Two in five finance workers will lose interest in a job if the employer is unwilling to negotiate on non-salary benefits, such as telecommuting or flexible hours, a Robert Half survey released Wednesday found.
Ninety-eight percent of CFOs polled expressed openness to some “back and forth” with job candidates on such issues as salary, professional development and benefits. But the research found only 45% of CFOs are open to negotiating remote work arrangements, an increasingly popular benefit.
Steve Saah, executive director or Robert Half Finance & Accounting, told CFO Dive Friday that a refusal to compromise on work perks such as telecommuting could present a challenge in an overcrowded field.
"I think the reality is it’s often hard to put a price on your ability to attract and retain talent," Saah said. "There’s such a high demand for talented professionals, that once [companies] actually do hire somebody, how can that person then evaluate the career they have within the organization, as compared to within the marketplace?"
Saah doesn’t think things like unlimited paid time off, telecommuting or flexible working hours are easy to quantify, but he thinks there’s a "tangible value that comes along with attracting people to your organization."
In a particularly competitive field, those perks can be the difference. "In today’s market, candidates know they have a lot of opportunity, and people are placing more emphasis on things important to them and their families, beyond just the dollar salary they make," he said.
In recent years, Saah has noticed the work from home perk, in particular, become more prominent, especially in major markets. "The ability to telecommute and work remotely matters to a lot to people," he has found. "Flexibility, when it comes to people’s personal lives, is very important. If you look at the survey results, the ability to work remotely or have a flexible schedule is very high up."
To meet the growing demand, Saah has seen executives in many organizations, and CFOs in particular, show a willingness to negotiate, or at least have candid discussions.
Asked how CFOs can partner with their HR department to meet these employee demands, Saah recommends being proactive. "You should work with HR to be creative and get a good understanding of the marketplace," he said. "Get a good sense of what you’re willing to do, as an organization, across the board when it comes to these things."
During the process of interviewing candidates, know in advance what you can and can’t be flexible on, Saah recommends. "Make sure you’re discussing those things often, and early, to get a sense of where you are as an organization, and recognize that each person may have their own set of parameters.
"At the end of the day, It’s such a competitive market for finance and accounting professionals," he said. "Any person you’re talking to probably has opportunities outside your organization. And at the end of the day, compensation will always play a big part, but the more you engage with particular candidates on what’s important to them, the more likely you’ll land the candidate on the front end, and retain your existing staff, too."