To retain young talent, tell them about Jack

Published by Andrew Griggs on 9 December 2021

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Back in 2019, Jack Delmo was ready for a change in his life.

He had been a member of the business services team at Kreston Global member firm, McLean Delmo Bentleys, in Melbourne for four years, after graduating university.

“I wanted the opportunity to live in a different city and to branch out, and to experience a new culture and workplace”, he told me recently.

He could quit his job and travel. But he liked his firm. So instead, he took advantage of Kreston’s secondment scheme, transferring temporarily to the London office of Kreston Reeves in the UK.

I caught up with him last week, less than a month after he returned to Australia. And I’m eager to share his story for two reasons.

First, because the secondment programme naturally suffered during the pandemic. Now that some countries are making it easier to travel, the secondment programme deserves a full revival.

It’s a fantastic way both to build connections between our firms and to develop the skills and knowledge of up-and-coming individuals.

Second, whenever I ask leaders of our firms about their biggest challenges, recruitment and retention always come up.

We need to find ways to make our firms as attractive as possible to young talent, then make their experience with us so rewarding that they want to stay.

The possibility of secondment through the Kreston network can be an exciting part of your proposition.

Jack had his heart set on London, where he already had friends, and he was also eager to do more international and corporate finance work. Kreston Reeves allowed him to accomplish all three in one go.

“The team couldn’t have been more supportive,” he says. “For the first few months, we focused on training. The senior managers walked me through their processes and everything I needed to know. They also made me welcome personally with a team lunch and I enjoyed the young atmosphere in the office.”

Before and during tax season, he was able to provide an extra pair of hands for Kreston Reeves. He was also able to bring some of his Australian experience to the table, for example sharing some of his firm’s own processes.

COVID hit right at the end of his 7-month secondment, but Kreston Reeves “were amazing. They stuck by me and told me I was welcome to stay until the end of my 2-year visa, so I could extend the opportunity.”

Now he’s back home, he’s experiencing a little reverse culture shock – “Melbourne is only just coming out of another lockdown, it’s like going back in time” – but he’s settling back fast.

Thanks to his London experience, he’s been able to take on the role of Operations Manager, as well as do more corporate advisory work.

“Part of my spec now is international relations,” he says. “I’ve already had a few referrals from London which I’ve passed on. There’s a stronger connection now between the two firms which is a massive bonus.”

And he’s also brought back some of Kreston Reeves’s best practice.

“I thought that their graduate programme was great – they bring their graduates through the firm as a group, building their bond and so they retain them well. I’m trying to share that knowledge. Everyone here is really keen to hear how they do things, including their COVID processes.”

Looking back, he says, “one of the great reasons to join a Kreston firm is the opportunities. We’re in 120 countries and secondment gives you the opportunity to grow individually and professionally. Our young graduates are busy asking me about it, and other young people should look into it.”

Kreston Global is an international advisory and accountancy network, for which Kreston Reeves is a member, with over 170 member firms across 120 countries. Find out more here.

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