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Retaining and Building a Dream FP&A Team! #WeAreTheChampions

By Chris Ortega, MBA, Sr. Finance Manager at Emarsys, USA

So, you are a C-suite executive, Vice President, Director, Manager, Senior, or Staff financial professional and you just had a high potential and high-performance team member or members move on to greener pastures.  Or you aspire to be a high potential and high-performance employee and looking for success factors to take your game to the next level.  Well, look no further than this post.  

The goal of this post is to provide my top 5 success factors for retaining and building a FP&A dream team from the perspective of a high potential and high performer (Top Player) and millennial.  Before, I continue let's get this out from tipoff. 

It is highly unlikely to retain 100% of team talent, no matter what HR says or your beliefs just accept some will take their talents to South Beach (i.e. another company or opportunity).  However, the goal should be to produce a team culture and environment where growing, developing and strengthening all variations of team performance and potential are proactive.  Hey, CFO or VP the highlight in the previous sentence is PROACTIVE.  

If you are reactive in retaining and building your finance dream team it is likely your top players are already exploring free agency with other teams.   However, it is not too late to re-engage them but they will be skeptical or saying "I've heard this before."  Without further adieu, let's get to my top 5 success factors to get them back in the game.  Lace up leadership and make sure you have stretched because it's game time!

  1. Top Players want to execute and drive results - They will not be mesmerized by pretty business words or corporate business jargon.  They are ready to tuck in their jersey and go out there and get some points.  So, give them challenging and problem-solving opportunities for them to lead and drive results.  They're on fire!
  2. Give them Covert Business Missions - Top Players are the all-stars on your team.  They thrive on going into new areas, leveraging their skills, and letting their creativity and analytical talents go into uncharted territory.  So, ask your top players, "What are some business areas you think we could improve and execute on in driving high business value?"  Then, let them hit the court. Boomshakalaka!
  3. Make sure they have access to the top of line tools and equipment -  With the prevalence of big data, financial planning and business intelligence software top players want these tools to make their job easier and accelerate utilization in high-value activities.  They want the newest shoes and apparel (i.e. software, tools, or knowledge) to score points and get wins.  However, if you have them playing in 1960's Chuck Taylors or vintage equipment (i.e. Excel 2003, Access 2003, etc.) they will grow dissatisfied.  Is it the shoes?
  4. Let them have an active role in coach's meetings - Top players are always looking for ways to continuously align their passions, talents, and skills.  So, include them in strategic conversations or high-level business discussions about company success.   For example, top management is having a conversation on improving customer acquisition costs.  Well, you got Michael Jordan or Cheryl Miller on the bench ready to come in the game and show their skills.  They're heating up!
  5. Have fun and encouraging learning - Top players have consistently proven their potential and performance, however there were game situations where they didn't perform 100%.  Identifying these moments by establishing and encouraging an open and instant feedback loop on performance is vital.  One core pillar of a finance dream team is constructive feedback and willingness to call out moments where players came up short.  So, when that game situation presents itself again they will sink that shot. From down-town!    

Finance teams are evolving from being scorekeepers to the value integrators in organizations.  Additionally, it's important to understand change and transformation don't happen overnight.  However, by implementing these success factors it will get you on the right path of retaining and building your finance dream team.  In conclusion, Michael Jordan said, "Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win champions." So reader, are you part of a Dream Team or just trying to make the playoffs?  Whatever your answer lace up and make today count!