Looking Back and Moving Forwards. Reflections & Observations Since the Last Review

By Armstrong Craven Team - 4 Min read

A collection of interviews from last edition’s Authors reflecting on trends, changes and what this means for businesses and individuals alike as we move towards 2022.

Armstrong Craven

Article: Is Tech Talent Truly Sector Agnostic?

by Ian Millard

Q. Are businesses still looking to proactively harness talent from “tech native” companies?

[Yes]. The demand for tech talent at all levels has increased dramatically and competition to secure great talent is greater than ever. The more permanent shift to remote working means that many organisations need stronger infrastructure, in both security and functionality. A great example would be Microsoft Teams, which now has 145 million active daily users, up by 75 million last year.

Q. Are there still barriers to attracting and retaining the best tech talent? 

Talent now has more choice, and candidates are in a position to choose from several different options. Like many of us, people are now making their own choices about whether they want to return to a Monday – Friday, 9 to 5 in the office, which wasn’t necessarily an option before.

There is a trend for tech talent to want to have the option of remote working and office working without any restrictions and many companies are embracing this. For example, Spotify announced this year that US engineers could work from anywhere and retain their NYC or San Francisco salaries, and where the tech giants go, others are sure to follow.

Q. Is your discussion still relevant today?

[Yes] The most successful campaigns we have had this year are where the full ‘Hiring Cycle’ has been involved. Hiring Managers have been very active in reaching out to potential talent and have been using their skills alongside recruiters/sourcers to sell opportunities.

Q. Any further predictions for the future?

Talent is not waiting, more so than ever. We can see this clearly within tech, where candidates are not willing to wait for 2nd/3rd interview stages and decisions to be made. Successful companies are having to interview and offer within 24 hours. It will be interesting to see how this trend ripples across industries past tech.

Article: The Front Line: HR’s Role in the Recovery of the Workplace

by Beverley Doe

Q. Is there an appetite to return to the office?

With the lifting of restrictions in the UK on 19th July, it is clear that for many companies, there has been no sudden/drastic change to what has become our regular working patterns. While there are stories in the press about some companies insisting on their staff being back in the office full time on a permanent basis, there are just as many describing companies proceeding with great care and sensitivity. This is a positive thing, because the pandemic has affected everyone in different ways. While some people find the vaccination program gives them the confidence to ‘return to normal’, there are many others who are uncertain about the current situation and have no desire to commute again on a regular basis.

Q. Why do you think there has been minimal change?

The situation remains fairly similar to the article’s predictions. Countries across the world are at varying stages; some feel the pandemic is as good as over, whilst Australia spent many more months of 2021 in lockdown. As predicted, back to the office guidelines are being set on a local basis.

Q. Is your discussion still relevant today?

Very relevant - what was initially termed ‘the new normal’ is still a topic of great debate: the effects of the pandemic are extremely far-reaching. Some people are living much as they did before; others find their mindset has changed fundamentally and they have little desire to revert back to ‘before’. The hybrid working model seems to be the preferred one going forward. The uncertainty that has accompanied the whole situation continues; no one truly knows what their country’s circumstances will be as winter hits the Northern hemisphere, in terms of a potential upsurge in cases or even further lockdowns.

Q. Any further predictions for the future?

It is essential that HR professionals continue to act with compassion and sensitivity to their workforce, all of whom will be experiencing conflicting feelings on returning to the office and on what basis. Overall, the hybrid working model certainly appears to be here to stay and insight from the market suggests that companies have either put a more official policy in place or are in the process of doing so.

Article: The Importance of Strong Succession Plans Aligned to Future Business Strategy

by Peter Howarth

Q. Is succession planning still a priority?

As predicted, the pandemic has forced companies to take stock of their succession plans and either refine the existing plans or develop new ones more aligned with the type of leadership critical to success for that particular business’ future growth plans. The pandemic highlighted in some instances the need for different leadership with a level of crisis management now becoming integral to a company’s future proofing for success.

More clients than ever are addressing their succession plans, with both market mapping and talent pipelining for future leaders forming a significant part of the work we have conducted in 2021.

Q. Why do you think this progress has happened?

The pandemic turned a spotlight on the need for agile leadership, fast crisis response and an understanding and willingness to put front and centre the wellbeing and mental health of employees.

Q. Any further predictions for the future?

I do not see this trend slowing in the coming months, in fact I believe that it will increase as companies seek to thoroughly address risk by robust succession planning at both the senior leadership level and indeed the levels below this, even down to senior manager level.

Article: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the US

by David Helfrich

Q. Have DE&I strategies improved since the writing of your article?

[Yes] DE&I continues to remain at the forefront of organizational priority for all businesses regardless of sector or size.

Q. Why do you think this progress has happened?

After a year [2020] that saw considerable unrest, protest, and organizing surrounding social justice, many DE&I initiatives and movements have now taken hold within multiple sectors of the economy.

Q. Is your discussion still relevant today?

[Yes] Demand for diverse talent continues to increase. While some organizations who have lagged on implementing meaningful DE&I strategies struggle to attract diverse talent, organizations who have made considerable top-down investments in DE&I are thriving and diversifying their organizations effectively.

Q. Any further predictions for the future?

Organizations are challenged to continue to evolve their thinking and philosophy when it comes to DE&I – moving beyond the traditional definitions to include a more expansive DE&I framework that includes: ethnic/gender diversity, identity/orientation diversity, cognitive diversity, disability diversity, educational/geographic diversity, viewpoint diversity, and other forms of diversity that can’t always be readily observed by the naked eye.

Want to know more? Speak to Heather Siler