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The CFO Perspective: Remote Working, Motivation & Managing Talent Mid-COVID

We recently spoke to five CFOs on the challenges and opportunities in the ever-changing mid and post-COVID world.

Here is what they had to say on three key contemporary topics:

Remote Working – Beneficial…if you can cut your overheads

Long, 10-year leases on expensive premises are of course a challenge. The cost of city centre offices can be a huge burden.

However, once negotiated either through subletting or another route then these businesses are running better and more efficiently than ever. Serviced offices provide are providing businesses with the flexibility to allow employees to work however they are most effective.

Motivating Employees – Pub quizzes aren’t enough!

While attending CFOs agreed that general efficiency in businesses had been consistent throughout the pandemic, keeping staff motivated and connected had been a challenge.

Surprisingly, team members who would normally be described as introverted were often good at communicating. They weren’t always the most outspoken on group calls but privately kept in frequent contact with colleagues.

Some employees can get lonely and feel cut off while working 100% remotely. There is a need for greater communication and contact, both formal and informal, between departments and teams. Plus, a virtual ‘happy hour’ might have worked for the first three months of lockdown but it’s not a long-term solution.

Companies are looking at ways to create a culture where people feel they are part of a team regardless of whether they are in-office or continuing to work remotely. Successful ideas raised on the call included lunchtime learning sessions. Remote events being laid on including quizzes, virtual drinks etc.

Managing Talent Shortages – Bad news for small businesses

How has COVID affected the war on talent? Wage inflation is the key challenge said our five CFOs. People can now work anywhere but demand a higher salary from large businesses with city centre locations that offer ‘London weighting’. This leaves smaller, regional businesses struggling to find staff with the right skillsets they desperately need to adapt to 2021.

The candidates in shortest supply are perhaps unsurprisingly those with skills beyond just finance. The employees most likely to be tempted by large London-based businesses are the ones with a broader view of business – they understand how the finance function fits into organisations.

So what’s the solution to this?

It’s more important than ever to train people internally. Give them a broader knowledge of how finance works as part of the overall business. You avoid the headache of directly competing with other businesses for candidates. Softer skills training has become more important.

Attendees at the roundtable agreed that when hiring outside of the business it was best to recruit a single Finance Director. They will come with the broader perspective on business challenges and can pass this on to other team members.

Do you agree or disagree with these findings, is there something you want to add to the conversation? Let us know by getting involved. Check out our events if you would like to take part in our next roundtable.


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