Exploring the Changing Role of Leaders in Cybersecurity

The role of cybersecurity leaders has expanded significantly over the past years. In the recent past, cybersecurity leaders were required to primarily focus on technical skills. However, this has evolved to where they are required to stay involved in critical business strategies and decisions. Not to mention, they are often required to develop strong leadership qualities, enabling them to influence organizational culture and drive change.

In steering organizations through the challenges of rising cyber threats, modern cybersecurity leaders play a multifaceted role that demands resilience, adaptability, strategic vision, and an unwavering commitment to protecting the organization’s digital assets. The ever-increasing pressure and responsibility to perform and manage teams leads to stress and burnout among leaders. And, this stress directly affects their and their team’s decision quality and performance.

Times like these call for cybersecurity organizations to implement comprehensive support systems and development programs that address the unique challenges leaders often face in this increasingly stressful industry. This will not only help in reducing the high turnover rates among leaders but will also greatly improve their performance.

Let’s see in detail how the role of cybersecurity leaders has changed over the years and how new leaders navigate the challenges in a rapidly changing world of technology. But before that, let’s explore some stressors responsible for a high turnover among cybersecurity leaders.

High Turnover in Cybersecurity? Identifying Key Stressors

According to Gartner, “25% of cybersecurity leaders will pursue different roles entirely by 2025 due to workplace stress.” These stats are a clear indication of how stressful the work culture for cybersecurity leaders has become.

We asked Eduardo Campos, Sr. Partner and Head of Marketing and Business Growth at ORCA HR Solutions, former Cybersecurity Advisor, and Executive Leader at Microsoft. He highlights that “this is not something particular to cybersecurity leaders,” as many other industries are currently facing high turnover.

Eduardo also shed light on some of the stressors that are causing cybersecurity leaders to change jobs:

Rapid Technological Advancement

From the introduction of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to cloud computing and Internet of Things (IoT), advancement in technology has significantly increased the pressure on cybersecurity leaders. They are required to stay ahead of rapidly evolving technology, continuously adapting and updating security strategies to protect against highly advanced threats.

Shift to Hybrid/Remote Work

With an increased reliance on technology, hybrid or remote work environments double the cyber risks. Major corporations and government agencies stand at the pinnacle of getting consistent and extremely complex cyber attacks. This puts the cybersecurity leaders in a highly stressful situation of not only combating threats but creating a secure and cohesive work environment despite the added complexity of multiple locations, devices, and network integrations.

Highly Advanced and Complex Cyber Threats

Constant rise in the complexity and frequency of cyber-attacks, including new forms of data breaches puts cybersecurity leaders in a challenging situation, demanding constant vigilance and innovative solutions.

Heightened Responsibilities with Executive Boards

Leaders stand at a highly responsible position to answer to the board all while leading, managing, and motivating their team. They are required to engage with executive boards and C-suite executives (CEO, COO, CIO) to communicate complex information, influence strategic decisions, and justify security investments, often without the necessary preparation or skills to do so effectively.

Skill Gap

Today’s challenging cybersecurity landscape leaves leaders unprepared for the expanded scope of their roles. They lack the necessary skills to effectively communicate with and influence their non-technical counterparts at the strategic level .

Information Overload

From threat intelligence to vulnerability assessments and strategic business information, the cybersecurity industry has a substantial amount of information for leaders to synthesize that often becomes too overwhelming. Leaders should work on consolidating data and converting this data into practical and actionable insights for their teams to formulate effective strategies.

Alongside these statistics, we’ve created graphics that you can easily incorporate into your presentation to your CEO. These statistics offer a clear illustration of the profound impact that effective leadership development can have on organizational outcomes. Convincing your CEO shouldn’t have to be difficult – let us help you with the data you need.

Evolution of Cybersecurity Leaders Over the Years

Eduardo explains cybersecurity leadership or the ‘new cybersecurity leader’ as “someone who not only has technical expertise but also possesses strong skills in communication, critical thinking, collaboration, and an understanding of the business. These leaders are expected to communicate effectively with both technical teams and executive management. They must be resilient, adaptable, and forward-thinking.”

He says “the technical experts who are promoted for the first time to a leadership position or a managerial role should adopt a new mindset and embrace the full scope of managerial responsibilities. They should look at developing new skills and invest in personal and professional development.”

And, Gartner justifies this through their latest survey of Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs). It reveals that ‘69% of top performing CISOs dedicate recurring time on their calendars for personal professional development.’

Eduardo further explains, “As technology evolved  from mainframes and local area networks to the rise of internet, cloud computing, and the integration of artificial intelligence, cybersecurity leaders need to stay informed and adapt to continuous learning and keep themselves updated with the latest trends and technologies in this rapidly changing technology landscape.”

According to Gartner, these are the five key behaviors that significantly differentiate top-performing CISOs from bottom performers.

Image: Gartner

ORCA's Blueprint for Cybersecurity Leadership Excellence

As per a study by PwC, besides technical skills, executives are looking for analytical skills (47%), communication skills (43%), critical thinking (42%), and creativity (42%) when hiring for leadership roles. Another study by Korn Ferry, an executive search firm, shows that the most successful cybersecurity leaders are hired because:

  • They understand the business
  • They have an executive presence
  • They are good listeners
  • They can communicate up to the board and down to the non-technical teams

Eduardo adds, “While technical skills are still a must for cybersecurity leaders and will be for the foreseeable future, having just the technical skills will not guarantee success going forward. These leaders must be able to bridge the gap with the stakeholders and develop a cohesive work environment within the teams.”

These rapidly and digitally evolving times require leaders to embrace a broader perspective that integrates strategic business insight, robust communication skills, and a deep understanding of complex cybersecurity challenges. Leaders need to be skilled at resilience, emotional intelligence, and the ability to handle stress and uncertainty, particularly in responding to cyber incidents and threats, to achieve success in this dynamic environment.

We, at ORCA HR Solutions, emphasize a holistic approach to nurturing and developing the capabilities of cybersecurity leaders in the face of an ever-evolving digital landscape. Our approach to training and developing cybersecurity leaders includes practical exercises, individual and group assessments, coaching, and group debriefings, aiming to holistically enhance their skills and prepare them for the role’s challenges.

Fact Sheet: Leadership Development Stats Every HR Professional Should Share with Their CEO

As HR professionals, it's crucial to equip our CEOs with compelling data that underscores the necessity of investing in manager and leadership development. Without it, the C-suite may overlook the importance of people development, leading to detrimental consequences for organizational growth. In reality, high-growth organizations can’t afford NOT to invest.

Whether you’re advocating for the creation of a manager academy training program or seeking to implement assessments like DISC throughout your organization, you need to be armed with hard data to make a compelling case. To assist you in this endeavor, we’ve curated a selection of impactful statistics outlining the costs, profitability, and ROI of various aspects of leadership development:

Poor Leadership

79% of people would seek new employment due to bad leadership. Source: Career Addict, ‘Why People Quit Their Jobs’, 2020.

Turnover and Talent Retention

34% of employees leave within the first year, primarily in the first 90 days. The top reason people leave (43%) is because the role doesn’t meet their expectations. Source: Forbes Advisor, Key HR Statistics And Trends In 2024, 2023

Manager Effectiveness

1 in 3 workers say their manager can’t lead a team Source: The Society for Human Resources Management - SHRM, ‘The High Cost of a Toxic Workplace Culture’, 2019

Burnout

76% of HR leaders report that managers are overwhelmed by growing job responsibilities. Source: Gartner, ‘Top 5 HR Trends and Priorities for 2024’, 2023

Employee Engagement

Companies with highly engaged employees are 21% more profitable and 17% more productive. Source: Forbes Advisor, Key HR Statistics And Trends In 2024, 2023

Alongside these statistics, we’ve created graphics that you can easily incorporate into your presentation to your CEO. These statistics offer a clear illustration of the profound impact that effective leadership development can have on organizational outcomes. Convincing your CEO shouldn’t have to be difficult – let us help you with the data you need.

If you’d like to delve deeper into the subject, prominent HR reports from Gallup, SHRM, and Microsoft provide invaluable insights into the benefits of prioritizing leadership development initiatives.

Ready to equip your CEO with the compelling data they need to prioritize leadership development initiatives? Click the button below to download our “Why Invest in Manager and Leadership Development?” fact sheet (no email required). With this invaluable resource at your disposal, you’ll be well-prepared to advocate for strategic investments in the future success of your organization.

Together, let’s empower our organizations to thrive by strategically investing in leadership and manager development.

If you need more information on convincing your CEO, email us at experts@orcahrsolutions.com. We are here to help!

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HR and Leadership Development Lessons Learned in 2023 and Trends for 2024

A hdn reaches down to several wooden dowels designed to look like people and selects one.

In the ever-evolving landscape of the business world, 2023 was a year of significant transformation.

While ‘The Great Resignation’ might be officially over, those working in HR and Leadership Development heard its echoes up until 2023. A staggering 79% of people would seek new employment due to bad leadership, according to a 2020 survey by Career Addict, ‘Why People Quit Their Jobs.’ Additionally, according to The Society for Human Resources Management’s (SHRM) 2019 report, The High Cost of a Toxic Workplace Culture, employee turnover has created a loss of $223 billion in the U.S. over five years. These stats are not just a wake-up call, but a stark reminder to rethink the ways companies hire, nurture, and manage leaders. 

Poor leadership isn’t the only difficulty, 2023 presented HR with an array of challenges. From attracting suitable talent and strengthening employee-manager relations to re-engaging the workforce, adjusting to a hybrid work model, skill-building, working on DEI initiatives, and more, HR teams grappled with an overwhelming number of complex tasks. These challenges underscored the need for HR to be more adaptable, strategic, and empathetic than ever before, playing a vital role in shaping the future of work in a rapidly changing business landscape. 

2023 was the time when rapid changes took place in the business world, teaching companies the importance of agility and innovation in HR practices, alongside the critical role of leadership in steering teams through change. Leaders showed resilience and innovation by embracing unprecedented challenges and reinventing strategies to nurture an evolving workforce in a changing economic state. But, there’s more to do in the coming years to achieve a robust and adaptive organizational environment. Reflecting on these insights, let’s delve into the key lessons learned in HR and Leadership Development 2023 and the emerging trends for 2024 that are shaping a new era in HR and leadership development.

Key Lessons Learned in Leadership & HR in 2023

2023 was a year of challenges for HR and Leadership sectors and also reshaped the future of organizational strategies. Here are some lessons learned over the past year. 

The Continuation of Hybrid Culture

Remote and hybrid work models continued up until 2023, teaching organizations the importance of flexibility in work arrangements. While HR teams reworked their policies and learned innovative ways of remote hiring, leaders focused on developing cohesive teams and effective communication for enhanced productivity and success. 

Employee Well-Being

Employee well-being directly impacts employee productivity and retention. According to the American Psychological Association’s ‘2023 Work in America Survey’, 92% of workers said it is very (57%) or somewhat (35%) important to them to work for an organization that values their emotional and psychological well-being. Leaders who prioritized mental well-being and destigmatized mental health discussions cultivated a more supportive and empathetic workplace culture, leading to higher levels of employee engagement, loyalty, and overall organizational health.

Agile and Resilient Leaders

The unpredictable business environment highlighted the necessity for leaders to be agile, resilient, and adaptable to overcome challenges and boost team morale. Companies understood the importance of agile and resilient leaders and worked with the HR teams to develop training programs that focused on building leaders who could adapt to changing environments, think strategically under pressure, and bounce back from challenges.

Cultural Fit

More than skills and experience, companies learned that aligning a candidate with the company values and culture is a necessity in the changing business world.

Diversity and Inclusivity

Both HR and leadership recognized the importance of fostering diversity and inclusivity among employees. This involved unbiased hiring practices and leadership approaches that embraced varied perspectives and backgrounds.

HR and Leadership Development Trends for 2024

Remote and Hybrid Work Model to Continue

2024 will reshape the business world as organizations develop adaptive and innovative strategies to ensure that HR and leadership align well with the needs of the organization and the employees. Here are some pivotal trends set to redefine how organizations operate and lead in this exciting new chapter, on their path to success.

According to a 2023 Bankrate survey, 89% of the workforce either prefers 4-day workweeks, remote work, or hybrid work, indicating that hybrid or remote work has become the new normal and organizations need to adapt to this change. HR and leaders must invent ways to build cohesive teams that can work collaboratively, irrespective of their geographical location. They need to establish robust ways of communication besides creating a work environment that makes employees feel valued and supported.

Data-Driven Hiring

Besides substantial financial setbacks, a poor hire leads to decreased productivity, lower employee morale, and high employee turnover affecting the organization in the long run. In 2024, organizations need to focus on data-driven hiring that takes a comprehensive approach to talent acquisition. With insights, HR leaders can not only align candidates with organizational values, culture, and the required skills but also eliminate any likelihood of bias, ensuring an efficient and robust search process.

Use of Technology

Technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are paving new ways in HR and leadership. Gartner’s report, AI in HR: The Ultimate Guide to Implementing AI in Your HR Organization, says “a massive 81% of HR leaders have explored or implemented AI solutions to improve process efficiency within their organization.”  HR and leaders can make use of AI and ML to enhance recruitment strategies, analyze employee performance, personalize learning programs, optimize talent management, and predict employee success within the organization, besides other tasks. 

Robust Hiring Process

Evolving skill shortages, candidate experience, and expectations, changing workforce demographics, low retention and high turnover rates, and economic and political uncertainties are some of the reasons talent acquisition is a challenge in 2024. An inefficient hiring process negatively impacts employee morale, team dynamics, productivity, and overall organizational efficiency, which is why a robust hiring process is paramount in the highly competitive business world to ensure the attraction and retention of top talent, alignment with organizational goals, and long-term success.

Leadership Development

Gartner’s 2023 survey and report, Top 5 HR Trends and Priorities for 2024 says one of the top two priorities for HR leaders in 2024 is a leader and manager development. HR expects front-line managers to guide teams to success through evolving business challenges, especially when teams are geographically distributed.

However, the pressure to lead and guide a whole team toward success, along with the fear of failure and the pressure to perform, creates a feeling of self-doubt amongst the leaders, leaving them vulnerable to anxiety and burnout. In fact, 53% of managers report that they’re burned out at work, according to 2022 research from Microsoft, ‘Hybrid Work Is Just Work. Are We Doing It Wrong?’, which surveyed 20,000 people in 11 countries.

These insights and stats are the reasons why training and leadership development is a necessity in any corporate setting. Yet many companies are undervaluing development programs with a 2018 study from West Monroe Partners, ‘Companies are Overlooking a Primary Area for Growth and Efficiency: Their Managers’, stating that “59 % of managers overseeing 1 to 2 people receive no managerial training at all, along with a significant 41% of those who oversee 3 to 5 people.”

The study also states that new managers often mimic their previous bosses when there is no formal training. In fact, “42% of new managers developed their management style through observing a previous manager, rather than through formalized training.”

In 2024, HR teams need to ensure leadership development within the organization so that leaders and front-line managers are equipped with skills to manage stress while effectively guiding their teams through the complexities of the modern business environment.

Upskilling

In a rapidly shifting world, employees and their leaders must stay ahead of the curve and learn new skills. With the advancement of technology, there’s so much to learn and do, efficiently and effectively. Teams must focus on digital competency, critical thinking, and adaptability to new technologies and work models.

ORCA's SMARTHIRING© and Manager Academy© for Organizational Success

ORCA is uniquely positioned to help high-growth organizations increase revenue through investing in their people in 2024.

ORCA’s SMARTHIRING© is a comprehensive hiring strategy that combines objective methodologies with science-based tools to ensure your hiring decisions are grounded in data-driven insights. And, ORCA’s Manager Academy© analyzes the effectiveness of leadership and managers in your organization and helps design customized programs to work on competencies and capabilities. This may include 1-on-1 executive coaching, leadership assessments, and team coaching and training for forward progress.

With our programs, we help organizations meet the evolving needs of the business world, fostering a workforce that is skilled, adaptable, and ready for the challenges ahead.

Reduce Hiring Costs While Improving Person-Role Fit with ORCA’s SMARTHIRING©

In the competitive landscape of today's business world, organizations are constantly striving to find the perfect match between candidates and job requirements.

The ideal employee possesses the right skills, fits seamlessly into the company culture, and aligns with the core values of the organization. After all, a well-suited hire can drive performance and growth, while the wrong choice can cost precious time, money, and team morale.

According to The Fordyce Letter, key executive vacancies alone can incur costs exceeding $50,000 per day. In response to these challenges, ORCA HR Solutions presents SMARTHIRING© – a groundbreaking science-based framework designed to transform your recruitment process and optimize your hiring outcomes.

What is SMARTHIRING© and What Does It Entail?

SMARTHIRING© is more than just a program; it’s a comprehensive strategy that combines objective methodologies with science-based tools to ensure your hiring decisions are grounded in data-driven insights. It’s about finding the perfect fit, not just for the role but also for your organization’s unique values and culture. Through SMARTHIRING©, HR leaders, recruiting teams, sales managers, and CEOs gain access to a powerful toolkit that assists in making well-informed decisions, ultimately leading to enhanced company performance.

In the following video, Paul O’Beirne, CEO of ORCA HR Solutions, delves into the challenges faced by HR leaders and managers when seeking to hire the perfect candidates. Dive into the practical approach that transforms this framework into a prudent investment with substantial returns. Explore the realm of SMARTHIRING© and uncover how this scientifically grounded strategy can reshape your recruitment landscape, bringing a fundamental shift to your organization’s hiring decisions.

How Companies Are Using The Program And Which Roles Benefits the Most

The SMARTHIRING© approach is versatile and applicable to companies of various sizes. Whether you’re a small enterprise or a large corporation, this program can elevate your recruitment game. While SMARTHIRING© can be tailored to various roles, organizations that employ sales and service-based individuals have shown the greatest potential for reaping its benefits. By combining science with strategy, SMARTHIRING© is particularly effective in roles where a candidate’s behavioral alignment, skills, and acumen are crucial to success.

Benefits of SMARTHIRING©

Embracing SMARTHIRING© comes with a host of advantages that can reshape the way you hire:

 

      Precision Matching: SMARTHIRING© ensures a strong alignment between candidates and job requirements, reducing the risk of mismatches.

      Custom Benchmarks: Unlike one-size-fits-all approaches, SMARTHIRING© crafts a unique benchmark tailored to your specific organizational needs and culture.

      Reduced Turnover: By identifying the best-suited candidates, SMARTHIRING© contributes to a higher retention rate, saving your organization time and resources.

      Enhanced Collaboration: A collaboration meeting assists in fostering effective communication between new hires and managers, setting the stage for successful onboarding.

      Strategic Advantage: SMARTHIRING© equips your organization with the tools to make hiring decisions that provide a competitive edge.

The SMARTHIRING© Approach

At the heart of SMARTHIRING© lies a structured process that guarantees holistic evaluation:

  1. Job Profile: ORCA collaborates with clients to define the role’s key accountabilities, success metrics, and high-performance expectations. Ensuring alignment among key stakeholders, this step lays the foundation for success.
  2. Job Assessment: A comprehensive blueprint is created, analyzing behaviors, motivators, competencies, and acumen essential for the role. This goes beyond a mere candidate qualification – it’s about understanding what your business truly needs.
  3. Hiring: Using the job profile and blueprint, SMARTHIRING© evaluates individual applicants, focusing on holistic compatibility rather than a narrow checklist.
  4. Gap Analysis: By comparing candidates’ profiles with job requirements, SMARTHIRING© identifies any gaps and provides insights for informed decisions.
  5. Onboarding: A collaboration meeting report facilitates effective communication between new hires and managers by highlighting predominant behaviors, motivators, and skills for proactive interactions.

Why SMARTHIRING©?

The driving force behind SMARTHIRING© is ORCA HR Solutions’ dedication to enhancing hiring outcomes. By incorporating objective methodologies and science-based tools, SMARTHIRING© offers a systematic approach to address the challenges organizations face during recruitment. It’s not just about making hires – it’s about making the right hires that align with your organization’s vision and goals.

Elevate your hiring decisions with SMARTHIRING© – the science-backed strategy that transforms recruitment, aligns candidates with company culture, and propels your organization toward success. 

 

To learn more about how SMARTHIRING© can redefine your hiring process and create lasting impacts register for our educational webinar at learning.orcahrsolutions.com/webinars/orcas-smarthiring or  contact our team at experts@orcasolutions.com