What key skills will you look for when hiring to grow your business this year?

One of the things our corporate clients look for when bringing in a CCO is the ability to influence and communicate change.

Eric Bacolas, chief talent officer, 360i
Last year was a banner year in hiring at 360i. And when looking for talent to help us navigate this disruptive business environment and build upon our culture of curiosity, we look for people with what we call the three Ps - passion, purpose and perseverance.

These traits ensure that the people joining us have the drive to delve deeper into why, the willingness and confidence to take calculated risks, and the fortitude to overcome the challenges that come with delivering never-been-done solutions for clients. For 2014, these are more important than ever, as are skills in analytics and storytelling.

Across all digitally centric disciplines, from insights and strategy to community management, influencer marketing, account management, PR, and beyond, more and more data is being created, tracked and analyzed. Those with the aptitude to leverage this data will have an advantage.

This does not mean that everyone now has to become a data scientist. What it means is that today's talent needs to be comfortable with using data to ask smarter questions, challenge norms, and uncover insights that ultimately lead to more innovative solutions.

However, data by itself does no good. That is where storytelling comes in - first in taking that data to tell a compelling narrative that frames a challenge and persuasively gets clients to buy in; then in connecting with the brand's audiences in relevant and authentic ways, and finally in leading your client in measuring success that tracks back to their KPIs.

Clients are under just as much pressure as we are, and the trusted advisers that can show them true value and help them achieve their goals will secure a lasting relationship for themselves and their firm.

Lisa Ryan, SVP and MD, Heyman Associates
One of the things our corporate clients look for when bringing in a CCO is the ability to influence and communicate change. That means across all audiences - internally, to clients and customers, as well as investors and business partners, and even to legislative bodies, through government relations and public affairs programs.

Change is not simply replacing names on an organizational chart, but often includes broad change in how things are done, what products are extended or discontinued, and may include acquiring or divesting a business. Correctly communicating change helps businesses meet their objectives.

Another skill being sought is that of a creative content provider as the lines continue to blur between PR, advertising, marketing, digital, and editorial.

Corporate clients should hire the best people with the right skill sets to tell the company's story in the shape and format that represents the corporate voice, rather than have their story told for them, sometimes incorrectly, or worse, find themselves in a position where they have to defend it in a reactionary mode.

Creative content providers are being seen as more strategic corporate partners than in years past, where a company would offer a production warehouse seen simply as a service department fulfilling orders. Corporate clients are seeing how content can now positively impact a business and the relationships that business has with its consumers and customers.

The question we often hear now is, "What will engage consumers with our brand in a positive, meaningful way?"

Gretchen Zech, SVP, global human resources, Arrow Electronics
With fluctuating global economies and challenging conditions for gaining market share, it's more important than ever to have a clear and well-known value proposition to compete in today's markets.

Companies that create value and offer a range of solutions that make them trusted advisers rise to the top and are able to distinguish themselves from their competitors.

Arrow's employees are designers, engineers, and imagineers who navigate the path between possibility and practicality, creating the future of everything from cars to coffee makers. Our staffers know that new technologies, materials, ideas and electronics will not only make life different, but also better.

Being able to guide and influence the technology innovations of the future will be critical to the success of our business. As such, the critical skills for growth are business know-how and influence and relationship building.

These skills result in presenting solutions to our customers and suppliers that position us to deliver on our unique value proposition. Gone are the traditional practices of being good at parts or transactions in our industry. Coming to the table with a solutions mindset goes hand in hand with the ability to sell our value proposition in a way that is compelling and truly communicates that we understand the business of our suppliers and customers.

These are the skills that will elevate our organization to trusted partner status and set us apart from our competition.

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