VUCA: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and AmbiguousThe acronym VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) has gained traction over the past decade as a way of describing the changing business world. We are becoming accustomed to working in an ever-changing landscape with the new challenges and opportunities presented by technology, globalisation and changing workforce demographics. But today, as Covid-19 sweeps the globe and increasingly disrupts the way we live and work, this description feels even more relevant.In the UK, we thought Brexit represented one of the biggest changes to the nation that many of us would see in our lifetime – but how could we know that something even more transformative was just around the corner? Due to the Coronavirus outbreak our political, economic, social and work structures are now fundamentally changing and at great pace.The world is likely to be very different post Covid-19 and I have no doubt that our society and economy will transform in ways we might not yet, fully appreciate. But what do business leaders need to do right now, to meet these external pressures head on? Adapting quickly is key to survival and successAt its core, disruption is disruption. It doesn’t matter if it’s technological, economic, political or a pandemic. The response from business leaders must be the same - adapt, innovate and change to survive. It’s never been more important that organisations today transform and adapt to the ‘VUCA’ world around them in order to succeed. However, this requires business leaders to think very differently and embrace change much quicker and on a much larger scale than ever before.It’s not just about accepting business change and transformation; it’s about adapting better and more quickly than the competition. Transforming Systems, Processes and PeopleSo, in today’s world of work where ‘business as usual’ has gone out of the window and social distancing and remote working is the new ‘norm’, what should board-level executives adopt, change and adapt across their organisation?In order to survive and indeed succeed, business leaders will need to go beyond cost saving strategies and look at how they can quickly and fundamentally transform their systems, processes and people. Here’s an example… Remote working and collaboration Remote working and collaboration are obvious examples of where an organisation’s systems, processes and people will need to change and adapt over the coming weeks and months. The speed at which technologies can be adopted, and best practice processes established, for their use, being the most critical aspect. Even organisations with traditional operating models, are realising the importance of being able to provide remote working options to their employees and are quickly adapting by making use of technologies such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Slack for internal and external communication. It will come as no surprise however, that companies which have previously resisted a ‘work from anywhere’ model, are finding it much harder going as they rapidly try to adopt and integrate these technologies and processes to ensure business continuity. No doubt, the early adopters of flexible working will have gained critical competitive advantage over their less agile competitors. To some, it will come as a surprise to hear that many companies don’t have the hardware, network infrastructure or security in place to facilitate large volumes of remote workers. The strain threatens to hamstring their operations and could leave them open to a cyberattack.Equally, few businesses understand how to motivate, engage and manage the careers of remote workers in these unprecedented times of increased stress and anxiety. In fact, many companies are only just coming to terms with their own wellness agendas. So, all in all, remote working during a pandemic represents massive system, process and cultural shifts for all organisations no matter how ‘remote working prepared’ they think they are.Different industries and businesses will have their unique challenges and will be impacted differently by Covid-19. Everything from changes to product demand and stretched supply chains through to a complete (but hopefully temporary) loss of custom. 10 questions all leaders should answerHere are the critical questions that all business leaders should be working hard to answer:How will we safeguard the wellbeing of our employees during this time?Do we have the right people in the right roles to achieve peak effectiveness? Can we work differently to engage and support a disparate work force?What changes will provide us with the cash position to survive this pandemic?What do we do that is business critical? If it’s not on this list, should we stop it?Which data must we prioritise? How do we ensure we get this at the right interval?What must we do differently to engage our customers and support our supply chain?Do our people have the right guidance and tools to be successful in these times?What measures should the leadership team take immediately, next week and next month?What programmes and projects are already underway that we need to keep, adapt or stop?I’d love to hear from leaders on how your board is responding to the Covid-19 crisis and the impact this pandemic is having on your systems, processes and people. What are the impacts to your transformation programmes across your different business functions?Please get in touch to share your insights. We are here to support our customers through these troubled times and can help with rapid transformation consultation, workforce planning and hiring.
26 Mar 2020
As the pandemic continues to escalate, the UK government has come under increasing pressure with calls to support the many thousands of self-employed people impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak.A financial lifelineIt now, finally appears that there may be financial relief on the cards.The House of Commons Public Bill Committee published a proposed amendment to the Coronavirus Bill which, if approved, would introduce Statutory Self-Employment Pay.The amendment, if implemented, would give contractors and freelancers a guaranteed income of 80% of their monthly net earnings, averaged over the last three years; or £2,917 per month, whichever is lower.This is by no means a great outcome for many contractors or freelancers, but it is a big step forward and will bring a degree of relief to many. We see this as a very positive development to give the same sort of consideration to this community as is being given to permanent employees. How are we helping our contractors now? Over the next few days and weeks, we will be taking the time to speak with all of our contractors and helping as much as we can to assist them in re-deployment into new assignments.Please do get in touch for guidance in these turbulent times. We are here to support you. Stay safe and stay healthy.
24 Mar 2020
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay has announced that IR35 tax reforms will be pushed back to the 6th April 2021.The decision was announced among a £330bn financial package to protect the UK economy from the coronavirus outbreak.Given the economic challenges that lie ahead, and at time when the contracting market is already on its knees, I am relieved and certainly welcome this decision. This decision will play some part in alleviating one aspect of uncertainty for a large proportion of UK contractors, many of whom are bracing themselves for the worst in these difficult times.What matters now is that businesses use this time wisely Although a very welcome move, the government has confirmed that this decision is a deferral and not a cancellation. This now gives private sector businesses crucial extra time to review and refine their interim hiring strategies.For example, many organisations have already made decisions to institute a blanket ban of personal service companies (PSCs) rather than risk any potential financially liability for tax, should contractors later be deemed in scope of IR35.We had started to see that these risk-averse reactions to IR35 were depriving some companies of their competitive edge, and ultimately, their ability to attract the best interim talent. So, what matters now is that businesses are able to use this valuable time to get things right and successfully implement and amend their processes, whilst avoiding large scale talent drain from business-critical projects and activities. How are we helping our customers now? Over the next few days and weeks, we will be taking the time to speak with all of our clients and contractors to ensure the best course of action for each role and individual is followed.Whether you are a business that engages contractors or a contractor yourself, please do get in touch for guidance in these turbulent times. We are here to support you. Stay safe and stay healthy.
18 Mar 2020
Progressive corporates, tech companies and start-ups that already offer remote and flexible working options as ‘the norm’ will see far less disruption to their businesses as Coronavirus continues to spread. Even organisations with more traditional operating models are realising the importance of being able to provide remote working options to their employees and are making use of video conferencing for internal and external meetings. This may well lead to faster adoption of remote working more broadly going forward. Video conference provider Zoom has reported better-than-expected quarterly results as well as a surge in user numbers due to the Coronavirus outbreak, making it one of the few listed companies to see a boost from the ongoing crisis.Who’s embracing remote working?Twitter’s Jack Dorsey has announced that his company is embracing remote working. His recent post said, "While this is a big change for us, we have already been moving towards a more distributed workforce that's increasingly remote. We're a global service and we're committed to enabling anyone, anywhere to work at Twitter."Google has recommended that its 100,000 plus employees in North America work remotely and have created a fund to enable all its contract and temporary workers globally to take paid sick leave if they have potential symptoms or are in quarantine which is great to see.How are we supporting our customers?We consider ourselves well equipped at Stanton House, in that we are fully set up for remote working and are able to continue servicing our clients and candidates should there be cases of self-isolation. We already conduct our internal and external meetings through a unified communication and collaboration platform that combines workplace chat, video meetings, file storage, and application integration.We use this platform to connect with our colleagues across the globe, meet and interview new candidates and feedback to clients. Many of the employers I speak to are also adopting these online communication methods for their own interviews, which I’d encourage in order to keep hiring and growth plans on track. In this climate it’s really important that employers keep communication channels open and are flexible and open minded when it comes to engaging with candidates. We are already helping our clients with this and are able to facilitate video interviewing. We are finding that it has a number of benefits including: Enhancing the candidate experience as it engages them quicklyReducing the time to hire and expanding the talent pool at interview stagePositioning the employer as one that embraces technology I believe that these challenging times present an opportunity for employers to build networks and meet fantastic people (virtually), solidify plans for the year ahead and ensure they are ready to move quickly once any freezes or immobility gets lifted. Advice to contractorsI truly sympathise that this is a particularly challenging time, especially with the added complexity of IR35. My advice would be to continue to engage with your network, maintain a positive mindset, ensure you have the correct technology setup and partner with recruiters that are able to facilitate that for you.
13 Mar 2020
As a recruiter for technical leadership roles across Asia, I spend my days and nights speaking with people from different backgrounds, with diverse demographics and life experiences.I am especially passionate about representing the many senior women that are making a splash in the notoriously male dominated world of technology; understanding what has helped or hindered their careers and taking these learnings to the employers I help.Employers are addressing gender imbalance, but more needs to be doneFor any organisation to transform, innovate and grow it is vital that their workforce is representative of their customers, clients, and the communities they serve. And gender is of course, just one aspect of this.When it comes to attracting and developing tech talent in Asia, organisations are making strides to add more women to their upper echelons. Employers who understand the competitive advantage they stand to gain by having more diversity in their workforce, are actively pursuing and embedding more inclusive talent attraction and retention strategies. The biggest reason is that they stand to be the major beneficiaries. According to a McKinsey & Co report about 43% of entry-level positions in Asian companies are occupied by women, but at the C-suite and senior-management levels, this drops to 25% in Singapore and as low as 4% in Japan. This is a huge loss of untapped talent. Although more women in tech are starting to make their mark, there is still more work to be done and it’s up to employers to showcase their commitment to women across their business. One woman I spoke to recently who holds a senior technical role based in Singapore in a global organisation commented that: ‘in my experience women’s views in the organisations I have worked for in Asia are not taken seriously as “expert” and they are sometimes valued less than their male counterparts, despite their ability and often exceptional backgrounds.’ Who’s helping women up-skill? There are some fantastic organisations in Asia that encourage women into technology and provide tailored training programs. Cloud Seeders, in Singapore, is an AWS backed program providing women with a structured and guided approach to learning a diverse set of cloud and digital skills as well as working on the confidence levels of their members.She Loves Data, another organisation founded in Singapore, equip women with data science and data analytics skills and in turn partners with banks and other businesses to bring women back into the work place and into technology. So, what should employers be doing more of? Partnering with expert and specialist recruiters and organisations such as Cloud Seeders and She Loves Data to tap into new talent poolsShowcasing their commitment to diversity and inclusion in recruitment materials and throughout the hiring processPromoting flexible working policies internally and externally Training leaders and hiring managers on how to mitigate unconscious bias in the selection processFostering a culture of inclusion, community and conversation amongst employees once they joinProviding unique and transparent career progression and development opportunities At Stanton House, we are driven by the belief that diversity and inclusion is inextricably linked to business performance and employee engagement and retention. We are passionate about unlocking potential at the individual, team and leadership levels to drive high performance through inclusive practices.I’d love to hear your opinions and thoughts on this topic. Please get in touch.
05 Mar 2020
We are delighted to welcome Laura Taylor to the Stanton House family. Laura will lead our Technology and Transformation team in our newest office, Singapore. Laura brings a wealth of knowledge within these specialist disciplines, local and regional expertise and a proven track record delivering exceptional customer service. Working closely with the team in Hong Kong she will add more depth to our Asia Pacific offering and provide organisations with senior Technology and Transformation talent from across the globe. Ross Ellingham, Stanton House’s Managing Director, Asia Pacific says: ‘Laura joining Stanton House is really exciting for our business. Not only is it great to have boots on the ground in Singapore, so that we can build on our established Asia Pacific offering, but we’re also looking forward to having someone of Laura’s experience taking our brand to market.’ You can congratulate Laura on LinkedIn here.
25 Feb 2020
We are excited to announce our new office opening in Singapore. The opening of our second office in the Asia Pacific region will strengthen our offering across Technology and Transformation, providing organisations with the best senior talent from around the world. Ross Ellingham, Stanton House’s Managing Director, Asia Pacific says: ‘We are thrilled to put our flag down in Singapore. Laura Taylor has joined Stanton House to build and lead our Technology and Transformation team here. Laura brings market experience, intelligence and a chance to build a team that aligns with our core values and passion for always putting the customer as our priority.’
20 Feb 2020
With our 10 year anniversary coming up this year, it was great to have the chance to reflect on the early days of Stanton House.Listen to the recent episode of the Recruitment Agency Growth Podcast where I openly and honestly talk about the strategic challenges we faced in the early days.Learn how we’ve developed a scalable, customer centric operating model and discover our exciting growth plans for the future.
20 Feb 2020
The government has launched a review into IR35 reforms which will have far reaching implications on the way private sector, medium and large sized organisations engage with contractors. The rules are due to change on the 6th April 2021 and will shift the responsibility for determining the tax status of a contractor from the worker to the end-user.Our whitepaper explores how risk-averse and knee-jerk reactions to IR35 are depriving some companies of their competitive edge, and ultimately, their ability to attract the best interim talent. Download our whitepaper to learn:Lessons learned from the public sectorHow to identify where your IR35 risks lieWhat to consider when refining your determination, payroll and reporting processesWhat your next steps should be – use the simple check list Download your copy Whether you are an employer that engages contractors or a contractor yourself, getting the right advice and ensuring you’re prepared is essential. We can offer guidance and provide the right solutions.Contact us to learn how our solutions for individual testing and managed solutions can help mitigate your IR35 challenges.
18 Feb 2020
We are delighted to announce that we have made two strategic internal appointments. One to help with our focus on international expansion and the other to continue with our commitment of ensuring that the customer experience remains central to all that we do. Nick Eaves, Co-Founder of Stanton House, has taken on the role of Global Development Director. Nick says, ‘Having built a values driven business, primarily in the UK, my focus now is to expand our operations at pace into North America and Asia Pacific. I will continue to work closely with our customers to transform their tech and digital product innovation capacity through our inspirational delivery partner in Kiev, Ukraine.Our global customers tell us that providing a consistently excellent service across geographies is of great value and we take pride in facilitating career moves for our candidate talent pool across the world. As we grow our business in these new territories, we will not deviate from our commitment to building great long-term relationships and delivering work that we are proud of.’Nick has now passed on the mantle of Chief Customer Officer to Kevin Culverhouse. Kevin has been a Director at Stanton House for more than eight years and as Chief Customer Officer his responsibilities will now focus entirely on helping our business to deliver on our Purpose of Creating Exceptional Experiences. He works with customers to keep learning what exceptional means to them and works with colleagues to continually improve our service.
13 Feb 2020
Natalie Venturini has joined Stanton House as Head of Marketing. With over 15 years recruitment marketing experience gained at SME and corporate consultancies, Natalie brings a wealth of knowledge and experience having delivered successful B2B and B2C marketing strategies, for multiple industry sectors, across the full marketing mix. Natalie will take responsibility for marketing strategy, brand and communications to Stanton House’s clients and candidates internationally.Global Development Director, Nick Eaves said; “I am delighted to welcome Natalie to Stanton House. As well as bringing deep expertise in her field, Natalie epitomises the Stanton House Vales and shares our commitment to delivering exceptional customer experiences. Natalie is already working hard to build the marketing strategy and I am very excited about what Natalie and her team will achieve for the business.”You can congratulate Natalie on LinkedIn here.
05 Feb 2020
By now you may have heard the news that Dominic Cummings, the Chief Special Advisor to our Prime Minister has called for Data Scientists and Software Developers to help them reshape the UK state. No small task I might add and while it reads as slightly satirical, we have something to say about it. Posted in a personal blog last week, Cummings called for ‘an unusual set of people with different skills and backgrounds to work in Downing Street with the best officials, some as spads [special advisors] and perhaps some as officials’. He expressed a strong preference for those with STEM experience to fix historic issues in government to which he refers to as profound problems that sit at the core of how the British state makes decisions. Citing Brexit and recent changes to legislation, Cummings spoke of a huge amount of low-hanging fruit lying on the street in the intersection of Data Science, AI and cognitive technologies that could be used to improve policy and project management. Sticking to a very brief, brief – the Chief Special Advisor has offered ‘a rough set of categories’; Data scientists and software developersEconomistsPolicy expertsProject managersCommunication expertsJunior researchers one of whom will also be my personal assistantWeirdos and misfits with odd skillsAsking only for applications from those with exceptional academic qualifications from one of the world’s best universities or evidence of doing something that demonstrates equivalent skills, a PhD or MSc, outstanding mathematical skills and experiences of using analytical skills – I can’t help but question their understanding of Data Science as Data Scientists cannot be categorised, especially not in this manner. We recently produced a white paper to determine what the Ideal Data Scientist looked like and interviewed more than 1,000 professionals in the space to help us get there. Not only did we discover that there was no such thing as an ‘ideal’ Data Scientist but we also discovered, there were several debates being had over the salary, experience, education, age and location of the ‘ideal’ professional. Taking Education as an example, 50% of hiring managers believe a Data Scientist should have at least one PhD and 46% believe they should have no degree education at all, rather, being self-taught with practical and hands-on experience. This means that from a recruitment perspective, Data Scientists are tremendously hard to find and a very specific list of requirements including a PhD in my opinion, is not likely to produce the right pool of candidates – especially not when placed alongside weirdos and misfits with odd skills. Please follow the link below for access to the paper but in the meantime, I’d love to hear your opinion – do you think Cummings is on the right track with his hiring efforts? Download our white paper
07 Jan 2020