Attracting top finance talent is one thing, but how can you make them stick around?
One of the biggest challenges CFOs face today is retaining talent with many reporting that traditional management techniques are falling short.
So, what can you do to keep your best employees happy and prevent them from becoming a flight risk?
Here are 10 easy but effective ways to help retain your best finance talent.👇🏼
1. Create a career development roadmap for your team
Nobody likes feeling as though they’re stuck with no opportunities for career progression. To avoid your team feeling like this, consider creating a career development roadmap that clearly shows where they can progress within the company – and the steps to get there.
A few must-haves of an effective career roadmap include:
- Skill markers: Highlight essential skills to acquire or refine at each stage. It's not just about what job they’re doing, but how they’re excelling in it.
- Timeframes: Set realistic but challenging timeframes for reaching each milestone.
- Feedback loops: What’s a journey without some course corrections? Incorporate regular check-ins with your team to gauge their progress and make any needed adjustments.
2. Recognize and reward performance
We all know the power of a simple 'thank you,' but when it comes to retaining top finance talent, you've got to up the ante. Recognizing and rewarding performance helps to fuel motivation and serves as a catalyst for continued excellence.
Rewards could be anything from financial bonuses to extra vacation days, half-days, public recognition (a company shout-out, a mention in a newsletter, etc.), and more. It helps to personalize rewards because everyone is different. Some may prefer a public shoutout; others might value an Amazon gift card. Tailor the reward to the individual.
Don't wait for an annual review to drop praise and/or reward your team members. Do it as soon as the achievement occurs.
3. Implement a mentorship program
Mentorship isn't just a feel-good concept; it's a strategic tool that can supercharge your team's skills, enthusiasm, and yes, loyalty to the company. It can accelerate learning, increase engagement and help employees move up in their career progression roadmaps that we talked about.
When pairing a mentor with a team member, don’t just throw names into a hat. Consider experience, skill sets, and even personalities to make mentor-mentee pairs that click.
Some more tips to make your mentorship program a success:
- Set objectives: What should the mentee learn? What skills should be developed? Set these targets upfront to give the relationship direction and focus on talent development.
- Regular check-ins: Make mentorship meetings a mandatory monthly agenda. It’s easy to let these slide with the pressures of work, so add it to the calendar.
- Professional credits: Offer some form of professional credit or certification that mentors can add to their portfolio.
- Exclusive access: Give mentors and mentees first dibs on internal workshops or external professional development opportunities.
4. Invest in the best tools and develop a diverse tech stack
The best finance talent won’t settle for sub-par resources. They want state-of-the-art, and if you offer it, they’re more likely to stick around.
With the right tools, your team can automate repetitive tasks, leaving more time for strategic work. But before you welcome new tools, make sure to assess the actual needs of your team. Do they need better data analytics, faster computation, or maybe more secure storage? Find out what your team needs and use that information to help you decide on what tools to invest in.
To build the best tech stack for your team, consider:
- Demo days: Schedule demos for the top contenders. Have team members participate to gauge usability and to see if the tools meet the identified needs.
- Training time: No tool is beneficial unless your team knows how to use it. Invest in training sessions to get everyone up to speed.
- Scalability: Always think about the future. The tools should not only meet your current needs but also scale as your team and company grow. Check for modular functionalities and upgradability.
5. Conduct ‘stay interviews’
Instead of only conducting exit interviews, regularly check in with current employees to gauge their satisfaction levels and get feedback on what would make them stay.
These interviews signal to your team that you care not just about their work but also about their happiness and career development. It also helps you to spot issues before they turn into resignation letters.
Before scheduling your first stay interview with your top talent, here are some points to keep in mind:
- Timing is everything: Don’t spring this up during high-stress periods like year-end closings. Pick a time when you both can talk without constantly glancing at the clock.
- Safe space: Create an atmosphere of trust and confidentiality. Your finance talent should feel comfortable sharing their honest opinions without fear of repercussions.
- Structured yet flexible: While you should have a set of questions prepared, be flexible enough to let the conversation flow naturally.
- Act on it: The most critical part of a stay interview is what you do with the information. Create an action plan and follow through to show that you’re serious about retention.
By strategically incorporating stay interviews into your talent management toolkit, you're not just gathering intel—you're showing your finance talent that their voice matters. That they matter.
Here are a few sample questions to fuel the conversation:
- What do you look forward to when you come to work each day?
- Can you name one thing that would make your job more satisfying?
- Do you feel like you’re growing professionally? What opportunities for growth are you seeking?
- Are there any obstacles you feel are hindering your performance?
- How well do you think your skills are being utilized here?
- Do you feel you're adequately recognized and rewarded for your contributions?
- What will keep you with this company? Conversely, what could make you leave?
6. Offer training and development
Budget for online courses, certifications, or workshops that can improve your team’s finance skills. Make it easy for them to request and access these resources.
Set aside a specific annual budget for team learning. This could be for online courses, certifications, or even tickets to premium industry events like one of our in-person FP&A Summits, or an educational virtual event.
Whenever someone completes a course, or certification, or attends an industry event, make it a mini celebration. Share the accomplishment in team meetings, internal newsletters, or even on your company's social media. This not only boosts morale but also encourages others to take advantage of the learning opportunities available to them.
Investing in your team's continuing education isn't an expense; it’s an investment in the future of your finance department and, ultimately, your company.
Equip your finance talent with the skills they need to excel, and you'll not just retain them—you'll empower them to be the driving force behind your company's financial success.
7. Finance team building games
Finance doesn’t have to be all numbers and no play. A little bit of fun can go a long way in building a cohesive, high-performing finance team. You could set aside time each month or each quarter and focus on fun team-building activities.
Here are some finance team-building games you could try with your team:
- The budget bonanza: Divide your team into small groups and give them a mock budget to allocate across various hypothetical projects. The twist? Introduce sudden 'market changes' that force them to reconsider their budget allocations.
- Financial escape room: Create a finance-themed virtual or physical escape room. The puzzles could include cracking a code to "unlock" investments or deciphering a maze to streamline a cash flow statement.
- Excel wizardry: Have an Excel tips and tricks contest. Who can create the most complex yet useful spreadsheet? Reward the winner with a fun trophy or a gift card.
Or… take your team out of the office altogether for a game of bowling, scavenger hunts, etc. that the entire team can enjoy.
8. Encourage a healthy work-life balance
Encourage flexible work hours or remote work days to accommodate the personal lives of your team members. Measure performance based on outcomes, not just hours spent at the desk.
Why work-life balance matters:
- Increased productivity: A rested mind is a productive mind. Ensuring your team has time to recharge will result in better focus and higher output when they are on the clock.
- Employee loyalty: When you show concern for your team's well-being outside of work, it fosters loyalty. Your finance talent will think twice before leaving a workplace that values their life outside the office.
So, how can you establish a healthy work-life balance within your team? Some quick wins could include:
- Flexible work hours: Not everyone is a 9-to-5 person. Allow your team some flexibility in their work schedules to fit their personal lives.
- Remote work options: If the job permits offer opportunities to work from home at least part of the time. This reduces commute stress and allows for a more comfortable work environment.
- Mandatory time off: Encourage your team to use their vacation days. And when they do, make sure they're not bombarded with work emails and calls.
Remember, a happy team is a productive team.
9. Lunch and learn
Held during the lunch hour, these are informal sessions where your team can eat while gaining insights from guest speakers, internal leaders, or even each other.
This is a great way to develop skills, improve employee engagement and offer networking opportunities for your team.
The trick to a successful lunch and learn session is to let your finance talent have a say in the topics they'd like covered or the guest speakers they'd want to hear from. And remember to keep them varied, don’t stick to the same old thing every time.
A little diversity in subject matter like a session on mental wellness or communication skills will help keep things fresh.
10. Offer financial incentives beyond salary
Consider adding stock options, impressive retirement plans, or even profit-sharing strategies to give employees a real stake in the company’s success.
Types of financial incentives to consider:
- Stock options: These provide employees the option to buy shares of the company at a pre-determined price after a specified period. The better the company does, the more valuable the stock becomes, benefiting both the company and the employee.
- Retirement plans: A robust 401(k) matching program or other retirement benefits not only helps your team plan for their future but also makes your company more attractive compared to competitors who offer less.
- Profit-sharing plans: A share in the profits directly correlates with the company's success. The better the company does, the bigger the slice for your employees.
- Bonuses for milestones: Offering bonuses for reaching particular milestones or achieving specific goals can serve as immediate, tangible rewards that boost morale and motivation.
Pro tip: Transparency is key 🗝️
Whatever financial incentives you decide to offer, make sure they're clearly outlined and transparently communicated to your team.
The last thing you want is a misunderstanding that leads to disappointment. Clear, upfront communication about these benefits can make them even more powerful as retention tools.
FAQs: Retaining finance talent
1. What are some quick wins in retaining finance talent?
Quick wins often come from addressing immediate concerns. Consider implementing flexible work hours or remote work options, offering immediate skill-building opportunities through Lunch & Learn sessions, and initiating recognition and reward programs. These steps show your finance talent that you're actively investing in their work-life balance and professional development.
2. How can I measure the effectiveness of these finance talent management strategies?
Success can be measured using both qualitative and quantitative metrics. Qualitatively, regular stay interviews and employee satisfaction surveys can provide insights into how your finance talent feels about the implemented strategies. Quantitatively, reduced turnover rates, higher levels of productivity, and improved team performance can serve as indicators of successful talent management strategies.
3. Is financial incentive the most crucial aspect of retaining finance talent?
While financial incentives like competitive salaries, bonuses, and stock options are undoubtedly important, they aren't the sole factor in retaining finance talent. Today's professionals look for a well-rounded package that also includes work-life balance, opportunities for learning and growth, and a positive, inclusive work environment. Overemphasizing financial incentives at the expense of these other factors can still lead to high turnover rates.