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How do You Retain Your Finance Superstars?

The 2015 CFO sentiment studies are coming out.  A top, if not the top, challenge identified by CFOs is acquiring and retaining finance talent. I believe it starts with common sense. Incent and reward bevaviors that meet specific goals, both quantitative and qualitative. You should reward soft skill improvements as well as those with quantitative metrics.  Collaborating on a career path with each team member, and taking partial ownership of it for each team member, is critical. This shows that you value your colleagues beyond the walls of the workplace. How do you keep your best finance talent engaged and motivated to give your company 110%?


Topic Expert
Malak Kazan
Title: VP, Special Projects
Company: ERI Economic Research Institute
(VP, Special Projects, ERI Economic Research Institute) |

Ernie I would add the business leader / CFO fostering a "culture" of trust, encouragement, innovation, knowledge sharing, openness.

Mark Matheny
Title: VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis
Company: Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)
(VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis, Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)) |

Keep showing them how the work they do impacts the business. Give them examples where something they did drove positive, value added actions that moved the company forward.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

Increase their autonomy, thus showing trust, but that doesn't mean allowing work without management/supervision.

Anyone having complete autonomy in an organization no longer has the best interests of that organization at heart.

Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

Richard Branson said it best....."Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to leave."

Karin Campbell
Title: HR Manager
Company: Smithville Communications
(HR Manager, Smithville Communications) |

If the employees are truly unhappy or it is clearly not a good fit, the fast band-aide approach is best. Let them go and pay a respectable severance once the employee has completed an exit interview. The exit interviews are a great source of uncovering areas of improvement. Is there a library of exit interview data to call from?

By the nature of the question though, you are talking about the "keepers." Have these companies asked the members of their finance team what they would like to see? A simple survey by a respected 3rd party could uncover what is important to them and therefore lay the framework for engagement and long term retention. Give them ideas the company can live with going forward. The employees in finance rarely get away from their desks. They may not even know what options are possible. Career advancement & education, work from home and merit pay are all good tools. Let them know the company is invested in them and their future.

Topic Expert
Patrick Dunne
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Milk Source
(Chief Financial Officer, Milk Source) |

Ask every employee what they want to accomplish or do and help them get there. Along with this, treat every employee the way would like to be treated. Give them clear written objectives and measure against them. When delegating any task, explain how/why it's needed and compensate them fairly.

Topic Expert
Scott MacDonald
Title: President/Owner
Company: AlphaMac Resources, Inc.
(President/Owner, AlphaMac Resources, Inc.) |

Great question. The current people entering the job market have completely different expectations than when I went to work. The first issue I can see is the expectation of giving 110%. Workers coming in now will give you what it takes to do the job, but are more focused on quality of life issues. Working overtime is not in their wheelhouse and you will alienate them if you expect them to. (I actually think this is a good development as I think you get better quality work from people who are rested and have a good work/life balance.)

The bottom line however, is finding what makes each person tick. The old days of hiring bodies and giving them the same thing won't work anymore. We truly have to find out what each person wants and desires and try to meet them as much as we can.

By the way, one of the biggest issues facing new graduates is student loan debt. If you can find a way to help them pay that off you will have a happy camper.


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