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How to Deal with Problem Co-Workers on Your Finance Team

Get all co-workers on the same page.

CFOs will often try to build a finance team comprised of people with a wide range of attributes that fit seamlessly with one another. However, hiring is simply not that easy, and requires management expertise to get employees to work as a cohesive unit, especially when dealing with some of the most difficult co-workers. Some members of the workforce will require extra attention to get them on the same page with the rest of the team.

Are CFOs Willing to Invest in Their Team?
When a group of employees are able to work in concert with one another, CFOs will often see higher levels of productivity. But there will often be times when certain staff members don't fit in, yet CFOs aren't quite ready to pour funds into programs that will help their workforce improve their interpersonal skills, according to recent research from staffing firm Accountemps. In fact, just 19 percent of executives believe their companies are investing in soft skills for accounting and finance teams over the next two years, even though 30 percent of CFOs think having poor interpersonal skills is the main reason their hires will fail in their roles.

The majority of CFOs who are not doing anything to help their teams become better communicators may want to consider changing their strategies. The 32 percent of CFOs who are investing in accounting and finance training and the 29 percent who are willing to pour funds into improving information technology training may not be giving their team members the people skills to grow into the future leaders of the company. Failing to promote from within and improving skill sets of current staff members could be a hindrance to future employee retention efforts.

"Accounting and finance professionals have gradually assumed increased visibility, expanded roles and greater influence within their firms over the past several years, making soft skills an essential competency today," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps. "Providing employees with the tools to become better communicators, consensus builders and negotiators should be a priority for any organization."

Make Sure Employees Are Strong Communicators
While it may not happen overnight, there are some low cost opportunities for CFOs to ensure their team members are becoming better at working with executives at the company and clients with other firms. Whether it's trying to improve one's reputation in the office or simply being more friendly, there are a number of practices CFOs can teach their workforce to make them better at communicating. Here are some tips from AllBusiness on improving interpersonal skills:

  • Have a positive attitude: People may be less willing to work with members of the team who are constantly unapproachable and angry. CFOs need to teach their staff that no matter how things are going throughout the day, they need to put on a happy face and try their best to stay upbeat.
  • Take notice to co-workers/customers: Everyone likes when someone shows that they truly care about them outside of their business relationship. This is why CFOs must stress to their teams to keep track of birthdays, anniversaries and other important life events of all other employees and clients. Showing a little compassion can go a long way in being a better communicator.
  • Be a team player: Even if a particular employee is highly skilled and is very capable of doing a job on their own, it's important to know how to work well in teams. CFOs who train their staff members on the ins and outs of teamwork can expect to see a staff that works better together.