As part of Ambition A.M.’s ongoing ‘pass the pen’ series, Louise Johnson, chief executive of global sport and entertainment agency Fuse, takes a look at what she believes to be some of the most important factors to consider when looking for talent.

If you consider yourself an entrepreneur, odds are you’ve come to be familiar with the sight of a solo laptop on a cluttered coffee table or empty co-working space.

When is the right time to bring in outside talent, and how do you choose who’s going to join you?

Johnson answers these questions in her view on teamwork and management ahead of what will be a “transformative” next few years for the workplace.

When building a team, what are the most important factors to consider first?

“You wouldn’t use a saw to hammer a nail, which is a great analogy when thinking about the obvious – you wouldn’t hire a creative to do finance.

“Choosing the right talent for the right role is the difference between thrive and die for a business. And it isn’t just about skills. You need the right personalities to match your business culture and those who can build morale in the team, which takes us back to the very start.

“Implementing the right culture early on sets the foundation for which you build your business (and your team). It’s well documented that ‘purpose driven businesses’ are more successful – so companies need a worthy purpose and bigger ambition for their people to get behind.

“And I don’t just mean slapping company values on the office kitchen wall, I mean acting through strong values – to be trusted, committed, collaborative and restless – which are crucial to constructing a team of diverse talent.

“But business leaders are role models, so if your optimistic outlook is a little hazy, it may be time to try new ways to embrace the positive and project this onto the company with hyper-personalised strategies for all of your team members.

“And finally, you must be a master of yourself during uncertain times. I found it useful to check and challenge myself with ‘how are you showing up’ to the agency, especially when so many people are looking at you in a crisis for direction and answers.

“To do this, it was important to make sure I was ‘feeding and watering’ myself properly – this involved getting regular exercise (boxing), eating well, and trying to get good quality sleep.”

How do you attract and retain talent?

“Attracting and retaining staff is of course about the role in question, how strong your employer brand is and how you leverage it across social and digital channels, but importantly for candidates it’s about competitive compensation and benefits, diversity and inclusion initiatives and career development opportunities. 

“Businesses at the minimum should look more closely at market research to ensure salaries align with industry standards, but to set the organisation apart from its peers it’s all about outstanding initiatives that make an actual difference to employees.

“For example, rising the minimum wage for new entrants to help tackle the cost-of-living crisis for younger generations or offering staff the chance to study or learn a new skill to build their career.

“At Fuse we like to celebrate employees’ achievements and contributions. Our Spotlight Award is an ongoing recognition programme designed to celebrate exceptional individuals and teams who embody our core values. 

“The initiative runs throughout the year, highlighting outstanding efforts on a bi-monthly basis, with the winners receiving a financial reward.  

“I also feel very strongly about the positive effects of mentoring as it’s a great way to retain your staff.”

“Success is often built on the learnings of others, and for business leaders, reverse mentoring opportunities can help you understand today’s challenges. “

How do you expect the workplace to change over the next five years?

“Tech and AI are undoubtedly transforming the workplace, but arguably, there is a greater force at play: how new generations will impact business changes. By 2025, Gen Z will account for 27% of the global workforce.

“They are the future of our businesses but demand flexibility, new ways of working and a work-life balance that business leaders will have to increasingly cater to. In fact, flexible working has actually turbocharged a huge wave of career ambition among women.

“In the next five years (I hope) we will have even more female leaders, a significantly smaller gender pay gap and more internal policies extending support to the likes of fertility treatment, better menstruation leave and a better system for mental health.

“We may also see a rise in copycat culture – where businesses introduce new policies and initiatives aligning with their peers and other global leaders.

“But to do this, companies need to monitor the global consumer and businesses landscape. At the very least they should stay on track with changing consumer and business habits, but ideally get ahead of the curve with innovative new programmes and strategies.”

See the article here…