Pitch Witch: Make your focus on talent a top priority in 2020

From politics to the commercial environment, these are turbulent times. How can we best prepare our businesses to not just survive, but thrive?

We need to become more creative about how we engage our talent, argues Alison Clarke
We need to become more creative about how we engage our talent, argues Alison Clarke

So much is changing in terms of the political landscape, Brexit (or not), increasing scrutiny of public figures and corporates being held to account. The situation is fluid, unpredictable and challenging – that much is certain. So, let's focus on the things we can control, rather than worry about what we can't.

Market proposition

When did you last revisit your market proposition? Is it fit for purpose in this fast-paced environment? Reviewing doesn't mean you’ll change it, but if you haven't had the discussion or even considered whether your offer is as relevant as it was three years ago, the chances are you are out of touch.

Take time with senior colleagues, look at market dynamics as they pertain to your sector and ensure your products and services add value and offer a point of difference.

Talent and the workplace environment

Our industry's ability to attract and retain the best talent is a recurring topic. Create a workplace environment that encourages and nurtures talent. Commit to playing to people's strengths rather than focus on their weaknesses. Ensure mental health and wellbeing are given appropriate attention and build a culture of understanding and support so everyone knows they will have the encouragement and support to do a great job in a way that works for them as human beings.

You will reap the benefits – you will see your staff churn reduce. Clients and corporates want consistency. It makes good business sense. Make your focus on talent a top priority.

Consultancy structure

Many clients buy the support they need on a project basis. This can be up to 50 per cent of annual revenue. This reality will continue for our industry; yet we still operate with a structure of bricks and mortar we likely rent from a landlord on a fixed-term lease and hire staff on permanent contracts.

We need to become more creative about how we engage our talent, where we place them, offer content creation and other core services. Smart management will plan for greater flexibility all round, place elements of their offer in lower-cost environments and seek out higher-value opportunities.

Adding value – creating value

Commit to upholding the highest standard of measurement and evaluation to demonstrate the true value you deliver. In addition, commit to charging the correct fee so that clients create value for your business too. On average we give a day away, free, every week! If we charge right then we can reward properly and clients will benefit from access to the smartest minds who want to be in and stay in our industry.

Wishing you an exciting and rewarding 2020!

Alison Clarke is a business consultant and mentor @pitchwitch

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