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Bouncing back from COVID-19...

Posted 5 months ago By Johannah Lynch

Telecoms and Media businesses are more confident in existing business models and investment plans compared to other sectors as they navigate through Covid-19.

There is consensus among senior executives in the Telecoms & Media sectors that the crisis has accelerated the adoption of technology for B2B and B2C firms in order to survive and compete.

Through conversations with our clients, we look at some of the key areas where most change is taking place and then explore what that means for the ongoing recruitment of top talent.

Product and Channel

  • Investing in Digital Events & Exhibitions: with key events only just resuming (albeit behind closed doors) there has been a shift from physical events to digital experiences, leading to heavy investment in smaller and higher frequency digital offerings. Without the operational and geographical limitations of hosting in-person events, organisations are able to leverage the global reach of online audiences
  • Switching investment from Print to Digital: While print media will always be with us, Covid-19 has accelerated its downward trend of the last decade
  • Accelerated broadband and growth in digital products and services: more people working and spending time at home has increased investment in broadband- and software-enabling solutions. Telecoms conglomerates with integrated infrastructure, network and content portfolios are able to drive growth through bundled offerings.  This has a positive compounding effect on digital technology investment and the use of advanced analytics to unlock greater economic value

Function and process

  • Agile delivery: whilst providers are focusing on operationally-critical activities to maintain provision of services, the crisis has facilitated the acceleration of Agile ‘ways of working’ and ‘Agile at scale’
  • Working from home: many media firms are in no rush to get back to the office!  Most businesses in this sector have transitioned relatively smoothly to remote working and will be allowing more flexible working when lockdown finishes. The prospect of many businesses reverting to 100% remote working and scaling back office space is becoming a reality
  • Supply chain and procurement transformation: rigorous cost and portfolio reviews have been essential to drive company-saving cash reduction.  Supply chain and procurement reviews are fast-following for medium- and long-term survival to avoid future supply chain disruption

TMT Businesses are more confident in existing business models:

In a recent survey of 260 global business executives, TMT companies have had less need to take radical steps to change their businesses during the crisis as they benefit from having aggressively-driven digitisation, agile working practices and dynamic product development cycles over the preceding years.

Already immersed in the provision of digital services to consumers and business clients, TMT companies are in a strong position to respond to changes in customer demand in an increasingly contactless world.

Importance of top 3 issues over the next 3 and 12 months

Over the next 3- and 12-month horizon, they are more focused on revenue than non-TMT and relatively less focused on costs.  With that growth mindset they have greater short-term focus on product and service development and a greater emphasis on finding new talent compared to other sectors.

These points would, as Aneil Rakity puts it, “seem to support that TMT companies entered the crisis in a stronger position than others, stayed focused on selling what they have and are now investing (by not cutting costs) and doing product development”.

Tal Potishman added that “In 12 months, more of them than the average expect to be in a strong enough position to go out and find new staff”.

The accelerating digital environment means that borderless hiring is now much more a reality with companies able to tap into the best global talent and build geographically and culturally diverse teams.

It comes, though, as a double-edged sword: on one hand the cost and practical constraints of visa sponsorship and international relocation are removed, while consideration must be given to the impact of local law on employment rights, salary and benefits payments and the challenge of maintaining cohesion when a smaller enterprise is suddenly global.

Despite these challenges and regardless, organisations can adapt to create the right environment to attract the best talent by:

  1. Promoting remote working as BAU: New skills and ways of working have already been learned.  These now need to be recognised, documented and incorporated into all future hiring requirements and embedded with the existing employee base.  Individuals, teams and leaders need to be able to demonstrate clear and effective communication through all channels to compete for the best roles.
  2. Embracing remote hiring: There has been a level of discomfort in making hiring decisions without physical face-time, both on the part of the candidate and the client with many interview processes pausing pending face-to-face meetings. However, being overly cautious may mean you miss out on the best talent.  Looking carefully at how ‘comfort’ can be achieved virtually will be key.
  3. Building a culture remotely: Lack of formal and informal physical contact means you’ll need to rethink all processes, tools, career path, performance reviews and social engagement.  Trust and empowerment is key.  Technology enables online communities to be built, driving culture while maintaining an emphasis on health and well-being. 
  4. Taking a digitally integrated approach: New tools and technologies are regularly emerging (e.g. workplace gamification tools to drive engagement and support training amongst remote teams).  With the market demand for remote working tech expected to increase, so will the scale and pace of innovation.

The best minds want to work with the best technologies in the most dynamic businesses and companies with an agile approach to incorporating the latest innovations stand to win, and there is no better-placed sector to succeed in embracing a full-on digitally integrated hiring environment than Telecoms and Media!

About the study: 

A collaboration between The Barton Partnership & Independent Consultants Tal Potishman and Aneil Rakity, this insight provides analysis on the actions companies are taking to recover from the impact of Coronavirus.

Our insight is based on The Barton Partnership’s qualitative research from more than 160 clients, supported by a quantitative cross-industry survey by Aneil Rakity and Tal Potishman of 260 global senior business executives conducted during April and May 2020.