How Executive Leadership Can Increase Employee Satisfaction

Satisfied employees are more productive and committed than their less engaged counterparts. While offering competitive compensation and benefits can contribute to employee engagement, company culture also impacts satisfaction.

As culture develops from the top down, leaders have the responsibility to create a workplace environment that is conducive to employee engagement. Here are a few ways leaders like you can directly influence your work culture to produce higher rates of satisfaction.

Set Employee-Centric Values

As a leader, you set the tone for the types of values that are upheld within your company. Employee engagement tends to go up when businesses establish a culture that places their needs at the center.

For example, companies can encourage innovation by supporting employee development and allowing autonomy over projects. Leaders must also foster a psychologically-safe culture where all team members can share their ideas without ridicule or fear.

You can establish psychological safety within your company by viewing failures as learning experiences. You should also explicitly state your values in your company-wide communications to reassure team members that a positive employee experience is a priority.

Invest in Employees

Employees are any company’s most valuable asset. Unfortunately, many businesses do not invest adequately in employee training and development. If you want to ensure that your employees reach their potential, you must incorporate opportunities for professional development into the work process.

For example, you can start workers on the right foot by implementing new employee onboarding best practices.  This includes offering mentoring opportunities, self-guided training modules, and team building.

Ongoing professional development training should also be extended to current workers. There are multiple ways to make learning accessible. You can subscribe to a corporate account with an online course provider or provide a stipend for professional development classes.

Offering opportunities for career progression is also essential for retaining talent. As part of the executive team, you can ensure that your company has a solid pipeline to develop promising entry-level workers into potential managers and leaders.

Encourage Two-way Communication

Most communications in organizations only go one way: ideas and directions come from the top, and worker input is rarely considered. In companies with strict roles and rigid hierarchies, employees may feel too intimidated to raise their concerns. As a result, issues may be left unaddressed until it is too late.

Leaders can change this dynamic by encouraging open communication between all workers. The best approach to facilitating a discussion will depend on your company’s culture.

You can create an office hours system where employees are invited to talk to higher-level management about their concerns.

Be a Role Model

In order for any company-wide initiative to succeed, leaders must align their actions with their efforts. You can spend time on the ground with every department to understand their work and show employees that their contributions are valued.

You must also demonstrate values that you hope to inspire in your employees. For example, acknowledging your mistakes and taking accountability gives all workers permission to do the same. Speaking to everyone with respect also helps foster an inclusive environment.

Measure and Evaluate Engagement

None of the initiatives mentioned above can be successfully implemented without an evaluation plan. You will need to assess current employee engagement levels and areas that can be improved. You will also need to perform ongoing evaluations to make sure that your changes are making the intended impact.

Some effective ways of assessing employee engagement include:

Interviews: Schedule one-on-one interviews with new hires and departing employees to get a sense of the first and last impression of your company. You can also gather information from current workers during performance reviews and less formal conversations.

Surveys: You can make use of your company’s communication channels such as email or project management software to send out short surveys to capture employee sentiment. Over time, you will be able to identify patterns that can inform your employee engagement programs.

For example, you may notice that employee satisfaction dips during busier periods. This can open a conversation about the support or system your team may need to improve their productivity.

Feedback: Give your employees several avenues to provide feedback. You can set up a virtual or in-person suggestions box or incorporate feedback sessions at the end of every project.

Indicators: Work with your human resources team and managers to identify reliable indicators for employee engagement. While these may vary by industry, common benchmarks include turnover rates and absenteeism.

Leadership Security

Why Great Business Security Requires Great Leadership

There can be no doubt that security is something that all modern businesses need to take seriously. The more that companies have embraced technology and the digitisation of the way that they work, the more opportunities have been created by cybercriminals to take advantage of them. 

However, if businesses are going to take their security seriously, they need to have a leader at the helm who understands how to. In this article, we will take a look at how high-quality leadership plays a big role in the overall security of a business. 


Security is top down

It should first be recognised that leaders play a vital role in the security of their organisation. You need to consider security as something that is top-down – if those at the top aren’t taking it seriously, how can other members of staff be expected to take it seriously? Leaders have a key role to play in keeping the company secure, and it starts with taking all of the same measures and precautions that are expected from other members of staff.

This means that if rules are set about personal devices not being allowed to be used for viewing company documents, this is expected of the leadership team too. Similarly, leaders should expect to have to follow all of the same protocols and procedures as the rest of their team including powerful passwords and multi-factor authentication.


The need to get everyone involved

Many businesses make the mistake of assuming that cybersecurity is something that can be left to the IT team. Of course, it is important to have specialists in your team who can make plans and advise on issues of cybersecurity. But in reality, it is impossible for modern businesses to have effective cybersecurity measures in place if the whole company isn’t taking it seriously.

This is something that business leaders need to impress upon the rest of the team. And there are actually many ways that leaders can influence how the team approaches cybersecurity. For example, as a part of the hiring policy for your business, you could make it essential for everyone to have at least some cybersecurity knowledge. 

Additionally, you can implement a team training policy to make sure that everyone understands the specifics of their role in good cybersecurity. 


Security budget must be significant

Another factor that plays an important role here is the fact that in modern business, good security needs a budget. If the leadership of the company isn’t aware of the kind of expense that needs to be put into security, they can leave the business completely unprepared for the kinds of attack that they will face.

The fact is that cybercriminals have become far more sophisticated and well-funded in recent years. Ultimately, this means that the kind of security measures that were effective in years gone by simply won’t cut it anymore. Good leadership means knowing where to save money and where it is essential to spend money – security is a great example of that.


Hiring staff can be a challenge

One of the major challenges in any aspect of hiring staff is in getting the wages right; attractive enough to entice the best possible employees, but also sensible enough that the hires aren’t unaffordable. However, cybersecurity is one area where this problem is even more significant than in most sectors. 

There is an ongoing crisis known as the cybersecurity skills gap. The reality is that demand for cybersecurity professionals has skyrocketed in recent years, and the jobs market has simply been unable to keep up with it. What this means is there are significantly more cybersecurity vacancies than there are experienced professionals ready to fill those vacancies.

The result is that wages for cybersecurity professionals have been pushed up to the point where hiring an in-house cybersecurity team simply is not financially viable for many companies. This is significant because it requires a great business leader to make key decisions about staff hiring. In some cases, it can be a better decision to outsource staff.


The effect of remote working on security

It should be noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge effect on the way that we work, and this in turn has affected security. Perhaps the most obvious change has been the rise in working remotely. Remote work has become expected as a standard way of working for at least some workers. 

“With remote working the new norm, it’s easy to slip into bad habits,” says Juliette Hudson, SOC Team Lead at cybersecurity specialists Redscan “however, with cyber security risks being greater than ever and remote workers lacking office protections, it’s important to maintain a high, if not higher standard, of security awareness.”

Once again, the onus is on having leaders in place who understand that remote working of course has its benefits, but it comes with challenges that need to be faced as well.


Loyalty and team spirit is a part of security

It should also be noted that leaders have another way to affect the overall security of the business, and that is in the team atmosphere that they create. It is not enough that your team needs to have a good understanding of cybersecurity, they must also be motivated to protect the company from cybercrime. 

Great leaders can foster a great team spirit and loyalty amongst members of staff. This atmosphere is important in keeping the team together and ensuring that they work in the best interest of the business. 


There are so many factors to good security and it is impossible to leave the task to just a few members of the team. Instead, it should be recognised that leaders have a huge role to play in how they shape the team to respond to cybercrime, but also in the intangibles that make up a huge part of day-to-day security measures. 

Great business leaders must not only understand the need for security, but they must also be willing to use their influence to create a culture of good security practice across the company. 

CEO Coaching

Achieve Business Marketing Success Through CEO Coaching

What do Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt, and Roger Enrico have in common? Aside from heading some of the biggest companies in the world (Apple, Google, and Pepsi), they all sought CEO coaching in the pursuit of excellence. They understand the value of staying open to new ideas even when you reach the top. If you wish to achieve business marketing success, consider getting a highly respected coach in your industry. 


A Great Deal of Progress, a Long Way to Go

Coaching for business leaders started to take off in the late 1980s. They kept it a secret to avoid a perception of weakness. Today, many CEOs routinely tout the value of coaching, such as learning about valuable marketing strategies. These may include using promotional products, like those offered by Promotions Warehouse. Yet surveys show that only a third of current CEOs are receiving guidance, suggesting that full recognition still has a long way to go.


What CEOs Gain from Business Coaching

Business leaders are busy. It is easy to understand why they want to focus on core tasks instead of sitting through coaching sessions. However, the evidence points to an abundance of benefits. If you are still on the fence about coaching, read the list below to learn more about what you might gain. 


1. An Outsider’s Perspective  

Employees are careful when talking to their bosses. Even if they have criticisms, they tend to soften their words to avoid offense and protect their positions in the company. They might even heap praise on higher-ranking executives to climb the corporate ladder. While this might be great for the ego of the CEOs, it does not help them get better. Coaches offer an outsider’s perspective. They can help identify blind spots and provide constructive criticism. 


2. A Higher Level of Self-awareness

Coaches ask probing questions. The answers can light a path between where you are now and where you want to be at different periods. You can pinpoint the roadblocks and find ways to remove them. You can increase awareness of your strengths and weaknesses. Figure out how to leverage the former and address the latter. Self-awareness is key to growth. 


3. A Greater Capacity for Empathy

No matter how talented, a CEO cannot do it all. They must lead the people in the organization. They will be more willing to follow if they see a leader who listens to their concerns and makes an effort to extend help. Through coaching, executives can increase their empathy for others which, in turn, should help them form better policies at work. 


4. Increased Emotional Intelligence

Leading a company is stressful. CEOs must achieve goals, report to shareholders, manage the board of directors, and keep employees happy. The best ones know how to handle stress. Despite the immense pressure, they can regulate their emotions and stay calm. They remain logical to prevent internal friction and irrational decisions. If you find this difficult, look for a coach who specializes in the subject. 


5. Decisive Leadership

Many problems don’t have a single obvious solution. Instead, there are several competing ideas with their pros and cons. Leaders must weigh all the factors and listen to different points of view. However, they will have to make the final decision and take responsibility for their actions. It may not please everyone, but they must stand by what they think is right. Coaches can help CEOs reduce indecision and improve their ability to convince others. 


6. Enhanced Speed of Adaptation

Things can happen quickly in business: a successful product may falter due to disruptive technologies, and markets may close due to geopolitics. CEOs must be flexible enough to adapt to the changing situation. They must let go of ideas that are no longer working and continually push for progress. It is hard for those who grew up with certain traditions, but nothing is impossible with an open mind. 


If you are facing business marketing challenges, look for solutions you have not tried before. Ask for help from highly respected individuals such as business coaches. They have a wealth of experience working with executives and entrepreneurs. With their guidance, you can acquire valuable skills and turn things around for your company.

Blue person is connected with employees by wide network of lines.

Leadership vs Management: What Managers Can Learn to Transform Themselves into Leaders

The terms ‘management’ and ‘leadership’ are often used interchangeably in business, but they are not the same. Both phrases represent different roles charged by different motivations, approaches, and aims.


To be successful in business, you must be able to differentiate between the two terms and decide which is best suited to your qualities. While both roles are important, being a leader is frequently regarded as better than being a manager, so you should allow yourself the opportunity to take those steps up the ladder.


Let’s look at exactly what each role entails and how you can transform yourself from a manager to a leader.


Dictionary definitions



  • the action of leading a group of people or an organisation.




  • the process of dealing with or controlling things or people.


The qualities of a manager

As the manager in a business, you more than likely respond reactively as opposed to proactively; a situation plays out in front of you, and you’re forced to determine the best course of action based on the results you see. This could be in relation to a staff member calling in sick on a busy day, a customer making a complaint, or a marketing strategy that failed to generate a buzz.


Your primary focus on a day-to-day basis is to organise, control, and direct what’s happening in the present, leaving little to no time to concentrate on moulding the future. A leader, on the other hand, has a distinct idea of what the next week, month, or year needs to look like, and what needs to happen to turn the vision into reality.


Instead of employees ‘following’ you, they ‘work’ for you, which can be the difference between a business that thrives short-term and one that excels long-term. If your staff aren’t regularly inspired and motivated by the way you handle business, you’ll struggle to get the most out of them, and your results will suffer.


What motivates a manager

Managers tend to strive for effectiveness over efficiency, meaning you’re focused on achieving a great result no matter what it takes. Contrastingly, leaders work towards that same great result, but they discover how to achieve it in a way that wastes the least amount of time, money, and resources.


You probably use the concept of ‘rewards and punishments’ when it comes to motivating your staff, which is associated with a transactional style of management. This might be effective for a while, but you might soon discover that your employees stop responding. A leader’s method is usually transformational over transactional, so they’re more fixed on encouraging, inspiring, and helping employees to be better.


The qualities of a leader

Business leaders take charge of potential issues before they’ve had the chance to arise. If you already have solutions in place for potential disasters – even if they may never happen – your business will be stronger. Promoting change instead of reacting to change demonstrates who’s completed a meaningful business management degree that has appropriately prepared them to be a business leader of tomorrow.


It’s important you set guidance instead of instructions, as doing so will equip your staff with the necessary knowledge, confidence, and skills to make important decisions without always looking to you to make the final call. You can’t be in more than one place at a time!


The day-to-day responsibilities of a leader include creating a positive environment that motivates, influences, and empowers the people around you. While a manager is focused on controlling and directing, a leader is focused on teaching.


What motivates a leader

Leadership involves the desire to create value, whether that be in situations or in people. Of course, to maintain a successful business you need a structure in place, and there are rules and regulations that staff must follow. The most effective way to ensure that everything is working in unison is to generate an environment where everyone feels valuable, heard, and understood.


Ultimately, a leader is a role model to their workforce. You must be the type of person you want your staff to aspire to be. Be courageous and positive, and always keep the bigger picture in mind. “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell.


Who’s leading the way right now?

If you’re in need of some inspiration, study some current business leaders and mirror some of their traits and qualities. Reed Hastings (Chief Executive Officer of Netflix), Tim Cook (Chief Executive Officer of Apple), and Jeff Weiner (Founder and Chief Executive Officer of LinkedIn) are all fantastic examples of how to perfectly execute a leadership role. The success of their individual businesses is unquestionable.


Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, is another business executive that’s often described as a fantastic transformational leader. Sandberg is known for setting high expectations, encouraging people to reach their goals, and praising her staff for carrying out good work.


Key takeaway points for managers who want to be leaders

There’s nothing wrong with being a standard manager… but think of all the success you could enjoy as a leader! If you’re ready to take that all-important step up, you must adopt a different outlook on business. Make decisions based on the future and the people, not the present and the numbers.


A business that’s over-managed and under-led is a recipe for disaster, so you must find an appropriate balance between the two styles. Not only will it be beneficial for you but also for your colleagues, staff, and the wider business.


What to Include in Your Professional Training Platform

As businesses increasingly look for ways to invest in their employees and stay competitive, professional training companies have become an essential partner.

That means professional training platforms have become an essential tool.

Working with a team from different locations and offices can be difficult. Furthermore, not every person has the time to go through training programs independently. Thus, finding the right professional training platform for your business is essential.

Ease of Use

A professional training platform should be intuitive and easy to use. The user interface should be designed so that users can quickly find the resources they need. The platform should also provide various interactive features, such as forums and chat rooms, to help users engage with the material. In addition, the platform should offer a robust search function so that users can easily find the information they need.


Any professional training platform needs to be compatible with the company’s existing systems and software. By doing this, businesses can avoid any disruptions or slowdowns in productivity that could occur while employees learn to use new tools. Furthermore, it allows businesses to take advantage of their existing investment in technology and ensures that any new platform will work well with the company’s existing processes and protocols.


A professional training platform needs to be able to scale up or down as required to meet the demands of the business. If a company is proliferating, the platform must be able to accommodate increased traffic and user numbers. Similarly, if a company is downsizing, the platform should be able to adjust accordingly. A training platform can ensure that businesses always have access to the needed resources by scaling up or down as needed.


Any good professional training platform should come with comprehensive support from the vendor. The vendor should be able to provide support in multiple ways, such as through live chat, phone, and email. They should also have a diverse knowledge base that learners can use to find answers to their questions. Furthermore, the vendor should offer regular updates to the platform to ensure it remains up-to-date with the latest industry trends.

Video Player

A training platform should include a video player that allows learners to watch videos in a way that’s easy for them to use. With so many different devices and screen sizes, it’s essential to have a video player that can adjust to fit any learner’s needs. A responsive video player will ensure that your content is accessible to everyone, regardless of their device or screen size. In addition, a video player with built-in controls will allow learners to pause, rewind, or fast-forward as needed. This will enable them to review specific video sections and ensure they understand the material.


Certification means that the platform has been verified as being effective and reliable. This can be important for businesses that want to ensure that their learners receive the best possible training. Certification can also give individuals confidence when using a platform, knowing it has been tested and approved. There are several ways to obtain certification for a training platform. You can contact the company directly and ask about their process or look for independent reviews or testimonials from users who have gone through the process themselves. You can also check with professional organizations that offer certification for similar platforms.

Customizable Branding

A training platform can significantly improve your brand\’s visibility and attract new customers. By offering customizable branding, you can ensure that your platform reflects your company\’s values and mission. You can also use branding to differentiate your venue from other training providers. This also allows you to create a consistent brand experience for your users across your training programs. This will help increase learners’ engagement and provide a valuable training experience.


A training platform should be accessible from any device, including laptops, smartphones, and tablets. The platform should allow trainers to upload their PowerPoint presentations, videos, and other course materials. It should also provide a way for trainers to interact with participants and answer questions in real-time. By offering a training platform accessible from any device, trainers can reach a larger audience and deliver more effective training programs.

Native Authority for Content

A training platform should have a native authority for content, meaning that the content is created by experts who are familiar with the nuances and subtleties of the subject matter. A native authority also provides quality control, ensuring that only accurate and reliable information is presented to users. In addition, a native authority can help to build trust among users, as they will know that the content they are receiving is from a reliable source.

Social media has changed the way we communicate, and it is also changing the way we learn. Professional training platforms are now available that allow users to access course materials and interact with instructors from anywhere in the world. This flexibility is essential for busy professionals who cannot afford to take time away from their careers to attend traditional classes.

business people sitting at table congratulating colleague with promotion

What are the Characteristics of Great Business Leaders in a VUCA World?

By Thom Dennis, CEO of Serenity In Leadership

Businesses are facing constant additional challenges arising from climate change, austerity, Brexit, the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the increasing movement of uprooted people, unexpected competition, new technology and surprising disruptors, and the consequences of a crippled supply chain along with the cost of living crisis. This means that many are grappling with stress, fear, instability, insecurity and anxiety in an increasingly uncertain world, and it is clear why we need inspiring and dependable leaders in business to rise from the ashes to motivate and lead by example with determination and compassion.


Whilst the characteristics of a great leader during VUCA times may be bespoke to every business, the skills we need now in 2022 are different to what they were. Many herald Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy as a great political leader, with his excellent communicative skills and extraordinary courage, but what are the characteristics of great business leaders in a VUCA world?


  • An ability to convert anxiety into energy. This means establishing what anxieties there are within the business and addressing them on a one-to-one basis or as a group. Feeling isolated or unheard, or a lack of clarity creates anxiety. Leaders who are transparent, share a common goal and grow team spirit can move this anxiety to energy, and the expression of their own energy is so important because people will respond positively or negatively to how they are. The more self-aware they are, the more successful they will be.


  • Having an understanding of what the glue that joins us together is. Trust and transparency are usually at the heart of this, as is having a powerful sense of purpose. We need to really believe in what we are trying to do, it gives us a feeling of belonging and motivates us. When everyone’s contribution is acknowledged to be of great importance, when we share a vision and we feel valued, that is when the magic happens.


  • Principled. We have recently been reminded of the misuse of power by those in authority who are supposed to be pillars in society from the government to the police, so workers are increasingly looking for leaders who have integrity, morals and values. Leaders need to adopt a strong but always principled line when creating solutions and taking action, by welcoming employee feedback, listening to critics, building a system of reviews, being self-aware, and addressing concerns of power play and misuse of power quickly.


  • Compassionate. Employees want and crave good leadership and need managers and the C-Suite to deal with employee uncertainty and health issues with compassion and empathy. Great leaders are not only strong communicators but empathetic listeners and employee-centric. 


  • Flexible and agile. These characteristics almost go without saying but they can’t be missed out. In a fast-changing world, good leaders more than ever need to learn fast, have an ability to adapt and not be afraid of the challenges associated with moving situations. Rigidity is likely to affect the bottom line and the company culture, and mean missed opportunities.


  • Courageous. Being brave does mean taking risks but not being reckless. Courage comes from vulnerability and using intuition, compassion and empathy. It comes from the heart.


  • Being a people person. Being amongst the people, making connections, building relationships and understanding at grassroots level what is happening results in better trust at a group level, and enables better understanding, enlightenment and personal development at an individual level.


  • Knows the value of amicable cooperation. Leaders who are simply trying to ‘get back to normal’ are actually ignoring the realities of what has changed and what is still to come, rather than focusing on planning by strengthening the team and creating a culture of cooperation towards individual, team and business goals. Conflicts can stop businesses in their tracks and result in loss of talent. Amicable cooperation (that is never coerced) fast-tracks solutions. Empowering others so that you have a team around you who can offer alternative solutions and thinking also means sharing the responsibilities.


  • Never set unachievable targets. Being given unachievable targets can play havoc with our wellbeing, motivation and health. When times are harder we need the wins more. Breaking down targets, making them realistic and celebrating achievements as a team will produce further rewards and wins.


  • Being a bespoke leader. Some businesses may be looking for pathfinders and guides, others need commanders and more still want pilots to guide them through VUCA times. Whatever the bespoke requirement, there is no space for self-deprecating leaders, but equally egotists create conflict and poor communication. Leaders definitely need to lead in 2022 and use their critical thinking to evaluate, be logical, decisive and fair.

Thom Dennis, CEO of Serenity In Leadership
Thom Dennis, CEO of Serenity In Leadership

How to Support your Team through the Cost-of-Living Crisis

With energy bills, petrol, and the cost of food all escalating at extreme rates, it is likely that your team is going to be impacted by the current cost of living crisis. As a CEO, it is crucial that you support your team during this time, not only for them but for the health of your business. People are likely to be affected in many ways and it is important to remember that there will be mental health struggles as well as financial ones.

Here are just some ways that you can help.


It goes without saying that a pay increase would undoubtedly help right now. If this is possible for your business, then implement it as soon as you can. Understandably, this isn’t an option for all businesses. Whether you can increase pay or not, be sure to use robust payroll software to guarantee everyone is paid accurately and on time. This will become increasingly important as the cost of living continues to rise. Using such a system may also increase your company’s financial well-being in the future which could in turn benefit staff later down the line.

Salary Sacrifice

Salary sacrifice, often used for pensions, is a way for employees to pay for things via the company payroll. In doing this, the amount of tax paid is reduced meaning employees can save some money. If you are currently offering this for pensions, why not offer it for more services? It can also be used for transport, health care, and phone plans too.


Although it is not a tangible benefit, allowing employees the maximum flexibility possible can be very helpful during this time. Many people will be looking to cut down their living costs; this could include fewer trips in the car to use less fuel or reducing the number of hours their children are in childcare. Allowing people more flexibility to work around their life commitments or to work from home could help them to cut costs.


Providing your team with financial education can be invaluable during a time like this. As we don’t typically learn about finances in school, being taught how to budget and manage potential debt is something that lots of people may find useful. Before arranging this, be sure to check with the team that is something they would benefit from. If it is not, then the money you were going to spend on it can be better spent elsewhere.

Promote Honesty

There are often times when people are struggling but they don’t feel they are able to be open and honest about it. This is particularly true for financial issues due to the stigma around discussing money. Removing this stigma and encouraging people to talk freely about finances and any problems they may be having is a great way to ease stress and offer support.

How to Prepare Yourself to Be a Great Business Leader

If you dream of someday running your own company or becoming the CEO of an existing company and standing tall in your field, the time to prepare for that future is now. Every great leader is different from those who came before and from their contemporaries, an originality of vision is one of the things that helps them rise to the top, but they all share certain qualities that you can begin cultivating today.

Read About the Greats

Read some books about current and recent leaders in their fields, and the top qualities of successful CEO’s and leaders, but don’t stop with contemporary accounts. Many have been writing books about leadership for as long as they have been writing at all, and we are fortunate enough in the 21st century to be able to look back at the work of the ancients as well, such as the work of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius or the Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu, whose “Art of War” is embraced by business people today. Read widely beyond these books as well; having a broad base of knowledge about many things will give you perspective and wisdom.

Go to School

A bachelor’s degree is a great start to your business education, especially as you may need to build on it later with an MBA or a similar degree in order to advance into an executive position. Education isn’t getting any cheaper, but a student loan can be a great way to pay for college. You don’t have to start repaying it until you graduate, and you can look for a loan that offers low interest rates and a repayment plan that you are happy with. In addition to studying business, try to take a wide variety of elective courses in various subjects so that you get a well-rounded education.

Learn to Communicate

Great leaders are great communicators but being good at persuading and inspiring is just one element of communication. You also need to learn to be a good listener too. Tact matters as well. People are going to come to you with all kinds of ideas and all kinds of complaints, and it’s a skill to learn how to make them feel heard without necessarily agreeing with what they are saying to you. Working with student clubs, taking a speech course, and checking out your local Toastmaster’s organization are all good ways to improve your communication skills.

Start Leading

Take every opportunity you can now to establish yourself as a leader. As a student, you may be able to mentor other students. Run for an office in your student government or in clubs that you are a part of. Look for opportunities to get involved in community organizations as well.


Networking is one of the key skills you’ll need to develop, and this is something you can start now as well. An internship as a student is a great way to get to know people, but you can also network with your professionals, fellow students and even professionals in the community. Developing a professional online presence is another great way to connect with people in the field you want to work in.

Gender Equality

Leading the Way to Gender Diversity

With over 18 years’ experience in finance and operations, Emma Charsley, Chief Operating Officer of management consultancy, Vendigital, has gained a wealth of expertise whilst supporting growing businesses in a variety of sectors.  It is no secret, however, that being female in a male-dominated profession brings its challenges, so how has she navigated her way to the top and what has she learned along the way? CEO Monthly spoke with Emma to find out more about how she is helping to promote diversity and inclusion in the professional services sector. 


Why did you choose a career in finance and operations?

I was fortunate to be the financial director of a Young Enterprise Company whilst doing my A-levels. I loved it and decided this was the career for me. After my degree, I gained an ACMA qualification and worked with several food businesses during the early part of my career, always with an emphasis on performance accounting. After working for a range of successful, fast-growth companies, it became clear that I thrived on introducing the right level of processes to drive effective business management and helping to solve challenges on a daily basis.


How was your role as COO evolved?

From the start, my role has spanned both finance and operations, very much focusing on driving business performance and increasing enterprise value. It is clear that the role of data has become increasingly critical to business performance – helping to set clear KPIs and report against them. As my career has evolved, fact-based decision making has changed the way Boards operate in a positive way. The breadth of management information that senior executives now have access to allows businesses to be more adaptable, as seen during the Covid-19 pandemic. At Vendigital, our adaptability allowed us to lead the business in a different way and adapt our practices when required.

While my career has involved working for businesses in many different sectors of industry, it is remarkable how many similarities there have been in terms of the challenges and opportunities they faced. It is interesting to see how transferable the skills are between professional services and consumer operations.


How important is it for professional services firms to promote gender diversity at all levels?

Promoting diversity and inclusion is important for every business, including professional services firms. As management consultants, the workforce at Vendigital is in a unique and privileged position; driving change and influencing the direction of businesses across multiple industry sectors. A diverse workforce makes room for more critical and creative thinking, leading to the better outcomes for clients. Project or business teams can get caught up in group thinking, missing a more holistic approach to problem solving. This is where a diverse workforce can help – different minds will pick up different details. Demonstrating leadership and taking on strategic roles are realistic goals for all, regardless of gender, ethnicity or socio-economic background. It has been great to see businesses start to realise the commercial value that comes from diverse teams.


Has being a female ever held you back in industry?

I have never considered gender an important factor in influencing the trajectory of my career. That said, it is hard not to notice if you are the only female in the room. Being the only woman can sometimes be intimidating, and with that comes an added pressure to continually prove yourself. Despite this, being different can be a positive – like having a superpower. I believe this has helped me to find innovative solutions to business problems and to challenge the binary thinking that comes from teams that lack diversity.


What advice would you give to young women pursuing a board-level career in finance or operations?

There are various avenues to explore and lots of opportunities available. Managing a company’s finance and operations is an exciting career path, which will suit people who have a natural curiosity and an in-built interest in capturing business data and using it to problem solve and create opportunities for growth. It is important to approach your career in the right way – I have found that having a structure is most valuable and helps provide a sense of progression. Qualifications provide the perfect building block for your career, and then, for business and finance roles, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) offers qualifications that provide a good grounding in finance and business management.


Can having gender role models or mentors help?

The old adage ‘if you can see it, you can be it’ definitely rings true. Mentors can help inspire and show the next generation of business leaders what is possible. It is important that when you are starting out, you can see somebody you admire – male or female – someone who is encouraging and recognises your potential. I enjoy and have found it rewarding to share my own experience with talented young people and support them on their career journey.


Any other words of advice for those starting out in their careers?

There are two pieces of advice that I have carried with me throughout my career. Firstly, someone always has to go first, if you cannot find a role model, be the trailblazer for other women in your position. Secondly, there is a big difference between taking a break and giving up, and don’t feel that you have do everything in a linear fashion. Young people should treat their career as a marathon, not a sprint – promoting wellbeing is an important part of succeeding at life and sometimes there is merit in taking a break to come back rejuvenated. Everybody’s journey should be unique and suit their individual circumstances, that way you will be successful both professionally and personally.

Market Research Executives

The CEO’s Guide to Hiring Market Research Executives: 8 Dos and Don’ts

Marketing researchers play an essential role in the business. They provide valuable data and information that validates offerings, provides a better understanding of customer behavior and preferences, and ensures that resources are allocated appropriately.

A Marketing Research Executive should have a balance of analytical decision-making skills and strong team management and interpersonal skills. Here’s a practical guide to help you hire the right market research executive for your firm.


Do Take Time to Clarify the Role

Take time to clarify the role and develop a job description that justifies the expense of hiring a market research executive. There are advantages and disadvantages to building an in-house market research team. It’s essential to analyze the costs of supporting an executive role against the expenses of outsourcing to a market research firm. It’s also important to clarify whether the in-house market research executive will have a budget to outsource certain tasks as needed.

Clarify the skills and qualifications you expect for the executive market research role. Some notable qualities include:

  • Project and team management
  • Budget management
  • Strong data analysis skills
  • Understanding of statistics and mathematics
  • Knowledge of sociology and psychology


Work with HR to translate these skills into educational and experience qualifications relevant to the field and your industry.


Don’t Forget to Look In-House

Don’t forget to look at your existing employees before starting the recruiting process. Talk to key stakeholders in the business to determine if anyone in your organization has the potential to fill the role. For example, a senior marketing employee with in-depth knowledge of your products, existing customer base, and brand could be well suited for promotion.

You may still decide to post the role internally and externally. However, promoting from within can reduce hiring costs and improve employee engagement, making it worthy of consideration.


Do Put the Right Panel in Place

Assemble a hiring panel to provide different perspectives and share the workload throughout the hiring process. The committee should consist of key business stakeholders adjacent to the market research role— yourself, the CFO, and the head of HR, for example. It’s also worth considering the value of working with an executive recruiting consultant to navigate the process.


Don’t Micromanage the Process

As market research plays such an imperative role in the business, it’s natural to fear a loss of control or wasted resources. Don’t let these concerns lead you to micromanage the hiring process. The value of having a hiring panel is to get perspectives that challenge your views. Trust the process and your team.


Do Take Your Time Deciding

While there might be a sense of urgency in filling the market research executive role, don’t let it lead to impulsivity. Take your time reviewing the candidates, weighing the pros and cons, and deciding who will be best for the role now and in the future. 

It’s also important not to rely solely on your first impressions or rapport with the individual. Marketers can be incredibly charismatic and engaging. While cultural fit should be a factor in the decision, it’s best to focus on the information collected through the recruitment and interview processes.


Don’t Hesitate with Follow-Up

Don’t hesitate to reach out to your top contenders after the initial interviews. A note from the CEO can help keep top talent engaged and interested in the role. This personal touch could be the factor that causes them to delay taking another offer while awaiting your decision.

Once a decision has been made, reach out as soon as possible with an offer. If you have a clear contender, offer them a generous salary rather than playing the negotiation game. 


Do Look for Tangible Results

A market researcher at an executive level should be able to share tangible outcomes of their efforts. Look for a candidate who can show data regarding their past work and how it influenced profits and growth. Ask about challenges past employers have faced and how their work provided impactful solutions.


Don’t Neglect Soft Skills

While tangible outcomes are paramount when vetting a market research executive, soft skills should also be considered. This role requires someone who can communicate well and navigate interpersonal relationships. 

This individual should be a storyteller who can translate numerical data into compelling marketing assets. They should be able to put people at ease and connect so they’ll feel comfortable sharing thoughts and opinions. The analytical skills matter, but they’re only a piece of the puzzle.


Hiring the right person for this role could drive your organization to new heights. Take your time and look for the individual with the right balance of skills and experience.

Dual Citizenship

Should CEOs Invest in Second Citizenship?

Citizenship by investment is a big business now. The citizenship concept is a fluid one, now more than ever. Going back 50 years, you’ll read how unusual it was for countries to offer a second passport to foreign citizens. Nowadays, dual citizenship is universal…well almost.  

According to the Swiss layer, Christian Kalin, citizenship by investment is a global industry worth around 20 billion dollars annually. It’s a rapidly growing market that helps wealthy individuals to expand their businesses overseas and get visa-free travel opportunities.

But do CEOs need to invest in second citizenship to facilitate the process of business expansion? Or conquering new ventures? Read along to learn the benefits of second citizenship and why CEOs should pursue it.


Why Should You Obtain a Second Passport?

Things weren’t always bright for investors when it came to citizenship since the traditional inheritance of the above-mentioned is already outdated. It’s one of the few things globally that’s tied to a bloodline or the place you’re born.

The citizenship by investment programs have allowed citizens a different type of commodity that also provides the biggest source of governments’ revenues. For example, Vanuatu has seen a great interest in the second citizenship trend. 

Many wealthy individuals invest in the country’s economy and enjoy the benefits that come with dual citizenship. The Vanuatu citizenship scheme is vital for making money and boosting the country’s economy.

There are many reasons why you should apply for a second passport. From living abroad in a more stable country to securing a better future for your family in terms of security, education, healthcare, and lifestyle.


How Much Does It Cost?

The application process is different in each country and it depends solely on the country’s laws and regulations. For example, obtaining a passport from Antigua and Barbuda will cost you a minimum of $100,000. St. Kitts and Nevis passport has minimal costs of $150,000 and above, while Portugal starts from $384,000.


The Benefits

Business people and entrepreneurs need to travel frequently. They need a passport that has visa-free traveling options worldwide so they can do business overseas. Not all countries have such conditions and most of them impose investment, tax, and business restrictions. Thus, many citizens, especially business owners and CEOs, decide to pursue a second passport and facilitate their traveling abroad.

Many countries welcome foreigners to hold dual nationality, however, they need to invest a certain amount in return. The benefits of holding a second passport include tax optimization, greater access to potential customers and market expansion, visa-free traveling, financial benefits, and a safer environment.


Tax Optimization

Dual citizenship can have multiple tax benefits, such as no taxes on capital gains, inheritance, wealth, or income generated abroad. Nevertheless, this will depend mainly on the country you originate from and the country of the second citizenship. 

Countries like the Caribbean, for example, offer many affordable solutions and lower tax rates compared to the rest of the world. Becoming a dual citizen allows for greater tax efficiency and tax optimization.


Financial Benefits

Why would CEOs invest in a second passport if they don’t have additional financial benefits? The second passport not only enables commercial access to the country but can open investment opportunities as well.

Bear in mind that some countries do not accept foreign investments, however, this rule applies only to certain countries. Moreover, if you are a crypto investor and you trade, sell or hold a variety of cryptocurrencies, you can have the assets protected from market devaluation. Additionally, there’s no tax on crypto gains!


Access to Business Opportunities

The main advantage when owning a second passport is the significant access to new business opportunities, a chance for global expansion, and outreach to new customers. This means, not only can you do business in the country, but also trade with countries that the second passport gives you access to. It’s the perfect getaway to the business world and its endless opportunities.


Travel Without a Visa

Another common benefit for dual nationals is the option to travel freely and increase the global mobility options. A second passport allows you to travel to more countries than your homeland passport allows you to. 

For example, the Dominican passport allows its citizens to travel visa-free to more than 120 countries, while the passport of Portugal gets you access to more than 175 countries. The Maltese passport facilitates the visa traveling process and enables its citizens to travel to more than 166 countries.


Get Your Passport Now!

There’s plenty to discuss yet, but we’ve covered the most important information on whether CEOs should invest in a second citizenship. The answer will always be yes, so before starting the application process, make sure you are well-informed and guided by an authorized entity.

Recruiting Employees

The Main Challenges CEOs Face When Recruiting Employees

When looking for a job, people do everything they can to put their best foot forward. They practice the interview, research the company, and even use effective CV templates to ensure their resume looks as good as possible.

Even still, many job seekers struggle to find positions due to a lot of competition and other potential issues. However, while many candidates face challenges to land their dream job, those doing the hiring also have their fair share of issues. CEOs and other executives will often face off against their own challenges when attempting to recruit people to their business.

With that in mind, this article is going to go over some of the main challenges that CEOs face when recruiting employees.


Getting the Wages Right

In the workforce, wages are rising quickly. People are expecting more in order to try and keep up with inflation. This can be difficult for CEOs as they need to juggle the importance of keeping their profit margins high vs. paying an adequate amount to attract the best candidates. If CEOs don’t get the wages right, it can be hard to hire and recruit in a similar manner to your competition.

As far as how much to offer, that depends. Some fields and positions pay way more than others, so it is important for businesses to research what is an appropriate wage for what they are asking for.


Trying to Maintain Flexibility

In today’s day and age, nearly all workers want a flexible work environment. Many prefer to work from home, or at least have some say in the hours they work instead of the same old 9 to 5 each and every day. If your business isn’t set up to offer flexibility in any way, you may struggle to recruit the quality of candidates you desire.

Even if you provide solid wages and decent benefits, many workers simply won’t consider working for somewhere that doesn’t offer up at least a little bit of flexibility. Unfortunately, as a CEO, implementing and maintaining a high level of flexibility can be challenging, as it can require a lot of work and changes within the organization.


Keeping Their Company Relevant

Another challenge that many CEOs face is finding ways to keep their company relevant. Many people (both candidates and recruiters) are using social media to learn and reach out.

People often want to know of or be familiar with the company they ultimately work for, so being a company that no one knows about or talks about can make it hard to excite the top level candidate.

A good way to stay relevant is by maintaining your social media profiles, keeping your website looking good, and finding ways to become involved with the community.


Unconscious Biases

Last but not least, there unconscious biases that a CEO has might also be a challenge in recruiting. These are biases we don’t think about or pay any mind to, but do exist and can influence how we make decisions and feel about people and situations.

These biases can, unfortunately, lead to CEOs making the wrong hire, or not seeing the true potential in someone due to the presence of these biases. As a CEO, always try your best to be as fair as possible, and not let any sort of biases hold you back from recruiting those who best fit your organization.


In conclusion, we hope this article has helped you learn a little more about some of the main challenges that CEOs face when recruiting new employees.