Wednesday, August 4, 2021

3 Insights You Need To Know Before Starting A Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program

3 insights you need before starting a diversity and inclusion program

Taking the first steps toward a well thought out, well rounded DEI program can be difficult, confusing, and uncertain. Your best strategy is to follow the path of those who have gone before you. Below are three insights and opportunities other CEOs have identified as critical to the success of the program you are considering:

1) Have thick skin. Be willing to get uncomfortable. Listening isn’t enough. Take action!

2) Start somewhere. Don’t over-complicate and avoid taking action due to over-analysis.

3) Ask a lot of questions. Read a lot of resources.

Are you ready to start a diversity, equity, and inclusion program in your organization or improve the one you have in place? Don’t go it alone! Download our FREE report “How CEOs Are Addressing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion – Experiences, perspectives, and insights from 50+ local CEOs.” 

Free Diversity and Inclusion Study by VACEOs

About Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs)

Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs) is a nonprofit organization connecting CEOs for learning and growth. Formed more than 20 years ago, member benefits include placement in a peer roundtable group and access to a thought leader network, and a robust program of events for learning and growth. This is not a networking group, but rather a group of CEO peers who are invested in the success of each member. To qualify for membership CEOs must run a business with $1M+ revenue and 5+FTEs. Learn more at www.vaceos.org.

Posted by Staff at 11:40 am
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Thursday, July 29, 2021

Is the ‘Great Resignation’ an Opportunity for Virginia SMBs?

In April 2021, 4 million people across the U.S. quit their jobs. In May, another  3.6 million walked away

Are these signs of a turnover apocalypse in progress in the Commonwealth? And if so, what can Virginia business leaders do to retain their employees and even secure new talent in a challenging environment?

A Matter of Perspective

Let’s face it, some scary forecasts have been tossed around lately. A frequently cited survey by Prudential Financial, for example, found that a staggering one in four workers plans to leave their current employment. Even more pessimistic, the Microsoft 2021 Work Trend Index estimates that  41% of employees worldwide may be moving on.

Leave the crystal ball behind, however, and the news is not as dire. Consider that over the long haul, about about 3.5 million Americans resign their positions in any given month. In April 2020, that number plunged to 1.9 million, indicating that some employees likely delayed a planned job search due to COVID-19 concerns. 

As the calendar year changed over and pandemic fears began to ease, pent-up turnover broke out. But total quits, according to the most recent data available, are now running only a little higher than historical average. 

Rewarding, Fulfilling, and Flexible

Was that the Great Resignation we’ve been hearing so much about? Is it over? 

June employment numbers haven’t yet been posted, but regardless of whether Virginia SMBs can count on continued stabilization in voluntary turnover, local CEOs are eagerly checking in on their talent acquisition and retention strategies. 

“The result of our national period of introspection—a workforce more focused than ever on finding employment opportunities that are rewarding, fulfilling, and flexible.”

Ask any experienced business owner and they’ll tell you that a regular talent review is an important best practice. The deep shifts in employee attitudes toward work right now, though, make such an appraisal especially urgent. Companies that adapt most effectively to today’s rapidly evolving employee perspectives can gain competitive advantage in a tight job market and capture the talent necessary to capitalize on a V-shaped economic recovery. 

The best news, small and mid-sized businesses might be in the catbird’s seat here. Despite perceptions about enhanced unemployment benefits and heightened salary demands, workers themselves are telling a larger story about their career goals. Although pay scale certainly matters, countless employees have reexamined their employment priorities in light of COVID-19 and discovered what matters more than money. 

The result of our national period of introspection—a workforce more focused than ever on finding employment opportunities that are rewarding, fulfilling, and flexible. 

Good Questions

As any VACEOs Roundtable participant quickly realizes, good questions are often more valuable than great answers. So here are some talent-related queries you may want to pursue alone or with your peers in 2021, whether the Great Resignation comes for your industry or not.   

#1 Mission

Some employees who took a step back in 2020 are now seeking a greater sense of purpose on the job. Take U.S. Marines veteran Jake Mancini, who was profiled in the Richmond Times-Dispatch in July. After leaving a career in manufacturing to become a software engineer, he’s earning less but finding his new position as a defense contractor, with a role to play in helping the troops, more fulfilling.

  • How do I communicate my company’s mission and gain buy-in from workers?
  • How can I help employees find a sense of purpose in their jobs? 

#2 Opportunity

Mancini, mentioned above, was among the millions of Americans who used time spent unemployed to acquire new training and credentials. He’s proof positive that Virginia workers don’t just want more, they want to reach higher, too.

  • How can I benefit from a pool of newly upskilled workers?
  • How can I tap into the desire for training and advancement to re-inspire your workforce?

#3 Balance

From frontline retail, restaurant, and healthcare staff to Zoomed-out office workers, burnout is an enduring issue. What’s more, pandemic conditions led many employees to reassess the time they spend away from home. Some are now eschewing long commutes and late nights in the office in favor of remote and hybrid schedules and other family-friendly accommodations.

  • How can I help employees regain equilibrium after 18 difficult months?
  • How can I collaborate with employees to improve their work/life balance? 

Conditions for SMB Success?

Small and mid-sized businesses frequently enjoy greater agility than their larger counterparts, a key advantage in a rapidly changing talent market. What’s more, smaller companies can be particularly effective at engaging employees and valuing each member of the team as an individual. Given what workers say they want in post-pandemic employment, Virginia’s SMBs may, therefore, find that other companies’ talent losses over the coming months become their gains. 

Do you agree?


About Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs)

Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs) is a nonprofit organization connecting CEOs for learning and growth. Formed more than 20 years ago, member benefits include placement in a peer roundtable group and access to a thought leader network, and a robust program of events for learning and growth. This is not a networking group, but rather a group of CEO peers who are invested in the success of each member. To qualify for membership CEOs must run a business with $1M+ revenue and 5+FTEs. Learn more at www.vaceos.org.

Posted by Staff at 10:07 am
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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

10 Attributes Of a Great CEO Peer Group Member

It’s no secret that CEOs of small and mid-sized businesses get a lot out of their peer advisory roundtable groups. Roundtables supply diverse perspectives in a confidential environment and are proven to deliver advantages in decision-making and leadership, especially during challenging times. 

To ensure the roundtable performs at its greatest potential, I’ve found that those participants who receive the most from the process tend to share certain qualities.

They are, in no particular order:

  1. Intellectual curiosity.  A desire to know what makes things work, the “back story”, answers to “why”, getting to the “root cause”.
  2. Life-long learner.    
  3. Open to seeking the input of others, and willing to implement suggested solutions not your own.
  4. Committed to the process of continuous improvement. Not satisfied with the current state. Growth-oriented. 
  5. Embrace change. An innovative spirit.
  6. Strategic thinker.
  7. Self-aware. A willingness to be vulnerable, to be transparent.
  8. Secure. No inherent need to be the smartest person in the room.
  9. Humble. More concerned about being able to give as much as you’re getting, as opposed to getting as much as you’re giving.
  10. Appreciate the power of diverse backgrounds, world views, perspectives, and experiences.  

These attributes, in fact, define our members to a tee!

Is it necessary to have all of these attributes to maximize the benefit of peer group membership? No. Would it be helpful to have some of them? Definitely. More important is attitude, your approach to the process. We all get the same 24 hours per day. The only thing that we can control is how we utilize, leverage, and prioritize those 24 hours.  

Keith Hartman

About the Author

Keith Hartman, Regional Executive for Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs), has over five years of experience developing and supporting peer-to-peer roundtables and forums for Vistage Worldwide, the international leader in peer advisory groups and personal leadership development for CEOs and senior leaders. He has experienced first-hand the transformational impact that the sharing of challenges, opportunities, and experiences with trusted peers in a confidential environment can have, and is looking forward to helping the Council expand this concept to all corners of the Commonwealth. Learn more about Keith.

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About Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs)

Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs) is a nonprofit organization connecting CEOs for learning and growth. Formed more than 20 years ago, member benefits include placement in a peer roundtable group and access to a thought leader network, and a robust program of events for learning and growth. This is not a networking group, but rather a group of CEO peers who are invested in the success of each member. To qualify for membership CEOs must run a business with $1M+ revenue and 5+FTEs. Learn more at www.vaceos.org.

Posted by Staff at 2:06 pm
Tuesday, July 27, 2021

3 Reasons Why Marie Antoinette Lost Her Head (and how today’s CEOs can learn from it)

“Let them eat cake,” famously rumored to be said in the 17th or 18th century by princess Marie Antoinette upon being told that the French peasants had no bread. Whether she actually said it or not is unsure, but it does offer small business CEOs a few lessons in leadership.

3 Reasons Why Marie Antoinette Lost Her Head

#1. Losing touch

Knowing your audience is important. As a leader, you have to be mindful of your words to avoid a potential faux pas. Immerse yourself in the wisdom of others and find better ways to handle sticky situations.

#2. Running from crisis

Respect is earned by facing problems head on. Managing confrontation is unfortunately part of the job and must always be handled tactfully. Have a trusted friend by your side.

#3. Guillotines

The world is quick to judge and it doesn’t take much for tempers to flare. You’ve done everything in your power, but are truly struggling to fix the issue at hand. Fortunately for you, we know people who can help. It will be alright.

BUT WHAT IF SHE’D HAD BETTER FRIENDS IN HER CORNER?

Life is full of missteps and mistakes. A smart leader will observe others, absorb their wisdom, and navigate through new territory much easier.

Our CEO members find that with the backing of their peers, they evolve faster and achieve more together. Listen in to what they have to say.


About Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs)

Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs) is a nonprofit organization connecting CEOs for learning and growth. Formed more than 20 years ago, member benefits include placement in a peer roundtable group and access to a thought leader network, and a robust program of events for learning and growth. This is not a networking group, but rather a group of CEO peers who are invested in the success of each member. To qualify for membership CEOs must run a business with $1M+ revenue and 5+FTEs. Learn more at www.vaceos.org.

Posted by Staff at 1:26 pm
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Friday, June 18, 2021

Do As the Romans Do Not

3 REASONS WHY AN EMPIRE CAME CRASHING DOWN

(and how today’s CEOs can learn from it)

#1. Internal Conflict

Making an entire empire happy seems impossible. As the leader it can be draining. What if there’s a way you haven’t thought of? You’ll never know without immersing yourself in the wisdom of others with similar challenges.

#2. Wandering Values

As the empire evolves, so does its goals. The trick is to never let these goals interfere with, or take priority over a solid foundation of values. Having trusted peers as friends helps us keep sight of what matters most.

#3. Barbarian Tribes

Competition is slightly more civil these days. Regardless, it’s important to keep your spears sharp and stay aware of your surroundings. It’s easier to hear the rumblings of potential threats when you have alliances on the outside.

BUT WHAT IF THE EMPIRE HAD THE RIGHT SUPPORT?

Our CEO members find that with the backing of their peers, they evolve faster and achieve more together. Listen in to what they have to say.


About Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs)

Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs) is a nonprofit organization connecting CEOs for learning and growth. Formed more than 20 years ago, member benefits include placement in a peer roundtable group and access to a thought leader network, and a robust program of events for learning and growth. This is not a networking group, but rather a group of CEO peers who are invested in the success of each member. To qualify for membership CEOs must run a business with $1M+ revenue and 5+FTEs. Learn more at www.vaceos.org.

Posted by Staff at 2:12 pm
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