Learning how to adapt to changing markets is crucial for any business looking to improve and stay relevant. With offices around the globe, we are at the front line when it comes to seeing and experiencing the evolution of the talent landscape. The tech industry, in particular, is facing challenges. We’ve witnessed significant layoffs and restructuring; a recent NerdWallet article stated that, as of June 1st 2023, 726 companies have or will let go of employees in 2023.
From major layoffs at some of the biggest names through to smaller fintech start-ups and apps, companies’ industry-wide are sharpening their focus on profitable growth after at least a decade during which growth was a key driver and profit was largely overlooked. While some may argue that focus has always been on “the profit journey”, many business leaders argue this is not the case. Regardless, even with the spotlight back on profit, job opportunities have not been dampened. In fact, the need for top talent is firmly back at the top of businesses’ agendas.
As an example, LinkedIn, a Microsoft-owned company with a workforce of 20,000, is reducing certain job roles while simultaneously creating 250 new positions in specific segments of its operations. TechCrunch recently reported that the LinkedIn plans to establish new business and accounting management teams.
Successful companies know they can’t cut their way to profitability and survive. While it might provide breathing space, it’s not a long-term strategy. Don’t get me wrong, regularly reviewing unnecessary costs and expenses across your business is a good habit to build – not only when the market presents challenges. That’s another topic altogether.
Putting great talent and skills first
So, returning to my main point, putting great talent back at the top. Recently, I have been talking to business leaders across the globe who are using this time to consider whether they have the best team in place. They might have all their seats full and may not be hiring for growth, but they want to ensure they have the skills and capabilities in place to take their business where it needs to go.
I have also recently enjoyed reading CEO Excellence: The Six Mindsets That Distinguish the Best Leaders from the Rest. In the book, there was a wonderful story shared by Piyush Gupta, the CEO of DBS since 2009, who reflected on lessons he learnt whilst at Citibank and the need to know: Who are your A, B and C players? How strong is your bench? And, if you want to take the next step in your career, who is ready to step into your shoes?
Piyush Gupta has played a pivotal role in modernising Singapore while also propelling DBS to a prominent position in global finance. At DBS, he motivates his staff by promoting continuous learning and acknowledging and rewarding creative risk-taking, instead of penalising it. The organisation has emphasised granting employees the autonomy to make mistakes, which has enabled those who are not as tech-savvy to acquire new competencies and alleviate apprehension towards new technologies.
These conversations about workforce, talent strength, and skills need to be had by business leaders today. In a market that has changed, and continues to do so at pace, do you have a team who can respond and adapt? Do you have people who can shape and deliver the next part of your business’s journey?
Three ways to ensure you have the best team in place
- Identify the most important roles in your organisation. What skills, competencies, and experience levels are required by the team members in these roles to help you achieve your vision? Do you have your ‘A players’ in these roles? If not, what is the barrier to making this happen?
- Less than 10% of high-value roles report into the CEO. Do you have a clear plan for these high-value (as opposed to high-salary) roles and the team members in these roles? Are these team members performing at the level you need them to? What are you doing to nurture their talents and develop their skills?
- As the markets change, evaluate your people allocation. Do you have the right resources in the right parts of your business, in alignment with your new strategy or vision? Or are your resources still allocated to support your business as it was?
In summary, whenever there is change there is opportunity. Are you putting yourself and your business in the best shape to take advantage of a changing landscape?
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