A recent Compensation Café Classic post “making the CFO your new BFF” got me thinking about how much progress has been made in strengthening collaboration between HR and Finance. In 2013, Towers Watson released a report on “HR and Finance Partnership Opportunities” which highlighted that “HR and Finance have a shared mandate: Reduce costs, sustain or enhance productivity, and keep the talent pipeline full . . . a tall order that neither function can effectively do alone”. TW had surveyed both Finance and HR business partners and found that generally HR desired more collaboration – while Finance were less keen.
I suspect that while many Reward and HR leaders have indeed ‘made friends with finance’ this is reflective of individual achievement rather than a systemic change in the dynamic between HR and Finance. I’ve observed that when key people move on, those who remain may have to start from scratch to build the case for a closer working relationship and it’s not always possible to recreate the magic. I’ve been fortunate enough to work closely with finance colleagues to create a tight incentive governance group and I’m confident that together we delivered better outcomes as a result of sharing information and collaborating on solutions, stakeholder relations and employee communications. That group was enabled and encouraged by senior leadership, clarity of roles and responsibilities, respect for the expertise gathered around the table, and a healthy dose of humour – essential when your endlessly editing board papers!
Something to think about in advance of your next round of budgeting, incentive cycle or reward project!