The New Rules of the New Finance Workforce – FEI Daily

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The New Rules of the New Finance Workforce  
The workforce – in finance and beyond – has fundamentally changed in the last two years: In contrast to the old five-days-a-week in the office, many are hybrid or even fully remote. With this taste of new ways of working, 70% of the workforce wants to continue having flexibility and maintain their remote work options. That means finance leaders need to meet their workforce where they are and embrace how they work in this new normal.
The great resignation has shown employers that flexibility is one of many important factors around the workplace, workforce and work itself that are vital to employee attraction and retention. In this evolution, finance leaders must think outside the box to focus on the workplace, workforce and work in new ways that embrace and trust employees. Here’s how to get started.
Workplace
The digital environment has enabled new levels of collaboration in the workplace, and yet only 25% of finance executives plan to focus on finding the right balance between in-person and virtual work. Finance leaders should be open to leveraging digital formats when they are most effective and use technology to evolve their work as a strategic partner that drives big decisions for the business.
When it comes to workplace strategy, finance leaders must ensure changes are intentional and meaningful for all. It’s critical they consult with employees on what will help them thrive in the next normal and unleash their potential. A sense of “randomness” to workplace decision-making may make it harder to achieve buy-in from the workforce and weaken finance’s ability to drive change and innovative thinking at the enterprise level.
Deloitte anticipates a bell curve of physical work situations post-pandemic – meaning, most organizations will be in the "hybrid" space in the middle. While this will likely be the dominant trend, leaders must keep agile and flexible to adequately meet their organization’s unique needs when developing a workplace strategy that not only spans real estate but other investment plans in technologies, tools, and employee benefits and experiences. That means continuously engaging with employees as the transition rolls out, communicating openly about the new workplace strategy and being unafraid to make changes if needed.
Workforce
We are also seeing significant shifts in the makeup of the workforce. The employee experience is increasingly top of mind, as finance leaders have seen how burnout and the great resignation change the way that finance workers see their jobs. Finance leaders must genuinely ask what employees want beyond an HR survey or a quick chat and find ways to bring it to them—opening a couple of additional table stakes for companies to consider. Listening to employees authentically to understand their wants and needs will be pivotal in developing an effective finance workforce, retaining talent, and staying competitive.
Additionally, finance leaders can alleviate the risk of employee burnout and enhance the workforce with more freelance and gig talent with specialized skills and potentially a lower cost. Nontraditional workers can offer significant benefits to the workforce, providing seamless solutions for skills gaps while ensuring manageable workloads for the traditional workforce. Finance leaders must consider these avenues, especially during "crunch periods" – tax season, year-end close, and more – to help set the workforce up for success.
Work
The great resignation proved to employers that while employees are looking for greater work-life balance, while they are on the clock, they also want to be partaking in purposeful work. We regularly see that workers are more engaged when doing work that energizes them. They also want to be learning and developing—making an impact on their own lives as well as the communities around them. Ensuring workers have choice, opportunity and equity in their careers can help enable a better and happier workforce.
All of this culminates in the need for finance leaders to design a new workforce and workplace strategy that meets the needs of the new normal. If finance leaders want to drive innovative strategies at the enterprise level and unlock the true potential of their organizations, ensuring their employees are happy, energized and working with a purpose can go a long way in encouraging new and dynamic thinking.
Finance leaders were already on the way to the future before the pandemic – and were then propelled entirely into it practically overnight. A future-thinking CFO should capture the things that worked, like flexibility and renewed employee connection, and scrap those that didn't, like burnout and isolation.
A finance workforce of empowered workers and technology that augments and designs a purposeful workplace is the future of finance. There’s never been a better time to take action for your team and your organization alike.
 Jonathan Pearce is the Workforce Strategies Leader at Deloitte
Olivia Berkman | 08/9/2022
Yoni Avital | 07/28/2022
Ritu Bhasin | 07/21/2022
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