Leading through Disruption: Five steps to success

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YOUR FIVE STEPS

  1. A critical workplace assessment
  2. Prioritising well-being and mental health
  3. Promote inclusivity and diversity
  4. Lead by example
  5. Measure and adapt
If you’re part of the 63% of leaders in the UK predicting a full return to in-office working by 2026, then you could be fighting a losing battle.

The truth is, the headlines about companies like Amazon, Meta, Salesforce and Zoom calling staff back into the office isn’t quite the death sentence to hybrid working people have been led to believe.

In fact, The New York Times recently reported that these companies, “Discovered that many of their best performers love working from home and that enforcing a five-day-a-week return to the office would have meant culling their top talent.”

For instance, when Zoom (the platform nearly all of us were using to work from home) called employees back, it felt like fundamental retreat. 

But Nicholas Bloom, professor of economics at Stanford University visited Zoom and shared, “The headlines could have read Zoom confirms work-from-home three days a week for employees within 50 miles and five days for those outside 50 miles. But sadly, these types of subtleties are harder to get across.” 

The reality is hybrid working, in all of its forms, is here to stay. So where do you sit?

Whether it’s championing experimentation, like Atom Bank’s 424 employees now working 34 hours a week for the same pay. Or having a programme for mindfulness and emotional intelligence skills to enhance employee well-being and productivity like Google’s ‘Search Inside Yourself’ – we need to do more than just embrace creativity and flexibility to compete…

We need to create it – with our strategy, goals and individual employees in mind. So where do we begin? Here are some practical steps to get you started.

STEP ONE: A critical workplace assessment

We always ask for customer feedback when we launch a new product. Consistently having employee surveys and focus groups actively encourages input and will increase your retention and improve engagement.

In short, you’ll get the answers you’re searching for from your target audience.

All of this research should help you define where to put your efforts – is the hybrid model enough to remain competitive or should you consider a four-day work week?

Are you constantly up against skill shortages and need to look at a graduate or employee training programme?

Whatever your employees are feeding back need to be shaped with your strategy and business objectives in mind.

STEP TWO: Prioritising well-being and mental health

Demonstrating a healthy work-life balance and creating a culture of empathy, where employees feel valued, and their well-being is genuinely cared for can be as simple as:

  • Promoting mental health awareness and providing resources like counselling and stress management programmes
  • Championing regular breaks, mindfulness practices and physical wellness initiatives
  • Creating a culture that values work-life balance and actively discourages excessive overtime

TOP TIPS

Hybrid working models revolutionised conventional workplaces. And are now a staple of every candidate wishlist but are you seeing the benefits as a business? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are your remote work policies founded on trust, accountability and measurable outcomes?
  • Have you invested in the right technology for seamless collaboration and communication?
  • Do the flexible schedules accommodating the diverse needs of employees work for your business?
  • Are you nurturing interpersonal connections through team-building events and in-person meetings?

STEP Three: Promote inclusivity and diversity

IBM Women’s Council actively promotes gender equality and inclusivity. Initiatives like this are all about creating an open and inclusive environment where voices are heard.

You can begin by building a diversity and inclusion training programme and follow up by establishing mentorship and sponsorship initiatives designed to support underrepresented employees.

But remember, let your employee research guide you. Afterall, this is the very purpose for your surveys and focus groups and it’s the perfect opportunity to show you’re listening.

TOP TIPS

To create a culture of progress and continuous learning look at these options:

  • Investment in training and development programmes to enhance and generate new skills
  • Create opportunities for cross-functional learning and collaboration
  • Recognise and reward for innovation and creativity at all levels

STEP FOUR: LEAD BY EXAMPLE

Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, epitomises adventurous leadership and unwavering willingness to embrace risks.

By embracing change and demonstrating adaptability, rest assured, others will follow suit. But it’s not always easy encouraging others to take risks or celebrate failures as valuable opportunities for growth. But if you can master this – it will set your culture apart.

TOP TIPS

We’ve all heard about Microsoft Japan’s trial of the four day week resulting in a remarkable 40% increase in productivity. If you’re interested in trialling a four day week, concentrate on the following to improve performance:

  • Launch a pilot programme to evaluate feasibility and gauge employee satisfaction
  • Establishing clear productivity and performance metrics so objectives are met
  • Offer flexible scheduling options, such as staggered four day workweeks, to maintain operational coverage

STEP FIVE: MEASURE AND ADAPT

Procter & Gamble consistently gathers employee feedback and data analytics to refine its workplace initiatives. By collecting data about employee satisfaction, productivity and retention you can adapt strategies based on feedback and results.

And finally, always be vigilant about your search for innovative ways to enhance your work environment. Afterall, you never know what could be the next differentiator for your business.

Talk to Denholm

We’re problem-solvers. Whether it’s scarce skillsets, elusive locations, or you just needed them to start yesterday… We are experts in hiring the talent you simply can’t find yourself. Contact us today on 03303 359818 or connect@denholmassociates.com.

New Spirits Division

ANDY BRADY

HEAD OF HR

Andy Brady is a seasoned HR recruitment specialist, with over two decades of expertise in the field. With a foundation in Human Resource Management from the University of Derby, Andy swiftly transitioned into specialised HR recruitment. His diverse portfolio spans FMCG, Manufacturing & Engineering, Financial Services, the Third Sector, and Supply Chain, working at all levels from entry to executive positions.

ZOE LUMSDEN

Recruitment AdministratoR

Zoe joined Denholm in 2022 as Recruitment Administrator, after working in administration roles for nearly a decade. Most recently within the recruitment industry, she joins us with experience of supporting consultants, clients and candidates at all levels. Zoe has a passion for helping people and applies her positive attitude and approachable manner to support our team and deliver the best possible service to our clients and candidates at all times.

DREW GILLIES

HEAD OF AGENCY

Drew arrived at Denholm as an award-winning creative, having headed content strategy teams for marketing/advertising agencies in the UK/USA before a successful career in HR, people and culture. He has years of marketing experience and building teams on both sides of the Atlantic, priding himself on going the extra mile for clients and candidates alike. Drew always works with passion as our specialist in account management, planning and strategy, digital marketing, full-spectrum creative and traffic/studio management.

CALLUM BEVERIDGE

SENIOR CONSULTANT - TECHNOLOGY, CHANGE & TRANSFORMATION

Callum has been working in recruitment since 2018 where he has solely focussed on the Technology, Change and Transformation market across the UK and ROI. He works closely with his clients and candidates to build long-lasting relationships across several industries, including Technology, Financial Services, Professional Services, Healthcare, Education, Public Sector and more. He specialises in engineering roles across Software, Infrastructure, Systems, DevOps and Cloud, along with Software Testing.

EUAN ARCHIBALD

SENIOR CONSULTANT - Technology, Change & Transformation

Euan has been working in the world of recruitment since 2012, working to deliver bespoke services to both clients and candidates. Prioritising ‘future-fit’ candidates for clients, he works as an extension of his client’s business ensuring great representation in the market. He consults with each client to ensure excellent candidate journeys. Euan works focuses primarily on business analysis, project management and technical support opportunities.

LIZ PARSONS

SENIOR CONSULTANT - MARKETING

Liz has over 14 years’ experience in recruitment working across primarily the high-tech, pharmaceutical and FMCG sectors. She joined Denholm on December 1st 2021 following a relocation from Ireland to focus on Marketing recruitment. Liz’s experience ranges from high volume recruitment to executive search and she prides herself in her ability to fully understand a brief and her accurate matching skills. Frequently praised as being a clear communicator with a strong customer service ethic, Liz is well suited to the culture here at Denholm, where the client and the candidates’ needs are paramount.

ALANA SIM

DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR - CONSUMER

Alana has been working in recruitment since 2012, predominately within the FMCG & Consumer markets. Having recruited in both the UK & Asia Pacific markets, Alana has a sound knowledge of local & international recruitment. Partnering with brands to attract & hire the best sales talent in the market, Alana focuses on mid to senior level Sales appointments within the Consumer space. With a strong commercial & sales background, Alana identifies and engages the best commercially focused talent for our clients.

SCOTT CAITHNESS

CLIENT RELATIONSHIP PARTNER

Scott started his career working for one of the leading Advertising & Comms agencies in Edinburgh where he spent 7 years before moving in to recruitment in 2011. As such, he is well-networked in the Marketing & Comms space across Scotland. With a friendly and consultative approach, Scott is genuinely passionate about providing a positive journey to both candidates and clients alike and believes communication plays a big part in this.  A “thinking-outside-the-box recruiter”, he is known for helping candidates portray the best version of themselves and helping clients find talent for those hard to fill roles.

ANDY MACEWAN

HEAD OF TECHNOLOGY, CHANGE & TRANSFORMATION

Andy has been recruiting in Technology, Change & Transformation since 2001. Delivering tailored resource solutions as trusted advisor to clients ranging from start-ups through to global blue-chip organisations across contract, permanent, fixed term, and managed service/statement of work solutions. He has experience providing candidates for Helpdesk through to CIO and takes great pride in providing excellent customer service and ensuring each candidate journey is a positive one. An expert in his market he can provide guidance across current market trends.

JAMES BLYTH

HEAD OF MANUFACTURING & ENGINEERING

James has a decade of experience within the FMCG sector where he has partnered with a wide range of businesses placing key appointments at all levels including Director/ Board level. Driving growth across our Manufacturing & Engineering function, James specialises in Production, Operations, Engineering, Quality, HSE, Technical, NPD and Supply Chain. With his passion and expertise in these areas, James supports candidates and clients by working closely to understand their needs and wants providing exceptional service.

ANGELA MCCANN

DIRECTOR OF GROWTH

Having worked in the recruitment industry since 2000, Angela brings a wealth of experience as a Recruitment Professional and a proven track record of delivering a high-quality search and selection service to both public and private companies in the UK and internationally. Angela believes in a partnership approach to recruitment, ensuring a detailed understanding of employer/jobseeker requirements and delivering a bespoke service underpinned by professionalism, pragmatism and strong market knowledge.

Our Community

As well as working in close collaboration with our clients, and the online marketplaces, we are active members of groups that have been established to combat illicit trade. These include the Scottish Anti-Illicit Trade Group, the European Intellectual Property Office, The Scottish Business Resilience Centre, the Anti-Counterfeiting Group, and the China Britain Business Council. Members of our senior management sit on the boards of ACID (Anti-Copying in Design), the Scottish Ministerial Trade Board, and the European Union Intellectual Property Office’s Observatory Panel for SMEs, amongst others.

Each team member nominates good causes or charities that are supported on both an individual and corporate basis. Wherever possible, we support the employee’s involvement whether through time or fundraising events.

Our Environment

We deliver purpose-driven work from an extremely welcoming environment near the City Centre. We actively encourage the responsible use of resources, from using public transport to reuse, recycling, and, of course, a minimal impact office environment. We have benefited from the advice of the Energy Saving Trust and Resource Efficient Scotland. Our waste contractor also provides us with a monthly report on volumes and types of material and the carbon emissions avoided through recycling.

Over 80% of our employees can walk or cycle to The Lair and, pre-pandemic, 10% were using public transport as their normal daily commuting mode. Without doubt, online meetings will replace considerable miles, going forward, saving resources, time and energy. Where possible, when possible, the train remains our preferred option. 

Our People

Our people are our most important asset, and their mental well-being and happiness are core to our success. We love our diverse workforce, actively embrace flexible working (even pre-pandemic!) and encourage a healthy work-life balance. We have been recognised as one of the most diverse SME workplaces in the UK and are holders of the Scottish Business Pledge which exists to promote a fairer Scotland. We have also just been included in the 2021 Culture Leaders Top 25 – an accolade of which we are very proud!

We are a fully inclusive and nurturing employer and, despite being in tech, the majority of our team are women, leading to accolades in the Computing Magazine Women in IT Awards and the Amazon Growing Business Awards. We currently represent 15 nationalities and speak 20 languages. Age is no barrier, and we recruit for attitude, providing and encouraging appropriate learning and training for each and every role.

We are also proud members of IP Inclusive, a network of professionals working to make the intellectual property industry more diverse.

Our Purpose

Our aim is to combat illicit online trade by identifying and removing counterfeits for sale. Counterfeits not only damage brands, their reputations, and revenues, but can cause significant harm to the end customer – whether as a fake toy or a fake medicine – and the consequences can be life threatening.

Counterfeiting is a significant economic and social issue.

The OECD reports that counterfeit and fake goods make up more than 3.3% of the world’s global trade. Those involved in the trade of counterfeits have been linked to people trafficking, prostitution, and drug dealing.

As such, reducing illicit trade is about much more than brand protection but also about human rights, safety, and social equity.

And this is what we do, every day.

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Communication Advisors

We’re a passionate and professional team who thrive in issue-rich environment and we’re looking for Senior Communication Advisors, Communications Advisors and Communications Executives to join their fast-growing team. 

You’ll have previous agency experience at Senior Account Manager or Account Manager level and be passionate about delivering excellent results for clients. You might be a specialist in PR and media relations who produces compelling editorial content across a range of topics and sectors or you might be a public affairs expert who understands the policy landscape and helps clients build influential relationships. Whatever your specialism, you’ll be an excellent writer, full of creative ideas, with proven client management experience and the ability to provide expert advice our clients.

Your key duties will include:

  • Supporting the key account lead with day-to-day client liaison, providing strategic counsel on day-to-day account matters when required
  • Active involvement in planning and delivering global PR, marketing and digital campaigns
  • Managing content programmes, including mapping out content themes, spotting industry trends and story angles, writing copy when required which may include opinion articles, web and social
  • Building strong media relationships, creating pitches based on your story ideas and delivering content in-to suit the client’s target media and securing opportunities
  • Planning and running client’s social media programmes, and management of their channels
  • Continuously identifying opportunities to grow brand awareness and profile our client’s businesses within their target sector through events, webinars, thought leadership
  • Producing comprehensive and timely reports on client activity 
  • Supporting in the development of client proposals to help grow or win parts of the business


In addition, to be considered for this role, you must be able to demonstrate:

  • Proven background in account handling and direct client liaison – 4 years’ minimum
  • Experience in an agency setting focusing on B2B communication or PR
  • Strong communications skills, verbal and written
  • A background in delivering creative, digitally led B2B communications such as LinkedIn campaigns
  • An innate understanding of earned media, with the ability to create stories and generate coverage across traditional media, digital and social
  • Experience working on content management programmes, with an awareness of the changing way business audiences consume information and an appreciation of search, paid and wider customer marketing activity, and how it all fits together
  • A history of working with clients in a variety of sectors is welcomed but experience in the tech and energy industries is advantageous.

Communication Lead

We’re a passionate and professional team who thrive in issue-rich environment and we’re looking to add a Communication Lead to our fast-growing team. You’ll be a trusted advisor to clients across several sectors in all aspects of communication, external affairs, marketing and issues management. Coming from an agency or consultancy environment, at Account Director level or above, you’ll report directly to the Managing Director and be responsible for a small and busy multi-disciplinary team. You’ll have first-class project management skills, be solutions-driven and excellent commercial acumen too. Alongside the senior team, you’ll work to drive the strategic growth of Aspect.

Your core duties will include:

  • Working with the MD to develop and deliver growth strategies 
  • Attracting and retaining profitable clients across a range of sectors 
  • Leading the creation and execution of strategic communication programmes
  • Inspiring, leading and developing multi-disciplinary teams
  • Developing strong relationships with clients, colleagues and associates
  • Producing high quality pitches and proposals to secure new business 
  • Curating, nurturing and managing a team of talented associates.

You’ll be a skilled communicator, interested and knowledgeable about the key issues shaping the external environment. In addition, to be considered for this role, you must be able to demonstrate:

  • 7+ years of senior leadership experience within an agency or consultancy
  • Experience in Energy, Renewables, Financial Services or Life Sciences would be very desirable
  • Outstanding writing skills and the ability to engage and excite an audience
  • An impressive track record of client attraction, retention and growth 
  • The ability to thrive fast-paced environment managing multiple projects simultaneously
  • Strong influencing and leadership skills to motivate and inspire those around you
  • Excellent planning, evaluation and project management skills
  • To develop new processes, systems and ways of working to drive performance

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