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What makes millennial company secretary a key asset to an organisation

WORK LIFE
By Gathoni Kimani | October 9th 2018
Gathoni Kimani, member of the Institute of Certified Secretaries.

Millennials are more educated than earlier generations and highly competent in technology and social media.

They tend to be more informed of global developments, more empowered to seek out information. They have an opinion about most things are more concerned about what goes on globally.

They are also keen on shaping and influencing culture, practices and management of their current work place that meets its need for social relevance as well.

The role of a company secretary is metastasising from being a support person to becoming one of the key governance positions within a corporation. Boards need someone who knows and understands the laws and will ensure that the company is compliant at all times.

The most logical place for that responsibility is the role of the company secretary.

Diversity discussions on boardrooms tend to focus on skills and experiences or the more salient gender and ethnicity.

There is another type of diversity that has been seen to be lacking and one that will likely become significant in the years ahead: generational diversity.

Pose risks

As a result, the voice and perspective of younger generations are often missing. Failing to include voices and perspectives of the younger generations may pose risks to businesses regardless of their industry.

Unquestionably, the wealth of experience and value that older company secretaries offer firms should not be underestimated.

Rather, there is a great, and largely unexploited, opportunity for boards to seek younger company secretaries to gain the perspective of a generation that is redefining technology, consumer preferences, business strategy, business models and even business risk.

Having millennials on boards can give businesses a better understanding of what motivates younger employees, within the context of an organisation’s own succession practices.

It allows them to help strengthen the pipeline of high-performing, up-and-coming employees, and executives.

The global transposition in corporate governance is evident in the way products are marketed today. Responsive considerations are often put on the back burner when building corporate reputation.

Millennials target more than profit making. They seek values as well from their jobs.

A Company Secretary will help drive some of the values of good corporate governance such as:

Transparency and accountability: Millennials entered the workforce in the post-Enron world and are cognisant of the fact that dishonest financial reporting, disregard of regulations and a general lack of transparency and accountability can be calamitous for business.

Participation: As a whole, millennials are actually willing to comply with and embrace policies that they see as being beneficial to the organisation and the employees. However, they are also interrogators and disruptors by nature. If policies don’t make sense to them, or if it’s clear that policies no longer add value, millennials are quick to challenge them.

Efficiency and environmental friendliness: Many have married this into the business model to ensure there is sustainability.

Now that companies have to present integrated reports that speak to sustainability of the business, having a millennial voice would place the company in a better position to handle this.

It is vital to get millennial voices into the boardroom as companies prepare for disruptive challenges that appear to be looming in the horizon. We are moving towards a shared economy, so while others are surviving, a millennial company secretary will help you thrive.

With the evolution of the role and a shift in diversity, the millennial company secretary moves from a scurrying record keeper to a guardian of corporate governance.

 -Gathoni Kimani is a member of the Institute of Certified Secretaries.  

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