How to get the CFO onside to support employee perks

HC looks at the significance of getting the CFO onside to establish a benefits strategy

How to get the CFO onside to support employee perks
  HC talks to Debra Corey of Reward Gateway about benefits, HR and the CFO.

How significant is the CFO in terms of establishing an effective rewards and recognition strategy?

Your CFO has a significant role to play in establishing your company’s reward and recognition strategy. It is crucial they are a partner and not an obstacle, for without them you’ll never get over the finish line. By creating a partnership employee recognition programs have a higher likelihood of being successful. Not only will they motivate employees, increase their connection to the business and each other and increase productivity, but will also be aligned to financial and business requirements.

Do this right, and the CFO will act as a member of your winning relay team, working together to successfully pass the baton and finish the race as fast as you can. Do this wrong, and the CFO will instead be a hurdle you have to go over as you try to finish your race to establish and gain approval on your reward and recognition strategy.  

Innovative CFO’s recognise that the ‘trophy’ for engagement initiatives, such as reward and recognition, is significant. Hewitt research showed that companies with double-digit growth had 20% higher engagement scores than those with single digit growth.

What are your tips for getting the CFO onside with the right kind of employee perks?

Understand what motivates them. When working with a CFO, or any audience, the first thing to do is to understand what motivates them. For a CFO it will most likely be numbers, but don’t assume this and take the time to understand what makes your CFO ‘tick’ and give them what they need to support you.  

Highlight the ROI. When it comes to a CFO data is king (or queen), so it’s critical to give them what they want and need to get on your side. To do this you should highlight the ROI of your employee perks, by presenting a combination of soft metrics (eg employee engagement, retention) and hard metrics (eg salary savings for the company, discount savings for employees).  

Speak the right language. Each function has its own ‘language’, so it’s critical to translate your HR speak into CFO speak, using tangible terms that they can relate to and accept. One way you can do this is to relate the employee benefits strategy into the overall business strategy, showing how it fits into the bigger overall picture. Another way is to relate it back to the business itself. When I worked for a retailer I would always present my proposals to the CFO in terms of jeans, saying how many more pairs of jeans each sales associate would have to sell to afford the program and how many more pairs of jeans the company would sell by implementing the program. This made it easy for the CFO to relate to and also showed that I respected their language.

Related stories:

How HR managers are closing the gender pay gap

How ‘meaningful work’ causes staff burnout

Why KFC is nurturing young employees with ‘employability skills’


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