Many chief financial officers find that their responsibilities have been expanding lately. In a Robert Half Management Resources survey, 85 percent of CFOs said their role now extends beyond the accounting and finance department, most commonly into human resources.
“Financial executives are often collaborating with HR on benefits and other areas that not only affect a firm’s bottom line, but also its ability to attract and retain leading employees,” says Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half.
In light of this trend, CFOs should understand how and why their organizations use human resources systems. Following are three functions of particular interest:
1. Generating performance data
HR data is not always as cut-and-dried as financial data. Even when the metrics for assessing employee performance are rigorously defined, there’s subjectivity when assessing people. If you want to get to the bottom of quantifying performance, you must first understand what is being measured and how.
Performance appraisal systems are designed to measure as accurately as possible how well an employee is meeting the responsibilities and challenges of his or her particular position.
A key advantage of these types of human resources systems is the capacity to minimize any subjectivity in the overall review of an employee. Comprehensive job descriptions and competencies in the program can help provide an empirical picture of whether an employee is, in fact, fulfilling the requirements of that particular job.
Get acquainted with how your human resources systems are being used to track employee performance data. Doing so can help you to crunch the numbers when human resources systems reports come in.
2. Implementing a talent strategy
Implementing a strategy for recruiting top talent is a fundamental role of the HR function in any organization. The business’s longevity depends on its ability to attract top performers, as well as develop and retain valued employees. And if the talent calculus isn’t adding up, there could be a major recruitment expenditure in your company’s future.
Many of today’s talent management systems aid in a variety of decision-making processes by focusing on improving employee performance and helping managers plan for the future of their workforce. CFOs should know how to pull data from this program and assess whether the company is on track.
3. Automating common HR tasks
Technology and software can reduce the workload for your HR team. Online options enable employees to manage documents such as vacation allowances and keeping their tax information up to date. E-learning systems can deliver notices about regulatory compliance training, automate the scheduling of training, and dispatch reminders when refreshers are due.
When these functions are streamlined and automated, it becomes easier, quicker and less expensive to implement new policies — which benefits your bottom line. Understanding the human resources systems at your disposal can facilitate better decision-making, including to help your company keep costs under control.
Human resources systems are only one area in which CFOs need to understand the workings of their HR department, of course. But it’s a critical aspect of staying current with personnel issues for your business.
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