HR and Financial Executives See Greater Chance for Collaboration In the Future

Human resources and financial executives believe the two departments will likely collaborate more often in the future, according to a recent Towers Watson survey.

July 24, 2013

It may be common to see human resources and financial departments working together more frequently in the future.

A survey published July 17 by global professional services company Towers Watson found in both departments are partnering more often to improve employee performance and drive return on investment with human capital for their organizations.

More frequent collaboration between the two departments in the future seems likely when considering survey findings that show HR and finance departments already perform a few similar functions such as setting annual budgets, determining changes to rewards programs and creating reward strategies for their companies.

Forty-six percent of finance executives and 62 percent of HR executives say they set annual budgets; 43 percent of finance executives determine changes to rewards programs, compared to 42 for those in HR; and 39 percent of finance and 41 percent HR executives are responsible for developing an employee reward strategy, according to the survey.

However, there are some areas where collaboration is not as likely to take place. According to the survey, setting an overall workforce strategy and talent management are areas with low-levels of joint activity for both departments.

“As the economy improves, companies are putting more emphasis on ways to enhance financial performance,” Emmett Seaborn, a senior consultant at Towers Watson, said in a written statement. “While the HR and finance functions have traditionally worked independently, both groups recognize that it’s their employees who ultimately add value and help drive performance, and that for these workforce programs to succeed, they will need to collaborate more in the future.”

While executives from both functions agree more inter-departmental collaboration seems to be likely in the future, HR leaders appear to be more optimistic about that possibility than those in finance. According to the survey, 70 percent of HR leaders see more collaboration taking place compared to the 49 percent of finance executives who feel the same way.

Max Mihelich is a Workforce associate editor. Comment below or email Follow Mihelich on Twitter at @workforcemax.