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Optimizing Human Capital as the CFO

Ernie Humphrey

A top challenge faced by any CFO is recruiting, nurturing, and keeping engaged the talent needed to deliver on the ever evolving list of responsibilities that fall under the umbrella of the CFO:

  • According to a recent study by the Corporate Executive Board- 75% of CFOs believe their teams “lack the skills to help the organization make the right decisions”.
  • According to a recent survey of over 500 CFOs by the IBM Institute of Business Value- “Developing talent in the finance organization” ranked as a top-three concern.

This issue came front and center in the Proformative community when CFO Tim Williams asked for advice in making a decision between two candidates, one of who had more potential and the other being a better fit for the current position in Finance.   The question has certainly “hit home” with several finance leaders as more than 20 have weighed in thus far, and the conversation is far from over.

A few differing points of view have arisen. One side of the argument is that potential should always win out, as you should be willing and able to mentor and train up an employee to offer your company the highest ROI for investing in human capital.

“For me it is potential hands down! Skills can be added or train for. Attitude and drive is much more difficult to hone. Furthermore, there is really no "safe choice" . With the right attitude and drive, someone "with potential" can get up to speed quick....and his attitude and drive will get him further thus more value for the company,” commented Proformative member and many time CFO Emerson Galfo.

The opposite side of the argument is that you hire to fit current need as they are too busy to train up employees and make that investment.  “I would go with the one who has the skill set now. It gets down to hiring the qualified candidate”, commented Proformative community member Carla Gordon.

Most fall somewhere in the middle. “Do you have the skill set you need right now? Who would fill that role right now? It is a luxury to hire more for potential than proof. If you have that luxury you are lucky. But in the daily trenches, experience and skill trump gut feel and potential,” commented Proformative member and many time COO/CFO James Scott.

At the end of the day CFOs want the best team, and if they can hire a person who they can train up in a cost-effective manner then the decision between potential and current fit becomes a no brainer.

There are many options for CFOs to consider in helping them drive the professional development within the office of the CFO.  The bad news is that almost all miss the mark in terms of the benefits realized versus the cost of educational programs where they be seminars, conferences, live webinars, on-demand webinars or a massive online course platform (MOOC).   The good news is that Proformative has recently developed a checklist for selecting a corporate finance employee development platform:

      Quick to learn and easy to use.
      Fosters collaborative employee development.
      Delivers broad and deep content targeting corporate finance.
      Enables ongoing access to expert instructors.
      Is accredited to provide CPE/CE credits.
      Provides dashboards to monitor progress & encourage coaching.
      Delivers video content in short, logical segments.
      Highlights incremental achievement, creating a sense of urgency and accomplishment.
      Provides detailed reporting and performance analytics.
      Is cost-effective to enable deployment across the entire corporate finance organization.

Even better news, Proformative has recently launched ProformativeTM, which offers high-quality, focused on-demand training designed to advance knowledge, skills and impact the careers of corporate finance professionals, and hits the mark on each item of the checklist.  ProformativeTM was developed in direct collaboration with seasoned corporate practitioners and renowned subject matter experts specifically to meet the unique, dynamic and professional developments needs of corporate finance professionals.

In building your dream team as a CFO you do not need to “settle” on hiring based on current fit of a candidate when filling a position. ProformativeTM offers CFOs an important tool in optimizing your company’s most value assets, your people.