Digital implementation into nearly every facet of how companies function has changed the way business is done. With these changes, employees who not only interact with technology but have their careers fundamentally based on it have developed different needs than their organizational peers.
A recent Gartner survey on digital talent found that in a market that predicts a third of employees will leave their jobs in 2023, companies that give employees a sense of belonging and a feeling of empowerment are much more likely to retain digital finance staff.
According to the survey, Gartner defines digital talent as "the individuals with the experiences and competencies required to drive digital finance transformation and operate in a digital environment."
This group typically includes dedicated systems and technology specialists and analysts who modify or adapt existing digital capabilities to enhance work of their own or their immediate team.
When asked about how CFOs can incorporate digital finance into their business while providing an ideal work environment for these employees, Marco Steecker, a director at Gartner, told CFO about how CEOs can “underestimate” their impact on company culture. According to him, things like showcasing knowledge, communication, and transparency to their teams are some of the most efficient ways leaders can impact not only their digital finance teams but their entire companies.
CFOs Have the Power
Digital finance talent wants leaders with a strong vision for digital technology's use in finance, said Steecker. “Therefore, finance leaders must invest in their own digital literacy, first and foremost, so they can be conversant with the talent they aim to manage.”
“[CFOs] can strengthen kinship just by getting finance [team members] to be more effective at their day-to-day work," he continued. "Creating a budgeting process that is inclusive and an overall positive experience can go a long way to making various business lines feel they all moving toward the same goal in lockstep.”
Finance leaders must invest in their own digital literacy, first and foremost, so they can be conversant with the digital finance talent they aim to manage.
With a majority of respondents (71% and 60%, respectively) telling Gartner a sense of belonging and empowerment in their role is likely keeping them in their jobs, executives can be relieved knowing the ability to keep employees and motivated them is still in their control. By implementing new work styles or encouraging collaboration, Steecker believes CFOs have the ability to keep employees satisfied.
“We’ve seen an uptick in CFOs who work to create more cross-disciplinary work experiences,” he said. “These [work experiences] can foster kinship by giving staff the opportunity to experience the work of other teams for short periods of time.”
To properly get started, “It’s critical to establish a strategy for the digital transformation of their organization. A clear understanding of the goals of the organization and a roadmap for achieving those goals is essential for any transformation effort, but it has a substantial impact on CFO’s success when it comes to talent development and acquisition,” he said.
Identifying other trends, Steecker spoke about companies designing interdisciplinary-based products as a way of maintaining engagement and encouraging collaboration. “We’ve noticed [an] increased use of multidisciplinary digital business teams, also known as 'fusion teams,'” he said. "CFOs can be leaders in this space by promoting and facilitating the creation of such teams in an effort to solve business challenges.”
In an industry fundamentally based on change and improvement, technology roles may be tough to define long term. To keep digital finance employees satisfied, Steecker believes CFOs must do their best to define long-term expectations for these kinds of roles.
A source of uncertainty is technology is evolving so rapidly that many CFOs have a hard time knowing what kind of digital finance roles they may need five years down the line.
“A source of uncertainty is technology is evolving so rapidly that many CFOs have a hard time knowing what kind of digital finance roles they may need five years down the line,” he said. “Taking that into account, our view is that the key to clarifying the possibilities for digital finance talent is to operate with greater flexibility, putting digital talent’s development at the forefront of career conversations.”
It is purpose through resiliency that yields the best results to any organization looking to keep employees engaged, Steecker believes.
"CFOs can build more resilient career paths that can be more easily updated in response to evolving technologies, customized to account for digital finance talent’s diversified interests, and adaptive to economic trends and challenges," he said.
"They can also more effectively work to establish connections between experiences in various parts of the organizations, so that top performers have clearer paths to opportunities in high growth parts of the organization that will be most resilient, in the case of a downturn."