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Career resilience refers to an individual’s ability to strive towards personal growth and excellence, while adapting to change and coping with the unpredictable. Over the past few decades, career mobility has become a fundamental component of career development, with professionals making both lateral and vertical transitions over the course of their life. Such transitions may involve a complete change of one’s role or responsibilities as a leader and are largely dependent on individualistic characteristics (e.g. ambitions and motivations), as well as contextual characteristics (e.g. unpredictable circumstances). A variety of circumstances may prompt senior professionals to consider corporate directorships at different stages of their career, such as those wishing to contribute and apply one’s skills and expertise to the board while learning about the industry, those yearning for flexibility and advanced responsibility, or those wishing to broaden their network and perspective.

Consulting with career advisors may help experienced professionals take a deep dive into personalised career planning and may lead to strategic positioning of such professional expertise on corporate boards.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on board directors and their role in corporate governance. Apart from the deviation from typical decision-making processes due to uncertainty, the pandemic’s impact has resulted in boards facing numerous additional concerns such as those related to the importance of prioritising staff’s physical and mental health, accelerating digital transformation, facilitating remote working, using electronic means in order to share information and foster communication, as well as the reassessment and adaptation of meeting schedules and formats. The importance of appointing experienced non-executive directors (NEDs) on boards has enhanced corporate governance not only due to their extensive expertise, foresight, big-picture focus and objective perspective, but also because they are able to contribute an external and broader view to all the concerns facing boards during these times.

On an individual level, experienced professionals are well-placed to consider transitioning into a NED appointment in order to complement their career within a market which is in high demand for advanced knowledge and expertise. Career advisory services may aid organisations in considering a variety of factors when hiring board level professionals, such as identifying key skills related to foresight, adaptability, motivation and communication efficiency. With reference to board composition, organisations are encouraged to consider the organisational advantages associated with board diversity.

Relation-oriented diversity (e.g. age, gender and race) and task-oriented diversity (e.g. tenure and expertise) have been shown to improve board decision-making ability through enhanced creativity and innovation.

Ultimately, as board directors have a substantial influence on organisational success, the selection of its members requires significant consideration and may benefit greatly from the application of career advisory services. Get in touch to discuss how the specialised career advisors at KPMG in Malta, forming part of the People and Change Advisory team may provide assistance to those considering their next career transition, as well as those organisations seeking to enhance board decision-making processes through the appointment of new board members.

This article was written by Joanne Mamo, Assistant Advisor, Steven Williams, Senior Manager and Malcolm Pace Debono, Director within KPMG People & Change Advisory team and Head of Management Consulting within KPMG Islands Group.

References

Grima, S., Dalli Gonzi, R., & Thalassinos, E. (2020). The impact of COVID-19 on Malta and its economy and sustainable strategies. Journal of Corporate Governance, Insurance, and Risk Management, 7(1), 53-73.

Harjoto, M. A., Laksmana, I., & Yang, Y. (2018). Board diversity and corporate investment oversight. Journal of Business Research, 90, 40-47.

Kornblum, A., Ungar, D., & Grote, G. (2018). When do employees cross boundaries? Individual and contextual determinants of career mobility. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 27(5), 657-668.

Mather, P. (2020). Leadership and governance in a crisis: Some reflections on COVID-19. Journal of Accounting and Organisational Change, 16(4), 579-585.