CFO Forum: 1/21/2020

CFO Forum – January 2020

Better Place to work

This session covered unique benefits that make your firm a better place to work  BUT the key message and discussion was how to create the culture that makes your firm a “Best Place to work. 

The interaction was great, the topic was engaging and a never ending challenge. The presenters really added their expertise. Few topics have been as universally challenging and everyone was willing to share good and bad experiences, the issues and everyone left with some ideas.  I suspect the next steps will be discussions within Finance Departments AND in the executive committee meetings and maybe a retreat.

Keith (Campagna-The ROI Shop) added clarity that was scaring-Talent is the new disruptor AND it will not get better!  We are all struggling with recruiting, retention, productivity and satisfaction and technology is a key tool that CANNOT be overlooked. Of his many pearls of wisdom-we have used automation, smart phones, ERP and other technology breakthroughs but have used nothing to manage our human capital! Find his Geeks, Geezers and Googleization podcast and continue the learning. In addition to some really neat technology tools, the process tools can also make it easier for a small firm to implement without have trained managers or large HR departments to learn how to use these tools and concepts.

Donna’s (LINC) insights were valuable and scary at the same time.   LINC is all about creating the community and it starts with listening.  We are dealing with people so listening is critical and we all realize that most of us are not trained in listening, HR concepts and cutting edge technology.  Of her many quotes, Culture is directed from the top but built from the bottom! I think that says it all AND summarizes the challenge.

We shared “nice to have” benefits and the discussions were great BUT if you want to have a great place to work (with all the benefits of alignment, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, great retention, great recruiting and engagement) FOCUS on the culture.   Starts with developing it (and stating it in five words or simple bullet points)-if you don’t have simple and clear goals-your plan won’t get you there across the organization. 

Frankly, we are not doing what we know are best practices and hopefully someone in the company is doing things such as-reviewing Glassdoor, meaningful exit interviews, meaningful recruiting and hiring and onboarding process and messaging, celebrating successes, working through difficulties through active listening and consistent communication, reward achievement of goals that are agreed to and creating a family culture.  It is a journey and it has never been more important than today so tomorrow is a great time to start!   I took a look at Glassdoor after the meeting and I realized there are job postings on there-including some CFO opportunities.

We also admitted that most of us are not doing surveys, enough communication, enough goal setting and feedback/performance reviews and not engaging employees enough and probably can respect employees more and communicate much more.   It is a challenge to us and a huge challenge to make sure all of the leadership team is consistent and well trained.

Viliam (Legal Shield) spent a few minutes on a unique and valuable elective benefit set-legal services and identify theft services.   These are great options that some people want and there are others that are elective and others that low cost or even free.    Details are on the slides-feel free to contact me for supporting details or introductions.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to others in our group-they shared ideas and will share with you.

My slides include information on Buyer’s Edge, the tuition discount program, auto service programs and I am glad to offer more information and an introduction.  These offerings are low cost or free and are appreciated as “extras”.  Same with Able Pay and Health Advocacy/ EAP programs-as shared by our participants.

These SME partners welcome an opportunity to discuss your specific questions or situations. 

A special note to our guest CFOs and CEOs who attended.  Contact me with your comments especially if you want to attend a future session AND/ OR if you want to discuss previous topics and request an introduction to one of our partners.

Housekeeping:-Minutes, slides and CPE letters are available at under the past events tab.  CPE letters usually take about a week to get posted.  If you are missing one from last year, let me know and I will provide it. The password for our content is mrc(lower case).   Download your CPE letter.

Employment Best Practices-Thanks for the feedback on the recent posting and article on best practices for employers to use in recruiting and training.  OJT, TSE and WOTC (and other credits) exist but you have to have a process to use them.  In the Lehigh Valley, over 400 candidates are already in the TSE pool so work with Careerlink (Mick O’Hearn) on a win win solution.  For those in Bucks or Berks county, those programs are not as well organized BUT the programs exist.   I know several of you have already contacted Mick and I heard there are good opportunities!

Event Host

Gary Bender

Gary is the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award-winning CFO in NEPA. He’s a business owner, CFO, and a public speaker. Call Gary anytime at 215.421.8291

Event Date


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