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Building a Strategic Alliance with your CFO

As HR professionals we are aware of the increasing pressure to show how HR practices are adding economic value. In the changing landscape of business today it is necessary for the HR and Finance Departments to come together to develop the HR Value Proposition.  Employers spend an estimated 36% of their revenues on human capital — pay, benefits, training, and other expenses related to their workforces — yet only 16% of the financial executives who participated in a recent study say they significantly understand the return they are getting on this huge investment. At the 7th Annual Awards Symposium for Chicago’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For attendees have the option to partake in four concurrent educational sessions.  I had the fortune of moderating a session presented by Ms. Suzie Rybicki, VP HR for Rewards Network, Inc. As an HR Executive that led her former employer to Elite recognition as Chicago’s 101 Best and Brightest for several years in a row, she certainly understands the importance of partnership and ROI.  The session was intended to emphasize the importance of how all of us in HR must evaluate our value as created in the eyes of stakeholders. Yes, stakeholders! Not just managers and employees but even our organization’s customers and investors. How many of us are focusing day in and day out on what we deliver? Certainly, we must prioritize our actions according to those that yield the most value.

The Best and Brightest companies with reputations as best places to work exist because people and organizations have come together to deliver value. While the session may only have scratched the surface of such an expansive topic, I thank Suzie who took the time to share her insights and provide an overview worthy of our time. While being present in a session is always more value added, the information herein may prove beneficial.

Of course, comments, community and feedback are always encouraged! Join the conversation after reviewing Ms. Suzie’s presentation. I am confident everyone has something to offer on this topic. Session Two Building Alliance to CFO

I found that initial conversations I had with attendees following the session developed further discussion regarding development rating potential as it pertains to performance management (Thank you Bonnie!) as well as thoughts on how non-profits utilize metrics within their framework for value contribution (Thank you Kurt!). Others sought guidance on communication styles in addition to the specific approaches necessary to establish credibility with the financial suite.

For those seeking to create value, The HR Value Proposition is a good read. On a personal note, I believe HR leaders should be builders. Builders are focused, they should interact enthusiastically and with compassion but know the value of being competitive and collaborative. I suggest learning the industry you are in, know your work  and the value it offers when integrated with other disciplines; especially finance.  That alone can take a significant amount of time and energy but all are necessary to develop ROI.   In my experience, the more you can understand your own communication style the more effective you can be in adapting as needed to increase your effectiveness in a broad range of people situations. I personally am always striving to improve my communications with diverse people coming from diverse perspectives. More specifically, in understanding, collaborating and working with your CFO  I have found that the more versed you are in your own self-awareness individually and departmentally, the more successful you will be in aligning for the greater good of your organization. I have yet to work with a CFO where I did not benefit from their perspective.




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