Anthem’s Carolyn Kerr shares some insights from the Techweek22 panel discussion held by Fronde.
Anthem client Fronde recently hosted a learning and networking event for Techweek22 featuring an experienced panel of technology and professional services practitioners, including our very own Co-founder and Managing Director Carolyn Kerr.
The event, titled Protecting and growing professional services in the new normal, delved into topical issues including the great resignation, the art of managing high demand, and digital transformation.
Facilitated by Fronde’s CEO Jason Delamore, the panel also included Adelene Lynch (Kerridge & Partners), Lindsay Zwart (Vodafone), Richard Phillimore-Smith (Salesforce), and Kim Gordon (IT Newcom/MinterEllison), who all shared their business challenges and opportunities off the back of the pandemic.
Here, Caro shares her top insights from the event:
Recruitment and Retention The Great Resignation is hitting hard for many New Zealand businesses in 2022, even while job ads are up 45% from last year, there are still more than two in five (40%) people now looking for new opportunities. This, combined with increased job opportunities due to remote working, and many young Kiwis heading overseas to gain long-awaited international work and travel experiences, is making it increasingly challenging for businesses to attract and retain skilled talent.
The panel agreed that the importance of culture and creating an optimal place to work is critical to retaining and recruiting top people to your business. As we begin to increase our time back in the office again, employers must also consider how they can make their office environments more appealing for their employees. Research shows for many, that includes good coffee, soundproof work areas, better technology and hygienic work spaces. At Anthem, our location and office space at 1 Alberts is a place we enjoy gathering, and we aim to make our days in the city together count, with planned get togethers, collab sessions, business updates, and social events.
Another key point raised by the panel is the value employees place on a company’s purpose or mission, which needs to be – as Salesforce’s Richard Phillimore-Smith said – “threaded through an organisation”. Businesses need to allow their teams to make a connection between the value from their day-to-day work and the impact they can make on the community.
Plugging the gaps Many professional service agencies are acutely feeling the challenge of the skill shortage due to the nature of this people-centric offering. This is particularly prevalent for Anthem, as our communications and reputation management expertise have been in high demand over the past two years as we help clients fill their skills shortage needs or step into the breach when their communications teams go down with Covid-19. This is an experience echoed by other professional services businesses on the panel and in the room.
This demand means professional services businesses need to continue to stay flexible and adapt their service delivery to meet client needs. One way we manage this is by growing our agile team of specialists and consultants who provide additional skills and services, and add scale to our talented team. At Anthem, this allows us to create niche, tailored teams consisting of the right people for the right job. When the services and business solutions you provide are solely dependent on your people, it’s even more important to have the right team in place with as much support possible to enable them to do what they do best work.
Another key effort in ensuring we can meet the needs of clients is through creating contingency teams, which are members who are briefed in on the progress of key projects and stay ready to assist the team where support is required. This creates business stability and sustainability.
At Anthem, our premises, culture and operating model allows us to leverage industry expertise authentically and in a way that’s better for our people and the client to work together. As our team has also grown during the pandemic, it has created insulation within the business and our pre-existing flexible and agile way of working stood us in good stead.
Overall, it’s up to businesses to be adaptable, especially in the wake of the pandemic. How you respond to challenges impacts the future of your company and your client relationships.