Do you have the skills that companies are looking for in 2019?

Aerate Inc
6 min readApr 17, 2019

Internal Skills to maintain ‘Business-As-Usual’

LinkedIn kicked off the year with an article about the skills that will be most needed by companies in 2019 and we thought that we would join the conversation and ask our Mentors to contribute their thoughts and advice!

In this series of blog posts, we are going to be exploring the following skill categories:

  • Internal ‘business-as-usual’ skills
  • Soft skills
  • Design & creative skills
  • Communication skills
  • Development and back-end skills

In this, the first exploration of Internal ‘business-as-usual’ skills we asked the following Mentors for their input:

Simon Heath — Global Chief Talent Officer at Geometry Global;

Sarah Weller — Lead Inventor at ?What If! Innovation;

Daina Muceniece — Trade Credit Underwriter at Canopius;

Anna Kennedy — Marketing Director at Fast Thinking and

Amit Joshi — Director at The Jones Family Project and The Jones Family Kitchen.

These Mentors cover a variety of industries and skills including: HR & Recruitment, Management Consulting, Insurance, Marketing, Advertising & PR and Hospitality — offering diverse experience of their industries and therefore approaches to this particular theme.

They gave us their thoughts on People Management, Competitive Strategies, Business Analysis, Digital Marketing and Sales Leadership skills — all important skills to maintain a consistent and strategic professional environment and regulate ‘Business-As-Usual’ within any organisation.

PEOPLE MANAGEMENT — Simon Heath, Global Chief Talent Officer at Geometry Global

A people manager and leader’s greatest joy is to see the members of their team (their work family) achieve, excel, grow and progress. They are responsible for providing an enriching, empowering, encouraging environment and culture where their team fulfils their potential, flourishes and achieves their own personal joy and sense of achievement.

No one member of the team is the same as another; it’s the rich team diversity that generates discussion, debate which arguably drives greater performance, creativity and ultimately delivers a better product.

How do the best leaders do this? They do it very naturally and effortlessly, and I’d argue that some of the skills needed to be a great leader can be learnt but the greatest leaders do this very naturally. These skills include the ability to listen, have positive body language, ask open questions, provide encouragement, demonstrate trust, empower, delegate and catch anyone before they fall.

COMPETITIVE STRATEGIES — Sarah Weller, Lead Inventor at ?What If! Innovation

There has been a fundamental shift in the required pace of change throughout businesses, driven in part by increasing competition and ease of market entry into many sectors.

In order to stay ahead, or even keep up, businesses are looking at innovative skills and methodologies to help them solve key problems for their customers and for themselves internally as well. The balance of incremental, strategic and disruptive innovation spend and appetite has changed significantly over the past 10 years, with bets on disruptive innovations not being left to the very few.

Instead of just looking at the competition and moving in line with each other — some just a bit faster — businesses are needing to seek external stimulus — Who else has solved a similar problem but in a different sector for example?

The good news for businesses is that it is easier than ever to test and experiment with new innovations. The tools, methodologies and core technologies that enable us to experiment outside of organisations to pivot through solution development are relatively easily accessible today. When it comes to bringing these solutions back into businesses for go to market, that’s still the trickiest part, but by and large businesses should have enough evidence through experimentation to warrant the push required through internal infrastructures.

BUSINESS ANALYSIS — Daina Muceniece, Trade Credit Underwriter at Canopius

In the last five years’ business analysts or management consultants have been on the top of the agenda in the insurance world. Since 2008/9 management has been under a lot of pressure from shareholders to increase their profit margins and historically we used to think that there are only two ways to do that — cut costs or increase sales. But business analysis brings another perspective — how do you make your business more efficient and more effective?

The key challenge in doing this successfully is to listen to the business and their requirements and build a bridge between people, data and the market that facilities and assists the business in achieving their goals. The beauty of business analysis is that it is a transferable skill between companies and industries.

DIGITAL MARKETING — Anna Kennedy, Marketing Director at Fast Thinking

The skill-sets behind digital marketing strategies and successful outputs are essential to all companies in 2019 because digital communications are increasingly the first point of contact that a consumer, or business decision-maker, will have with a product or service.

Although the marketing mix is still important, and will include the likes of out-of-home billboards and offline media, digital touch-points are the most accessible to your target market because they’re not limited to time or place. For this reason, the opportunity to communicate with potential customers or clients in digital environments is unlimited; this makes your digital team a key driver of effective new revenue — regardless of your sector!

SALES LEADERSHIP — Amit Joshi, Director at The Jones Family Project and The Jones Family Kitchen

Personally I think sales is the key to everything we do; we are selling our guests not only the product, in terms of food and drink, but more and more importantly an atmosphere, a lifestyle and a brand. Each individual identifies with the brands they believe most match their own lifestyle to or ones they aspire to. A great salesperson understands their product and tailors their message to reach guests who either match or aspire to their brand. A great restaurant, like a brand, sets out quite openly what they do but more critical to a guest is why they do it. So, why do we do it? We at The Jones Family do it because we like seeing people smiling and having fun together — that is it. What we do is to provide a comfortable space for people to have a dinner or lunch party with their friends in a fun environment. We achieve this by aiming for relaxed but exemplary service in a smart, warm building with understated touches of fun throughout.

Our salesperson is not selling a style of food or type of drink they are selling the fact that we like to see people smiling. A skilled salesperson can take that message and make it fit with the needs of many types of guests looking for many different experiences.

Sales, therefore, is the most undervalued skill in restaurants. It is not just about having trackers and targets, although these are key in terms of the business; it is about having an individual selling your brand who truly understands your message. Someone who can tailor it and use a myriad of techniques to have your message heard and welcomed.

They are our shopfront, our menu and our warmth.

Some key takeaway points from our wonderful Mentors about maintaining a balanced yet effective internal organisation’s ‘business-as-usual’ are:

  • People are key to the success of any business stemming from basic task execution, right up to team management.
  • Adaptability and flexibility are the best ways to keep ahead of the curve when looking at competitor and business strategies.
  • Do not underestimate the power of your shop window — treat both people and digital marketing with the same respect and you’ll receive the best results.

We hope you are enjoying this blog series. Keep checking our social media channels for posts announcing our next content update!

Our second post in this series will take a closer look at soft skills, what they are today and their impact on maintaining a happy and balanced workforce! Stay tuned!

The Connect Mentors team

Written by Heli Metsmaa-Petersons, Operations Director.

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Aerate Inc

Aerate is a social enterprise that creates and develops scaleable concepts that connect and support people through online platforms and applications.