Hot Leadership Topics for 2021
Updated: Mar 31
For the past 12 months the Alcon Maddox network has been working to support our clients and candidates, helping them chart a course through the rapid commercial evolution being brought about by the pandemic and the measures being put in place globally to cope with it.
The vast majority of our network conversations have centred around four topics;
1. Working in a more virtual / remote way
2. Ensuring and improving employee wellbeing
3. Diversity and inclusion
4. Recruitment and talent acquisition in the new world
In rounding up the first quarter of 2021, we work through each of these topics and share some of the insights and strategies that have been discussed throughout our network.
Working in a More Virtual/Remote Way
The consensus of opinion is that remote working, or certainly a hybrid version of remote or virtual working, is here to stay. It might be company driven due to organisational cost savings, or employee driven as a result of the increased employee satisfaction that remote working and avoiding the daily commute brings.
The vast majority of businesses have now supported remote working for 6-12 months. Three of the key strategies associated with this shift include:
It’s imperative that communication lines between employees, the business and management are open and flow freely. Without a focus on communication and engagement, employee’s quickly become isolated and disconnected from company ambitions.
Employee’s must be developed and encouraged to maximise security of their home networks so as to avoid commercial digital security breaches
Hybrid over totally virtual
Shifting to a 100% virtual environment, whilst potentially attractive from a cost saving perspective, is too ‘distancing’ for the majority of employees. Face to face contact is required to support colleagues and maintain company cultures. A number of our contacts have moved to a hub-and-spoke structure where a single company office is foregone in favour of smaller ‘hub’ style work units that facilitate groups of employees to work collaboratively but in within the vicinity of their home life.
Ensuring and Improving Employee Wellbeing
Employee wellbeing is a hot topic. This is not about maximising the private healthcare package for your team or encouraging an absence of illness, wellbeing is about the holistic, physical and mental health of your employees and thus their ability to perform at their best.
There is no denying that the pandemic has brought health concerns to the forefront of our thinking, but the wellbeing focus from a commercial perspective is about how the company can ensure that it is setting realistic performance expectations of its employees and encourage effective coaching and personnel development activity so that people are prepared for their job and therefore suffer less performance related stress.
Employee wellbeing is, and should be, a fundamental focus for organisational leaders. Fostering an environment where senior stakeholders drive the wellbeing agenda has been demonstrated to have the greatest impact on making a company ‘a great place to work’.
Diversity and Inclusion
Many of our network members joined us for our recent Lunch & Learn session where I spoke with my long-term friend and business partner Zena Way. Reviewing an article that we’d shared recently, Zena and I discussed the apparent disparity in gender representation in the commercial (specifically sales) arena.
With recent research suggesting that companies who have above-average gender and racial/ethnic diversity in leadership roles are eight times more likely to be in the top 10% of organizations for financial performance, reviewing the diversity and inclusion practices of your business makes strong commercial sense.
Is your leadership team representative of the wider employee population? Is your employee population representative of your client of customer market? If the answer to these questions is no, you would be well advised to construct a strategic approach to remedy this fact.
Recruitment and Talent Acquisition in the New World
Remote working practices (as discussed in another of our 2021 Lunch & Learn sessions) are driving a very different perspective on recruitment and talent acquisition. For many organisations, the physical or geographical restraints of recruitment associated with ‘office locations’ are now reducing.
Regional talent pools are now becoming national talent pools or even international talent pools, with businesses in some instances being able to focus on recruiting top talent on a global scale.
This flexibility brings with it increased challenges of developing an improved employer brand, telling a compelling ‘why work with us’ story and focusing on becoming an employer of choice. It also brings with it greater risk of employee attrition, with high performers becoming ever more accessible to global brands.
The bottom line is that the evolution of the commercial setting continues at an increased rate. Companies will no longer be able to stand still, they will either be developing and moving forward OR moving backward in comparison to those businesses around them.
We continue to work with our network to ensure that all companies and individuals associated with Alcon Maddox stay ahead of the curve and continue to perform and flourish in ‘the new world.’