In the throes of preparing for a job search, executives often are seeking asylum from something or someone that is toxic. It could be a boss who impacts their day-to-day through disrespectful communications; it could be lack of information; and/or it could be overall vibes of negativity.
Perhaps even, their job no longer challenges them, as their expertise has skyrocketed while the job has remained stagnant.
Whatever the case may be, executives are seeking things out in their next position that are specific and which fulfill a need, soothe a pain point or both.
The solution might seem simple: if the company really valued the executive, they would make adjustments to ensure executive retention, even if it meant disrupting status quo. But many companies are unable or unwilling to build that talent retention path into their equation. Thus, they lose great, inspired and high-performing executives to the competition.
Following are four components related to culture and position that executives aspire to when they are on an active (or passive) job search. As well, you’ll read how companies can appeal to and act upon those needs through specific employer and job position branding.
1. Most executives want to work for a CEO or board of directors who hears them. It’s one thing to listen, but it’s another thing to listen and really absorb what your executive leadership are saying. It’s even better if you listen, hear and act upon those ideas. For example, if your leader asks you to consider an expansion strategy for marketing ABC service, and you delay or dismiss their idea outright, you may be eroding their confidence in their overall value.
Instead, if the idea has possibilities, even when the timing may feel wrong, or you are steeped in numerous other projects, encourage and empower the executive to move ahead on the strategic particulars. Develop a timeline for presenting next (or first) steps of the project plan, with optimism.
Giving them permission to move ahead, even just with initial planning, can create a win-win for the executive, and you. They can sink their teeth into a tangible path forward, and you can release the heavy-lifting to them, while continuing forward on your imminent deadlines.
How this translates into an executive job description.
Twilio’s ad for a Regional Sales Director describes how they empower their leaders and their direct reports into action. Here’s a snippet:
Twilio is truly unique; we are a company committed to your growth, your learning, your development and your entire employee experience. We only win when our employees succeed and we're dedicated to helping you develop your strengths. We invest in weeks dedicated to tackling hard problems and creating your own ideas.
2. Many executives crave being parachuted into agile environments where they can orchestrate transformation versus being thrust into maintenance mode, which is boring to them. While their current job at one time may have provided them these transformation opportunities, the problem occurs when the opportunities come to a halt.
Companies that get stuck in maintenance mode not only drive away ambitious talent, but they also risk falling behind trends in the marketplace, and ultimately, losing competitive market positioning.
How this translates into an executive job description.
Apple Federal Credit Union owns the idea of transformation outright in the position title, “AVP of Digital Transformation.” Further, the job description identifies the company’s commitment to emerging technologies and aggressive services implementation plans -- language that buttresses a transformative culture. Specifically, they write:
• Researches emerging technologies, trends and member demands to develop an aggressive enhancement implementation plan for new services and features in our digital and remote delivery channels.
• Scans the marketplace for emerging technologies and trends that could benefit our members and the credit union. Make recommendations to senior management if action is required for further research or implementation of new technologies.
3. Other executives are on good terms with their overall job accountabilities, but the culture is toxic. Their boss is erratic and continually changes the policies. One day, the boss is bending over backwards to ensure the employees are enjoying a balanced work-life; the next, they are demanding seven-day workweeks without justification. Weary of the unreliable work-life theme exacerbated by inconsistent communication signals, these executives seek relief through new corporate doors.
How more tolerable work-life-balance scenarios are articulated into an executive job description:
Long Valley Health Center leads their position description for a family practice physician with their focus on work-life balance, as follows:
MD/ DO Excellent Work/ Life Balance
And, their “Why Work for Us” further emphasizes: “We invest in our staff and have a great work environment!”
In the Fast Company article, on work-life balance for CEOs, author Katie Belding says, “Maintaining a strong-work-life balance is critical to a healthier work and home life for CEOs.” She further explains that leisure activities help executives manage their job demand, and describes how Erica Rogers, CEO of Silk Road Medical carves time for her live theater hobby. Doing so, “allows her to practice the art of improvisation and thinking on her feet,” instrumental to her CEO role.
4. Moreover, some executives are seeking out a company who creates an invigorating, best-in-class culture focused on employee growth, learning and having fun. In these instances, delving beyond the position description to the “Why Work for Us” value proposition can be helpful.
TaskUs writes: … we’ve created a best-in-class, employee first culture that’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. We have state of the art workspaces, top-notch benefits and some of the best teammates in the world. Whether you’re in the US, Asia, Mexico or one of our other global locations, we invest in your career growth.
We create an environment where you not only work hard, learn, grow and succeed but you have fun doing it. We treat each other with respect and push each other to be our best professional and personal selves every day while celebrating our accomplishments and rewarding exceptional work.
In sum, executives want to be heard; they want to contribute to meaningful change that has a transformative impact; they want to enjoy a sense of balance or synergy between their work and personal lives; and finally, they want to be nourished and encouraged to grow.
When inviting your next-generation executives to your hiring door, you may want to consider whether you are addressing their specific needs via your storied brand communications.