Melissa Dreuth, Senior Vice President of People and Culture at Planful, talks to her counterparts in the Finance team every day… and looks forward to it.
“Human Resources – also referred to as People Operations – tends to either love or hate the Finance department. Personally, I absolutely love my Finance colleagues.”
And while the Planful HR team might have an unfair advantage by virtue of working at a financial planning software provider, Dreuth has several thoughts on how to improve HR-and-Finance relationships in every company.
“Collaboration between every company’s Finance and HR departments sprouts from a bedrock foundation: payroll,” explains Dreuth.
The fact of the matter, she says, is that neither department can function without the other. “I can’t make any org changes without Finance’s blessing, and Finance can’t do the number one thing that all employees care about the most – paying them – without making sure they have the correct information from HR.”
From this inherent touchpoint, Dreuth recommends, start building a cadence where both sides are often communicating, erring on the side of “over-communicating” and prioritizing this constant flow of information.
“It’ll be readily clear, early on, how interdependent both sides are with this critical responsibility. Use that as a springboard and you’ll see that relationship further evolve when it’s time for workforce planning.”
“In environments where there are challenging dynamics between Finance and HR, I’ve noticed there’s a battle for control: is it the financial numbers or is it the people that matter more to the business? The healthy partnerships understand that it’s both — the right people in place will generate better numbers, and those better numbers will put those people in a better position for success.”
Workforce planning is the perfect example of when Finance and HR need to be speaking the same language — because the impact of those decisions has huge ripple effects on the entire business.
“Having the right people in the right place at the right time is critical to hitting revenue targets. Add salespeople to the wrong territory too early, for example, and you just wasted resources on areas that aren’t ready to generate enough revenue… which inevitably leads to the poor performance management data pointing toward performance management plans, when in fact they may have been the right person, at the wrong time.”
And that’s where Continuous Planning comes into play.
“We use Continuous Planning to forecast our headcount, and then as hiring rates change, we update our models so Finance can seamlessly adjust their operating plan and course-correct,” Dreuth explains.
This numbers-driven dialogue helps Dreuth get on the same page much faster with her Finance colleagues. A Continuous Planning platform — which allows for real-time collaboration and dynamic collaboration — makes it much easier for Dreuth’s team to utilize financial insights in their own decision-making.
“When we have those financial insights at our fingertips, we’re able to start those conversations at a higher level. Finance doesn’t have to push back and explain the numbers because we’ve already factored that in, and we can think much more strategically and long-term about our organization and where it’s going.”
Dreuth continued: “Ultimately, all of our goals have less to do with making better sense of the numbers and more to do with making the numbers better so we can make financially smarter decisions. Continuous planning allows us to minimize the former and maximize the latter.”
With consistent communication habits in place, a mutual understanding of each other’s perspective, and a Continuous Planning platform elevating their conversations… it’s no wonder that Planful’s HR and Finance teams have nothing but love for each other.