Navigating the future of finance: how to excel in talent management

Navigating the future of finance: how to excel in talent management

Your people are your most valuable asset. However, the rapidly evolving business landscape has made it more challenging to find, engage and retain top-performing talent.

Protiviti invited Robert Half Executive Director Clive Davis to share expert insights on talent management strategy as part of a 30-minute lunchtime series, Navigating the Future of Finance.

Together, Protiviti and Robert Half dig into new survey data to shed light on employee concerns, how (and if) they’re being addressed by business leaders, and what the ideal “layered” employee experience looks like.

Navigating the future of finance with Clive Davis

We invited Robert Half Executive Director Clive Davis to share expert insights on talent management strategy as part of a 30-minute lunchtime series. Get fresh insights on talent management in the future of finance, including advice on how to build a sustainable “layered” employee experience.

Top people concerns for employers


Ability to recruit qualified candidates


Replacing employees who leave the organisation


Resources for recruiting (internal and external)


Ability to retain our people


Building and maintaining our culture amid hybrid or remote working model


Rising cost of wages


Rising cost of benefits


Obtaining staff “‘buy-in”’ for in-person/in-office work


*Data source: 2023 Global Finance Trends Survey, Protiviti

Given the ongoing war for talent, it’s no surprise to see the ability to recruit qualified candidates sitting as a top concern for CFOs and senior finance leaders. This is closely followed by concerns around replacing people who leave the organisation and recruiting qualified candidates.

“As the war for talent continues, there are still plenty of positions available — the Office for National Statistics (ONS) surveys in the UK still detail just under a million vacancies at present,” says Clive. “So, it is a different economy from that point of view . It's challenging for businesses, but similarly business continuity is also a challenge. Senior finance leaders are telling us they’re having difficulty retaining and recruiting qualified candidates.”

Hybrid working is also a top employer concern, especially for line managers. Where most organisations have reached some form of hybrid work structure, the day-to-day responsibility sits with line managers, who—in most cases—are still learning how to lead in a hybrid environment.

Read: how to manage a hybrid team – 5 actionable tips

Employers are also still reporting difficulty in obtaining staff buy-in for office-based work, which continues to impact their ability to build workplace cultures and foster creative environments. Clive says: 

“Companies are telling us they can't just put things in place. Everything has to be managed day-to-day and monitored day-to-day. If there isn't that form of connection, it creates challenges in terms of creating innovation that typically takes place when individuals do come into the office and can be creative together."

Employee perspectives: attraction and retention

Attracting talent: top 5 employee concerns


Lack of competitive remuneration


Limited career progression opportunities


Pace of hiring process


Poor work/life balance


Lack of flexibility (flexible/remote working


*Source: Robert Half Salary Guide 2024

Remuneration is understandably a top employee concern, given the inflationary market we're in. However, Clive warns that, without a genuine commitment to the employee experience and employee value proposition, it may prove difficult to hold onto quality talent in the long term. This is also true regarding communication around career progression opportunities.

“Often when we speak to companies that are experiencing challenges in this regard, what comes out of it is there's not enough communication of where individuals’ work contributes to the success of a company as it grows and where employees could go within that therefore detailing the career progression.”

Poor work/life balance is a lingering concern for employees. Although hybrid working promised to alleviate the issue, employees report earlier starts and later finishes, with little to demarcate work and home time. This, along with concerns around lack of flexibility, suggests that employers still struggle to implement healthy working habits where hybrid models are concerned.

Retaining talent: top 5 employee concerns


of finance and accounting professionals feel concerned about their companies’ ability to attract skilled talent in 2024


Heavy workloads


Lack of competitive remuneration


High rates of burnout


Poor work/life balance


War for talent


*Source: Robert Half Salary Guide 2024

The survey responses for talent retention show a clear picture where employee experience is concerned. Most respondents worry about their companies' ability to attract skilled talent to the team's core, which increases workloads and the risk of burnout and poor work/life balance.

Clive recommends investigating contract talent and managed services to ease the pressure on permanent teams. He says, "It costs to bring in flexible resources. It costs to outsource, but companies will need to measure up what could be the cost in their business if their professional core continues to experience turnover and if it weakens."

Some companies are also investing in benefits that support well-being, such as employee assistance programmes designed to help people manage their increasingly complex lives.

Explore temporary recruitment options

Current employer retention tactics


Plans for individual career growth and upskilling


Commitment to individual promotion tracks


Increased participation in key management decisions


Review of overall staff benefits (well-being programmes, staff incentives)


Compensation/pay adjustments


Flexible work arrangements (work from home, condensed hours, etc.)


Retention bonuses


*Data source: 2023 Global Finance Trends Survey, Protiviti

So, what are employers in finance and accounting currently doing to maximise the employee experience? Besides addressing opportunities for career growth and promotions and reviewing overall staff benefits, including those that complement hybrid work environments, employers have begun to address flexible working concerns.

One of the most compelling areas of focus is career growth and upskilling, especially in a marketplace plagued with digital skills shortages. Employees are keen to see where their job contributes to company success. Offering those growth opportunities is crucial for retention and improving company culture overall.

Another interesting retention tactic is the focus on bringing employees into the decision-making process for key management issues. Clive says, “This really is core to creating a strong employee experience. Individuals want to know that they have a voice and will be listened to.”

This process has involved more regular pulse surveys in which employees are asked fewer questions but more frequently throughout the year. Clive says, “That's giving them an opportunity to take a pulse of exactly where they're at, take live feedback, and then make a change.”

He continues, “It's important that organisations detail those changes and how they've been based upon feedback taken from their employees. That is the core of a good employee experience."

Overall, companies are having to be more distinct regarding what can happen to ensure greater retention. Failure to be specific about opportunities for training and development could easily increase the risk of employee discontent.

Building and vocalising a ‘layered’ employee experience

The “employee experience” is often discussed at the start of an employee's journey with the company, but it's vital to continue to focus on it from a retention point of view.

1. Total rewards
The total rewards portion of the employee experience encompasses the material gains and benefits employees enjoy. This can come via salary and the benefits offered as part of their role.

2. Work
The “work” section of the employee experience encompasses not just how the work gets done but also where and when. Clive says, “We’ve seen organisations become more dynamic there, perhaps having condensed hours and “windowed” work which may require people starting early or finishing later or doing two different shifts during the day.”

3. Culture
Culture has become a huge part of the employee experience in recent years where, historically, it wasn’t featured as often. In a hybrid workplace, individuals come to work to collaborate and innovate as a team. Culture ensures everyone understands an organisation's shared values and that they align with them.

4. People
The fourth pillar of the layered experience is related to the employee value proposition. Clive says, "We've spoken to organisations who've struggled with that because sometimes the employee value proposition shifts to what might be said to a customer."

He encourages employers to shift that focus back to working individuals by creating a unique value proposition that stands out in the hiring market. How will you invest in your employees? How will their contribution be reflected in the company's success?

5. Technology
Technology is a key part of the proposition today, especially with the prevalence of hybrid work models. The right technology can facilitate collaboration, connect teams, keep burnout at bay, and ensure happier individuals who can complete their work faster and contribute to the company's success.

For more insights and guidance on people management, visit the Robert Half advice blog or download the Salary Guide now. If you’re interested in aligning people, processes and technology in the world of finance, join Robert Half and Protiviti at upcoming Future of Finance events here.

Employee experience