Ready, Steady, Talent!

Oh dear, it's that season again. If your house is like mine, nothing marks the end of summer (did it start?) like the all too familiar sounds of Simon Cowell, Mary Berry and Bruno Tonioli giving their thoughts on this year's group of budding contestants, all fighting it out to prove that their jam tarts, Viennese Waltz or Jay Z rendition, should make them worthy champions.

The UK has a love affair with identifying top talent (almost equalled by a delight in observing those that have none) and that doesn't seem to be changing. For UK businesses too, attracting and retaining key talent, and creating a high performance culture is a number one priority. Richard Branson once said: "Employees are more important than customers. Look after your employees and they'll look after your customers".

Demand for talent is on the up and with that brings challenge and risk, as highlighted in our most recent Global CEO Survey - 92% of CEOs cited managing people and talent as their number one future priority.

In another life, I might be fortunate enough to live out my boyhood dream of a career in professional football; but for now I have to make do with soccer analogies - which often come up when I meet clients. So, compare yourself to an ideal football club:

• Do you have the right players? You may not be able to compete with the European giants in terms of pay, but you need a vision and culture, combined with the right employer brand, in order to attract the best and set your business apart from your nearest competitors.

• What's your formation? Having assembled a team, how do you put them together to make sure you play to everyone's strength, cut out wasted effort, and create a collective output which is greater than the sum of the parts? A clear strategy is essential.

• Execution - the stage is set, the team is assembled and everyone knows their position, but how do you ensure that your players are working towards a high performance culture which will see you rise to the top? Are you happy with the current output or is there room to achieve more?

Okay, I'm getting carried away now but these are points discussed with businesses all over Northern Ireland as they set their own specific plans for growth and particularly in the context of a UK outside the EU. In a world of uncertainty and competition, there is an opportunity for growth and our experience suggests that having a strategic focus on how you manage and get the most from your people will be the differentiator between the winners and losers.


To hear more about our experience of helping clients manage their talent please feel free to get in contact.

Craig Harrison
Tel: 028 9041 5022

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