The CFO's role in talent development: 4 details

Four experts recently had a conversation with management consulting company  McKinsey & Co. on the CFOs role in talent development.

McKinsey Transformation Practice co-founder Kevin Carmody and consultant Meagan Hill were joined by Bill Pearson, the former CFO of Nestle's bottled water division, and Harvard Business School management professor Rawi Abdelal in the discussion published April 11. 

Four details:

1. Mr. Carmody said CFOs should define performance and enhance the financial acumen of everybody in the organization. A CFO should also "walk the walk," he said. Taking training, setting the agenda and teaching classes can accelerate capability-building programs. Ten percent to 15 percent of the day should be spent stepping outside of finance to work with other functional leaders. 

2. Mr. Abdelal said people derive meaning, purpose and dignity from the work they do, and the pandemic has provided them with the opportunity to reflect on how life is spent in a work setting. 

"In a way, what we are experiencing in the broader economy and labor markets is a crisis of purpose, and thereby, a crisis of mentoring — of management’s ability and willingness to invest in developing the people who work with and for them," he said. 

People are healthier, more energized, committed and engaged in their work when management invests deeply and consistently in their capabilities, he said. 

3. Ms. Hill said CFOs should identify capabilities that create significant value, ensuring talent goes to the most valuable parts of the organization. CFOs should also support the company's overall talent development efforts by working with the CEO and chief human resource officer. 

4. Mr. Pearson said to retain agility in the marketplace, smart, strong employees need to be retained. Leaders must foster employee satisfaction to accomplish this, Mr. Pearson said.  

Mr. Carmody said employee satisfaction can be fostered by using data to identify skill gaps and understand what needs to be done to enhance those capabilities. 

CFOs should develop personalized, lifelong career journeys so people, regardless of tenure, can do their jobs more effectively and get more satisfaction out of their roles, Mr. Carmody said.

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