This year we had a vacancy in Accounting and HR within our company due to an employee moving out of the area. We evaluated our needs for this position and determined that the right person with the interest ability to take ownership of the full gamut of responsibilities — excluding the year-end tax return done by the CPA — would be an island. They would be a department of one. We could not offer an internal person someone other than our outside CPA to speak their language, share their passion and value the effort they would put forth daily. They would not have a peer group. Most of us can do basic accounting, but accounting and finance is not by far our passion and we may not be able to give this person the accolades they deserve!

We made the decision to keep the bookkeeping/customer service side of accounting in house such as accounts payable and accounts receivable other than reconciliation. We already use a third -party payroll and benefits company which has been working out well.

Recently, we had a candidate come to see us that left a Developer Builder. They did not feel like they fit in and it was not just a feeling. The rest of the team was in a similar age group, shared similar interests and teamed up to mentor each other and support each other on learning the various aspects of the development process and anomalies to projects. This person was not invited into the inner circle, not just because of age, but also because of approach and dissimilar background.

How important is it to have a peer group at work?

You don’t go to work to socialize, but being social at work can make or break your future there. People bond with other people they can relate to.

Where does cultural fit within an organization come into play when forming peer groups?

It is a lot easier to develop a peer group within an organization if you are a cultural fit.

Many owners of organizations get involved in outside peer groups like Associated Builders and Contractors Peer Groups or FMI’s Peer Groups.

The saying that it is lonely at the top as a CEO also holds true throughout your organization. Every individual needs a group of people that support them through the good days and the not so good days.

Do not confuse friends you met at work that you socialize with as workplace peers. Often outside friendships formed at work change how a workplace peer may relate to you in the workplace. Yes, it is possible to wear both hats but each of you needs to be able to keep all in proper perspective.

Peers at work help increase loyalty of individuals to the company as they have more at stake than just a job if they leave. They form relationships that often times carry throughout their careers even if the individuals never have socialized outside of work together. It is a mutual respect between one another backed by encouragement and appreciation for who you are and what your take responsibility for in the workplace even if others including the boss can’t offer that to you. These individuals are also your best references as they are not just saying something about you because they are your friends. They are strictly speaking from a workplace viewpoint.

Do you have peers in your workplace?

Peers to You!

Suzanne Breistol on behalf of the FLCC Team!

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