In the Start-Up Nation’s frantic job market, managers with more than five years’ seniority are becoming increasingly rare. Nurit Berman, owner and CEO of the Emda Executive Search Group, believes this trend is desirable. “Once, when you changed jobs every three or four years, you would be considered occupationally unstable”, she says. “Today, when you’re in the same position for more than ten years, you’re suspected of occupational over-stability. In the current model, you hardly find any CEOs that remain on the job, unless they’re also owners, as in my case. But even in that case, if there’s an active board and the CEO does not deliver, the board can push him aside and turn him into a chairperson. In the case of a salaried CEO, if he had exhausted his potential in that position and if he is daring and confident, he would probably start looking for the next opportunity”. And what should an owner-CEO who remains on the job do? “It’s important that you be aware of your own strengths and weaknesses”, says Berman. “It is important for you to be able to neutralize your ego, to say, ‘I’m good at this but not at that’, and rely on others who complement you within the management team”.
Is it better to remain in the same organization and build your career from inside, or switch to a different organization every few years? On the one hand, you don’t want to be seen as unstable, but you also don’t want to seem inert. How can you decide what’s best for your future? One of the most important things you need to consider when choosing between moving on or staying put, is whether you have attractive promotion prospects. “If the organization enables the employee to develop as a manager or professional over the years, then it’s not always necessary to look outside. Organizations are committed to developing and cultivating their employees”, says Emda VP Galia Rappaport.
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Y-generation employees are characterized, among other things, by explicitly demanding that the workplace adjust itself to them, and stating outright that the workplace is not the most important thing in their lives. These employees pose a significant management challenge to their older supervisors, requiring them to deviate from conventional practices in supervisor-employee relations they have grown accustomed to in the past. Emda CEO Nurit Berman explains: “While X-generation managers (born in the 1960s and 70s) know that their existence depends on the organization, Y-generation employees (born in the 80s and 90s) feel the organization is just as dependent on them. They know everything, they are information wizards, and they also have a tremendous need to obtain information about everything that’s going on in the organization. As far as they’re concerned – everything is questionable”. Berman goes on to explain that supervisors find this hard to accept, because they experience this attitude as disrespectful, but does not necessarily agree with them: “If you give your employees what they need, you are bound to reap the benefits”, she states. “They are good employees, inquisitive and highly committed to their job”.
What skills do members of the management team require to ensure their company's profitability in these difficult times? Executive search firm Korn/Ferry has conducted a study on the subject and found that companies with a particularly high rate of mentally agile, emotionally adaptive and socially flexible managers enjoy profit margins that are up to 25% higher than companies with a lower rate of such managers. How do these characteristics affect organizational performance? Nurit Berman, CEO of Emda, explains that the changes brought about by globalization in terms of economic development and organizational structures require flexible managers who can motivate employees and turn crises into growth opportunities.
"I see a huge gap, with too many managers, between who they are and what they do", says Nurit Berman, owner of executive search company Emda, and the pioneer of headhunting in Israel. "People are terribly afraid that others would consider them failures. They tell themselves a story that protects them, but this protection is a double-edged sword, because it prevents them from learning from their failures". Paradoxically, explains Berman, it is when managers are terminated that "the most wonderful things in the world can happen", since this gives them an opportunity – so rare in the normal course of their career – to doubt their beliefs. This opportunity, and not the next job offer, should be seized. "My task is to persuade them to remain irrelevant, rather than live with a borrowed identity".
The number of job opportunities for people aged fifty and above has been rising for two years in a row. Many believe this does not indicate a significant change in prevailing attitudes, but Emda CEO Nurit Berman believes there is cause for optimism and reminds us that in executive jobs, 45 is the high point of the career rather than its end. "The most productive stage in a manager's career is when they put all their accumulated knowledge into practice and bring real value to the job. This takes several years to achieve, and is impossible at younger ages. I see increased awareness of the importance of employing older employees in organizations".
As a tribute to International Women's Day, Globes asked leading female entrepreneurs in Israel to share experiences and insights with our readers. Nurit Berman of Emda: "It is the courage to venture into the unknown that saved me. The courage to come to terms with the real difficulty I had growing within a traditional organizational structure, and therefore dare to start a company in which I would be able to realize what I came to know about myself – all these led me to the profound business and professional insight that He is blessed for having made me a woman".
Emda CEO Nurit Berman participated in the Israel Dealmakers Summit held by Landmark Ventures investment bank in New York, rubbing shoulders with top global business executives. Landmark Ventures General Partner Zeev Klein referred to the Israeli presence and said: "Israeli innovation captures the imagination of global giants which are always on the lookout for collaborations".