Cenina Saxton is a resourceful, multi-faceted, and strategic professional with a seasoned talent management background, a history of optimizing and scaling talent management operations, and an aptitude for marshalling teams around common goals. She has over 22 years’ experience developing and implementing integrated talent management policies for multiple high-profile organizations; designing best-in-class training programs that shape an engaged and motivated workforce; implementing 360-degree organizational effectiveness strategies that foster a high-performing and inclusive employee culture; and carefully shaping the processes and policies that sustain an efficient, productive, and highly competitive organization.

Presently, Cenina Saxton works as a Director, Talent & Culture, Focus Brands.

What challenges and trends do you observe in today's marketplace regarding organizational culture?

The hybrid and remote work model poses a significant challenge for organizations across various industries. Although there is no one-size-fits-all solution, the fact remains that a growing number of employees are seeking greater autonomy in determining their work location. In order to effectively address the needs of their target audience, organizations must carefully balance these requirements with their own business objectives and industry standards. While certain industries may require employees to be physically present on-site, it is imperative to grant them the freedom to select their preferred work setting. This approach fosters a sense of autonomy and guarantees the consistent delivery of high-quality work.

Attrition or turnover is another crucial challenge that many organizations currently face. There are a multitude of reasons why employees choose to depart from their current organization. Some of the most common factors include the allure of higher salaries, the desire for professional growth and development, or the pursuit of an entrepreneurial venture. Organizations should conduct a thorough analysis of this issue and devise effective solutions.

Organizations have the ability to cultivate career growth and satisfaction by crafting meaningful experiences for their employees as well. To enhance workforce agility, companies can consider implementing innovative approaches such as gig work, fostering internal talent mobility, and encouraging employees to embrace non-linear career paths instead of traditional linear advancement. Assisting employees in comprehending the various avenues for career advancement is also crucial. This involves highlighting prospects for personal growth and skill enhancement and utilizing their unique strengths and interests.

What are some of your recent project initiatives?

One of the key initiatives our organization is undertaking has been the development of a comprehensive career management framework. Recognizing the absence of robust tools and structures in this area, significant effort has been dedicated to establishing a solid foundation for the same.

"While it is crucial to have outstanding ideas and solutions, it is even more vital for those ideas and solutions to fit with the business and the growth trajectory of the company"

Workshops have been conducted to educate employees and managers on the concept of career management and clarify their respective roles in the process. Additionally, we have introduced a senior leaders series featuring panel discussions where experienced leaders share their career journeys, challenges, and lessons learned. Individual development plan workshops have also been implemented, aiming to assist employees in crafting effective development plans.

HR office hours have been made available to provide guidance and support in creating well-rounded individual development plans that incorporate a mix of experiences and opportunities. The organization has also launched a job database accessible to employees, allowing them to explore active job descriptions and gain clarity on potential future roles and the alignment of their skills and experiences with those positions. These efforts collectively aim to enhance career clarity, development, and growth opportunities for employees within the organization.

What is your advice for budding professionals?

For aspiring young professionals who want to become industry leaders, having a solid grasp of the business side of things is essential. While it is crucial to have outstanding ideas and solutions, it is even more vital for those ideas and solutions to fit with the business and the growth trajectory of the company. Aspiring professionals can position themselves to be good leaders if they place a high priority on acquiring a full understanding of the business and the needs it imposes.

In addition, establishing a comprehensive awareness of the desires and requirements of workers enables leaders to respond effectively. The ability to innovate is valuable, but the ability to simplify can also be significant, provided that it addresses the current reality of the organization and the people.

To differentiate oneself from one's contemporaries, one must not only come up with original concepts but also check to see whether or not those concepts can be put into action within an organization that is prepared to make use of new solutions.