The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) plays a pivotal role for their organization – they are typically seen as the second most important person in a company, and oftentimes find themselves having to juggle enterprise transformational dynamics, lead functional business partner teams, as well as pursue their own personal goals.
The problem that many companies end up facing, however, is that when they hire or internally promote a leader to CFO, there is an expectation that this person will already know how to do everything that is required of them. However, in reality, while their technical knowledge is no doubt there, having the skills to actually be a strategic transformational executive do not just appear overnight.
My consulting research has found that the average tenure of a CFO is only 4.4 years, which is alarmingly low. And a reason for this is because over 60% of CFOs are first-timers, with nearly two-thirds of those being internally promoted. What this suggests is that a lot of those entering into a strategic CFO role are doing so for the first time, and with limited day-to-day thought partnering. In order to ensure their success and foster the organization’s strategic objectives, companies need to be investing in them from the offset and continuously.
Organizations need to create formal support strategies that are aimed at professionally developing their CFOs. By having structured support for those first-timers, the overwhelm and eventual plight of becoming a strategic CFO will be mitigated significantly. This will make the executive better at their job in a faster manner, and increase the likelihood of retention in the future.
The fact is, gaining an in-depth understanding of the company’s priorities, its investors, external stakeholders, fellow senior leaders, and their team – as well as proactively building relationships with all these parties – can be a lot for someone who hasn’t before navigated the complexities of the CFO experience. Employers need to let go of this predisposition that being promoted to an executive automatically means someone knows how to be a successful strategic CFO– there is a gap between the two, and the way of bridging this gap is specialized advisory support.
And this doesn’t just mean generalized support on leadership skills, but rather specified advisory being provided by someone who understands the intricacies of a CFO role. Someone who has a grasp of the dynamics and challenges that will be faced on a day-to-day basis.
Finding the perfect CFO for your company is an important decision, so when you do find that person, be sure to take the time to invest in them to ensure the success of them and of your business. This will lead to a stronger leadership team with a confident and successful CFO who will go on to do great things – companies just need to be creating that foundation for them to build on.
If you would like to discuss the CFO Success advisory support services we can offer for your CFO, please get in contact with me at email@example.com
Leaders play a pivotal role in any organization, and can be the difference between a company that thrives and a company that falters.
It is worrying to see that 43% of workers have left a job at some point in their career because of their manager. And more than half of workers (53%) who are currently considering leaving their jobs said they were looking to change roles because of their manager.
Are managers also leaders, you may ask? While there are distinct differences between leadership and management, managers who are also effective leaders have a significant advantage when it comes to engaging and retaining employees.
So, what does a leader that employees want to work for actually look like? Consider:
There is no such thing as ‘perfect’, as perfect can look different to everyone. When it comes to being the best leader you can be, however, there are proven power skills, hard skills and characteristics that can help you become a leader your team will want to stay with. If you would like to discuss how OrgShakers can help coach you to become this leader, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Women comprise half of the workforce, with totals of 74 million working women in the US last year, and over 15 million in the UK. That’s why it is alarming that 81% of women reported feeling like they couldn’t speak up and expect reasonable adjustments to be made for their health by their employers. As an employer, knowing how to support women’s health results in a healthier work community. Not to mention higher productivity, greater retention and increased engagement – but this is only possible if employers understand these needs and how to begin actively eradicating the taboos surrounding them.
Here are just some of the health issues that employers need to know about:
These are just some of the health concerns that women find themselves dealing with, but there are so many others. And as an employer, it can sometimes be difficult to have a deep understanding of every single health issue that affects women. This is why it is imperative that leaders are striving to create a culture where their employees feel safe, valued, and able to express any needs or concerns they have. This allows for an employer to make the effort to seek guidance and training to assist and support where they can. This will result in a happier, healthier workforce who are going to be more engaged, more loyal, and more productive, and serve as a reminder that women should not be made to feel ashamed about their health.
If you would like to discuss training around these issues, as well as policy-making guidance and culture strategies, please get in touch with me at email@example.com
If you have ever worked with Maister, Green & Galford’s Trust Equation, you’ll know that perceived self-orientation (i.e. someone who comes across as focused on their own agenda) is the quickest way to undermine a relationship of trust.
Generally, we have come to associate the word ‘ego’ with this idea of being self-centered, but actually, an ego is not always as bad as its initial connotations. While leaders being egotistical can lead to retention problems (especially with more than two in five employees having left a job because of a bad manager), they can also be a force for good. However, it is important to get the balance right – leaders need to develop and utilize a ‘healthy ego’ in order to optimize their leadership abilities.
So, what does a ‘healthy ego’ look like?
Well, one way to think about this is by considering the airplane safety briefing. When the cabin crew are doing the safety demonstration just before take-off, they remind everyone that in the event of needing oxygen masks, it is imperative that you put your own mask on first before attending to those of children or others around you. This is a great analogy for a healthy ego!
The fact is, nothing is going to unsettle an organization more than employees lacking faith in their leader. Staff want to know that their higher-ups know what they are doing, are good at what they do, and have confidence in the future of the company. There is some level of ego that every leader must have in order to believe that they are the right person for the job and have the ability to make the hard decisions and delegate where need be.
I believe the key to balancing this out and making this ego healthy is inclusivity – even though a leader benefits from being confident and having credible experience, they need to also have a growth mindset and be willing to listen and incorporate other opinions and use this when making a decision.
As well as this, if a leader is making their intentions clear by being transparent and communicative with their teams, then they do not risk this display of ‘ego’ being misconstrued as vanity or self-orientation.
If you would like to discuss how to find that perfect balance to create healthy egos in leaders, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
When an employee passes away, it is difficult to know what to do and how to respond – especially as an employer. It is important, however, that leaders approach the bereavement as compassionately and as empathetically as possible, as failing to do so can have a noticeable and long-lasting impact on the workforce.
There are three main areas that employers need to address if a staff member dies, and these will allow the organization to offer its support and condolences, while also dealing with the legal and administrative implications.
Upon hearing the news, employers should reach out to the family of the employee and offer their sympathy, as well as ask if there is anything they can do to help. After this initial contact, a more formal set of condolences can be sent – potentially in the form of flowers, or a book of condolences from the team.
It may also be appropriate to ask the family about the best way to commemorate their loved one at work – this will help highlight how valued they were as a team member and that the family is in the employer’s thoughts. Additionally, if the family agree, colleagues may wish to attend the funeral to pay their respects and have some closure.
It is also important to ensure that the family are aware of who and how to get in contact with the company in regard to the legalities of a sudden termination of employment due to these circumstances (such as pay, pension, life insurance).
It is very likely that some employees are going to be hit hard by the loss of a colleague, especially those who were particularly close to the deceased. It may be appropriate to consider offering compassionate leave to those greatly affected, as well as either directing them to in-house support services (such as Employee Assistance Programs) or external services such as Mind or the Good Grief Trust.
Be mindful that employees may grieve differently. If employers notice a dip in productivity or a change in the quality of an individual’s output, they should consider having a one-on-one meeting to see what they can do to help. From an inclusion perspective, religious and cultural beliefs can also influence how someone grieves, so this has to be taken into account (for instance, if someone requires a space to pray).
From an organizational perspective, it is important for employers to ensure that they are taking the necessary and correct legal and administrative steps after the loss of an employee. While it can seem harsh, it is important that employers formally terminate the contract of the deceased staff member. This will be marked down as their ‘leaving date’ from a payroll perspective, and they should be paid the remainder of their salary for the month, as well as any accrued holiday pay.
Employers must also contact pension providers and notify their revenue service of the employee’s passing, as well as pass on the appropriate information about life insurance benefits the employee may have been receiving to their next of kin.
Dealing with the death of a co-worker is difficult and can have reverberating effects on colleagues and the wider organization. HR plays a vital role in helping to respond to, manage, and mitigate these effects, and so if you would like to discuss how we can help assist you in consolidating policies around this topic, please get in touch with us.
Coaching is a fantastic way to draw the potential out of leaders. It helps improve confidence, productivity, and is a sustainable form of development, as what is learned is taken and applied independently afterwards. And this is a proven fact – on average, an individual increases their productivity by 86% when training is combined with coaching, compared to only 22% with training alone. But in order for coaching to be effective, the context of who is being coached, and when, must align with what coaching has to offer in order to actually reap a significant return on investment (ROI). Coaching works well alongside training when it supports the embedding of new skill sets which have been the subject of the skill building. More often, however, coaching at this level is focused on shifting a mindset. In that situation employers must first be able to identify if the leader’s needs are, indeed, coachable.
Coaching requires you to explore, support and challenge a leader’s thinking in order to help realign their perspective. However, an executive can only be coached to think and operate differently if they are open to doing so. Coaching isn’t designed to change people fundamentally, it acts as a way of unlocking unrealized potential – this new approach was always an option, it just needed to be teased out in a methodical way.
How can you tell if this is the case?
The individual should have exhibited a desire to be coached in some way, and previously displayed behavior of wanting to learn, as well as change in response to feedback. Coaching can be an intimate experience and can sometimes feel judgmental, when in reality it is designed to push the coachee so that they gain a sustainable form of development. If a leader has previously shown the want to improve and strengthen their abilities, then this person will be a perfect fit for executive coaching and will likely benefit greatly from it.
Also, timing matters! Coaching is extremely effective when a leader is at a learning inflection point. This can take shape in many different ways, but will typically be a moment of realization, a challenge they are facing, or noticeable dissonance. These all act as coaching catalysts, as they spark the focus needed for coaching to be successful. Once this inflection point has been identified, the coach can then help the leader map out the goals of their sessions and pave a clear path to meet them.
Executive coaching is rising in popularity – in 2022, it was estimated that the global executive coaching market was valued at $9.3 billion – which is almost a $1 billion increase from the previous year. This is because the satisfaction rate for coaching is near to 100%, but to ensure that it remains that way, employers must be able to identify the correct context for successful and meaningful coaching to take place. This ensures that money is not being wasted, but instead converted into a high ROI.
If you would like to seek out coaching at a leadership level or are interested in being coached yourself, please get in touch with me at email@example.com
A trial of the 4-day working week commenced last year in the UK, and 90% of participating businesses have opted to stick with it.
This has naturally created interest around the prospect of a 4-day working week and what this might look like, with one statistic standing out: a recent poll led by Hays discovered that almost two-thirds of workers would prefer to shift from a 5-day week to an office-based 4-day week – and a third of employers would be more likely to make the switch if all four days were spent in the workplace.
So, could this be the ‘Great Resolution’ that employers have been searching for?
It is no secret that since emerging from the pandemic, many employers have been resistant to embedding hybrid and remote working models into their business practices. But after many attempts to rope employees back into the office, the dust seems to finally be settling, with hybrid work looking like it’s here to stay. And yet now, with the possibility of a 4-day week being adopted, is this going to be used as an opportunity for employers to strike a deal with their workers?
Well, some evidence suggests it still may not be enough. For one thing, over a third of workers have said they would resign if they were told to return to the office full-time. And the reason for this can be found in IWG’s ground-breaking study, which discovered that hybrid workers are the healthiest workers – they are exercising more, sleeping better, and eating more healthily than ever. It’s not surprising, therefore, that employees are reluctant to return to in-office full time.
But it seems, at the root of this tussle, that there is a bigger issue. Employers are seemingly suffering from what has been dubbed ‘productivity paranoia’, in which they are convinced that their employees are not being as productive working from home as they would be onsite.
A study by Microsoft confirmed this, with 87% of hybrid employees claiming they were more productive, whereas only 12% of leaders said they had full confidence that their teams were actually being productive.
However, by consistently demonstrating this lack of trust in their people, leaders risk having a negative impact on productivity and engagement. According to a study in Harvard Business Review, people at high-trust companies report 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 76% more engagement and 40% less burnout.
Trust is the foundation of any relationship – especially those formed in the workplace. It is clear that most employees have the means of being just as productive from home as they do in the office, so their willingness to have a 4-day work week solely in-office may be driven by a desire to rekindle a trusting relationship with their boss than a concern for their ability to do the job.
The bottom line, however, is that as the prospect of a 4-day working week – remote, hybrid, or in the office – inches closer to reality, it is important for employers to consider how they can optimize this to attract, retain and motivate the talent their organization needs.
If you would like support with managing hybrid working policies, as well as solidifying trust into your organization’s culture, please get in touch with us here.
After recently examining the reality of unlimited paid time off (PTO), it got me thinking about the concept of ‘time off work’ as a whole. Having true time off work would (or should) mean that for the time that an employee has opted to take off, their responsibilities should be covered by another member of staff. However, the reality is, when people take PTO, they find themselves either cramming to do the work they are going to miss before they go, or rushing to catch up when they return.
A new study from Pew Research Centre confirms this, as it found that 48% of US workers have vacation days that go unused, and 49% cited that this was because they were worried they might fall behind on work. Another survey discovered that 40% of men and 46% of women said that just thinking about the ‘mountain of work’ they would return to after a holiday was a major reason why they hadn’t used vacation days.
What we are seeing is that paid vacation is translating to ‘the days someone spends away from the office’, when it should be ‘the time someone spends away’. PTO is meant to be getting paid for a day where you would be working – but if employees are doing the work they would have missed before and after their time off, it defeats the purpose. This isn’t time away, it’s just a shifted schedule.
Having true time away from work is vital for the wellbeing of employees and for ensuring that the quality of their output remains strong for the organization. Research shows that nearly three quarters of people who take time off work report better emotional and physical health, happier relationships, and improved productivity.
So how can employers create a culture of true time away from work which allows people to remove themselves and return with ease?
It is not all down to employers, however. Employees should try to plan their time off as much in advance as possible so that this transition can be as smooth for the company as it is for them.
If you would like to discuss PTO policies and workplace culture strategies, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at Brittany@orgshakers.com
Positive workplace ‘banter’ is a good thing.
Having a cohesive workforce and a strong workplace culture is something that all employers strive for. And friendly relationships in the workplace increase productivity, as employees are more committed, communicate better, and encourage each other. Banter can play a pivotal role in cementing these relationships.
There is, however, a fine line between ‘playful’ banter and what might be considered bullying and harassment.
Recent research found that a third (32%) of UK workers have experienced bullying masked as ‘banter’, while it is estimated that about 30% of the American workforce (which equates to roughly 48.6 million workers) feel bullied at work. And the number of employment tribunal claims citing allegations of bullying increased by 44% in 2022, which was a record high.
To mitigate the risk of this happening, regularly updated management training is essential.
The current workforce has the largest ever mix of generations working together, which means that lot of workplace banter risks being ‘lost in translation’ due to the fact that the boundaries of acceptability and what is tolerated have shifted so much across the decades. Consequently, what one person may intend as a joke, another may perceive quite differently.
Having managers who have been trained to understand what is acceptable means that they can diffuse these situations and act accordingly if someone feels that banter is going too far. But this training needs to be regularly updated as boundaries of acceptability are constantly shifting.
It is also vital that managers appreciate that cyberbullying is becoming much more common at work– especially with the rise of remote and hybrid working models.
Passive aggressive emails, pestering messages, and group chat banter can all result in employees feeling they are being put down, so it is just as important to establish positive online working policies in an evolving working world.
Finding the balance of banter at work can be difficult – but it is important to embed a culture of acceptance and inclusivity to avoid playful exchanges tipping over into bullying and harassment.
To discuss creating a positive and inclusive workplace culture in more detail, please get in touch with us.
Today’s economic and social climate plays a big role in perpetuating stress in the workplace. Executives who know how to leverage personal pressure while effectively managing stressed employees possess a vital skillset, particularly in a cost-of-living or organizational identity crisis.
For example, leaders who successfully practice healthy personal habits and foster wellbeing in their organization’s workforce hold a significant competitive advantage. Knowing how to manage their own feelings of stress can also increase an executive’s longevity in the demanding world of c-suite leadership.
The above global report recently found 41% of senior leaders were stressed, and 69% of executives were thinking about quitting because of their wellbeing. Therefore, effective stress management can be key for reducing executive turnover. And in the same breath, stress management in the C-suite will have a trickle-down effect on their company. The idea of ‘follow the leader’ rings true in today’s world of work – if the C-suite is experiencing burnout from stress overload, how can they also effectively mitigate the stress levels of those who work with and for them?
This article focuses on three of the actions C-suite leaders can take to leverage the tensions inherent in their roles as organizational leaders. For information around mitigation of stress in the workforce, check out our article here.
Savvy executives start by recognizing the difference between feeling stress and feeling pressure. A certain level of pressure and expectation is inherent in any executive role. This tension is often motivating and a beneficial by-product of personal and organizational success (e.g., company growth). When working in a high-stakes position, however, stress can easily mask itself as ‘just part of the job’, when this isn’t the case. By correctly identifying stress versus pressure, senior leaders can take advantage of tension-ridden scenarios through innovation, perseverance, and focus. They can rally flagging troops to achieve objectives and recharge themselves by accomplishing challenging goals or navigating rough waters. Conversely, failing to identify personal stress can result in questionable decisions, divisive behavior, and decreasing productivity and morale. Choosing the most effective path forward begins with correct identification of stress vs. pressure.
Stress management has been heavily researched, and a myriad of resources, training, techniques, and approaches exist, and this is because stress is known to have negative effects on the body and the mind. Chances are, most C-suite executives have studied and built their stress management skills over the course of their career. Executives can be experts in ways to mitigate stress in their organization while failing to prioritize their personal physical and mental health management. One study found CEOs work an average of 79% of all weekend days, 70% of their vacation days, and 62.5 hours per week. Knowing how to best mitigate stress helps lessen negative influence, but only if stress management is a scheduled, prioritized, and practiced part of an executive’s daily routine.
Successful executives schedule their health into their lives just as they would schedule shareholder meetings. Allocating specific time in the day to exercise, eat, and reflect is essential. There is no one set thing executives should do in the time they block out for themselves. Rather, it’s important to take that time and do something restful, rejuvenating, or just plain fun. Executives need balance as much as employees do, so establishing a clear work-life balance is instrumental to managing stress and mental health.
It is also important to remember that executives are role models – their behavior has a direct effect on the culture and tone of the company they oversee. If they are trying to promote values of mental and physical wellbeing while choosing not to comply themselves, their team will likely feel less comfortable asking for support or assistance when it is needed. The classic example? Coming to work when sick, but then encouraging staff to take the day off if they are unwell. This type of mixed message has a trickle-down effect on the organization and can elevate workforce stress levels.
While these actions may feel simple or obvious, getting started may not be easy. One path to greater personal and organizational wellbeing is through executive coaching.
Another is bringing a consultant on board to help identify effective health and welfare strategies. Taking action to intentionally manage stress and pressure can result in a domino-effect of improved productivity, organizational culture evolution, and improved attraction and retention rates.
Knowing how to manage stress at an executive level in a healthy manner can cascade down the hierarchy of your business and foster a healthy, happy, and productive workforce. To get in touch to discuss coaching for stress or implementing health and wellbeing strategies, please connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I have no doubt that most of us have come across the recent artificial intelligence (AI) phenomenon that is ChatGPT.
With software company OpenAI recently announcing the program’s next iteration (titled ChatGPT-4), there has been a lot of speculation around whether employers – and people in general – should be ‘freaked out’ by the expanding capabilities and eerie similarities to being human that this AI has.
However, is this simply just another tool that will help employees to work smarter rather than harder?
All throughout history, whenever a new piece of technology has been introduced that can do something that humans do but more efficiently and instantaneously, there has been hesitation and resistance.
When the calculator was initially introduced on a mass scale, it raised a lot of cause for concern from schooling systems as they feared that students wouldn’t learn how to do maths without the assistance of a machine. But as the calculator became integrated in everyday learning, it actually proved to expand the horizons of mathematics that was able to be taught at school level – it allowed students to attempt much more complex equations. And, by having one exam paper that remained ‘non-calculator’, this ensured that children were still being taught a suitable level of mental arithmetic to apply to everyday life.
The same thing happened years later with the introduction of Google and other search engines. All of a sudden information was at our fingertips, which sparked controversy around something that was labelled the ‘Google Effect’ (or digital amnesia), which theorised that because answers to all questions were now readily available, people stopped bothering to store any information in their brains.
Nowadays, across all sectors of work, the calculator and Google play vital parts for many jobs, and the idea of being without them would seem unbelievable. All they did was ensure that those doing their jobs were able to do so in a more efficient and time effective manner, all while saving them a lot of mental effort.
These were the first steps towards the age of working smart, and now AI-based technologies seem to be the next. Working smart has never been a bad thing – in fact, it usually boasts better and faster results for organizations. Employees are using tools and resources to achieve the best potential outcomes within an allotted time without having to overexert themselves and risk burning out.
And so, adopting this perspective, a program like ChatGPT may initially seem questionable considering its capabilities, but it should be viewed with the intention of making employees better and more equipped rather than replacing them altogether. AI is not perfect, and neither are people, but combining the two offers the best probability of producing near-perfect results. For example, AI is being used in the medical sector to help improve the accuracy of diagnoses. One recent study found that the new AI was more accurate when diagnosing cases than actual doctors, but noticed that doctors were better and faster at identifying common problems due to the volume and consistency at which they encountered them. This is why AI is used in conjunction with workers, as it is an extra tool that helps them work smarter.
Employers may potentially resist this implementation of AI and view it as ‘doing all the work’, but the reality is that there’s no point having an employee put in hours and hours to do a task that could be done in half the time with the assistance of AI and that produces stronger output. From a business perspective, using these new resources to their advantage will have profitable benefits, as well as social ones for staff.
What it boils down to is the age-old grapple of input vs. output mindsets. It is now an outdated view for an employer to believe that hard work is measured through the time someone puts in, as what should take precedent is the quality of output that is coming out. The world of work continues to change and evolve every day, and new technology is always going to be a part of this change, so it may be time for employers to stop worrying about how to get work back to the way it was, and instead start adapting to what it continues to become.
It is not uncommon to feel stressed at work, and so how employers manage this can be vital to ensuring that their teams are being supported so they can produce their strongest output. CIPD’s Health and Wellbeing at Work report found that four-fifths (79%) of companies reported some stress-related absences over the last year (and this figure rises to 90% for larger organizations).
So, what can leaders be doing to ward off these stresses?
Adopting these practices in your organization can be extremely beneficial to help proactively deal with stress in the workplace. With the working world continuing to evolve and grow in response to the pandemic and to economic fluctuations, ensuring that you have strong protocols in place to help employees manage stress is vital for the health and wellbeing of your people and your company. If you would like to get in touch about creating and implementing organizational strategies to combat stress, get in touch with me at email@example.com