effective at increasing customer satisfaction, because engaged employees who enjoy their work naturally put forth greater effort, and produce higher quality products and services.

In fact, according to a 2011 study from CareerBuilder, 70 percent of job seekers are willing to accept less than their desired salary if the company has a strong employment brand. The unified message of a brand helps employees feel they’re making valuable contributions to a larger cause than themselves.

Improve your resource allocation

Finally, a clear employment brand lets you invest your resources where they are most needed to further your company’s growth and success. When you define your values as an employer, you can apply them to all of your investments and company initiatives, ensuring that you’re maintaining the most important aspects of the business.

With a defined employment brand, it’s easy to say “no” to investments that don’t adhere to your values and won’t further your growth. An employment brand helps ensure that every dollar counts, resulting in a loyal and fully engaged team of employees that will propel your company to success.

We’re here to help

For more than 40 years, Helpmates Staffing has worked with the Southern California market and its candidates to provide companies like yours with highly qualified talent. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help strengthen your employment brand and hire employees that outshine the competition.

When to Start Your Job Search

Job seekers have plenty of details to worry about, like what to include on resumes and cover letters, how to dress for interviews, and what to say when they’re asked the tough questions like “Why do you want to work for this company?” But there’s another concern that many job seekers don’t even consider: when to start looking for a job.

For some, the answer seems obvious: when you’re unemployed. However, there are many underemployed and unhappily employed people who are searching for something better—and if this is you, it’s important to factor timing into your job search.

So, when should you launch your search? These tips will help you figure out the most beneficial time to start sending out your resume for the career you want, instead of the job you need.

After you’ve done your homework

There are three keys to a successful job search: research, research, and research. You should be spending a significant amount of time looking into the industry you want to enter, the companies you’re thinking of applying with, and the position itself.

Hold off on sending out resumes until you’ve learned everything you possibly can. This not only helps you prepare for interviews, but also ensures that you’re pursuing a position you’ll truly enjoy.

Before you get sick of what you’re doing now

You may not need a new position right now. You might even enjoy your current job. However, unless you landed a fast-track career at your favorite company in an industry you love, and you’re already halfway to CEO, chances are you’ll eventually want to branch out, even if only within your current company.

Spend some time reviewing your long-term goals. Are they achievable in your current position? If not, start looking for opportunities inside and outside of your current employer that will allow you to get where you ultimately want to be, even when your employment situation is stable. This way, you’ll be prepared when you’re ready to make the change.

Once you’ve completed a major project

Work experience is a great thing to have on your resume—but responsibility and results are even better. If the future of your current position includes a big project in which you’ll have a primary role, it’s a good idea to stick around and get the experience before seeking greener pastures.

Potential employers are impressed by candidates with proven results. Make it your goal to achieve major project experience in your current job. If you’re ready to move on afterward, use that experience as leverage to get your foot in another door.

We’re here to help

Helpmates Staffing can help you hone your job search and place you in the career you’ve always wanted. We’ve worked with top employers throughout Southern California for more than 40 years, and we have access to unique career opportunities that aren’t available anywhere else. Contact us to find out more about how Helpmates can further your career.

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