What skills and competencies will be most demand when our industry recovers?

Over the past few weeks we have spoken to leaders across many businesses and one of the key conversations we are having is just what skills and competencies will be most valuable in order to drive growth, as and when, the industry and world begins to recover?

To even survive this pandemic it’s clear that many businesses are being forced to pivot and innovate their offerings,  therefore when the world begins to stabilise the industry will require leaders who have the ability and experience of shifting agendas and making tough decisions in order to drive their business forward.  Commerciality will be paramount and there will be little margin for error. Every leader must have a commercial mindset and be able to demonstrate the commercial impact through the decisions they take.

Technology is allowing our industry to keep functioning and as these ‘new’ ways of working become more accepted and normalised companies will adopt more technologies that allow us to keep connected and increase efficiencies. Businesses that have already invested in Chief Technology Officers at a C-suite level will be one step ahead. We anticipate the trend of technology leadership siting at board level regardless of sector, will increase rapidly as the industry stabilises.

Employees will look to their leaders to be brave and decisive in their decision making in order to realise this long-term success.  Talent that has genuine experience of leading business change / transformation will be highly sought after. And whilst it will be vital that leaders are brave and resilient, now more than ever, leaders must also offer compassion and empathy. Those candidates who bring empathy to their people and clients are the ones who we consistently see rising to the top, and this will be true as the industry comes out the other side of the pandemic.

Whilst much of the industry is being forced to slow down there are sectors pulling ahead, able to deliver growth. Customer experience, eCommerce, digital strategy and healthcare are prime examples. As we continue to move through this pandemic the importance of eCommerce, data analysis and connected retail will grow as brands look to evolve their direct to consumer strategy. Individuals that have expertise in these fields will clearly be more in demand but equally individuals who take this time to sharpen up their digital skills  will, in the long term, become much more valuable to their organisations.

Whilst its clear the market will be dramatically affected during the pandemic and the economic impact will be significant, brands will still exist and as we move through will be investing in new ways to reach their audience and differentiate from their competitors. This will lead to businesses and brands putting a premium on inventiveness and creative problem solving and so there will always be place for those think differently about a challenge and embrace the ‘new.