Bermuda is a complicated place in a complicated world. The challenges facing business leaders here, are facing business leaders globally. The most serious challenge is defined by what is occurring at the opposite ends of the workforce: the impending retirement of large numbers of senior executives and the corresponding lack of new recruits within the insurance industry.
From the Bermuda Human Resource Association (BHRA) 2018 Membership Survey, the Top Three Challenges facing HR are: 1. Staff Engagement, 2. Leadership Development, 3. Succession Planning. This survey is a live insight to the concerns facing most of the large contributors to our economy right now; the reality of retiring executives is upon us. The last wave of new start-ups after hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma in 2005 then attracted senior level executives, some 20 years into their career, who stepped into leadership positions with new companies. Now, thirteen years later, many of these C-Suite individuals are looking at what’s next for them: retirement, consulting, new opportunities. Whatever their chosen path, it means a huge loss to their organization. Those at the helm of HR face two choices: import the talent necessary or develop the existing talent.
Our government needs to give international business leeway to bring in the talent it needs to ensure that Bermuda remains in pole position. International business is doing all it can for Bermuda and Bermudians in offering scholarships, internships and sponsorship of community initiatives. There are just not enough resources on-island to fill many vacancies, an experience that is mirrored by the insurance industry around the world. As such, this issue is not political, not cultural but one of economics and demographics. At the Chamber of Commerce Budget Breakfast the headline driving the 2018 Budget was ‘Forging a future of economic growth and security for all Bermudians’. By security is inferred financial security – this vision can only be realized by ensuring that our international business sector is enabled to thrive. Let this sector capitalise on the expertise that is available globally by bringing these people to Bermuda so that their knowledge and experience will strengthen and lead the main pillar of our economy well into the future.
In this post-recession Bermuda, the focus within HR has shifted towards professional development and leadership coaching – career enhancements and rewards that are inevitable casualties in times of financial stress. Companies are now looking at presenting those next in line to the leadership with the coaching and professional development tools and resources they need in order to propel them into the next generation of leadership. For the Bermudian beneficiaries, this will mean more local talent behind the steering wheel. Below The Line is one leadership coaching group who has visited the island to assess the leadership aspirations of several companies and they have found an amazing array of emerging leaders who are hungry for inspiration, insights and knowledge to improve how they can put the best of themselves in play in their business and leadership. By investing in the development and nurturing of senior management companies are enabling and preparing several industry stars to step forward to take the reigns. This proactive approach to nurturing leadership is a step in the right direction towards ensuring a stable future within the industry.
As Bermuda pushes at the boundaries of innovation through ILS, Fintech and Cyber Risk so too must its leaders look to continuously hone their ability to lead both themselves and their organisations. Bermuda as a whole needs to pay attention to leadership development, as does every first world economy, to strengthen our vision for the future so that a more educated, inclusive and innovative people are equipped to create solutions as we move into 2020 and beyond.
Sylvia Jones is Director – Bermuda Operations of Elevate Executive Selection, an international recruitment company with offices in Bermuda, Dublin and Hong Kong. Elevate Bermuda offers tailored Executive Search Solutions, Recruitment, Outplacement Support and Leadership Development Coaching to leading international companies in Bermuda. www.elevateselection.ie and www.elevatingleadershipbermuda.com .
To learn more about Elevate’s C-Suite Circle, contact Sylvia Jones on Sylvia@elevateselection.ie