CFOs and finance leaders: Ignore talent development at your own peril!

Nov 30, 2016
Jim Kaitz, President and Chief Executive Officer, AFP

CFOs in every industry grapple with driving profitable growth in their organization, and without the right talent pool, it’s a daunting task. So what’s the solution to the talent gap? Finance leaders need to embed formal professional development tracks, education and specialized training into the DNA of their organizations. More importantly, to maintain a learning culture, it’s critical to include ongoing training and development for early stage employees to keep them on track and engaged; all of which will lead to higher retention rates and improve long term performance.

Phil Murphy, consultant in Spencer Stuart’ Financial Officer Practice says, “Finance candidates today need to meet a higher standard and be deemed as having boardroom credibility.” But at the same time, one third of companies cite career paths as the biggest staff development challenge in finance.

So what are some steps CFOs and other finance leaders can take to find and retain top talent?

  1. Define job competencies.
  2. Identify talent with a pathway to growth.
  3. Follow a structured process, which may include multiple interviews and personality tests.
  4. Ask the right questions.
  5. Check references specific to the job at hand.

And, of course, training is equally important. A majority of companies—57 percent—say they use or maintain financial support for continuing education and certification to keep its finance staff performing at a high level.

Training doesn’t just happen in a classroom setting—it’s an ongoing exercise that can happen on the job.

“Employers are understandably reluctant to make big investments in workers who might not stay long. But this creates a vicious circle: Companies won’t train workers because they might leave, and workers leave because they don’t get training. By offering promising young managers a more balanced menu of development opportunities, employers might boost their inclination to stick around.”