Having the right people is essential for any treasury team – so how does George Dessing, Executive Vice President, Treasury & Risk at Wolters Kluwer, go about recruiting and developing treasury talent?
When it comes to building and developing an effective treasury team, George Dessing, Executive Vice President, Treasury & Risk at Wolters Kluwer, has more than a little experience. Since joining Wolters Kluwer in 1997, Dessing has held a number of treasury roles within the company and now has responsibility for global treasury, risk management and real estate, as well as for non-IT business continuity.
Today, Dessing’s team comprises over 35 employees, including 13 treasury professionals spread across three treasury hubs. “The remainder of the team’s roles are within risk management (including non-IT business continuity management and incident management) and real estate (including facility management for several locations),” he says.
With companies around the world paying greater attention to the topic of diversity and inclusion, Dessing explains that Wolters Kluwer has considerable belief in and support for gender diversity, as well as for diversity across different nationalities. This is certainly demonstrated within Dessing’s team, which incorporates a number of nationalities and cultures, while also including a rich mix of different education, experience and seniority levels.
“I have noticed that within our company, the overall demographic is becoming younger, with more nationalities and more diversity represented – which is probably typical for a digital company,” Dessing notes. “As our CEO recently said: more diverse teams are the most creative, they’re the most innovative, and they deliver the best results.” Consequently, Dessing says the company drives a culture of high performance and accountability in order to attract, develop and retain the best talent.
Building a treasury team
Where treasury is concerned, Dessing says the Wolters Kluwer treasury is large enough for employees to benefit from a broad vision, and requires enough depth for them to become complete treasury experts – “but the team is still small enough to avoid silo-focusing and specialism bore-out.”
When recruiting top treasury talent, Dessing says his focus is on finding independent and critical thinkers who can challenge the status quo. As he explains: “We are looking for networkers and team players; for people who are communicative, stakeholder-sensitive, result-driven and streetwise – and all of this with lots of passion and a smile!”
Of course, recruiting the right people is only one part of talent management – and Dessing also emphasises the importance of providing on-the-job formal and informal learning tools, resources and opportunities to build employees’ skills and develop their careers.
Expanding the scope
Dessing defines treasury as the nexus for money and information, and as such he regards it as his duty to mentor and develop talent by encouraging colleagues to look further than the traditional treasury role. “I always tell my team, ‘you cannot learn it behind your screen – we need to get out and connect with our business.’”
In addition, he says, toggling between operational activities and the broader treasury community allows the company to provide treasury staff with opportunities for career progression while increasing the breadth of their skills – “hopefully within Wolters Kluwer, but also for external roles.”
Wolters Kluwer is headquartered in Alphen aan den Rijn in the Netherlands and provides professional information, software solutions and services for sectors including health, tax and accounting, governance, risk and compliance, and legal and regulatory. The company employs approximately 18,600 people around the world and reported annual revenues of €4.3bn in 2018.