The community for leaders in finance shared services
Keywords: American college football, NFL, shared services, staff turnover, staff retention, recruitment, training
Blog Post | 11 December 2012
Author: Anna Bowsher
As a researcher at sharedserviceslink.com, a key problem I hear from shared services directors and managers is talent recruitment and retention. You want to find the right staff with the right qualifications, and you want them to be adaptable and trainable so they can support your growing shared services function. But how do you know they’ll stick around once they’ve accrued the experience?
I was recently talking about this dilemma with Andrew Simpson, the Head of Americas Business Service Centre at BP North America. For him, there’s not much difference between shared services staff and American college football.
Apart from the obvious qualifications such as accounting, when recruiting for shared services roles, you really need to recruit people with the right attitude, he explained. People who have the raw talent and the ability to learn, who can understand how their job fits into the wider context of the business are exactly the kind of people you need to support your department and take it forward, like any sport team player.
But when shared services roles are so process driven – finance being a prime example – motivating staff can be tricky. Once the initial enthusiasm has worn off and it becomes clear that career progression isn’t as immediate as some would like it to be, it can be difficult to retain staff. Turnover is therefore becoming an increasing concern for shared services leaders, as it is not one that can be controlled easily. Particularly as many shared services staff are headhunted by the Business Units themselves. After the resources invested in training staff, this can feel like salt in the wound.
According to Andrew, however, it needn’t be. If your own customers are poaching your staff, take it as a compliment. Not only are they valuable members of the business, but having come from shared services, they are ready made advocates for what you’re trying to achieve.
When American college football players graduate to an NFL team, it’s seen as a natural and positive progression. The investment put into their players by their college coaches is often reflected come draft day. This builds awareness of where they came from thus driving more quality players back to the college team in the future. Notre Dame are a prime example of a historical reputation for quality training and therefore the ones to watch for future sporting greats.
When you put it like that, it suddenly makes life for a shared services centre seem much easier. Poach away!
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