We recently hosted an FD Dinner, exclusively for Finance Directors within the recruitment sector with Mark Garratt, the CFO & Company Secretary of Harvey Nash, as our keynote speaker. The event was hosted in partnership with Neil Thomas of RSM and Steven Raize of Gateley PLC.
At this insightful dinner, there was a focus on how finance leaders can influence change & transformation across their business. Mark spoke about some of the most interesting and transformational periods of his career and used them to spark discussion about how an FD can make an impact within their business.
If you weren’t at the event, don’t worry as I have quickly noted down a few of my top takeaways.
Please note, for the purposes of this article, the term ‘FD’ will be used as a generic term for finance leaders. (CFO, Group FD etc)
Strong and effective leadership is the key to delivering change within a business and as an FD, you are in a position to enable such change. As a leader, you should utilise your power to investigate issues within the business and then use your position and influence to drive change through business-wide initiatives. Be nosey, inspect and use this information to improve the business you are leading.
A key aspect of being a leader within a business is knowing how you are viewed. For FDs within the staffing sector, the easy option is to be part of the ‘back-office entity’ and focus on just the finance department. It is your job to make finance a value-adding service and not a back-office one. The most successful FDs immerse themselves within all areas of a business to challenge how things are done as this allows them to add serious value to a company. It is also absolutely vital you communicate your ideas effectively and this will be a much easier process if you are already immersed within all areas of a business.
A substratum selling point for the staffing industry is its meritocratic nature, and this should never be forgotten. Additionally, it is widely accepted that competition can increase motivation, improve productivity and performance, and provide validation, and it is important to ensure a meritocratic culture is upheld.
It is an FD’s right to see the performance of all sales professionals within the business, no matter how old or new, to see what value they’re adding and then make changes, if necessary.
A knock-on effect of legacy managers is that they could be blocking the development & progression of other team members, so don’t let them prevent good individuals from growing.
Ensure you’re focused on value-add rather than longevity and don’t let legacy managers coast.
One of the most fascinating elements of the event was hearing how some firms are embracing technologies.
As the FD, place yourself at the forefront of technology within your business by understanding AI, bots, machine learning etc, and find out how they could benefit your organisation. Ask yourself, how advanced are you in your research and adaption of technology?
Technology is having a huge impact on transactional recruitment, to the extent that recruitment ‘agents’ will be extinct whereas ‘consultants’ will flourish, particularly with senior appointments. Ultimately, this comes down to one simple question, ‘are you valued by your clients and candidates?’ Likewise, you need to lead considerations on how you can implement technological advancements within your finance team.
By placing yourself, as the FD, at the forefront of technology, you will be in a strong position to influence change & transformation within your organisation and consequently continue your development & progression.
Attracting the top talent is no longer a game of ‘who can offer the most money?’ and there are numerous reasons behind this.
Recruiters are now attracted to a holistic employee value proposition (EVP), which means you need to create an enjoyable and flexible working environment, offer benefits that mean something and provide an environment where the workforce can have a successful career.
We recently held an event focused on Employee Engagement & Well-being where there was a focus on engaging and retaining the millennial workforce and an important aspect of this was EVP. To see our takeaways from that event, click here: https://bit.ly/2nIkaoi
We hold FD dinners biannually, so if you are a Finance Director (or CFO) within the recruitment or executive search sector and you’d like to attend, message me today on email@example.com / 0203 3805 5232.