Resilience in the governance market

David Press

The subject of this episode of the Better Boards Podcast Series was ‘Resilience in the governance market’. David Press, MD at DMJ Recruitment spoke to Dr Sabine Dembkowski.

David Press

With the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic still being felt across the business world, David talked about how Company Secretaries and the secretariat departments were weathering the storm.

It was an insightful conversation into not just how the pandemic had impacted the work of Company Secretaries but also how the job market for Company Secretaries may evolve over the next two years.

Some of the key takeaways of the conversation included:

“Companies Secretaries by their very nature, are extremely adaptable”

The period of lockdown and the ‘New Normal’ caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the extreme adaptability of the Company Secretariat. From administering new remote working models, ensuring continual operations to implementing new technological systems for communication and administration. Company Secretaries have ensured all the necessary functions of boards run smoothly. In the cases of PLC companies, this has also been with the backdrop of maintaining regulatory compliance even during these difficult times.

“Good leadership and stewardship is key”

The pandemic period has highlighted the need for Company Secretaries to be able to go beyond an administration role and into an operational role as well. This shines a spotlight on the trend that talent in the Company Secretarial market are now looking for the opportunity to learn and develop, so that they may add additional value to the company, particularly in times of crisis. For Company Secretaries, their interpersonal and technological skills must be able to come to the forefront to be able to provide the leadership and stewardship companies and boards need.

“Company Secretaries are individuals within organisations”

Looking at the role of Company Secretaries, it is important to remember the human element and how it has been impacted by COVID-19. Company Secretaries may now find that they were being more effective with remote working and may require that their role changes, accommodating flexible working in the long-term. This however may bring about advantages for companies themselves, as they can increase their recruiting pool to include talent who may be located further away, but who could work remotely. Again, it is one of the adaptations businesses and people will be making in the ‘New Normal’ but it is one that will have benefits for both company and staff.

“Relationships are key for the Company Secretary”

For Company Secretaries and their teams, the ‘New Normal’ has taken away the opportunity for the natural and spontaneous conversation that added more context and colour to the operations they oversaw. No longer can they bump into a board member in the corridor or have a quick chat before or after a board meeting. These conversations are now digital and remote and lacking any opportunity for side conversations. This is also true within teams themselves as the natural conversations that emerge throughout the workday, especially when working in proximity, no longer occur. At least, not as frequently. For Company Secretaries, for which relationships are a key part of their ability to do their role, now must adapt. This can take many forms, from quick ‘checking in’ phone calls to arranging one-on-one conversations in place of spontaneous ones.

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