No More Fuzzy Numbers


As Seen in CFO Studio Magazine Q1 2017 Issue

Monetize talent-related growth strategies

-BY ALDONNA R. AMBLER, The Growth Strategist


Being able to attract, engage, and retain top talent is an important growth strategy of young or realigned companies. Yet most organizations still struggle when talent-related investments are involved because the discussions generally rest on vague information (fuzzy numbers).

Think about what happens when the CFO tries to get quantifiable answers to these HR questions:

  • How can we tell if a stay bonus was necessary?
  • Do career development programs pay off or are we just training people to leave and be productive at competing companies?
  • What degree of fit with our corporate culture does a job candidate need to be hired?
  • How can we tell if an employee is sufficiently engaged?
  • How much should our business invest if the typical millennial only stays with an employer a few years?
  • How much turnover is acceptable to us?
  • How do we know if we should be utilizing outside search firms or building our own recruitment department?
  • How much progress do we lose when key position vacancies linger?

Where You Can Start

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), which provides professional certification for human resource professionals, leads the improvement of talent-related measurement, but there is a long way yet to go.

It pays to help your company’s HR professionals generate talent-related ratios to convey their proposed approaches to achieve your goal-related ratios. With such ratios in place, when your HR department wants to invest in a new engagement program, as CFO you can monitor its impact on retention, productivity, and capacity utilization.

Examples of Talent-related Ratios:

$___ cost for recruitment, screening, selection, onboarding/hire

$___ cost for engagement and retention/employee

$___ cost for incentives and bonuses (above base salary or wages)/ employee

#___ average months or years with our company/employee

%___ job vacancies OR %___ capacity

Examples of Company Growth-related Ratios:

% ___improved capacity utilization

$ ___ productivity increase

%___ reduction in people-related operating costs/gross revenue

Increasingly, HR directors must be involved in the process of monetizing desired outcomes. It makes sense to establish realistic baselines for talent-related ratios now, or your company’s decisions revert to fuzzy numbers, and your truly major investment decisions will be based on wishes, hopes, and guesses.



What Is My POB?


As Seen in CFO Studio Magazine Q1 2017 Issue

Like it or not, most of us have and need an online brand

-BY JOHN MOSKONAS, President, The ARGroup of Search Companies


Here’s a new acronym to learn: POB. It’s shorthand for Personal Online Brand. Many people you meet as you network will search online to view your POB. So, although you won’t find this word in a dictionary, it’s extremely important. Your POB is the snapshot of who you are. It includes your online friends, points of view, and professional accomplishments. If you haven’t thought about how your POB stacks up, now might be a good time to work on it. After all, year-end and the beginning of the year are the best times to assess, start anew, and focus.

But before you do that, why do you want an online brand at all?

A strong POB mitigates your risk. Let’s face it, the work environment is uncertain. You want to be seriously considered for any potential career opportunities that may arise. You should have a solid online brand presence that highlights who you are professionally and personally. This way, you’ll be found if a hiring manager or recruiter is looking for someone like yourself; you’ll be taken seriously when your accomplishments are being assessed; and your POB will support the message you are trying to convey about yourself, your expertise, and the value you can deliver. The best part is that your POB, your online brand, is mobile, so you don’t have to start over each time you begin a new job. Now, when you decide to strengthen/focus your POB, you should keep one thing in mind:

A strong POB provides consistent messages about you. If you go to a fine restaurant that was recommended by a friend, you can expect a certain experience. As a matter of fact, that experience is what makes you come back or not. If you go back a second time and you have that great experience again, you’ll solidify your feelings about the restaurant and you’ll keep going back. Why? Because you’ll know what to expect.

How does this translate to your POB? People want consistency when they think about you and your brand and when they consider engaging you for an executive position, project, or otherwise. So, be consistent in your POB and cognizant of the messages you send when you highlight your accomplishments when posting to your online accounts, because those who will consider engaging you like to know what to expect.

If you’re unsure of how your POB reads right now, just google yourself and you’ll find out pretty quickly. The online world is transparent, so the consistency of the message you send about yourself should carry through to your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other online brand platforms.

Create a strong POB yourself, or get help with it. When you do decide to strengthen your POB, you can do it yourself or you can hire a professional online marketer who can do it for you. If you decide to do it yourself, you can get tips online and/or, since imitation is the best form of flattery, you can certainly see how peers in your industry are building their POB, and then replicate their approach.

Whichever way you choose, however, keep asking yourself: What is my POB and how well is it working for me?

The ROI of Employee Engagement


As Seen in CFO Studio Magazine Q3 2016 Issue


A workplace culture that is perceived as positive and vibrant has proven financial benefits. A Chandler Macleod study, “Shaping Organisational Culture for Improved Business Performance,” quotes 2013 research from CareerBuilder revealing that 73 percent of candidates interviewed considered a slightly lower-paying job in a company if their friend said it was a great place to work.

The same research also showed that prospective employees were more attracted to a company that had a reputation as a great place to work over factors that include the company’s reputation for great products, services, and people, or even its reputation for being prestigious. An organization that is recognized as a desirable place to work provides an advantage in attracting and retaining talent.

Gallup’s 2013 “State of the American Workplace” study estimates that active disengagement costs the United States $450 billion to $550 billion per year. These alarming figures reinforce the importance of keeping employees loyal and engaged. Some forward-looking corporate leaders are doing this by using workplace design to communicate corporate culture and brand values.

“Fully Engaged,” a report released by  Strategic Consulting, defines engaged workers by the effort they bring to their work practice. These employees develop a connection to their organization, and this makes them more likely to develop innovative practices that could result in competitive advantages for the company. Greater engagement not only improves the bottom line through increased customer satisfaction and productivity, it also helps to lower employee absenteeism and turnover. Employee retention is a critical financial advantage, as each replacement can cost up to 1.5 times the salary of a position.

John P. Kotter and James L. Heskett’s 2008 book on their study of 207 organizations over 11 years, Corporate Culture and Performance, found companies that actively developed their culture returned 516 percent higher revenue and 755 percent higher income. Corporate culture refers to the shared values, attitudes, standards, and beliefs that characterize members of an organization.

To ensure that workplace design fosters corporate culture and employee engagement, many companies have taken steps, including:

• Creating workplaces with alternate space configurations and technologies that are aligned to specific business processes. This approach gives employees control over the way they prefer to work. People do their best work when they feel trusted to carry out tasks in their own way.

• Incorporating company values into space design.

• Incorporating plants and natural light, as studies have shown the links between light exposure, increased productivity, and employee happiness.

“How a workspace informs and inspires an employee has become a significant expectation for corporate leaders,” says Jerry Sullivan, senior vice president  project and development services. “The new workspace that fosters greater interaction, flexibility in work uses, and includes more innovative approaches to communication and collaboration, has become vital for companies to attract new talent and retain valuable employees. This more thoughtful attention to the workplace environment has proven to have a direct impact on the companies’ bottom line.”

Copyright 2017