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Ireland's Executive Talent Management Commentary 2012 - Back to the Future

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  • 1. ireland’s executive talent market commentary 2012Back to the Future –The link between talent, performance and future organisational successEmployee Value Proposition -Competing for Talent-----------------------------Navigating a Changed RewardLandscape-----------------------------High Performance Leadership -Is the Leader Performing?-----------------------------Shattering the Glass Ceiling hrm – the inside leadership series 2012
  • 2. contents: 01 introduction 04 article one Employee Value Proposition - Competing for Talent 07 article two Navigating a Changed Reward Landscape 11 article three High Performance Leadership - Is the Leader Performing? 14 article four Shattering the Glass Ceiling 17 final note introductionBefore the global economic crisis we Organisations will either adapt or cease to exist. Having been throughlived in a world of optimism and periods of cost cutting, hiring freezes and budget constraints, theambition. We expected a future of transformation challenge that businesses everywhere now face is gettingpersonal and economic growth, of back to having a future. A transition that means building confidence andsecurity balanced with risk, of enterprise developing the capacity to take on the challenges of new growth. Centraland development. Since the financial to this is the issue of talent.crisis in 2008, every generation in every Despite the continued rise in unemployment in many countries,developed country in the world has been organisation leaders and their HR teams know that a lack of the right skillsimpacted by the most difficult economic and personal competencies is the biggest obstacle to organisationalperiod since the Great Depression. For growth. With workforces generally aging fast and with little currentmany if not most, the journey to appetite for graduate recruitment, the competition for talent is rising in itsrecovery is far from over. intensity. Talent management therefore, will be a core strategy for years to come for any competitive organisation. hrm – the inside leadership series 2012
  • 3. 02 introductionireland’s executive talent market commentary 2012Back to the Future –The link between talent, performance and future organisational successOur 2012 commentary Back to the Future, proposes that Reward is naturally a key element of any talentorganisations of all shapes and sizes who wish to grow management strategy and rarely far from the minds ofmust get back to planning for a positive future. The leaders and HR specialists in these economicallythemes we reflect on here, relate to aspects of Talent constrained times. We invited leading compensationManagement and in each case we have invited subject consultant Pat Gurren of Gurren Compensation to shareexperts to share their perspective. how global organisations are currently re-designing their compensation systems to achieve a more effective rewardWe begin with Graham Morris, HRM’s Managing Director structure and the steps your company needs to take toon the subject of Employee Value Proposition (EVP). This maximise its value from this investment.coincides with the release by HRM of the largest surveyever conducted in Ireland on EVP. The research across ten While attracting, retaining and developing talent allprofessional categories and twenty industry segments require their own talent strategies, the overall goal is highlooks at the challenges of managing other people’s performance. We are delighted that one of the mostperception of your organisation as an employer and its interesting strategy consultants we have met on thisimpact on their decision whether or not to engage with subject, agreed to share his thoughts. Brian MacNeice is ayou as a candidate or as an employee. partner at Kotinos, who draw their intellectual propertyhrm – the inside leadership series 2012
  • 4. introduction 03on how to create a high performing organisation, directly HRM’s core differentiator is the outstanding judgment wefrom the source. Their research interviews span some of bring to our clients, borne from our commitment to highthe most exciting organisations in the world, from the All quality research. Our Research Team provides clients withBlacks to NASA and draws on the type of performance a range of services including executive research and talentinsights few of us ever get to see first hand. mapping. In addition, they support our own research agenda leading to the release of highly valued marketIn looking to the potential for untapped talent within reports throughout the year. “Showing a Lot of Promise –organisations, we asked former journalist and broadcaster What matters in your Employee Value Proposition”,Orlaith Carmody to pen some thoughts on the barriers released in February 2012 and available at www.hrm.ie isthat women all too often seem to face in their an essential guide to the steps organisations can take inorganisations. A communications expert, TV producer, order to achieve better quality talent pipelines and highermedia trainer and Non Executive Director at RTE, Orlaith levels of employee engagement. We hope you enjoy andworks with female executives on how to overcome glass find value in the content of our 2012 commentary. If youceiling obstacles and identifies a key step women can take would like to know more about any of the contributingto help realise their potential and drive the development authors, get in touch through the address below.of their own careers. Michael O’Leary | Chief Executive HRM Recruitment Group michael.oleary@hrm.ie hrm – the inside leadership series 2012
  • 5. 04 article onecommentaryIt seems paradoxical that talent Ireland’s employment landscape ismanagement should be such a critical changing more rapidly and morestrategic issue for companies in Ireland permanently than at any previous timeat a time when unemployment is and with it the skills and experiencerunning at its current level. Yet the demanded. As global markets becomecompetition to attract and retain more competitive and more challengingprofessional talent is as high today as - acquiring, developing and retainingexperienced just before the peak of the the skills necessary to achieveboom. This may well be because, organisation goals become central todespite the high numbers of organisational strategy.unemployed in Ireland, the CentralStatistics Office indicates that the In the first of our articles Competing forprofessional / technical / managerial Talent, Graham Morris, Managinggroup represents just 10% of the overall Director at HRM Recruitment GroupLive Register. While this is no comfort to talks about how Employee Valueanyone out of work, it explains why Proposition can boost your Talentsupply in professional labour categories Management Strategy. The articleis not as fluid as some might believe. To discusses how to make yourthis add current emigration levels, at or organisation more attractive to passive,around 60,000 to 70,000 people discerning talent in the external labourannually, of which the peak age range is market and increase commitment frombetween 25 to 44, an increasing current employees.majority of whom are Irish nationalsand the challenge becomes moreapparent.hrm – the inside leadership series 2012
  • 6. article one 05 Employee Value Proposition - Competing for TalentE mployee Value Proposition (EVP) in many ways, of talent pools with organisation goals and values. For shapes your organisation’s overall Employer existing employees retention levels are generally much Brand. Whether you apply strategic perspective or higher, while performance and effort also improve. Many simply ignore the subject altogether, by design or well known studies point to a clear correlation betweendefault your company has its own Employer Brand. EVP levels of employee engagement and cost of sales. Thetherefore, is how the external labour market characterises Employee-Customer-Profit Chain developed by the USyour organisation, it feeds the decision making process for department store chain and online retailer, Sears Roebucka candidate considering whether to apply or work for you. in the late 90’s, links Employee Value to Customer Value toFor your current employees, EVP represents the value or Shareholder Value. Engaged employees grow servicedeal an employee receives as a consequence of being experience and profit.employed by you. This “value proposition” is not limited tocompensation elements of their relationship with your We know employment relationships have both physicalcompany, but also includes many other factors, such as and emotional elements. While the former includesthe quality of your managers, the stability and success of “hard” aspects such as reward and working environment,your organisation, the kudos that may be attached for an emotional elements include the often more powerfulemployee by working for your company, the career “softer” characteristics of a workplace. For example, theopportunities you provide and the work/life balance you relationship with colleagues and the esteem in which acreate. person may be held by them, the satisfaction of a job well done and knowing that the effort and contribution anCompetitive organisations who develop clear and employee makes, actually matters, along with the belief inimplementable EVP strategies, report substantial tangible being part of a bigger worthwhile mission. We spend asreturns from their EVP activity and investment. These much if not more waking time with work colleagues as weinclude; greater access to passive talent, better alignment do with family and friends, so it is not hard to see how the hrm – the inside leadership series 2012
  • 7. 06 article oneemployee value proposition - competing for talentpsychological impact of our work can contribute to our The HRM EVP Report “Showing A Lot of Promise – Whatoverall sense of well being. matters in your Employee Value Proposition” covers all aspects of employee proposition including ”CareerIn the largest ever external survey on EVP to be conducted Development”. The top influencers in this category are thein Ireland, HRM undertook to evaluate what matters to perception of your “Organisation’s Stability” and theIrish professionals to the extent that it would attract quality of your organisation’s provision of “Performancethem to, or keep them at any particular organisation. Over Feedback”. Female respondents to the survey in particular10,000 people participated in the survey, the full results of regard this latter aspect as “Highly Important”.which published in February 2012, outline the keydeterminants that make up a strong EVP for any company. As recruiters, one of the most frequent mistakes we seeA comprehensive analysis of the responses is detailed in organisations make is mishandling the recruitmentthe report including how ten different occupation types process, often without even realising it. The top fourresponded, how needs change up the career ladder and a “Hiring Process” related factors that would significantlygender based breakdown. On that last point and linked to impact a professional candidate’s decision, whether or notan article later in this report by Orlaith Carmody, of the to accept a position with your organisation are:five career levels (Director - Functional Head - SeniorManager - Middle Manager - Specialist/Stand alone 1. The level of rapport between them and their likely newprofessional) that respondents to the survey were given to manager during the interview process.describe their current position, males outnumbered 2. The level of interest shown at interview by thefemales in percentage terms at the top three levels of interviewers.seniority by two to one. The ratio at the highest level 3. Timely communication throughout the recruitment“Company Director” between male and female process.respondents was almost four to one. Women only 4. Being met by a relevant senior manager at the firstoutnumbered male respondents at Middle Manager or meeting.below. As your organisation works to get back into the habit ofDeveloping an EVP strategy can be challenging as in effect planning for a successful future - particularly if you are inyou are dealing with the management of perception, the aftermath of headcount, compensation or operationalparticularly in terms of the external labour market. Ask cut backs - developing a sustainable EVP is essential. Anyourself how much today is known about your company? effective EVP simply reduces costs, improves talentWhat is being said about your organisation on the pipelines and grows performance. As you seek to commitinternet and not just as a place of work? What do your your employees to using their “discretionary” effort andcurrent employees say about your business when they get align them to your high performance goals, creating anhome to their families at night, or meet friends for overall “deal” that touches on all the elements of thedinner? From our EVP survey report, we can tell you that employment relationship makes total sense. In an articlethe top five organisation characteristics or behaviours later in this report, compensation consultant, Pat Gurren,that professional candidates identify as influential on the talks about steps you can take to create more value fromperception of your organisation as an employer are: the pay aspects of your total rewards programme. The contention made here is, that as your organisation seeks1. How your organisation shows respect for employees. to emerge from the global economic crisis, the ability to2. Your organisation’s approach to ethics. attract and retain the right talent will be essential. This3. Your organisation’s approach to quality standards. means understanding the total experience an employee4. Your organisation’s reputation with customers. or prospective employee has with your organisation and5. The level of employee empowerment that is the value they place on each and every element of that encouraged. experience.With these in mind, go back and ask yourself again thequestions contained in the previous paragraph. Graham Morris is Managing Director of HRM Recruitment Group. For more information, visit www.hrm.ie graham.morris@hrm.iehrm – the inside leadership series 2012
  • 8. article two 07 perfection Contingency & Retained Search, Contract & Interim Selection through 3 Practice Areas: professional services group science & technology group commercial & support group HRM Recruitment Group | p: (+353 1) 632 1800 | e: info@hrm.ie | www.hrm.iecommentaryGraham Morris’ article on EVP makes it It is in this climate, that organisations mustclear that performance and engagement is find methods to attract, grow and retainabout so much more than just high performing talent. In reviewing theircompensation. Yet, Reward remains a Reward systems, many companies havecentral component around which many HR learned that far from being at the heart ofstrategies are based. These are challenging driving their businesses, their “incentive”times for Reward professionals. Attitudes to pay barely related to individual output ormoney changes dramatically in a recession. organisation goals. Having been throughThose who risked capital to grow value in rounds of salary reductions, withdrawals ofgood times, are deemed to have received benefits etc., companies now face the mosttheir “just desserts” if all comes tumbling important change in their reward structure;down around them. With less disposable making it count.income available, employees often Against this backdrop, with growing competition for thequestion much more than just their rate of best talent and a need to justify every cent, HR, Line andpay. Society influences much of this shift. Reward managers must address this challenge. InConsider that the word “Bonus”, previously Navigating a Changed Reward Landscape, Pat Gurren andthe key link word between performance Brid Cudmore, Reward Consultants at Gurren Compensation, outline how to ensure the lessons ofand pay, now more associated with greed previous years are learned and steps to take to ensureand avarice. your Reward system drives future organisational success. hrm – the inside leadership series 2012
  • 9. 08 article two navigating a changed reward landscapeT he economic environment over the last three Signposts for successful navigation years has confronted organisations and HR professionals with reward challenges and 1. Stick with the knitting. The Total Rewards Model (see opportunities not experienced in over a Figure 1) still holds. We start with this premise as thegeneration. Organisations have dealt with these model that has both stood the test of time andchallenges or opportunities with varying degrees of continues to have the virtue of common sensesuccess. Some have surprised themselves with what has underpinning it. We know that come what may in thebeen possible to accomplish either because of, or in spite future, organisations will continue to need the abilityof, the economic environment. Here we seek to set out to attract, motivate, retain and most importantlysome signposts for organisations or HR professionals on engage their employees. The emphasis and applicationhow best to navigate the changed reward landscape. of particular elements of the reward strategy mayThese steps are drawn from our experience in the design change over time due to environmental factors butof compensation systems for many different fundamentally the model continues to apply.organisations in Ireland and overseas, facing a widevariety of compensation challenges and opportunities.hrm – the inside leadership series 2012
  • 10. article two 09Figure 1: Adapted from WorldatWork’s Total Rewards Model2. First things first. An organisation’s total reward b. Demonstrate clear linkage between every reward strategy can only be effective if it is integrated with programme implemented and how it fits with the and driven by the organisation’s business strategy, organisation’s business strategy, organisational organisational culture and overall HR strategy. One culture, HR strategy and overall reward philosophy. “blessing” of the economic turbulence over the last Typically, successful organisations are merciless in three years is that a lot of the “fluff” in terms of eliminating or not implementing in the first place, communicating and creating linkage between an programmes that do not fit overall business strategy. organisation’s business strategy, organisational culture c. Focus on reward strategy in a holistic manner and HR strategy was eliminated as organisations over the medium to long term. Reward professionals focused on survival. As the economic environment must have a clear vision of the desired end state for stabilises and begins to improve, organisations should the organisation’s total reward proposition. They resist the temptation to fall back into their old ways. should manage consistently in a strategic manner to Organisations that retain the ability to crisply achieve this end state. In the absence of this clear communicate and articulate both business strategy vision, it is easy to lose direction over time. and organisation culture, will retain a competitive d. Understand what employees value when it advantage as the foundation for both their HR and comes to reward. Organisations who have Total Reward Strategy will be robust. For example, they mechanisms (for example employee engagement or will have the ability to effectively link performance organisation climate surveys) to establish how related pay programmes to business strategy. employees perceive various reward programmes are best positioned to design an integrated reward3. It’s all about synergy. The individual elements of the strategy. It is particularly important that when Total Rewards Strategy (See Figure 1) are relatively employees are surveyed on how they value reward straightforward to design and implement within programmes that they are forced to prioritise organisations. The real challenge for an organisation their responses via forced ranking of preferences. lies in creating the synergy between all the elements (compensation, benefits, performance etc.) so that 4. Get the basics right. Reward professionals tend they work in harmony with one another. Creating this to be relatively conservative in nature. There is good synergy is easier said than done. Sustaining this reason for this which many organisations have learned synergy over the medium to long term in an ever the hard way during the economic downturn. Many of changing environment (internal and external) is even the elements of the Total Rewards Strategy are more difficult. Organisations who are the most structural in nature i.e. they have cost and/or legal successful in sustaining the synergy required tend to entitlement elements which once implemented are do the following; extremely difficult to dismantle or remove from the a. Focus on designing a finite number of reward total reward proposition. Furthermore as organisations programmes very well rather than designing an have also learned during the economic downturn, the infinite number of less relevant programmes. Reward cost of providing reward programmes is not as professionals must continuously challenge and decline responsive to economic cycles as they may wish. Going requests for new reward programmes that are either forward organisations should take the following unnecessary or incompatible with the overall total lessons into consideration when seeking to best rewards strategy or business strategy. manage the structural elements of their reward programmes; hrm – the inside leadership series 2012
  • 11. 10 article twonavigating a changed reward landscape a. Know the numbers. Reward costs tend to represent economic downturn organisations should ensure that a significant percentage of an organisation’s total they communicate their reward strategy effectively. In operating costs. Organisations and reward particular as organisations make changes or decisions professionals must be on top of these numbers. in relation to pay programmes, how these changes Companies need key metrics in place to monitor will be applied and the impact upon employees must performance in this area; Total Reward Costs as a be thought through and communicated thoroughly. percentage of Total Operating Cost, Total Reward Cost Communication is central to capitalising on the per employee, Year on Year Changes in reward costs, contribution that reward can play in enabling Variable Reward Cost as a percentage of Total Reward organisations to drive high levels of employee Cost etc. engagement. For high levels of employee engagement, b. Clarify the fixed versus variable percentage of its employees must perceive that their reward reward costs that best meets the business model of programmes are fair both internally (relative to the organisation. The variable element should flex up internal peers) and externally (equitable with the and down with the performance of the organisation. external market rates). How effectively the While variable pay programmes like bonus/long term organisation communicates its reward strategy is at incentive plans have been in place for decades, it is least as important as the quantum of the rewards surprising that in most organisations today the provided. variable pay element represents a very low percentage of the organisation’s total reward cost. In most cases As with life, times of great challenge and adversity test this percentage can be measured in single digit and teach us much more than times when all is going figures. There is a real opportunity for organisations well. As we emerge from the economic downturn it will be who wish to have more pay contingent on the tempting to put it behind us as soon as possible and get organisation’s performance to design this into the mix back to undertaking what we perceive as more “positive” so that future pay costs will flex more with economic initiatives. However, the challenge that reward conditions. professionals face going forward is how to ensure that c. Manage the structural elements effectively - these hard learned lessons are applied and maintained to salary ranges, merit matrices, job sizing/pricing optimise the success of their organisations in the future. processes. Some organisations found to their cost during the economic downturn that their salary ranges Pat Gurren is Principal Consultant and Brid Cudmore is a were no longer fit for purpose, range mid points were Senior Reward Consultant at Gurren Compensation, an not properly aligned to target market position and employees had been allowed drift up within the salary independent HR consultancy specialising in compensation ranges. The management of these “basics” is essential and benefits. See www.gurren.ie for more information. to the structural integrity of total reward cost management over the medium to longer term.5. Communication. One of the more interesting developments to emerge during the downturn is that in some organisations, employee engagement scores have increased considerably. At a first glance this may appear counterintuitive but on reflection it makes logical sense. In most cases this increase in employee engagement levels can be linked back to an increased level and improved effectiveness of communication within organisations as they grappled with surviving the challenges they faced. In the economic downturn many managers needed to put more emphasis on ensuring employees understood what was going on in their organisations and what performance levels were required of the employee. As we emerge from this facing changes? Interim & Contract Professionals from HRMhrm – the inside leadership series 2012
  • 12. article three 11commentaryIn a 2011 article global consulting firm McKinsey ask “Do you havethe right leaders for your growth strategies?” They investigatewhether there is a confirmed link between growth and specificleadership traits by comparing their own data on organisationgrowth performance, with a database of performance appraisalsbelonging to international search firm Egon Zehnder. Ultimately, theyarrive at the conclusion that “leadership quality is critical to growth,that most companies don’t have enough high-quality executives, andthat certain competencies are more important to some growthstrategies than to others.” It is for this reason that proportionatelyspeaking, the current volume of change at executive level in mostinternational recruitment markets is several times that of middlemanagement or lower.We understand in general what traits a good leader must In High Performance Leadership – Is the Leaderhave, depending on the challenges they face. But defining Performing? Brian MacNeice of Kotinos Partners talkswhat great leaders actually do to create a high about the results of his organisation’s research in to someperformance organisation is not always so easy. What are truly remarkable organisations. MacNeice’s own career asthe elements and activities that a leader brings, that drive a top management consultant with leading global firms,an organisation to greatness? along with his experience in sport as a Heineken Cup Referee and an Irish Cricket Selector gives him first hand experience of the essential dynamics that enable great organisational success. hrm – the inside leadership series 2012
  • 13. 12 article three High Performance Leadership – Is the Leader Performing?O ver the last seven years we have been 1. People change when their circumstances change – as researching the world’s greatest performance Darwin proved we are adaptive beings, shaped by our environments to help us develop a deep environment and will react or adapt accordingly. insight into what drives better performancefrom any group of people. The research has taken us all 2. Certain changes in circumstances will stimulateover the world from sport (New Zealand All Blacks), the improved performance in the population of peoplearts (Julliard School of Music, New York), military (US Navy impacted by those circumstances – this is a logicalSeals), science and technology (MIT and Harvard), conclusion from above. In other words if we arebusiness (Google) and many other examples of genuine shaped by the environment around us and adapthigh performance. Each year our research continues and accordingly surely there is a specific set ofour understanding deepens. We apply that thinking to our circumstances that can be created that will lead to awork with CEO’s, Leadership Teams and Executives to reaction called improved performance.deliver great outcomes for our clients. 3. Our role as leaders is to implement the specificThere is, however, a constant underlying premise that lies circumstances that stimulate improved performanceat the core of our research and is of profound importance in our population of people – if 1 and 2 are right thento any executive with responsibility for managing the natural progression of this theory is that anyperformance of people. leader (CEO, Senior Executive, Manager, Team Leader, etc.) has a duty to ensure that they create the rightThe premise comes in three parts: conditions in their environment that will lead to improved performance from the people within.hrm – the inside leadership series 2012
  • 14. article three 13If you are in a leadership role - executive, functional, or Promoting Development Through Effective Feedback – theyline – then a key part of your role is creating and create and foster a feedback rich culture.managing a high performance environment for thepeople under your responsibility. What our research has Measuring What Matters Effectively – they isolate andhelped us understand is that as a leader if you are not identify the measures that give an accurate picture ofcreating the right conditions for delivering better current performance in the areas that really matter andperformance from your people, then bottom line, you are they ensure these measures are effective.not doing your job! Creating Performance Pressure – they create mechanismsBut how do you go about setting the right environment to ensure that the performance pressure is strong withinfor performance in any group of people? This continues to the environment and there is no room for complacency.be the unique focus of our research. We have found thatgreat organisations are made, not born. They are made on Injecting Meaning – they develop a strong sense ofthe back of a set of organisational capabilities that, over purpose or meaning that drives people and this istime, are built into the DNA of the organisation and that reinforced through action not just words.lie at the heart of its performance environment. We havealso found that these organisational capabilities can be The core of every leadership role in any organisation isdeveloped by the leaders within the business to ensure about creating and maintaining the right conditions forthat better performance is delivered and sustained over people to deliver better performance. This is atime. fundamental and is non-negotiable. The performance pressure on every business today is greater than ever. AsOur research has shown that the same organisational we have found, great organisations are made not born.capabilities are common across virtually all of the high What are you doing to make your organisation great?performing institutions we have studied and more After all it is your job ...particularly they have been cultivated over time in adeliberate way by the leaders of these institutions. We do Brian MacNeice is a founder and Managing Director ofnot explore each capability in depth here – that is the Kotinos Partners Limited, a niche advisory firm workingfocus of a series of articles that tackle each one to help CEOs and their teams achieve sustained highindividually. However, the following is a summary of whatwe have found. performance. For more information, visit www.kotinospartners.com.Setting Unreasonable Ambition – the best institutions areconstantly setting and aiming for great challenges.Being Strategic – they have a clear understanding of thetwo or three things that matter more than anything elsein determining success.Maintaining High Standards & Expectations – they setridiculously high standards in the areas that matter mostand are explicit about what represents acceptable andmore particularly unacceptable performance.Being Decisive, Promoting Decisions – they build a culturethat allows, encourages and expects people to makeinformed decisions and take responsibility at all levelswithin the organisation. changing faces? Interim & Contract Professionals from HRM hrm – the inside leadership series 2012
  • 15. 14 article fourcommentaryThe environment in which organisations have foundthemselves over the last few years, has resulted in acontinuous need to drive to improve employee andorganisation performance. Necessity is the Mother ofreal talent analysis and petty biases are begining to beput aside. Yet while the level of female presence inboardrooms and senior management teams is slowlyrising, statistics show females still lag behind theirmale counterparts in achieving higher office.In any organisation today, how much talent sits untapped, In Shattering the Glass Ceiling, former journalist andsimply due to gender? How often does the very leadership broadcaster Orlaith Carmody discusses some of the subtlepotential companies seek to secure their future, remain communication elements that women need to adopt tooverlooked within, purely because it is female? Why do so propel their own careers. As a Non-executive Director andmany Irish companies today have no females on their leading media/communications consultant, Orlaithboard or in their CEO positions? Carmody argues, that organisational elements women often dismiss as irrelevant, such as internal politics are keyWhile the basis for this has historically been regarded as for them to embrace. And that there are manybeing down to institutional bias, many commentators opportunities available today for women to break throughnow suggest that it is in fact women who need to adapt to the highest levels, if they are prepared to investin order to thrive. The challenges are to understand, how thought and time in developing a strategy.frequently superior female people skills, can be developedto achieve more productive relationships betweenexecutives and help to work mutually through periods oforganisation conflict. That female executives, rather thanadopt the perceived stereotypical behaviours of their malecounterparts and risking the “ball breaker” tag, need tobalance their personal strengths more effectively withorganisation dynamics.hrm – the inside leadership series 2012
  • 16. article four 15 Shattering the Glass CeilingI was once told that you should publicise your plan but significant part, is our ability to relate, negotiate and keep your strategy secret, and it was good advice. A manage relationships. If we want to demonstrate that we plan is a stated commitment to growing sales, can manage people down the line, we must be able to increasing turnover, expanding the customer base or manage them up the line too.making it to management level. Proudly stated, a planshows drive, ambition and the existence of goals, all of Politics is not a dirty word – it is simply opening lines ofwhich imply career focus and direction and generally communication with decision makers within theimpress the management team. organisation. It is about building networks and finding ways to get your ideas aired in the right place, and to takeA strategy is a different thing entirely. It is more about the credit for things you have achieved. It is aboutmoves you will make today, quietly and often unnoticed, understanding where power comes from and how it canin order that the plan will fall into place tomorrow. It is be harnessed and used well.about having a clear picture of the end of the road, and anunderstanding of the twists and the turns that have to be Some people describe it as a bit like running for office, atnegotiated in order to get there. the office. That is, presenting your case in the best possible light to the best possible audience all of the time,The problem is that women often mistakenly think that not just when a job or promotion is coming up.spending time on this sort of thing is playing politics, andsomething that they don’t have the patience to dwell on. And it is also about confidence, the confidence to knowTypically, women focus on doing a job really well, and that we can employ skills we use in all kinds of real lifebelieve that this should speak for itself. situations every day, and apply them to the workplace. We expertly manage homes, parent-teacher relationships,But when Mary, who is running her department like community projects, elderly parents and a whole range ofclockwork, is passed over for promotion and John, running other commitments and we can easily do the same on thethe department next door – she would suggest not half as job.efficiently – gets the management job, Mary is leftwondering what on earth happened. Perhaps the answer Unfortunately, despite all the advances made towardsis that no one knew how well her department was gender balance in the workplace, studies are still showingrunning! While she had her head down attending to the that women have less career confidence than their malemicro, John was putting less time into the day to day, and counterparts. In a survey on the subject last year, only 50%his extra available time into the macro – his strategy of of women state that they have high career confidencenetworking and making sure that everyone important compared with 70% of men. And very interestingly, whileknew about all his achievements. over 20% of men will ‘chance’ going for a job or promotion above their skillsets, only 14% of women will have a go.Taking the John and Mary analogy further, in the tallbuilding with the slow lift John lurks in the foyer in the There is no magic wand that will create confidencemorning until he sees the CEO about to get in, and hops in overnight, or erase the ‘imposter syndrome’ that manybeside him for the ride up and the golden opportunity to women report – a feeling that they got the current job ortell him how well that project turned out. Mary is about promotion by accident and they are bound to be foundto get into the lift beside the CEO one morning, out soon. But by starting to campaign for your career, andcompletely by accident, but she pauses instead, checks gathering ‘votes’ from people that matter, you will beginsomething on her mobile phone, and catches the next lift to feel a small surge of confidence that can be theup instead. Why? Because she thinks she would have platform for further development.nothing to talk to him about - she doesn’t play golf, andhe hardly wants to hear how her kids are doing. By gathering ‘votes’ I mean working out the hidden lines of communication within an organisation, as opposed toThe change in mindset obviously needed here is that the formal lines of communication, and finding a way in;office politics is not an optional add-on to the job, it is the developing a personal ‘brand’ within the organisation;job. Skills and accomplishments are only part of what gets building relationships with people who may mentor you,us jobs in the first place. The other part, and a very or eventually even actively campaign for your hrm – the inside leadership series 2012
  • 17. 16 article fourshattering the glass ceilingadvancement; and creating visibility by taking on highprofile projects.There are still only thirteen women CEOs at the head ofFortune 500 companies in the US, but there has neverbeen a better time for women to make their mark.Worldwide research is showing that companies with morewomen in leadership roles are actually giving higherreturns. It seems that the more consensus building andcollaborative approach of women is coming into its own inthe current age, and the bottom line will always be a greatdriver.At home, a range of state board appointments advertisedsince 2009 have had a gender quota which made it veryattractive for women to apply, and in the UK the Daviesreview recommended that by 2015, 25% of the directorsof publicly quoted companies should be women.This is a time of great opportunity for women: womenwho believe they have a right to a place at the table –management, boardroom or political. You have theeducation, the skills and the experience. All you need nowis the mindset.Orlaith Carmody is a Director of Mediatraining.ie and sitson the Board of RTÉ. She runs a workshop for executivewomen, Shattering the Glass Ceiling. Details atwww.mediatraining.ie Great Minds (think apart) Contingency & Retained Search, Contract & Interim Selection through 3 Practice Areas: professional services group science & technology group commercial & support group HRM Recruitment Group | p: (+353 1) 632 1800 | e: info@hrm.ie | www.hrm.iehrm – the inside leadership series 2012
  • 18. final note 17final noteSince our inception over twenty years ago, clientshave trusted HRM to deliver the very best talentinto critical Senior Executive and MiddleManagement, Specialist and Senior Supportappointments.We are a single-source for a wide range of talentacquisition services including Contingency andRetained Search, Contract and Interim Solutions,Talent Mapping and Recruitment Outsourcing.Today our client base ranges across industries,from start-ups to global giants and is splitbetween Ireland, Western Europe and UK. Ourtalent reach however is global. Our internalresearch team and external research providersbuild on our unique understanding of clientneeds to deliver outstanding selection results.HRM’s investment in technology, in training andin selection tools means we can assesscandidates, not just for the immediate need, butalso for their likely future behaviour and stretchpotential. We seamlessly integrate process steps,market research and outstanding judgement togenerate unique insights and solutions for ourclients.HRM, an Irish Business with a EuropeanCustomer Base and a Global Talent Reach. hrm – the inside leadership series 2012
  • 19. HRM Recruitment Group,47 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin 2.p: (+353 1) 632 1800e: info@hrm.iewww.hrm.ie