There is little that is more insensitive and pointless in business than trying to keep operating ‘as usual’ if that usual now makes no sense.
At Arrows Group, our ‘usual’ offering is the full gamut of workforce solutions; defining recruitment strategies, pure recruitment, onboarding, retention etc. The events of recent weeks, while not putting a total stop to all of these, have caused fundamental changes that make it imperative for us to evolve to remain relevant.
Establishing New Areas of Need
The good news for us, as we work primarily in the technology sector, is that there is still some need for recruitment during lockdown. According to recent analysis from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies, some 35% of current vacancies in London on job boards are within the IT sector. On a normal, average week this figure would usually be 15% or less.
This aside, the number one rule in sales (or any business, really) is always to listen to and understand your clients’ needs. Over the last few weeks, I have had many lengthy discussions with ours about their current business challenges. From these and other conversations, Arrows Group has established our clients’ most critical areas of need right now. Some examples of these are:
- Guidance on accessing new government grants and business loans
- Guidance on onboarding new employees remotely
- Guidance on retention / motivation strategies for current teams
Turning Needs into Services
Having identified new areas of need where we have the expertise to support, we have ‘productised’ many of them as new service offerings from Arrows Group. For our active clients, these are being offered for free to best support them in these extraordinary times.
We are utilising the existing skills within our business for our evolved product services. On the question of support with government grants, for example, Arrows Group was one of the first businesses to go through the process and be accepted for a loan under the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS) – although we have not yet needed to draw on it. On 15th April, UK Finance reported that just 21% of almost 30,000 formal CBILS applications had been approved. Having been through that process, as well as having a CFO with a background in corporate restructure, we can apply our recent knowledge and expertise to our new client service.
As we all try and set our course through unchartered waters, another request we are frequently getting is for quality market insights. Our clients are willing and keen to openly discuss current challenges with like-minded people from different companies. To facilitate this, Arrows Group is hosting a series of video forums. At time of writing, this series is expected to include forums for Chief of Staff, Financial Directors, CTOs, Procurement, Engineering Managers and HR professionals. The format will range from smaller breakfast meetings to conferences with a keynote speaker and set content depending on size of audience.
We have evolved our business offering already, but we also know many of the challenges for our clients are still to come. In the ‘old’ world, 80% of our conversations would be about company growth and 20% or less about managing decline. We expect more conversations moving forward will, unfortunately, be about managing the process of business contraction.
Many companies will inevitably have to make more redundancies. We have already put in place an evolved product offering with this in mind. Through it, companies connect individuals directly to us as part of a redundancy package. Depending on the individual and their seniority, we can help develop their interview technique, supply market information, or assist with CV writing and expert advice on the right companies to target. For the individual, this gives them an instant support network to help during what can be a tough time and for our clients it helps them create a kinder process of redundancy.
Evolution, by nature, is ongoing. If anything, this has been a refreshing reminder that businesses should always keep an eye firmly on the future. It has actually been incredibly refreshing to have so much time to talk to clients, understand exactly what they want right now and to adapt our product offering accordingly – one of the many unexpected positives of these strange times.
What are the biggest challenges currently facing you as a business – or individual? I’d love to hear from you and always happy to talk about how I can help. Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org