“Businesses bank on their CFO’s ability to expertly manage two interrelated areas of responsibility.” Jeff Leonard spotlights critical considerations in supporting successful growth and mitigating financial risk.
Businesses bank on their CFO’s ability to expertly manage two interrelated areas of responsibility — supporting successful growth and mitigating financial risks. And that CFO’s approach to the financial dimensions of organizational wellbeing and talent management strongly influences their ability to achieve these core goals. People are their employer’s top asset because attracting, motivating and retaining talent are essential to sustained growth. The challenge is optimizing this relationship cost-efficiently while protecting or strengthening the organization’s brand.

OWTI imagesAssessing needs

There are some critical issues and opportunities that merit special attention when developing or refining a financial management strategy. On the workforce side of the equation, strong economic growth and low unemployment contrast with the financial stress many employees are experiencing. More than 40% can’t afford a $400 financial emergency.¹

At the same time, employers are under the microscope of new legal, regulatory and public accountability requirements — magnifying the importance of their fiduciary responsibilities to employees participating in their retirement plans. There’s also the need to confront an upswing in leadership transitions and other organizational challenges as baby boomers approach and enter retirement.

Setting priorities

These financial management trends emphasize the need for:

  • Retirement plans that provide employees with the tools, resources and educational guidance to build a secure future of financial wellbeing
  • Executive compensation and benefit packages that help retain key leadership in a highly competitive market
  • Investment programs for both defined benefit and defined contribution retirement plans that fulfill fiduciary duties

In each case, the smarter approaches are those that align with the needs and values of both individual employees and the organization as a whole. Get them right, and they become part of the essential machinery of a well-functioning enterprise. Get them wrong, and they can become major sources of risk — including reputational threats. Negative headlines can throw an organization off track for months, and may impact growth for a much longer period.

Standing firm on shifting ground starts with asking probing questions of financial stakeholders and decision makers. Their feedback helps identify where the most important risks and opportunities lie, and offers insights into formulating a plan to address them.

This article is an excerpt from our 2019 Organizational Wellbeing & Talent Insights Report – U.S. Edition.

Jeff Leonard
North America Practice Leader,
Financial & Retirement Services

As practice leader, Jeff guides consultants in helping their clients to better understand and manage retirement plans and individual financial risks. His approach emphasizes setting objectives for desired outcomes, developing a strategy, and using a framework designed to deliver on that strategy daily, and as the environment changes.

¹CNN Money, “40% of Americans can’t cover a $400 emergency expense,” May 2018