Download your copy of our insight paper Businesses have been transformed one way or another by the disruption of Covid19 and transformation professionals will have had varying challenges and priorities to contend with over the last year, depending on the industry sector they operate in.These challenges have triggered the acceleration of digital transformation projects and compounded the need for senior professionals who can facilitate transformative change, alongside the complexities of a remote working environment.So, as transformation teams re-set priorities amidst ongoing economic uncertainty in 2021 – what roles, expertise and skills do employers need and want from senior transformation professionals this year? Download our insight paper to learn: How IR35 is impacting the contractor market The impacts of Brexit on access to the flexible labour market What expertise and skills employers need from transformation professionals The top 10 senior transformation jobs, in demand, for 2021 Who’s hiring permanent & interim transformation professionals Download
11 Feb 2021
Covid-19, economic challenges, Brexit and technological acceleration all continue to disrupt the business landscape this year. Businesses must continue to remain adaptable to market / pandemic conditions and ‘pivot’ organisational structures to accommodate disruptive technology change – all whilst being highly responsive to demanding customers with continuously evolving consumer habits.What is more, the unprecedented speed with which organisations have had to react to the Covid-19 pandemic, and its ensuing challenges, has triggered the acceleration of digital transformation projects and compounded the need for senior professionals who can facilitate transformative change, alongside the complexities of a remote working environment. As such, we have seen organisations continue to review and adapt transformation programmes and projects, that were already underway pre-Covid-19, prioritising the move away from legacy systems and into the cloud, whilst increasingly building in Agile delivery mechanisms.Overall budgets allocated to group-wide transformation have diminished, therefore Programme Directors have felt the pressure to produce several different plans to the board on how they can deliver programmes with smaller budgets. This has resulted in increased competition between programmes causing delays in approvals and increasing time to hire. Unsurprisingly, organisations will continue to look at organisational restructuring this year - to further drive process efficiencies and cost savings - rather than invest in large multi-million-pound technological ERP transformations. Who’s hiring permanent & interim transformation professionals? The majority of employers actively recruiting senior transformation professionals remain within the Financial Services, Pharmaceutical, Healthcare and Technology sectors. Well capitalized, forward looking businesses that are fortuitously placed to see the current instability as an opportunity to invest, grow and seize market share will continue to invest in transformation expertise this year. We have recently been working with several PE-backed organisations who have been through deals/integrations and require investment in Change Managers to create synergies across functional areas as well as lead on organisational restructuring. On the whole, we have seen recruitment within the Retail sector limited to those with specialist Organisational Design and Development expertise - a result of drastic strategy and operating model change. However, those in better financial positions are seeking to bolster their digital capability and are pushing forward with their digital / omni-channel transformation. Transformation skills in demand Commercial Technology Organisations are increasingly investing in commercial and customer experience related programmes to ensure they retain but also attract new customers this year and beyond. As such, we’ve seen demand for Portfolio and Project Managers who have worked across commercial technology such as ERP, online web applications, webinar platforms and CRM/marketing tools such as Salesforce. Cloud The focus for many organisations this year will be on the delivery of IT portfolios of work, projects including the migration of on-premises systems to the cloud. As we have transitioned to remote working, skills in cloud-based services such as AWS, Google Cloud and Azure, have and will continue to be of critical importance. The use of cloud systems looks set to remain prevalent even if we move back towards more of an office based working environment. Transformation professionals that have the skills to project manage the seamless deployment of cloud-based services will be required to ensure business continuity and productivity. In fact, moving to the cloud is what constitutes ‘digital transformation’ for the majority of organisations, rather than trends such as machine learning or perhaps crypto. According to independent analyst Ben Evans, “Only a quarter of large enterprise workflows have moved from the cloud at all so far – the rest are still ‘on prem’ in old systems and indeed mainframes…this really, is what I think digital transformation means.” Agile There is no question, that transformation initiatives will continue to be digitally focused this year however, project delivery is set to change to follow Agile, rather than the more traditional Waterfall methodologies. As a result, employers will seek candidates with experience delivering projects according to Agile methodologies and will no doubt appoint roles such as Scrum Masters, Agile Business Analysts, Agile Project Managers and Product Owners. Agile is an incredibly collaborative methodology, so employers will specifically be on the lookout for candidates who can; articulately talk through the lifecycle of a sprint or release, describe the pitfalls and challenges of the methodology as well as demonstrate empathy and appreciation of other roles within the team. Top 10 transformation jobs 2021 Here’s our list of the top ten senior transformation jobs, in demand, for 2021:1. Business Analysts (System implementation/cloud migration, Agile methodology)2. Project Manager (System implementation/cloud migration, Agile methodology)3. Programme Managers 4. IT Portfolio Managers 5. Programme Directors / Heads of Transformation6. Change Managers (System implementation)7. PMO Managers (Agile & Waterfall)8. Customer Journey (CX) Programme Managers / Project Managers9. Scrum Masters10. Product Owners Candidate Expectations When it comes to considering new opportunities, candidate expectations have shifted significantly over the last year. Candidates now expect employers to offer remote and flexible working practices - as standard. LinkedIn saw a 60% rise in users searching specifically for remote working opportunities between March and May 2020. Subsequently, employers don’t shortlist against a specific location but will now consider candidates from a wider pool of talent, from across the country. Candidates’ appetites to work on either a contract, fixed term or permanent basis have also changed. Ongoing economic uncertainly now means more professionals are open to opportunities of any kind, often opting for the role with the most longevity and best job security. How can we help? If you are job searching in these difficult times, and potentially interviewing from home, there are lots of things we can help you with to prepare. We have plenty of career advice guides we can share with you. Everything from CV tips, to developing your personal online brand and video interviewing advice. If you would like any of our career advice guides, or want to discuss our current interim or permanent senior transformation opportunities with a recruiting expert, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
22 Jan 2021
In my last blog I shared how the HR function is continually being challenged to design and deliver new organisational structures to ensure operational efficiency and effectiveness in the ‘new norm’. If you want your business to thrive in this new era - you’ll need to change your organisational design and evolve your talent development strategy. But what are the mistakes to avoid? Here are some ‘process’ and ‘people’ mistakes to watch out for… Design/process mistakes 1. Embarking on Organisation Design (or redesign) without strategic clarity - Without strategic clarity, the process of designing new operating models and developing the right people capabilities, cannot even begin. 2. An endemic attitude that the organisation is fully future proofed - If business leaders do not even contemplate change - then an organisation’s people, systems and processes do not develop or advance and are left to stagnate. Overtime, this endemic attitude will erode your ability to compete. 3. The strategy changes but the structure does not - In this scenario, business leaders are not making the connection that organisation redesign is required to efficiently and effectively execute the new strategy. 4. Not enough time is spent on modelling & testing different structures - Often, not enough quality time is spent with executives to test out and play through the behavioural and cultural dimensions of different restructure scenarios. This is a vitally important step which must not be rushed. If you can agree on a set of core design principles everything else falls into place so it is worth spending time on. 5. Processes are not sufficiently scrutinised - Processes should be deconstructed and scrutinised to understand where they hand off into other departments and where behaviours exist which enable or derail these processes. If you don’t thoroughly decompose processes and look at them through a customer centric lens you won’t understand where design flaws exist.6. Functions focused on effectiveness report to those focused on efficiency - Always avoid having functions focused on effectiveness reporting to functions focused on efficiency. If you do, your organisation’s processes and systems will be so tightly controlled that you will diminish your ability to adapt to change and overtime you will lose your effectiveness. 7. Functions focused on long-term strategy report to those focused on short-term results - The demands of today always overpower the needs of tomorrow. That’s why you never want to have functions that are focused on long-term strategy reporting to functions focused on driving daily results. If you do, you will lose the ability to develop products, brand and strategy over the long-term.8. Moving people into different roles without addressing problems - Using external impacts as an opportunity to move people into different roles without having the hard conversations about, say, poor performance is a big mistake. This is like “moving the deckchairs on the Titanic” – the ship will always sink in the end!9. Design does not address power structures - Organisation design (or redesign) is more than just aligning/realigning reporting lines. Often ‘new’ structures fail to ensure that there is clarity, authority, and accountability around each business unit. Ask yourself, is your ‘new’ structure really just the old one with a few additions? Do employees still have to deal with pre-existing bureaucracy? 10. Mistaking consulting others for decision-making - The old story describes how a committee came together to design a horse and because no one person took accountability for decision-making, everyone had a view that had to be included. Result: a camel! To avoid decision making by committee your new structures must empower the right people to make decisions.11. Reward is forgotten about - Reward structures (financial and non-financial) should be considered as part of any new design. Reward packages across different business units must not inadvertently limit the development of individuals or stunt the growth of ‘leaders in waiting’. Ask yourself, do your rewards drive the right behaviors and encourage individual contribution for the success of the organisation as a whole? For example, do you have KPIs which link to reward and are based on more than just financial targets i.e. customer retention? Development/people mistakes 1. Forgetting to take people on the change journey - New organisational design is implemented by command and control forgetting to engage and involve. This means any change you introduce is less likely to be understood and is therefore less likely to embed or ‘stick’. 2. Leaders talk too much to the company goals point and not enough to the people point - To ensure maximum contribution from the workforce, leaders have the complex but essential job of communicating the company purpose and vision with clarity - so that each individual understands how they can contribute with meaning. When individuals know how to contribute in the service of the organisation, they can link their personal aspirations for growth and fulfilment to the company goals - resulting in maximum employee engagement, satisfaction and contribution. You should be aiming for the ‘apex’ as demonstrated by the BlessingWhite X-Model of engagement: 3. Complacency about the workforce / team - Assuming people are the constant due to market/economic/pandemic volatility is a huge mistake - ambitious people will move if they don’t feel valued. Great people are always great people and great businesses will create opportunities for them. As such, your retention strategy should remain a high priority. 4. A lack of focus on culture - Don’t forget the words of the legendary management consultant and writer Peter Drucker, ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’. He asserts that although strategy is important – you should focus on building an empowering culture as it is the surest route to organisational success.5. Focusing too much on teams rather than individuals - Having too much of a focus on team performance can mean that individuals are often overlooked and do not develop to their full potential. Don’t apply a ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to talent management. 6. Teams put together with little consideration for what makes a team effective - Remember that effective teams have a blend of strengths and profiles. For example, an entire team of extroverts who are the ‘ideas’ people, will never embed a change or realise strategy without the support from the more detail oriented ‘completer-finishers’. 7. Having the wrong people in the right functions - Your structure is only as good as the people operating within it and how well they’re matched to their jobs. Placing people in misaligned roles is always a recipe for failure. If you don’t align the competencies and natural behaviours of an individual to the requirements of a specific job - they simply won’t perform. If your organisation is making any of these blunders it is a sure sign that your ‘new’ structure will only have a negative impact on performance. Contact us We would love to hear from leaders on how you are redesigning your organisation to operate effectively in this new era of work. If you need help finding exceptional HR professionals with experience of delivering OD&D transformation, please get in touch.Equally, if you are a permanent or interim OD&D professional, we are here to support your job search. To speak with an HR recruiting expert and to discuss our latest opportunities please contact me. Download our Organisation Design & Development Insight Paper Download our full insight paper to learn:How HR's priorities have shifted and been impacted by the PandemicHow businesses have been forced to rethink their strategy and operating modelHow OD&D expertise has been propelled to the foreWhat OD&D specialists can help with What the signs are that your organisational structure may not be fit for purposeThe People and Process mistakes to avoid when it comes to restructure Download
14 Dec 2020
There is an understanding that the context within which most organisations now exist has completely changed. Business leaders are asking themselves what must we stop, what must we start and what must we keep doing that is still part of our core value proposition, and that we need to adapt?This means, that in most cases and across most sectors, a change in business strategy is required - and most likely a change in Operating Model with associated Organisational Design and Development (OD&D) to deliver that strategy. That’s a lot of change leading to more change!“Organisation Design is the process and outcome of shaping an organisational structure to align it with the business purpose and context in which it exists.” CIPD"Organisation Development is the planned and systematic enabling of sustained performance in an organisation through the involvement of its people.” CIPDReading these definitions, it is clear to see why demand for professionals with specific Organisation Design and Development expertise has significantly increased as businesses seek to realign their structures and people capabilities to their new strategic objectives. There can be no doubt that the on-going and wide-scale imperative to evolve business strategy is the overriding driving force, right now, for work in this specialist area. What does an OD specialist do?It is the job of the OD specialist to present and evaluate different models and ways of working which deliver outcomes aligned to strategic drivers/goals. ‘‘One of the fundamental questions OD specialists are there to answer is “if this is our new strategy, how should we best organize ourselves?” The strategic drivers need to be established and be translated into a set of design principles / hypotheses that are evaluated and tested throughout the re-design work. It’s important to realise that Design is an iterative process; done correctly, decisions are tested against the design principles / hypotheses so as to ensure proper debate and examination of the proposals against the strategic goals. You should expect to prove some and disprove others if you are managing the process well.” Steve Lungley, Organisation Design & Development Consultant Business leaders realise the benefits of organisational restructure Increasingly, business leaders are making the connection that how their organisation is designed and how their people are developed will determine how efficiently and effectively it is able to perform in the ‘new norm’.“If an organisation has a flawed design (processes and people), it simply won’t perform, or indeed survive. It must be structured (or restructured) to create a design that supports its purpose and business strategy. However, it is important to recognise that an organisation isn’t simply the “boxes and wires” which make up an org chart. An organisation is about enablement and engagement. This means that an organisation can be successful irrespective of its structure – it’s about attitudes (mindset), clarity of focus (outcomes) flexibility (the journey) and culture (beliefs, assumptions & values).” Rachel Letby, Management Consultant & Organisation Design & Development Expert A sound organisational structure will make it clear what each function and person does, and is accountable for, within each location. The design will also make clear to what extent its/their authority reaches within its/their domain and across the organisation. However, organisations must also seek to strike a balance between being ‘fixed’ (overly bureaucratic) and ‘flexible’ (ambiguous). This is a fine line to tread!What’s more, business leaders must understand that designing a structure that is fit for purpose is just one of many steps. These new structures, responsibilities and ways of working must also be underpinned with robust people change management approaches to ensure transformational success. This involves: Processes:Understanding the imperative for change and the environmentUnderstanding the business processes, workflows, roles and responsibilities, volumes of work, activity analysis and resourcesDesigning and testing new structures, workflows and internal governance frameworksPlanning and managing the transition from the old structure to the newImplementing and monitoring the change People:Measuring performance, efficiency and effectivenessAssessing resources, skills and capabilities Developing the right behaviours and interactionsDetermining and applying the right learning interventions Embedding and sustaining a cultural change This is a complex area of work which shouldn’t be a one-time exercise. It takes time and often requires the help of an OD&D expert to formulate sound design principles which can be used to guide your organisation's restructure. There can be no doubt, that demand for HR professionals with experience of delivering OD&D transformation, across the breadth of these deliverables, will continue unabated as the world of work continues to evolve. Contact us We would love to hear from leaders on how you are redesigning your organisation to operate effectively in this new era of work. If you need help finding exceptional HR professionals with experience of delivering OD&D transformation, please get in touch. Equally, if you are a permanent or interim OD&D professional, we are here to support your job search. To speak with an HR recruiting expert and to discuss our latest opportunities please contact me. Download our Organisation Design & Development Insight Paper Download our full insight paper to learn:How HR's priorities have shifted and been impacted by the PandemicHow businesses have been forced to rethink their strategy and operating modelHow OD&D expertise has been propelled to the foreWhat OD&D specialists can help with What the signs are that your organisational structure may not be fit for purposeThe People and Process mistakes to avoid when it comes to restructure Download
25 Nov 2020
Download your copy of our insight paper It’s no surprise that most businesses have been forced to rethink their strategy and operating model in recent months. As a result, business leaders have come to recognise the importance of Organisational Design & Development (OD&D) expertise and the vital role HR functions serve in ensuring organsational structures and processes are fit for the ‘new norrn’. Download our insight paper to learn:How HR's priorities have shifted and been impacted by the PandemicHow businesses have been forced to rethink their strategy and operating modelHow OD&D expertise has been propelled to the foreWhat OD&D specialists can help with What the signs are that your organisational structure may not be fit for purpose The People and Process mistakes to avoid when it comes to restructure Download
10 Nov 2020
In my last blog, I wrote about the necessary workforce competencies and the type of cultural mindset that is needed to make digital transformation a success in this new era. But what are the technical skills and areas of expertise that support digital transformation? Here are five areas where talent is in high demand right now:Talent in demand1. Strategy & TransformationIncreasingly organisations are looking to the future, modelling different crisis scenarios, investing in new technology and exploring new customer engagement models or partnerships. The question of who is thinking strategically, beyond the business proposition as it stands today and shaping how it may look in 3, 5- or 10-years’ time is paramount to an organisation’s survival and future growth. Many organisations are facing wholesale changes to their operating model which is a highly complex and often daunting piece of work. As such, there has been a proliferation of new roles in the areas of strategy, innovation and change management. ‘Directors of Strategy’, ‘Project or Programme Directors’ and ‘Change Managers’ have become common place across many different types and size of organisation. However, the unprecedented speed with which organisations have had to react to the Covid-19 pandemic, and its ensuing challenges, has triggered an acceleration of digital transformation projects and compounded the need for senior professionals who can facilitate transformative change, alongside the complexities of a remote working environment. 2. Cloud-based servicesUnsurprisingly, as we have transitioned to remote working, skills in cloud-based services such as AWS, Google Cloud and Azure, have and will continue to be of critical importance. The shift to cloud based technology will no doubt remain prevalent even when we all get back to the office without restrictions. Professionals that have the skills to deploy cloud-based services as needed will be required to ensure continuous and reliable connectivity to these systems to ensure business continuity and productivity. 3. Cyber securityRemote working increases the risk of cyberattacks as hackers target people’s increased use of and dependence on digital tools, data sharing and communication. As such, organisations must enable secure remote working using a virtual private network (VPN) to create an encrypted connection from the user's computer to their company IT system. However, even businesses with a quality VPN may need to improve the server capacity and network security to enable their entire workforce to use it at once and work remotely, securely. This means that top cyber security talent, already in high demand, will remain indispensable for employers as agile working practices continue for the foreseeable future. 4. Data analytics As organisations race to adapt to different ways of working and evolve best practice across their systems, people and processes, Data Scientists and Analysts continue to be in high demand. Modelling the impact of the Covid-19 crisis and understanding evolving customer behaviour is vital to the strategic decision-making process of any organisation right now. Data analysts who can provide the accurate analysis and interpretation of data, to the right people at the right time, will provide much needed foresight in these unprecedented times. 5. Automation & AITo help reduce administrative tasks and enhance process efficiencies, within and between different systems and departments, most organisations have invested in automation technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to some degree. The specific artificial intelligence or automation technology, its application and tools available (such as Robotics Process Automation, Chatbots or CRM) varies across industry and profession. Professionals who have demonstrable experience of either developing, implementing or integrating this technology within and between business functions and adapting it to the new virtual world of work, will be highly prized. As well as investing in technology and talent, organisations must look at their people from top to bottom and involve individuals who can provide ideas, or champion and lead transformative change. Those that believe it will all be driven from the boardroom and do not engage a diverse group in tackling change may well struggle. Understanding individual challenges in remote project delivery requires diverse perspectives and agile leadership that utilises the capabilities of individuals from every corner of the business. In an increasingly geographically agnostic business world, leaders have to understand how they can embrace technology, help their people to bring about better customer experiences and deliver lasting change that enables them to remain relevant. After all, how can you compete if you don’t evolve your operating model in today’s rapidly changing world?Those that can win both the hearts and minds of their workforce will successfully deliver the most complex of technical change with the highest levels of engagement. It’s strange how even the most baffling of technical puzzles always falls back to people! Download our insight paperFor more on this topic, download a full version of our insight paper 'Digital Transformation: What does it take to succeed?,' where we explore what constitutes the right mindset needed for change and share the technical skills and talent in demand right now. Download Share your insights If you need help finding talent with the necessary competencies to transform your business please get in touch. We’d also love to hear from leaders on how you are progressing your digital transformation projects in these challenging times.
18 Sep 2020
The scale and speed at which organisations are embracing digital technology is rapidly increasing. But, how do you keep your digital projects on track and ensure new tech is adopted in this era of remote working? What are the skills needed across your organisation which enable successful, lasting transformation? Our new insight paper ‘Digital Transformation: What does it take to succeed?’ explores these urgent questions. Download your copy and let us know how you are developing your digital transformation strategy and implementing your digital programmes and projects remotely. Download
06 Aug 2020
Will the office exist in a post Covid-19 world?It’s fair to say that the world of work has changed forever as we enter a new era of remote working. But what is the sentiment to remote working amongst the professional working population now?The cost and time savings of not having to commute every day are hard to dismiss and as lockdown eases, employee expectations are bound to have changed when it comes to the ‘return to the office’.So, how many days in the office do working professionals really want - given their varied individual experiences over the past few months? Over 70% of professionals now want to work in the office less than two days per weekStanton House’s recent poll, taken by over 600 professionals, reveals that a large majority (72%) would prefer to work two days or less per week in the office going forward. Less than a third (29%) would prefer to work three days or more per week in the office and only 4% would like to go back to four days plus per week.One to two days in the office comes out on top, with over half, (54%) voting for this as their preference and 18% say they would prefer to work from home 100% of the time. These findings suggest that while some crave the return to an office environment the vast majority have come to the conclusion that they will never want to work in the office five days per week, ever again. 43% more men than women want to work remotely 100% of the timeInterestingly, when comparing sentiment to remote working between gender, our poll reveals that a higher proportion of men (20%) would prefer to work remotely all of the time - compared to only 14% of women – that’s a 43% increase. The opposite is true for one to two days in the office, where a higher proportion of women (58%) voted for this as their preference - compared to 51% of men.Our poll cements what we already know - that organisations will be required to rethink their approach to remote, agile, and flexible working - putting People and Culture teams, front and centre, to design and drive this change. But have employers really seen clear benefits from this forced change to a homeworking environment and how committed are they to expanding and extending remote working, organisation-wide, for the long term? Will new HR policies align to the consensus revealed by our poll, or indeed go even further and flex to the individual?Employers realise the benefits of remote working Many of the business leaders I speak to tell me, that they have had their eyes opened to the benefits of remote working, not least the tremendous cost savings that can be achieved with reduced real estate needs.Not including utilities, security and maintenance the rent per seat in the UK can range from *£150 to £1500 per month, depending on location and the amenities available. London’s West End tips the scales, where it can cost **£207 annually just to put your laptop down on a desk.If you consider the floor space some large corporates take in the expensive high-rise buildings in Canary Wharf and The City of London for example, these cost savings can amount to millions. There can be no doubt that employers across the country will be modelling different scenarios with reduced office space. Leadership teams within organisations, both large and small, will be debating not if, but how much and to what extent, their workforce will continue working remotely in the long-term.Just a few of the companies that have already announced intent to expand work-from-home in the UK include Morgan Stanley, Barclays, Thomson Reuters, Vodafone, HSBC, Twitter, Facebook and Unilever. “We’ve proven we can operate with no footprint….I see a future where part of every week, certainly part of every month, a lot of our employees will be at home.” James Gorman, Morgan Stanley, CEOHowever, this commitment to expand remote working it is not just to save costs on office space. Most leaders I speak to tell me they have experienced increased productivity, better collaboration and teamwork, increased employee engagement and a significant reduction in absenteeism - dispelling the many concerns and misconceptions to homeworking pre-Covid-19. Having the right, secure technology and communication channels has been critical to achieving this, however, as has having managers, who don’t revert to micromanagement amidst uncertainty, but are able to trust and enable their teams.Training needs have also been highlighted and identified, particularly for middle management, where resilience, adaptability and agility are often cited as key competencies which are lacking. Additionally, the spotlight on employee wellbeing has only magnified through this crisis as has the continued importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The challenge for employers right nowAs many employers once again pivot their people, processes and systems from full remote working, to a hybrid (office/home) working environment, maintaining the benefits gained amidst lockdown and addressing the technology and talent issues identified will be critical to lasting innovation and growth. The ramifications of getting the technology, talent or operating model wrong will be catastrophic for the competitiveness of any business as we enter this new era of work. Employers now need to ask themselves - do they have the internal expertise needed to design, implement and sustain the huge culture shift that is required? And if big corporate offices are a thing of the past where and how will people come together to collaborate? How do individuals continue to nurture the ‘social equity’ they’ve built over the years with colleagues and customers - remotely? Can we ever really replicate the benefits of socialising after work, the corridor conversations and meeting someone face-to-face? The critical questions many business leaders and HR professionals are now trying to answer now are:1. How do we once again pivot our people, processes and systems from full remote working, to a hybrid (office/home) working environment?2. Do we have the right / secure technology and communication channels to support a hybrid (office/home) working model?3. How do we maintain the benefits gained from remote working amidst Covid-19? 4. How do we tackle the tech and training needs identified and truly enable our manager population? 5. How will we evolve our employee value proposition (EVP) to attract and retain the best talent, now that flexible and remote working is the ‘new norm’?6. What are the ramifications of getting any of these considerations wrong? *Instant Offices UK Commercial Market Summary 2019 ** Instant Offices Get in touchIf you need help finding talent with the necessary expertise to transform your business for the new era of remote working, please get in touch. About the pollThe poll was posted to Stanton House’s company LinkedIn network of over 25,000 followers. The poll was live for 1 week from the 27th June 2020 to the 4th July 2020. 611 people voted answering the question: “How many days in the office would you prefer to work per week?”
21 Jul 2020
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is becoming increasingly prevalent in the Finance Transformation space as an effective way of optimising repetitive processes and enhancing Finance functions by unlocking true ‘human value'.But how do you identify exactly where to use intelligent automation to make Finance operations more efficient? How do you build on and optimise what’s already been implemented?We’ve partnered with embracent, leading experts in intelligent automation, to provvide use cases which demonstrate where RPA has been applied to real life situations. Our insight paper includes a case study on Stanton House’s own Finance function. Download your copy and let us know if and how you plan to invest in intelligent automation to transform your Finance function. Download
20 Jul 2020
Navigating through the current crisis I read an interesting PwC article recently: “For years the discussion has raged about the pros and cons of flexible working – and now, suddenly, we’ve been dropped into a real-life field test. Covid-19 has forced employers out of their comfort zones and into a virtual working model at breakneck speed.”This got me thinking about the new challenges so many of the CFOs and FDs I speak to are having to get to grips with right now. Even without the commute, there is still a huge amount for any leader to think about when it comes to managing themselves and their team in lockdown. Many have been juggling parenting, home schooling and caring for elderly or vulnerable family relatives, as well as the added responsibility of leading a team from the front in this new virtual world. How easy is it to join a virtual PE Lesson with Joe wicks dressed as Spider man, then jump back to a Zoom board meeting to discuss cash flow analysis?So, how are leaders managing all of this and moving forward with the day-to-day of ensuring business continuity and motivating those reporting into them remotely? Insight from top CFOs and FDsTo get ‘real’ insight into this topic, I hosted our first virtual roundtable where we invited a small group of our top Media and Technology finance leaders to discuss the challenges they are currently facing when it comes to engaging with their teams remotely. Discussion quickly turned to the best ways of effectively collaborating to ensure productivity continues. Similar challenges and solutions were echoed around the virtual table, here are the key takeaways: 3 key insights from our virtual roundtable 1. Structured communication helps productivity In some cases, being isolated is leading to uncertainty about who to talk to on specific issues and when. This is causing team members to feel anxious and is affecting their productivity, leading to hold-ups and delays.Our roundtable participants are finding that providing a clear structure to their team meetings is helping to alleviate this. For example, many have set up a team video call at the beginning and at the end of each day to provide certainty about when and how their teams can communicate. On top of this many hold weekly or twice weekly company-wide video calls where, as senior leaders, they contribute and share top level messages to the whole company. One finance leader said, “Planning and structuring communication has been crucial in ensuring teams are working effectively. I find our morning and evening team video meetings help to keep productivity high. It’s also really clear from these who is less engaged, for example some don’t turn their cameras on or contribute to the conversations and some don’t even turn up. The challenge is how to address this remotely.”Many that are effectively planning and structuring company-wide communication are finding increased levels of staff engagement. One customer told me last week that they held their annual company meeting via Webex and that it had the highest attendance level they have ever had. Many of the finance leaders I speak to are sharing similar stories where they are finding employee engagement has in fact increased since lockdown. This may not only be because employees are keener than ever to know how they as individuals, teams or as an organisation are performing, but also because “there’s not much else to do”, “no dinner plans”, “no rushing home for child care”. Virtual company calls have evidently taken down several barriers. A CFO at our virtual roundtable said, “Our CEO now gives two half hour updates via video conference each week at the same time, company-wide and I think it’s the most engaged our staff have been with his updates ever.” 2. The importance of remaining humanIts easy to want to get straight down to business on calls but in these isolating times it more important than ever for employee engagement to remain human and make space for social activities and fun. It’s also important to remember that different personality types will behave differently through this situation and nothing should be assumed, for example you might find it’s the extroverts of the physical office who are now becoming more disengaged and vice versa. Our finance leaders agreed that taking the time to talk about things that are not always work related can help them understand how people are coping and what support they might need. Many are implementing social activities such as weekly virtual quizzes and coffee breaks where anyone can drop in and talk about anything non-work related.One leader of a shared service centre said, ‘We start the day off with a ten-question quiz to build comradery and add a fun element to our day before kicking in with the serious stuff.” 3. Choosing the right communication platform Choosing the right communication platform is also a concern for these finance leaders, many are using multiple platforms to communicate with their teams and they are conscious that there may be too many channels for employees to engage with. They are using everything from standard email through to text message, WhatsApp, Slack, Hangout, Microsoft Teams and Zoom.The group agreed that remote communication can distort the normal pace of our conversations as well as the intended delivery and interpretation of message. Therefore, choosing the right platform for their message is of great importance. Most agreed that they are still testing and learning which platforms work best for their different meetings and types of communication. One participant said, “I tend to jump onto Hangout rather than sending emails all the time to stay connected with my accounts payable team. But I’m still trying to work out the best channel as we also use Slack and I don’t want to overload people with information across multiple platforms all of the time.” I think a quote that sums up these insights perfectly comes from Mercer's 2020 Global Talent Trends study, “Balance empathy with economics”. Remaining human, managing communication and embracing technology is key.Like most, I’m interested to know what the new normal be in a week, a month and a years’ time. Will productivity of workforces remain high? Will annual meetings be held virtually? Will we continue with virtual quizzes and ‘hangouts’? Might some organisations adapt to working from home almost completely going forward? I’d like to thank our participants for such a fantastic debate and I look forward to hosting our next virtual round table very soon. If you’d like to join our next finance leader event please get in touch.
29 Apr 2020
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