64% of SE Asia's CFOs Not Confident They Have the Talent to Meet Business Goals

Securing high-performing talent may be the most critical factor to the success of a Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and attaining the overall goals of the organization. However, despite an increase in hiring expected in the coming year, 64 percent of CFOs surveyed across Southeast Asia are not very confident that they have the talent required to meet business objectives.

The Deloitte Southeast Asia CFO Survey 2015 report, “The CFO as the Talent Champion”, polled 91 CFOs between July and August 2015 and revealed that to combat potential shortages, many CFOs surveyed say they are working to better compete for young professionals and top graduates through enhancing their employer value propositions, better development opportunities, and even a revamp of their HR departments and talent management approaches.

“Our study shows that there is a need to align the goals and priorities of the C-level executives and the Human Resources (HR) function, and build towards a common talent agenda for the organization,” says Nicky Wakefield, Deloitte Southeast Asia Human Capital Advisory Leader.

Key differentiators in talent practices

Taking a closer look at talent practices between leading performing companies and the rest of the organization, the largest disparity surveyed is the adoption rates for mentoring and coaching.

Sixty-nine per cent of performance leaders practise mentoring and coaching, while only 43 per cent of the other respondents have implemented this practice (yielding a large difference of 26 per cent).

Performance leaders are defined as CFO respondents (46 per cent) who rated their three-year business performance as “successful” or “very successful” over the past three years.

The second largest disparity between performance leaders and the rest of the organizations surveyed (a difference of 22 per cent) is having senior leadership involvement in leadership development efforts. This is also the fifth most popular talent practice amongst performance leaders (69 per cent adoption rate).

Real involvement

On leadership development efforts to be truly effective, Wakefield stresses that involvement by senior leaders must go beyond simply showing support by kicking off and helping to communicate an initiative.

“Real involvement means ‘leaders teaching leaders’, by playing an active role in the design, delivery and syndication of leadership programs (modelling leadership after the formal program ends),” explains Ms Wakefield.

“Our experience has shown that involvement by senior leaders, including CFOs, throughout the program process significantly increases retention and application of learning, as well as participant satisfaction,” adds Wakefield.

Another significant differentiator in talent practices which is also the most popular talent practice among performance leaders is the implementation of the performance management process (over 75 per cent of respondents are currently practicing this) to drive feedback, development and business values.

Performance of talent

Findings from the recent pulse check found that performance leaders reported stronger talent in every skill area included in the survey. The greatest difference between performance leaders and the rest were reported in the areas of strategic management, drive for results and people leadership.

“Drive for results” is ranked as the most important skill for talent in the organisation in the next five years while, somewhat surprisingly, “influencing stakeholders” and “operational management” are a few of the least important traits that business leaders are looking for.

“The relative importance of these skills over others, such as operational management and functional expertise, reflects a realisation that ‘business as usual’ is no longer an option,"  says Indranil Roy, Global Head of Strategy and Asia Pacific Leader at Deloitte Leadership.

"Strong technical skills and operational management are no longer enough to drive sustainable growth in Southeast Asia. Growth will require talent with more advanced skills in driving results, strategy, innovation and leading people.”

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