06 Apr 2020

Good LUCK with COVID-19

It’s difficult not to talk about this mushrooming health crisis. Every week seems worse than the previous ones. However, if only for the sake of maintaining our mental health, we should seriously consider strategically managing our information intake. The positive side effects of this aren’t just personal; they can be financial and occupational as well. How so, you might ask, especially when it seems that everyone everywhere is already jobless or not far from it? If history has taught us anything, it’s that every crisis presents opportunities. In that context, luck is nothing more than ‘Labour Under Correct Knowledge’ (LUCK). It means preparing for unforeseen eventualities before they occur, to be as ready as we can be.

The New Normal

Companies and governments the world over are helping industries, firms and employees get through the crisis. In that regard Jamaica is no different. However, these support systems are intended to mitigate the devastating financial fallout, not what will follow. Yes, companies and self-employed people will have access to loans but repayment is still mandatory, for these aren’t grants.

Let’s take a step back. Many companies cannot ‘afford’ to layoff all their employees for one simple reason — staff recruitment and retention is often very costly and time-consuming. Imagine starting all over in three to six months, desperately trying to rehire your best and brightest. Human resource (HR) professionals will attest to how difficult a strategic decision this is for every firm, especially employers of choice.

Sadly, however, this new reality forces everyone to make tough decisions. In some cases, it will come down to the weighted value of each individual in the businesses’ continuity planning. If employees were rated in bands like ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’, for example, only the A-rated team members might be retained, and perhaps only on partial salary, to ensure a smoother post-pandemic transition. This is when making oneself invaluable can bring good LUCK to the select few.

Home Work

This is your new life. After three weeks of Netflix-ing and chilling, we have to get back to ‘work’. What work if I’m unemployed and most companies are closed, you ask? Well, let’s start with what you’re trained to do or are otherwise good at. You were hired because you have a certain skill set and intellect. Now, while the next few months will be very challenging, you now also have time you’ve never had before in your adult life. This is an excellent opportunity to assess and audit yourself. Do a SWOT analysis of YOU, as if you were a business, and strategise how to leverage all you have to make yourself more marketable. Don’t know Microsoft Excel? Learn it for free online. Make presentations often? Improve your PowerPoint skills or upgrade to Prezi to wow audiences.

What about starting a business? It takes months to create a business plan, establish branding, gain a presence on social media, build a website, etc. But guess what? You now have a few months. All you need is a device, Internet access and willpower. No excuses! Get started on creating your own LUCK.

Until next time, leaders, keep lookin’ up and stay safe!


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25 Mar 2020

Work from home…..

What a difference a month makes! Like other life-changing events – say the birth or death of a loved one, or a world war – the effects tend to have a profound impact on our individual and collective perspective. This is what the novel coronavirus pandemic has forced all of us to do, irrespective of public and corporate status – reflect.

As with the virus itself, no one is immune from the effects of what is already a global economic catastrophe. And yet, despite early warnings of what was to come for at least two months, many employers are just now scrambling to craft a survival strategy for business continuity. Even with recent experience with other virus strains, there seems to be no playbook as to how to handle this situation from a business perspective.


Hardware & Slumber

It’s one thing to be using the now-trending terms ‘work from home’ or ‘teleworking’ as potential solutions, for leaders and Human Resource (HR) professionals on the front lines can bear witness to the fact that most organisations are prepared to execute in theory only. Not many small-and medium-sized firms, even employers of choice, actually have the infrastructure and systems in place to allow a significant percentage of their labour force to work remotely.

Here are the stark realities:

The hospitality industry, where physical interaction is vital to product and service delivery, is all but shuttered. So, in tandem with labour laws, while simply trying to stay solvent, many companies have had to make decisions they never imagined in their worst nightmares, and tell most, if not all, their workers that they no longer have a job. For organisations that do provide virtual services via phone or online communication, they still have to make tough calls about which non-essential staff members go on rotation or go home altogether. Imagine a company without an HR department or partner to help guide them through these unchartered waters.

Doing Homework

So how does a company without an information technology department begin to create the physical infrastructure and offsite workplace procedures to maintain security protocols and productivity levels? Evidently, some industries like the global outsourcing sector are inherently better equipped for this transition given that the very foundation of their business model is built on providing offshore virtual business support services at varying skill competency levels. It’s periods like these that can mirror war-time catastrophe where having external partners experienced in managing life-changing business and social upheaval are crucial to surviving what is potentially an existential event.

Whereas virtual work was once considered a nice-to-have amenity, climate change and technology will probably force us to accept the kind of radical change that took place during the first industrial revolution. Whatever the cause, a seismic change in how we live and work is inevitable. The companies that survive and thrive are those that plan for the worst while expecting the best. In the meantime, let’s hope and pray for a vaccine soon. Next article we’ll discuss ways to create opportunities from tragedies, especially for those facing unemployment in these extremely challenging times.

Until next time, leaders keep lookin’ up, and stay safe!


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27 Feb 2020

Everybody has a price by Debra Fraser

We’d all like to think that we don’t have a price, but we do. There’s your personal net worth – your total assets value after liabilities and recurring expenses and there’s public value, an organisation’s perceived contribution to society – both of which are quantifiable, one more than the other. On the other hand, your occupational net worth is not so easily determined as several factors have bearing on what levels of compensation competing job seekers can command.


Qualifications vs Experience

Job matching speaks to fitting the right person with the right job based on their qualities and qualifications. Leaders and HR professionals are constantly striving to ensure that the best suited individuals are employed in roles that complement their skillsets and the company’s strategic objectives. Ideally, the employees have some level of mastery of their subject area as well as the requisite communication and motivation traits to succeed in their assigned positions. However, how much weight is given to the age-old tug-of-war between theoretical qualification and hands-on work experience? Are there algorithms to determine how much value to place on one factor over the other? Employers of choice now more than ever are increasingly particular about ensuring they hire the right person for the right job based on metrics not personality. So, if during college an applicant also interned in their field, worked summers at a related company and generally did all they could to gain experience, then we’d expect her to be given extra brownie points. Here’s another question. How does one quantify years of experience when it comes to salary negotiations?


The Negotiation Game

For starters, location can be more important than your qualification as a garbage collector in North America on average earns a higher salary than a manager in Jamaica. Even working in Kingston versus a rural area can result in salary disparities with candidates being equally qualified. So, what gives Job Applicant A the edge over Job Applicant B in the competitive salary game? The simple answer is, you get what you negotiate for. It’s not uncommon for two similarly qualified employees to have distinctly different compensation packages. Our company has partnered with Birches Group, who provide compensation and salary surveys for the Jamaican market. While benefits and bonuses are usually standard, basic salaries negotiations are often like a poker game, especially at the management level. It’s about selling yourself, not flinching and being confident in your ask. Of course, all that means nothing if the salary is set in stone, but usually there’s a range, not a finite number.

Most importantly, a candidate could deliver an Oscar-worthy performance during the interview process, but without a proven body of work and the academic training to fully grasp the scope of the desired task, it’s usually a futile expedition. There may be cases where a candidate is hired as a short-term fix but their ability to command their ideal salary would be severely hampered by their perceived value to the organization. It really comes down to what you’ve done so far and more importantly how well you’ve done it, and your level of qualification in the specific area you’re applying for. It makes no sense applying for a senior marketing position with a PhD in bio chemistry. When all is said and done, and all things being equal, how you present yourself and back it up on the job can mean the difference between an extra $100,000 or more per month in your bank account.

Until next time, leaders, keep lookin’ up!


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27 Jan 2020

This Means War — Part II by Debra Fraser

Last article we spoke about the effects the external and internal environments can have on team members’ stress levels and how this can manifest into workplace conflict. Emphasis was placed on mitigating potential red flag issues of harassment and tension by implementing effective screening and training measures. However, no amount of pre-employment evaluation or on-the-job behavioural conditioning can compete with hardwired familial socialisation. Values and attitudes have changed dramatically from a generation ago. Employers of choice have had to adapt to a new type of worker since much of what was normal or expected as it relates to working conditions and interpersonal relations are no longer acceptable or, in some cases, even legal anymore. The rules of engagement have certainly changed.

Society & the Workplace

If we are to use the evolution of our collective mentality as a barometer, then we ought to be more realistic about the dramatic shifts in expectations and our approach to handling workers’ concerns and conflicts. The ever-increasing role of HR practitioners underscores the value leaders place in trying to understand what makes employees tick, and more importantly from a business standpoint, what it takes to get maximum productivity out of them. In many organisations, managers and supervisors constantly feel like they’re chasing their tails when it comes to making progress with keeping motivation and positive worker interactions at high levels. However, if society is a reflection of our collective state, then the problem may be even larger than we are prepared to acknowledge, or even equipped to manage. It must be very frustrating for companies who are woke to the cultural and personal issues of their team members, and then invest heavily in training and engagement measures only to be continuously putting out conflict and discontentment fires among staff ranks. It begs the question, ‘what are we missing, or not doing right?’

A Vicious/Virtuous Cycle

Then there is the issue of employees we’ve invested in being headhunted by our competitors, leaving us in a treadmill-like state — putting out much effort but not really going anywhere. If we’re honest, we would concede that the war of attrition often has little to do with a better salary package offer elsewhere. As HR practitioners can attest, it is often the result of poor management. We can attest to how often managers allow good workers to leave because they didn’t lead or guide them well enough. When these team members under-perform, it is they themselves who take the hit when it’s really their superior who pulled the trigger. These kind of conflicts are common in many organisations, which can breed a culture of passive aggressive victimisation — a silent energy sapping, productivity killing disease in the war against workplace conflict. However, the mission is not impossible if leaders and workers are on the same page and are committed to a strategy of peaceful resolution and not make confrontation their first course of action.


Debra Fraser MBA, is CEO of Caribbean HR Solutions, a board member of the BPIAJ and the Global Services Sector, a member of the Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica, and Society of Human Resources Management. Please direct comments to dfraser@caribbeanhrsolutions.com or www.caribbeanhrsolutions.com


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02 Jul 2019


Birches Group, a global market consulting group that provides salary and compensation data to developing countries, is pleased to announce its strategic partnership with Caribbean HR Solutions based in Montego Bay, Jamaica. With over ten years of experience, Caribbean HR Solutions provides outsourced HR solutions such as recruiting, employment agency, payroll & benefits and HR consulting to its clients. Having clients from various sectors in the country, Caribbean HR Solutions provides practical Human Capital management for companies entering the Caribbean Service Center market ensuring they access the best talent available.

Under this partnership, Caribbean HR Solutions will co-sponsor Birches’ multi-sector survey and help promote survey participation to all their clients and other Jamaican entities. Together, both entities will also be exploring possible compensation management training events, webinars and other activities to provide professional development opportunities for HR practitioners in Jamaica.

In commenting on the partnership, Debra Fraser, CEO of Caribbean HR Solutions, said “We are excited to enter into this partnership with Birches Group. Being actively engaged in the HR industry for over 20 years, I believe that this partnership will provide Jamaican employers with competitive information to maintain their most valuable assets (employees). Over the years, Jamaica has been struggling with access to credible/specific data to make strategic employment decisions. We are pleased to partner with Birches Group as their solutions will move our clients and Jamaica in the direction of being a data-driven society.”

Julienne Sayoc, Manager for Private Sector Business Development for Birches Group, added: “This collaboration with CHRS creates a mutually advantageous partnership that expands CHRS’ product and service portfolio while it allows Birches Group to increase and sustain its visibility and penetration in the market. Combining Birches Group’s expertise in compensation and benefits solutions with CHRS’ well established presence and cross-functional HR expertise will undoubtedly bring about synergies that will ultimately benefit our mutual clients.”

For more information about this partnership, or to learn more about Caribbean HR Solutions and services, please contact us.

Download the press release here.

18 Jan 2024
outsourcing to Guyana

Outsourcing to Guyana for Marginal Gains and Cost Savings

Empowering Growth: Strategic Outsourcing to the Caribbean in 2024

In the dynamic landscape of 2024, businesses are incessantly seeking avenues for growth and customer base expansion. Amidst this pursuit, strategic outsourcing has emerged as a transformative strategy, particularly when considering the unique advantages presented by the Caribbean. This article explores in greater detail the intricacies of strategic outsourcing to the Caribbean and how businesses can derive unparalleled value by leveraging the skilled workforce and cost-effective environment in the region.

The Evolving Business Landscape of 2024

As businesses chart their growth trajectories in 2024, they encounter a myriad of challenges and opportunities. Central to their endeavors is the commitment to customer-centric strategies, digital transformation, and a keen focus on optimizing budgets for sustainable growth.

  • Customer-Centric Excellence:
    • In an era where customer loyalty is paramount, businesses are prioritizing strategies that enhance the customer experience. This includes personalized services, targeted marketing, and seamless interactions throughout the customer journey.
  • Digital Transformation Imperative:
    • The accelerating pace of digital transformation is reshaping business operations. From embracing e-commerce platforms to leveraging digital marketing tools, companies are investing in technologies to enhance customer engagement, streamline processes, and stay ahead in a digital-first marketplace.
  • Strategic Budget Optimization:
    • Maximizing the efficiency of budgets is crucial for companies aspiring to drive growth. The challenge lies in identifying areas where costs can be optimized without compromising quality, allowing organizations to reallocate resources strategically.

outsourcing to Caribbean

Strategic Outsourcing: A Catalyst for Growth and Efficiency

The Caribbean, with its skilled workforce, cultural alignment, and cost advantages, stands out as a strategic destination for outsourcing critical business elements. Here’s a closer look at how businesses can extract substantial value from strategic outsourcing to the Caribbean:

1. Outsourcing Business Critical Elements: Enhancing Efficiency and Focus

In the pursuit of growth, businesses can identify non-core functions that can be outsourced without compromising quality. Customer support, data entry, back-office operations, and IT services are prime candidates for outsourcing. By entrusting these critical elements to the Caribbean, companies can streamline operations and redirect internal resources toward core growth initiatives.

2. Access to Skilled Professionals: Unlocking Expertise at a Competitive Cost

The Caribbean boasts a growing pool of skilled professionals with expertise in various business functions. Outsourcing to the region allows businesses to tap into this talent pool at a fraction of the cost compared to in-house operations. This translates to significant cost savings without compromising on the caliber of work delivered.

3. Cost Efficiency without Compromising Quality: Achieving Tangible Savings

Leveraging the cost advantage of the Caribbean allows businesses to achieve substantial savings. The competitive cost of living in the region ensures cost-efficient outsourcing solutions, freeing up budget for strategic investments in growth initiatives. This approach is particularly valuable for businesses looking to maximize ROI and allocate resources judiciously.

4. Focus on Core Competencies: Channeling Resources Toward Growth Initiatives

Strategic outsourcing enables businesses to concentrate on core competencies – the areas that directly contribute to growth and innovation. By entrusting non-core functions to skilled professionals in the Caribbean, companies can align their efforts with strategic initiatives, propelling their competitive edge in the market.

5. Scalability and Flexibility: Adapting to Market Dynamics

The dynamic nature of business demands scalability. Outsourcing to the Caribbean provides businesses with the flexibility to scale operations up or down based on market demands. This adaptability ensures that companies only pay for the services they need, optimizing resource allocation and enhancing overall operational efficiency.

6. Cultural Alignment and Customer Engagement: Enhancing Connection with Target Audiences

The cultural alignment between the Caribbean and Western markets is a strategic advantage in customer-centric initiatives. Outsourced teams in the Caribbean possess an inherent understanding of the cultural nuances of Western audiences, facilitating effective communication and engagement. This alignment contributes to enhanced customer satisfaction and loyalty.

7. Technological Advancements: Staying Ahead with Cutting-Edge Solutions

The Caribbean is not just a hub for skilled professionals but also a region embracing technological advancements. Outsourcing critical elements to the Caribbean ensures that businesses benefit from the latest technologies and streamlined processes. This includes the use of sophisticated payroll software, data analytics tools, and other technological solutions, enhancing overall operational efficiency.

8. Risk Mitigation: Ensuring Compliance and Quality Standards

Strategic outsourcing serves as a robust risk mitigation strategy. Professionals in the Caribbean are well-versed in industry best practices, compliance standards, and quality assurance protocols. This expertise reduces the risk of errors and legal complications associated with certain business functions, providing businesses with peace of mind as they navigate complex regulatory landscapes.

9. Time Zone Advantage: Facilitating Real-Time Collaboration

The time zone advantage is a significant benefit when outsourcing to the Caribbean. Overlapping work hours with Western markets facilitate real-time collaboration and communication between onshore and offshore teams. This ensures seamless operations, efficient project management, and an enhanced collaborative environment.

10. Global Expansion Opportunities: Paving the Way for Market Penetration

Outsourcing to the Caribbean opens up opportunities for global expansion. With cultural affinity to Western markets, businesses can establish a presence in the Caribbean, paving the way for future growth and market penetration. This strategic expansion not only unlocks new customer segments but also positions businesses strategically in an increasingly interconnected global marketplace.

Conclusion: Navigating Growth with Strategic Outsourcing

In conclusion, strategic outsourcing to the Caribbean stands as a potent catalyst for businesses seeking to unlock growth potential, optimize budgets, and thrive in the competitive landscape of 2024. By strategically leveraging the advantages of the Caribbean region, businesses can derive unparalleled value, achieve significant cost savings, and propel their growth initiatives with newfound efficiency.

As businesses continue to navigate the complexities of a rapidly evolving business environment, the synergy between strategic outsourcing and the capabilities of the Caribbean’s skilled workforce becomes a decisive factor. This collaborative approach empowers businesses to not only weather challenges but to emerge stronger, more efficient, and better poised for sustained growth in the years to come.


23 Nov 2023

03 Mar 2023

The Remote Workforce: Opportunities, Challenges, and Solutions

The Remote Workforce

The rise of technology and the growing demand for flexible work arrangements have given rise to the remote workforce, a growing trend that is having a profound impact on the way businesses operate. For Caribbean businesses, the remote workforce presents both opportunities and challenges, including access to a wider pool of talent, flexible work arrangements, reduced overhead costs, and improved employee engagement and productivity. However, managing a remote workforce can be difficult, requiring new tools and processes to ensure that employees stay productive and engaged.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the rise of the remote workforce, its impact on Caribbean businesses, and the solutions that are available to help companies successfully manage their remote workforce.

The Rise of the Remote Workforce

The rise of the remote workforce is driven by several factors, including advancements in technology, a growing demand for flexible work arrangements, and a changing job market. Advances in technology have made it possible for employees to work from anywhere in the world, with access to the tools and resources they need to be productive. This has given rise to a new generation of workers who are not tied to a specific location, and who value the freedom and flexibility that comes with remote work.

At the same time, businesses are increasingly recognizing the benefits of remote work, including reduced overhead costs, access to a wider pool of talent, and improved employee engagement and productivity. This has led to a growing trend of companies adopting remote work policies, and a rise in the number of remote workers worldwide.

remote team

Impact of the Remote Workforce on Caribbean Businesses

For Caribbean businesses, the rise of the remote workforce presents both opportunities and challenges. On the one hand, it offers access to a wider pool of talent, flexible work arrangements, and the ability to reduce overhead costs. On the other hand, managing a remote workforce can be difficult, requiring new tools and processes to ensure that employees stay productive and engaged.

Some of the key challenges of managing a remote workforce in the Caribbean include:

  • Communication: Ensuring that remote employees are kept in the loop and feel connected to the rest of the team can be a challenge.
  • Collaboration: With employees working from different locations, it can be difficult to facilitate effective collaboration and teamwork.
  • Trust and Accountability: Trusting remote employees to work independently and be accountable for their results can be a challenge for some managers.

Solutions for Managing the Remote Workforce

Fortunately, there are solutions available that can help Caribbean businesses successfully manage their remote workforce. Some of the key solutions include:

  • Remote Workforce Management Tools: There are a variety of tools available to help companies manage their remote workforce, including project management tools, communication tools, and collaboration tools. These tools can help companies stay organized and keep track of their remote employees, while also facilitating communication and collaboration.


  • Employee Engagement Programs: Employee engagement is key to ensuring that remote employees stay productive and engaged. Companies can implement programs and initiatives to keep remote employees engaged, such as regular check-ins, virtual team-building activities, and performance incentives.

  • Training and Development Programs: Providing ongoing training and development opportunities for remote employees can help them stay productive and engaged. Companies can invest in online learning platforms and other training resources to help their remote employees grow and develop professionally.


  • Performance Management Systems: Performance management is crucial for remote employees, who may not have the same level of direct supervision as on-site employees. Companies can implement performance management systems that allow them to track their remote employees’ progress,provide feedback, and set goals and expectations. This will help ensure that remote employees are held accountable for their results, and that they have a clear understanding of what is expected of them.


  • Flexible Work Arrangements: Providing flexible work arrangements for remote employees can help keep them engaged and motivated. This can include options such as flexible scheduling, work-from-home policies, and remote work options.


  • Strong Company Culture: Maintaining a strong company culture is key to ensuring that remote employees feel connected to the rest of the team. This can be achieved through regular virtual team-building activities, regular communication and check-ins, and clear expectations and values.


  • Investment in Technology: Investing in technology is crucial for companies looking to manage their remote workforce. This includes investing in tools that support remote work, such as cloud-based systems and collaboration tools, as well as technology that supports employee engagement and productivity.

benefits of a remote team

In conclusion, the remote workforce is a growing trend that is having a profound impact on Caribbean businesses. While it presents both opportunities and challenges, companies that are able to effectively manage their remote workforce can benefit from increased access to talent, reduced overhead costs, and improved employee engagement and productivity. By investing in technology, fostering a strong company culture, communicating regularly, and providing ongoing training and support, Caribbean businesses can successfully manage their remote workforce and take advantage of the opportunities it presents.

If you’re interested in adopting a remote work policy for your business, consider partnering with Caribbean HR Solutions. Our team of HR experts can help you implement the tools and processes necessary to successfully manage your remote workforce, and ensure that your employees stay productive and engaged. Contact us today to learn more about our remote workforce management solutions.

04 Dec 2022

Why is outsourced payroll popular for accountants?

Why is outsourced payroll a popular solution for accountants


There are several reasons why an outsourced payroll can be a popular solution for professional accountants, benefits range from time saved, an increase in productivity, or even the comfort of having one less continual workplace task.

Whatever the reason you’re considering outsourcing payroll, there are countless additional benefits that will increase the value and validity of your decision.


Outsourcing payroll for accountants, accountancy firms and their employees


If you’re a professional accountant with a team of employees, it’s imperative that your business runs as smoothly as possible while working within the financial industry. In particular, the efficient and reliable payment of your workforce, any issues with employee payment, or a lack of communication within the internal payroll can create a disillusioned and unmotivated workforce.

Outsourcing payroll will provide accountants with a level of specialized expertise and experience that internal payroll will likely be unable to provide. There’s also the additional level of professional reassurance that should any issue arise, you have a financial specialist whose job is to solve the issue as quickly as possible and to the satisfaction of any dissatisfied parties.


payroll outsourcing

Outsourcing payroll reduces the professional risk of payroll and accountancy error


Outsourcing payroll to an independent specialist will allow an accountant to continually adapt to ever-evolving financial statutory laws, changes to the tax system, and other unforeseeable changes to the industry.


The challenges of accountancy and in-house payroll


In-house payroll issues will demotivate not only other individuals affected but also you as the accountant. It’s impossible to make progress as an accountant when you’re constantly dealing with issues, easily solved by an outside payroll consultant.

Regular internal payroll issues will inevitably cause long-term damage to your business, whether time, energy, or a failure of tasks being completed through distraction, by lowering the probability of issues developing, statistically you’ll improve the productivity of your accountancy business. And increase the likelihood of success as an accountant.


Outsourcing payroll when working with international clients


Outsourcing payroll to a reliable provider removes the stress of HMRC, pension requirements, and BACS payments, which frees up your focus to concentrate on other tasks. Still, some overlooked yet essential benefits involve accountants who regularly work in collaboration with international clients.

An accountant with a worldwide client base reliant on an internal payroll system will struggle to keep up to date with extensive financial and tax law knowledge from multiple countries. Rather than having to relearn the evolving tax and financial laws from multiple countries, outsourcing your payroll to a reliable and trustworthy specialist, can add value to you as an accountant.

Outsourcing payroll can increase the effectiveness and efficiency of future business planning


Rather than looking at external benefits such as employees and clients, by using an external payroll from a trusted specialist, you’re hiring a financial expert to help improve the overall financial health of your accountancy firm.

Whether you’re a self-employed accountant or someone running an accountancy firm with a roster of 500 employees, choosing to hire an external financial payroll expert with heightened specialized knowledge of your industry will always provide benefits and add value to your firm and to you as an accountant.


Don’t delay – contact us for your outsourcing payroll services


For more information, or to discover what additional outsourcing payroll services we can provide to you as an accountant.

Visit www.caribbeanhrsolutions.com/services-2/payroll-processing-outsourcing












20 Apr 2020

Mental, emotional fortitude — not gender — make for good leaders

The Maybelline commercial tagline — ‘Maybe she’s born with it’ — rings true in the office too. The reality is that many executives, managers, and CEOs are women, increasingly so over the last 15 to 20 years in particular. This means that a growing number of female leaders at varying levels of organisations are crafting company culture.

This is difficult enough during times of growth and prosperity; imagine performing that tightrope balancing act during a crisis. Patriarchal stereotypes posit that women are naturally more emotional creatures, which makes them ideally suited for ‘complementary roles’ in human resource (HR), for example, but this kind of generalisation masks some of the real issues – temperament under pressure and emotional intelligence.


You Can’t Handle The Truth

It’s obvious that men and women are different. This is not only natural law but also advantageous when it comes to how we process information and communicate. While one’s ability to think strategically and see the proverbial ‘big picture’ is more reliant on experience, exposure, and socialisation, the argument about which gender is the better leader or decision-maker has always been mooted.

Research proves that leadership, especially in times of crisis, weighs heavily on the mental and emotional fortitude exhibited by the individual, regardless of gender. Those who emerge successful are those more adept at connecting with and influencing their team members with a mindset that embraces challenges and change, and those who communicate the harshest realities without completely demotivating their core teams.

Those qualities, which are evidence of mental and emotional mettle, are increasingly key to HR professionals and headhunters in their assessment of candidates, as much as their skillset and competencies. Being ‘book smart’ but weak as a leader does nothing for staff morale or the bottom line in trying times.

EI vs AI

EI, or emotional intelligence, speaks to the ability to manage one’s emotions and interpersonal relations with empathy. Meanwhile, AI, artificial intelligence, in its strictest sense refers to computer systems performing some degree of human sensory and autonomous decision-making functions. In a human context, however, AI is used to refer to the standard intelligence indicators.

Successful leaders will need to embody both, particularly in times of crisis.

A recent Harvard Business Review article by Ron Carucci reported that 38 per cent of executives said they didn’t expect the loneliness and isolation that accompanied their jobs, and 54 per cent said they felt they were being held accountable for problems beyond their control. Welcome to the reality of the working world! ‘Other duties as assigned’ on your job description means just that; a caveat to do the dirty work if and when required to.

Before getting there, however, we submit that leaders first need to ruthlessly assess their own strengths and weaknesses and let openness and authenticity drive their words and actions. Calm, honest leadership trumps bravado and empty rhetoric every time, moreso now than ever. And that’s a person thing, not a gender thing.

Until next time, leaders keep lookin’ up, and stay safe!



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