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Building the CFO and CHRO Relationship

COVID-19 has been a once-in-a-lifetime disrupter for talent, with unemployment at record rates and many companies forced to furlough or lay off huge chunks of their workforce. Our recent Southern California survey of CFOs reports 52 percent of companies are currently hiring or expect to be by the end of Q3. Rebuilding teams and navigating through an unpredictable economy will require close collaboration between CFOs and their CHRO counterparts.

The CFO and CHRO (or equivalent) play essential roles in a company’s success. Their leadership is imperative for building strong teams to capitalize on the economic recovery. In collaboration with the CEO, they create a powerful trifecta.

Recent research from Development Dimensions International (DDI), The Conference Board and EY revealed that 11 percent of CEOs see their CHRO as reactive versus proactive. In contrast, CEOs generally rely on their CFO for critical strategy. The good news? EY reported that 80 percent of CFOs and CHROs surveyed said that their relationship is now more collaborative than in the past.

Fostering a rewarding environment for all C-suite executives can improve long-term results. Here are eight tips for CFOs seeking to build a stronger relationship with their CHRO.

Respect time and talent.

CHROs are highly skilled professionals and excel in communication and human interactions. Acknowledge their time and talent for hiring quality employees and managing challenging situations.

Collaborate on overall strategy.

Invite cooperation with CHROs to create business plans and share insights for best practices. Encourage big picture thinking from your CHRO. Routine HR administration such as compliance and policy can be delegated. 

Learn respective roles.

Understanding the unique expertise, responsibilities and challenges of other departments helps you work better together. Don’t silo. Know departmental objectives, strengths and challenges and involve your CHRO in making the most important business decisions.

Align tasks.

Coordinate job functions and goals to positively impact business. CFOs guide and grow profits; CHROs guide and grow teams—each are vital for strategic growth.

Track metrics.

Share recommendations with your CHRO to reduce costs, improve efficiency and foster top level operations. Metrics to watch include: talent retention, sales productivity, employee job satisfaction, recruiting and hiring.

Link mission, goals and vision.

Identify workforce management as crucial to the bottom line. Facilitate a common objective and work together for optimum progress. CHROs are ambassadors between executive decisions and the employees who turn strategy into reality.

Meet regularly.

Schedule periodic meetings to discuss wins, address issues and develop strategies. Generate databases to share helpful and important information between departments.

Show appreciation.

Gratitude goes a long way. Highlight good work, effective management and the achievement of goals.

Working together, CFOs and CHROs can be a powerful force. As companies grapple with how to best recover from the COVID-19 slowdown, their collaboration will help guide the way into 2021 and beyond.

Related Links
COVID-19 Economic Impact Survey
Preparing Your Offices for the Return to Work
Now is an Unprecedented Opportunity to Hire Great Talent (Harvard Business Review)