How technology is helping CFOs stave off attrition


Workday’s Brian Montgomery says CFOs play a central role in talent retention.

Employee turnover costs can be enormous in terms of both time and money, according to Brian Montgomery, senior director of international finance at Workday.

“To reduce the risk of losing valued employees, employers need to create a workplace culture that engages them and fosters their professional growth. For instance, if someone decides to switch their career, you want to be the company that gives them the option to stay rather than them leaving,” he says. “With the right technology, you’re able to zone in on these types of issues, address them and have a direct conversation with employees.”

Data from Workday shows that employees who are disengaged will typically show warning signs nine months before they actually leave an organisation.

In the context of the great resignation and as the war for skills rages, CFOs need to know what their best people are thinking so that they can align their resources with retaining them.

Benefits of automated feedback
The right tools can help managers understand what employees want and enable them to respond appropriately and in a timely manner. An effective engagement platform enables employees to speak up about any specific needs they may have – such as training and development, diversity and inclusion, and various other concerns.

An employee engagement platform such as Workday Peakon Employee Voice benefits employers by helping them hear from their employees in a safe, confidential way about their concerns. In addition, it solicits valuable feedback from results that are compiled frequently through pulse surveys, where employees are encouraged to share their thoughts on a regular basis.

“The real value in such tools is that they use data to drive decisions, rather than sentiments. Finance leaders can get real, live data about what's happening in the organisation and that’s a huge opportunity for them to be targeted in how they invest their company's resources. They can invest in programmes that allow people to manage their work life along with their home life, and get that balance right,” says Brian.

He explains that, “Without the right tools, it’s challenging to make informed decisions. Fortunately, technology offers a massive opportunity to gather actionable data. It’s front and centre of how we help senior finance people make sure they’re investing in the right areas and looking after their people.”

Technology that offers answers
The benefits of such a platform includes the use of some very clever technology that delves into what’s happening within the organisation using smart algorithms that generate the relevant questions.

Workday integrates performance management tools within the system, which is a highly iterative process that goes all the way through the organisation and uses a format that plots people and their skills within a matrix.

The platform’s ability to bring in external data, such as market salary data, and benchmark it against performance criteria allows managers to make informed decisions about adjustments, such as increasing their top performer’s salary if it’s below market benchmarks.

Improving employee attractiveness with data
Reflecting your company’s culture is an important part of retention. Workday’s report, “Employee Expectations 2022”, points out that employees increasingly evaluate a prospective employer’s ESG commitments when assessing a company’s culture and values. Companies that have data in this area can be more transparent about their diversity, inclusion and environmental record.

CFOs who have the tools to generate this data can provide such information to prospective and existing employees, thereby making a concrete contribution to the company’s attractiveness as an employer.

Ease of utility
Employers are realising that in order to retain the best people, they need to have the right tools and infrastructure. As the lines between work and personal life have blurred, employees expect the same quality of experience from their workplace engagement platform as any other app they use on their personal devices.

A lot of new hires are individuals who grew up with consumer technology. Having a clean and easy-to-understand interface is crucial for their engagement, and they want systems that are highly intuitive, rather than systems that take months to learn.

Montgomery emphasises that it’s key to have technology that is user-friendly and has stickiness, whether it’s being deployed in your finance team, or the entire employee population.
“We have always looked much more to the consumer internet world than to the traditional enterprise software world for how our products look and feel. That’s key, particularly if you have a workforce that is not office bound. They might not have PCs, or access to laptops, so the mobile phone becomes their tool for everything, whether that’s booking their time off or filing their expenses.”

Related articles

IDU to showcase at Finance Indaba

The automation software company joins the line-up of partners for this year’s Finance Indaba, taking place on 10 October.