Neel Augusthy: Engaging your talents for top performance during uncertain times

In this first session of the CFO Network Series 2016, Neel Augusthy tackled head on the growing issue of talent attraction and retention for C-suite financial leaders.

When one thinks of the responsibilities a Chief Financial Officer may face on a daily basis, it is often easy to dismiss staffing issues as one that human resources would take care of. However, the increasing dynamism of the CFO role has contributed to the emergence of HR issues.

Gone are the days where most employees strived to secure a job for life. Today, companies are hiring a new generation of employees and CFOs are faced with the new reality of having to manage an increasingly volatile and complex multi-generational workforce.

Neel Augusthy, Asia Pacific Chief Financial Officer for healthcare and consumer goods manufacturer Johnson & Johnson, has devised his own method to adapt to this evolving environment with a wheel of five attributes.

Augusthy reckons that people who look to join an organisation focus their attention on three key factors: Money, Recognition and Professional Development. These are also the areas that most employers will put most of their efforts into.

However, similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, once an employee has satisfied the top tier of needs, that person will start to look to satisfy two new factors: Personal Development and Inspiration.

Once an employee has managed to secure the top three factors, that person will want to be inspired by the company and the people he or she works for. This can come in many different forms that can include strong corporate social responsibility programmes or a mentor who displays exceptional leadership.

The employee seeking personal development is on the hunt for self-actualisation. These people look for expression of creativity, self-growth in terms of life skills or having a sense of having a meaning in life.

When hiring new staff, it is often easy to submit to a process where candidates must tick certain requirements. This process ignores the important aspects of personal development and inspiration which leads to people who only care for the top three factors joining the company. While they can be successful in the short term, it will be difficult for them to fit within the company in the longer run.

Taking into account the full spectrum of employee needs is easier said than done. Employers and bosses must go out of their way to find out what motivates and inspires them. This may mean making the effort to understand their life goals in order help them grow personally and professionally.

Augusthy further notes that having an in-depth understanding of the people who work for you is crucial because different people are clearly motivated and inspired by different things. Having worked around the globe, he has noticed that people from different cultures also aspire to different attributes - so companies need to flexible enough to adapt their offerings as an employer in order to attract and retain the best talent.

The wheel, proposed by Augusthy, is a method that aims to address an employee’s needs on a deeper personal level, leading to the best possible hiring decisions. Augusthy’s results speak for themselves, having only two people leave his team in the past seven years.

CFO network series

At Randstad, we are on a constant journey to shape the world of work around us. The CFO Network Series sets out to accomplish just that. Held in the format of a roundtable, the CFO Network Series brings together top level finance leaders from different industries to discuss the critical issues that impact their world of work on a daily basis.

A second session will be conducted in the later half of the year. If you are interested to attend and be notified of the event details closer to the date, please contact our Director for Banking, Finance & Accounting at chaileng.lim@randstad.com.sg.

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