Succession planning and personnel development should be core to a business’ long term strategy, however, in a world where contract wins and renewals dictate your operational requirements how can you plan ahead?

Core to this thought process is understanding your operational capability; winning a new contract requires you to have the resources available to implement and manage it without jeopardising the quality of service to existing customers. It is cheaper to retain customers rather than acquire new ones; the challenge then is as a business you are pitching with the resources currently available to you who may be operating at capacity.

This means should you win the new account you either have to spread the existing management time which will potentially impact current customers, or bring in additional staff to service the new contract who have not been involved in the tender process. Individuals and businesses like to know who is their point of contact and accountable for their business relationship, too often the ‘big guns’ will win a deal and then never be seen by the client again.

When planning your business growth strategy it is imperative to be engaged with potential candidates along with considering your internal development; some companies have adopted a highly successful in-house talent model to map markets and build passive pools of candidates. This is a costly process and requires scale to justify the investment but does mean you can work react quickly to business wins. The other option is to work with a third party who will provide insight for you and through understanding your business whilst engaging and managing candidate relationships on your behalf.

The issue then becomes trust; this is a two way streak. A good consultant will communicate market trends and candidate availability to your business whilst engaging potential candidates on your behalf. The challenge is then managing this relationship to shift away from the transactional tendencies of recruitment and instead add value over time, with a mutual understanding you will engage their services when the time comes to pull the trigger and recruit. In some instances it is possible to employ professionals on a short term contract to assist on a bid with a view to joining on a full time basis if successful in winning the business. This requires a flexible approach from all parties along with open and honest communication.

In a world where people expect instant results for a quick buck this requires a shift in mind set; the short term ‘wins’ must be exchanged for long term mutually beneficial relationships with both sides bringing value.

Central to this is working with someone who has intricate knowledge of the sector, understands the macro and micro changes occurring and subsequently the impact on your business. It’s not rocket science but it does require an investment in time with a long term view on business partnerships.

Consultancy

Occasionally management teams want an expert, objective opinion.

Recruitment

Businesses require the best talent in the long run but often interim support is invaluable.

Candidates

Active networking is a great opportunity to share ideas and best practice.

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