Competition for talent — from recent graduates to seasoned, experienced professionals — is fiercer than ever. CFOs face the additional challenge of building out, engaging, and bolstering a talent pipeline that will thrive in a future we’re all still figuring out.
As leaders consider the future of work for their organizations and their people, they must first take stock of which technology tools are already serving their teams well and how the organization’s wants and needs may shift.
It’s not about chasing the newest shiny objects or large-scale transformation; it’s about matchmaking technology enablement and employee empowerment for maximum impact and minimum investment.
The following is a framework for how to do that.
Taking inventory of the company’s assets and shortcomings will equip management to make smart decisions in the long run. Collaborate directly with the IT department and employees to identify the capabilities of each system the company uses. Identifying pain points within the operation — from the people who feel that pain the most — is the first step toward a seamless tech and talent matchup. Ask questions such as
- Are these systems a holdover from pre-digital days? Do they operate as expected or regularly have glitches?
- Do employees have a wish list of new technologies that could streamline workloads?
- What do employees find valuable or not valuable about company systems?
- Have clients expressed any concerns about our software?
Once the organization has taken stock of internal operations, turn your attention toward analyzing incoming recruits’ skill sets and digital prowess. Knowing what you already have is just as important as knowing what you want in terms of human and digital capital.
Even if the company isn’t hiring, take a look at what younger finance professionals offer via LinkedIn. Are they bringing new skills to the table? What kinds of technology or software are they trained to use? Top business schools such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, Columbia University’s Business School, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School have adopted fintech programs in the past few years. Skills taught at the academic level are worth leveraging at the professional one, especially if those skills represent the future workforce.
Develop a list of “need to have” and “want to have,” keeping in mind that technology previously considered a luxury may now be a cost- and time-efficient solution to the biggest problems. The best tech investments take over everyday administrative tasks and allow employees to address more pressing strategic or creative tasks. Digital tools are something we use to enhance the physical world — efficient, well-matched ones allow employees to outmaneuver the competition.
This is great news for finance professionals who have felt constricted by administrative work and even better news for companies looking to maximize employee time. Thoughtfully plotting how technology can help everyday operations will make a company even more attractive to top-tier talent.
Aligning technology and talent isn’t just a way to secure qualified recruits —it’s also the best option for unlocking more value, efficiency, and momentum for a business. The right systems operated by the right people can have an enormous impact on the bottom line, while saving time for employees and increasing the mileage on client dollars. Transparent, secure digital solutions that update in real-time are the new norm. Anything less will send clients — and talent — packing.
Employees who work hand-in-hand with the right software enjoy numerous benefits, including more:
- Time to focus on client relationships or advisory services
- Availability for training or professional development
- Bandwidth to focus on resolving technical issues
- Flexibility to do their job on their terms
A company that can focus on meaningful client relationships, consistently upskill employees, quickly resolve technical issues, and offers attractive benefits will increase its profitability over time.
It’s crucial to clearly and consistently communicate the company’s activity to employees. Those who feel estranged from senior management’s decisions or uninvolved in the process will be harder to retain and retrain once the time comes to introduce new tech.
To effect change, leaders need to make sure that employees feel heard and respected by eliciting their feedback on current systems or simply welcoming new ideas — not just on day one but also on an ongoing basis.
Big adjustments may only be needed every few years, but those who want to stay agile or ahead of the crowd should expect minor tweaks regularly. Conducting a yearly review will help keep the organization abreast of new trends, new talent, and new tech. It will also give management a chance to see if new programs are working.
Updating old systems is more critical than ever as finance professionals size up employers and the competition for qualified recruits increases. Aligning tech and talent will go a long way towards building an agile, profitable business.
Mark Gervase is a director of product marketing at Bill.com, a provider of cloud-based software for simplifying and automating complex back-office financial operations.