(925) 600-8500 talk2us@depretis-cpa.com

The Secret to Success


Matthew E. DePretis

How finding and retaining talent can drive your success

Being a CPA allows me to see far more than just financials. I get the privilege of seeing and working with some pretty exciting businesses and entrepreneurs. I’ve seen great ideas lead to great things and I’ve seen big ideas fall flat. I’ve witnessed startups with great promise fail, and I’ve seen slow starters eventually find their stride and sustain success over the long term.

What sets apart the successes from the failures? I am sure there are many different factors— too many to go into with a single article, but one thing stands out to me more than others. Most of the successful businesses that I’ve had the opportunity to be around have had a unique focus on their people and their own individual culture. Talent, passion and culture in a company are strong indicators of success, maybe even more so than technology, service and process.

The bottom line is that business owners that ignore their people and their culture do so at their own risk. Those that choose to invest in people and culture are much more likely to approach their organizational potential.

Do your people and culture positively impact your success? Here are four steps to making your talent and culture a positive for your company:

1. Value people, talent and culture

Talent and culture are the driving force behind successful businesses. It may be easy for business owners to think that the success of their business is ultimately driven by themselves, their technology, their product or their processes, but the truth is that no business can sustain success without a talented and motivated workforce. When management becomes too distanced from their people, they can lose control of their culture and ultimately witness a talent drain. No individual can drive success through all of the areas needed for a company to be successful. You have to find, keep and motivate talent across your organization. Just like a patent, a natural resource or machinery, talented people are true assets to an organization.

2. Don’t lose great talent

Talent drives success. This is especially true in professional service organizations and technology driven companies. The cost of losing your talent can be far greater than the identifiable expense of hiring and training a new employee. Losing talented people can also damage business relationships, result in tremendous loss of organizational knowledge and negatively affect the culture of your organization.

When you have a true understanding of how much your talent means to your company, you can adjust your focus toward motivation; rewarding and retaining great talent. In most cases, it is far easier to keep a great employee than to find another one.

3. Pay attention to your culture

How often do you think about your company culture? For most business owners, it’s not nearly as often as they think about their receivable aging or their sales cycle. Yet a happy, motivated workplace is essential to your ability to meet all of your other organizational objectives.

A positive culture starts with security. Uncertainty will make your people look elsewhere. Open communication from management is essential. Business owners can foster security with effective communication. Share successes and recognize the connection between employee success and company success. Great companies’ employees understand their role, importance and benefits derived from company success. Shoulder blame when appropriate and share success.

For smaller businesses, personal interaction can go a long way. An engaged leader helps motivate employees and create loyalty.

4. Evaluate and improve your “people efforts”

While many view human resources as a necessary evil or a distraction from core business value drivers. My experience has shown me that human resources are the most important resources most businesses have. You are always competing for talent whether you recognize it or not. Organizations that win the talent game frequently come out ahead on earnings as well. Evaluate what makes your company an attractive place to work. Look beyond just compensation and compare benefits, work environment and work/life balance to your competition.

People and culture drive successful organizations. Management, production, innovation, marketing and sales may all be crucial to your organization, but these things are usually driven by human talent. Protect your company’s potential and invest in the talent and culture of the people who make it all possible.