Articles in Category: Opinion Pieces

‘Don’t be soft’ - The importance of empathy in effective leadership

‘Don’t be soft’ - The importance of empathy in effective leadership

A much overlooked trait in leadership, the notion of empathy as a soft and non-essential skill is being increasingly challenged. Campaigners, such as Belinda Parmar, founder and CEO of Lady Geek, argue it should be seen as a “commercial tool that can be deployed in all aspects of business” and, far from being ‘soft’, empathy is in fact critical for competent leadership. In this article, Claire McKee from Clarendon Executive considers the meaning of empathy in a business leadership context, whether it’s a skill that can be learned, and offers some tips for developing it.

The Oxford Dictionary defines empathy as the “ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”  In a corporate environment, where empathy is sometimes confused with ‘being nice’, it might best be described as a neutral gathering tool used to create an environment of open...

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How HR Managers can advance their own careers

How HR Managers can advance their own careers

HR Managers are, by the very nature of their job, so busy and distracted looking after everyone else’s career that it can often be at the expense of their own. In this article, Joanne McAuley offers tips and guidance on how HR Managers can enhance their professional prospects, climb the corporate ladder and land that dream job.

An HR Director role is generally regarded as the zenith of an HR professional’s career, and the next logical step if you are currently in an HR management role. While fierce competition and the fact that HR managers will always outnumber directors means it can be difficult to secure such a...

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The Effectiveness of Employer Brand in the War for Talent

The Effectiveness of Employer Brand in the War for Talent

It is widely accepted that a company’s workforce represents one of its most significant competitive advantages. Attracting and retaining the right kind of talent is absolutely critical to a business’s ability to compete, grow and be successful. Joanne McAuley looks at the role a powerful employer brand plays in dominating the talent market and how HR professionals can use employer branding to recruit top-notch candidates.

An organisation will of course have a reputation in the market for its products and/or services – what it sells. But it also has a reputation as an employer. This reputation, or ‘employer branding’, has, and will likely continue to become, of magnified importance as the jobs market becomes...

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The Value of Workplace Mentoring

The Value of Workplace Mentoring

A recent American Society for Training and Development study found that 71% of Fortune 500 companies have some type of corporate mentorship programme and that 75% of their executives credit their mentors with helping them reach their current position. The rise of such schemes in today’s hyper-competitive economy suggests organisations believe it can help drive revenue and reduce costs. No longer an after-thought or “add-on” to corporate strategy, Joanne McAuley explores some of the increasingly recognised benefits of a structured workplace mentoring programme, no matter how simple or complex, and the issues to be considered when implementing such an initiative.

The concept of mentoring isn’t new – in Greek mythology, when Odysseus disappeared to fight the Trojan War and then went on his ten-year odyssey, he entrusted his friend, who was named Mentor, with the task of bringing up his son. Mentor did such a good job (with the help of goddess Athena)...

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Gardening Leave – A thorny issue?

Gardening Leave – A thorny issue?

Gardening leave has for many years been used by companies as a protectionist measure within senior executive employment contracts, ensuring any departure of key individuals has minimal impact on the reputation and ongoing success of the organisation in question. It does not come without costs and risks however, and below Clarendon Executive’s Emma Kieran examines the pros and cons any HR professional might want to weigh up before granting garden leave to an exiting executive.

Garden leave, or gardening leave, came to prominence after it was used during an episode of Yes, Prime Minister in 1986 and describes the practice where an employee leaving a job – having resigned or otherwise had their employment terminated – is instructed not to attend the workplace or...

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Boardroom talk: Age diversity the new gender diversity?

Boardroom talk: Age diversity the new gender diversity?

Much has been made of gender diversity in recent times but rarely does the issue of age in boardrooms come in for such intense scrutiny. And if the argument for board gender diversity is that females offer different viewpoints, then surely the same can be said for a variety of age groups. Clarendon Executive’s Joanne McAuley explores age diversity as part of the broader diversity conversation and suggests that any board can create a diverse group and realise the benefits that come from a cross-section of perspectives, experiences and expertise.

Any diversity conversation must address all diversity factors, not just gender but also age and race. Gender diversity has had much airtime recently with the recent implementation of the pay gap regulations, but age is something that has until now has escaped much of the spotlight. Age diversity...

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Interim management: does it stack up?

Interim management: does it stack up?

The interim management market is buoyant in the UK, with a plethora of well- qualified suitable candidates, however the picture couldn’t be more different when looking at Northern Ireland in isolation. Below, Joanne McAuley from Clarendon Executive considers the scenarios in which an interim management solution might be employed, and assesses whether the return on investment adds up for local businesses.

The UK Institute of Interim Management describes interim managers and executives as, by and large, senior and mature individuals, operating at Board, or near-Board level, with an average age of 52. Interim managers are mostly men, with a steady but small lift in female representation in recent...

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Compensation Strategies: Attracting and Retaining Talent

Compensation Strategies: Attracting and Retaining Talent

An effective compensation strategy is integral in attracting new talent and retaining and motivating the best performers; in short, it’s a critical part of overall HR strategy to keep organisations competitive and successful with a strong pipeline of emerging talent. But, particularly for SMEs, it can be hard to get right…. Below, Ciaran Sheehan, Managing Partner of Clarendon Executive, examines the components required to ensure you have the best compensation plan in place for your people and your business.

One of the most daunting challenges for businesses we deal with, no matter their size, is that of attracting and retaining outstanding talent, particularly at executive level. As economic conditions improve, hiring the right talent becomes all the more challenging. Savvy companies know a solid,...

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Preparing for the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’

Preparing for the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’

Clarendon Executive’s Claire McKee says that whilst robots are no substitutes for people, as we move further towards ‘The Fourth Industrial Revolution’ there is a requirement for successful organisations to accept change and invest more heavily in the ‘human capital’ agenda, visionary leaders and technology advancements.

The fourth Industrial Revolution’ refers to the smart operational systems of the future that will incorporate new innovations such as Artificial Intelligence and chatbots, Big Data, augmented reality, simulation and the Cloud. Like the revolutions that preceded it, the Fourth Industrial...

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How To Prepare For Senior Job Interviews

How To Prepare For Senior Job Interviews

Interviews can be daunting at the best of times, even more so when, as a senior exec, you perhaps haven’t moved jobs in a while or are better versed in the role of interviewer as opposed to interviewee. At C-suite level, quality advice on interview technique can be hard to come by. Below, Clarendon Executive outlines some strategies to help you prepare for and shine in interview.

DO Consider Style AND Substance It’s no longer good enough just to talk about your experience in detail when it comes to interviewing for executive level positions – you also need to describe your management style, outline your vision and prove your future ability in the role. Be prepared...

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The ‘make-up’ of our boardrooms – Gender Diversity in the spotlight

The ‘make-up’ of our boardrooms – Gender Diversity in the spotlight

With the deadline looming for gender pay gap disclosures at companies with 250 or more employees, the spotlight shines once again on the wider issue of gender diversity in the boardroom - for companies of all sizes. Are businesses turning a blind eye to the issue? And what about the frustration of those that prioritise the fair representation of women, but struggle due to an overwhelming lack of interest from female candidates?
Clarendon Executive’s Joanne McAuley looks at the obstacles facing women as they climb the corporate ladder and what can be done to help create a face of lasting change for NI boardrooms.

It’s been encouraging to see a rise in executive level appointments in Northern Ireland, both in the public and private sector, being filled by women – National Museums NI, Titanic Belfast, IOD NI, CBI NI and Belfast City Council to name a few. A broader look, however, at the top 100...

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Survival of the ‘Emotionally’ Fittest

Survival of the ‘Emotionally’ Fittest

It remains an elusive concept for many businesses, yet investing in the Emotional Fitness of your company’s top executives will benefit everyone. Below Mark Latuske from Clarendon Executive examines the hallmarks of an emotionally fit or ‘intelligent’ leader, how you can improve your emotional fitness, and why we should place it high on the business agenda.

As an avid sports fan – particularly cricket – I’m always interested in how psychology comes into play and almost always ends up the determining factor in who wins and who loses. In professional sports, the difference between one athlete and another is often pretty negligible. While one...

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How to Use Psychometric Testing in Hiring

How to Use Psychometric Testing in Hiring

Psychometric testing continues to rise in popularity. In fact, over 75% of the Times top 100 companies now use some form of psychometric testing, usually during a recruitment and selection process. The technological advances in online testing enable candidates to do a test in their own time and location, meaning more efficient and cost-effective recruitment processes and potentially a much wider candidate pool. Below, Clarendon Executive’s Anne Daley explains the value of psychometrics in senior level recruitment and, with the increasing number and sophistication of online tests available how to choose what’s most suitable for your hiring needs.

Psychometric testing continues to rise in popularity. In fact, over 75% of the Times top 100 companies now use some form of psychometric testing, usually during a recruitment and selection process. The technological advances in online testing enable candidates to do a test in their own time and...

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The Future of Work

The Future of Work

“The future depends on what you do in the present” – Mahatma Gandhi Our world is changing fast and businesses clearly must adapt, but how? Clarendon Executive’s Anne Daley says when it comes to working, ‘change’ is the new norm and considers what savvy organisations should be doing now to future-proof their success.

Over the past decade the world of business has been subject to change in ways that nobody could have predicted. And as we have seen, from past times of tumultuous change (industrial revolution, world wars, global recession), those who can get comfortable with uncertainty and develop not only the...

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