Our consultants speak daily with leaders transforming businesses around the world from our offices in London, New York, Singapore and Shanghai and there is much to consider as leaders prepare for the third year of a global pandemic. It is clear to us that the pressure to build the best team to compete and win in the battle to build the most valuable customer relationships is intensifying.
To help you plan how you will develop your team in the year ahead, here’s a range of insights from our leadership team. We wish you the very best of success in 2022 and, as always, we are here to help you with any of your talent needs.
The Grace Blue Team
Ian Priest, Global CEO
“Marketing leaders are grasping the opportunity for growth and need to convince and reassure their boards to invest budgets and resources in marketing.”
The new year continues very much in line with the trends we saw in the previous year with marketing leaders grasping the opportunity for growth and need to convince and reassure their boards to invest budgets and resources in marketing. So that this becomes even more a key engine of growth and holds the vision to innovate and to “build back better“ in a world that will continue to change hopefully for the better.
Juliet Timms, Founder
“Businesses which demonstrate a positive employment brand experience will have the ability to retain and attract strong talent.”
In 2022, businesses which demonstrate a positive employment brand experience will have the ability to retain and attract strong talent. This will also help to stop staff flocking to competitors and avoid the need to buy them back, potentially, at a premium price.
The recruitment process will need even tighter handholding than usual to advise employers and coach talents.
Jay Haines, Founder
“Candidates will question the diversity commitments of any brand before engaging in a conversation.”
Diversity and inclusion, and its continued emphasis is non-negotiable in 2022. Candidates will question the diversity commitments of any brand before engaging in a conversation about a new role with them. Leaders need to realize that their efforts to create a more inclusive workplace are being judged on a regular basis by potential employees, at all levels of seniority.
Sarah Skinner, CEO EMEA
“We are more globally connected than ever before, yet until the pandemic subsides, we are less globally mobile than ever before.”
The new year starts with a paradox: we are more globally connected than ever before, yet until the pandemic subsides, we are less globally mobile than ever before. The acceleration of the digital transformation that we have witnessed in the last two years means that technology is now woven into the fabric of every business and its operation. As a result, technology leaders should really be sat in the boardroom.
Finally, in 2022 we will find the first generation of young people who join the workforce with no experience in an office environment, yet the leadership will have this as a reference point. This begs the question, how do you best bridge this to create something sustainable for the future?
Helen Duffy, CEO APAC
“Give your leadership team the confidence to get their swagger back.”
One of the biggest challenges in APAC in planning the long term shape of your teams (leadership or otherwise) is driven by the uncertainty of people movement around the world.
For world leading markets in APAC, which need to be able to access Talent from anywhere – be it those already in the region (e.g. China, Singapore, Hong Kong, both from other Asian markets or beyond) or talent you would like to bring into a country anew, it is crucial to support those who may well be facing challenges “at home”. As well as giving the stars local to the market the opportunity to take on their next challenge.
In addition, take the long term view to commit to finding the best in the world to join them given a start date might be further away than usual. It is this diversity of talent which creates the best teams, allows them the evolve, support and challenge each other, and ultimately thrive.
As we know due to the pandemic, APAC as a whole has had stricter border closures than usual and inhibited mobility through public health policy. Add to that the economic uncertainty meaning markets have been focused on ensuring their citizens are first in open / new roles – which means fewer work permits are granted. All lead to less expansive, less varied, less diverse point of view on what your teams can be. But this won’t be forever.
Sit down with your leadership team and work out what you want to achieve, and with that what skills and talent you need now, in the medium and in the longer term for the goals of the business – so people can support / cover for each other, fill the gaps, perhaps bring in interim support.
Plan the year ahead if people need to travel and support them to work flexibly in terms of location given the seismic shifts in ways of working remotely. Most importantly, give your leadership team the confidence that they are supported, that you have their backs if they get stuck somewhere, or they will be able to conduct their role from elsewhere in the organisation if the worst happens.
This confidence allows everyone to get their swagger back. It’s been tough, even the most resilient leaders are worn out. Tell them they are brilliant, reward them however you can, help them reward their teams (be that in monetary terms and culturally). This is an incredible opportunity to cement culture and pull together.
David Nobbs, Managing Partner and Head of Consumer, EMEA
“Modern leaders will have to focus on ‘servant leadership’, becoming the ‘Chief Empathy Officer’”
It is becoming significantly more important to centre conversations with your team around their development and the development of others. Modern leaders will have to focus on ‘servant leadership’, becoming the ‘Chief Empathy Officer’, thinking about their team’s personal growth both internally and externally. They will need to support their development within the organisation in the short, medium and long-term.
Debra Sercy, Managing Partner and Head of Agency, Americas
“Companies that are unwieldy, bureaucratic and set in their ways will lose the war for talent.”
We will see the frustration with organizations steeped in bureaucracy to continue in 2022. Employers expect employees to be agile in the face of such extreme day to day personal and professional uncertainty and companies must reciprocate with open-minded, competitive, flexible, and empathetic ways of working in order to attract and retain their best people.
Wladimir Silva, Managing Partner, APAC
“As the world converts to a new normal, a deep understanding of motivating remote teams will be paramount.”
Flexible work arrangements that surfaced during the pandemic accelerated the war on talent. Although it allows companies access to a larger pool of talent, it also opened doors for employees to work remotely for companies based anywhere in the world. As the world converts to a new normal, a deep understanding of motivating remote teams will be paramount.
– – – –
We would love to talk more about our leadership trends for the year ahead with you and to hear about the challenges you face. If you would like a chat, please feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. And, in case you missed it first time round, be sure to check out our article Reflections on 2021.