Rodney Siebels – USA: I am a certified project manager (PMP) and I currently own a consulting firm that specializes in project management and event marketing. In my career, I have been an individual contributor, a team leader, a global director of a large team of professionals, and now running my own business. My passion has always been about connecting and enabling people, both within my teams and also with my external customers. In my 25+ years of experience, I have led diverse teams, drove strategic project planning, interfaced with global agencies, and worked with executive leadership on engagement strategies. My longest time with a company was 15+ years. I pride myself in being calm in stressful situations, helping make connections, driving outcomes, being a trusted advisor, empowering people to learn and grow. On the personal side, I am a Texas rancher, wine lover, and international traveler that is never afraid to try new cultures, food, and experiences. My husband of 23+ years is always by my side as we travel, laugh with friends, and take care of our cats and dogs.
Marta Seweryn – Poland/Hungary: Experienced Marketing Lead with a focus on Event Business, with a history of working in the different industries: Sport, IT, Government (Protocol), Automotive, Aerospace & Defense, Electrical and Electronic manufacturing industry. Skilled in Operations Management, Project Management and Marketing Strategy. Strong business development professional with a postgraduate focused in international law from A. Mickiewicz University and Master Engineer of Commodity Science from the University of Economics. Former basketball referee. My current company is the one I have been working on longest in my career for now – 8 years.
- What factors keep you with your company for long? What is super-crucial for you with the company?
Rodney Siebels – USA: The factors that kept me at a company the longest are the people, the culture of the company, and the ability to advance both in experience and pay. As I have grown in my career, the most crucial aspect for me was trusting in leadership: they are honest, transparent, and deliver on what they profess to be about.
Marta Seweryn – Poland/Hungary: Some elements hooked me in and made me stay in the first place and always would need to be there (people, work atmosphere, feeling accepted, job match with skills and desires). There are elements that I started to look for in the longer term (job security, an opportunity for development, career path, pay raises, pay to the market, recently – remote work). It is best to combine all elements, but if the longer-term starts missing, I question staying at the company. Super crucial to feel supported no matter your status, geolocation, beliefs, feel equal, and know that your company supports diversity and makes you feel accepted and one of the team.
- What do you do to keep your engagement with the company high? What do you expect from your company to hold it high?
Rodney Siebels – USA: I always put people first. Regardless of my title or position, I have always believed in “never let them see you sweat”. Being calm and listening leads to better and usually faster decisions. People want to succeed; no one strives to fail. As long as the goal is understood and people are empowered, great things can happen.
I expect the company to value and fight for the people they have invested in. To put me in positions to thrive and grow, provide training opportunities that align with the business and my career aspirations. And finally, to be direct, honest, and transparent about what we are fighting to achieve and how we are doing it together.
Marta Seweryn – Poland/Hungary: Make sure you contribute and feel recognized for what you do, have the right balance of work and private, invest your energy in something that excites you, take your chances, build on your opportunities, create opportunities for yourself, speak about what you want your career development to look like, managers listen! Be honest about what you like and where you want to gain experience while choosing your projects; if work is boring, you will think of leaving very soon or get demotivated.
- Your thoughts and reflections about how an organization could retain their senior people better? What are the challenges here? What are the activities that a company should (or shouldn’t) be doing? What is essential for you personally?
Rodney Siebels – USA: Regardless of a person’s level in an organization, every human being has different motivators and different preferences for recognition. The key is to know your people and meet them where they are. An organization cannot treat everyone the same, and this is a side of the current diversity discussion that gets lost within organizations. Management must be flexible to address individual needs.
For senior-level people specifically, the challenge is not different just more complex. They are more likely not only worried about their own personal situation but also stressed and anxious about the people for which they feel responsible. The recent focus on mental health in high performers is critical to understand and embrace. A company needs to do more than just provide vending machines, pool tables, and free snacks. They must offer work flexibility, career advancement, training options, and a strong competitive compensation package.
For me, I want the flexibility to work when and where I want; and trust me that I will deliver the results. This is more important to me than a high salary. If an organization does not trust its employees to deliver when its “not looking” then they also do not trust you when you are sitting in the office.
Marta Seweryn – Poland/Hungary: Money always has to be in the correct zone, it is good to know that you are paid fair to the market. As you gain seniority, you also expect your paycheck to rise. Development path, and proper time investment in more extensive projects, cross-company visibility. Conversation with the manager and being part of leadership is important (in managerial or individual contributor roles). Trust with your superior, clear development, the flexibility of work, organizing time work, no micromanagement, and the field for innovating. Also, at times, everyone has their personal needs, so it is good that the company backs you up and understands. For me, very important that I have the trust to act, make decisions, be part of the strategic team, have access to leadership plans, take part in planning and not only execute. Also, communication!!! Bottom-up established communication on both sides so the employee can give feedback and be part of the game. And also, top-down, sharing information, be open and honest.
- What other (potentially hidden) expectations/drives could/should be noticed in the topic?
Rodney Siebels – USA: Covid-19 has been an horrendous experience for all of us. However, as with anything, adversity drives innovation. Companies have been forced to embrace remote work environments. As an example, sales no longer fly around the world to meet face-to-face but create value in many different forms and delivery methods. Employees have found their voices in demanding work/life balance and we all no longer take for granted the privilege of that face-to-face experience. Embracing this innovation and changing in the face of adversity is how we learn.
- What do you foresee for yourself in the longer term in your professional life as a senior?
Rodney Siebels – USA: As I get older, the sage advice that I give to the people I interview or mentor is that the technology we use may change, the situation or location we work in may change, and the people may change, but the things we can control within ourselves will not; specifically, your work ethic. Many people have top-notch educations but it is your work ethic that will differentiate you from your peers. In addition, how you treat people with fairness, respect, kindness, and honesty will not only deliver better results, it will make you feel better about yourself in the long run.
For me as I approach my possible retirement, I see myself as a valuable resource to be engaged and leveraged. Youth is not a guarantee of innovation, but the diversity of experiences, ages, cultures, races, etc. will make an organization stronger than any single element.
Marta Seweryn – Poland/Hungary: Respect, trust, seniority perks, working with an external consultant, coach, stay focus on the career path, review motivating factors, be aware of burnout, know your employee personally! – connect!