As we continue to work together to navigate these uncharted waters, we were delighted last week to host renowned speakers Jason Mesut, Design Partner at Group of Humans, Jeff Gothelf, author of Lean UX and and Be Kaler-Pilgrim, our own Futureheads founder, for an exclusive virtual panel discussion.

Aimed at those who run large tech teams or related businesses, the online event focussed on the best ways to survive (and even thrive) during times of crisis and provided invaluable insight and guidance.

In front of a virtual industry audience, Be, Jason and Jeff shared their experience in helping individuals and organisations alike better understand their skillset in times of uncertainty.

If you were unable to join, don’t worry! We’ve gathered some key takeaways from the event below.

Identifying skills gaps

With a larger pool of talent as a result of Covid-19, candidates are having to try harder than ever to stand out from the crowd as the best fit for the employer, while businesses have to be even clearer about the talent they need. To provide a common language for this issue, Jason Mesut spoke about the value of running shaping workshops.

During these, individuals are encouraged to build a visual framework of their skills by mapping their capabilities using visual profiling tools, as well as areas they want to improve and help others onto cards.  Beyond the individual, Jason shared how this process can be usefully applied to teams, as the group dissects and holds discussions around the shapes that have been created.

These frameworks can be particularly insightful in providing a ‘supply and demand’ picture of an organisation’s skills, mitigating the need to seek external training.

Understanding the new landscape

Futureheads founder, Be, followed the discussion with a personal story of how Futureheads is coping with the current situation as the business moves from response to recovery stage and shared a wider view of the market. While agencies and consultancies are most affected, particularly across travel, leisure and retail, she highlighted an upturn in the fintech, healthcare and education sectors.

Be spoke about the need to deliver even greater all-round consultancy to clients and candidates alike – helping reshape roles from permanent to contract and assisting with remote hiring and onboarding processes for clients, while providing guidance and personalised assistance to candidates who found themselves furloughed or redundant.

Sharing data gathered from the Futureheads Industry Barometer Survey, Be informed the audience that only one-third of participants were decisive about whether they were optimistic or not, with two-thirds still unsure.  However, reiterating Jason’s earlier point about job seekers needing to be even more self-aware to stand-out during the application process,  Be highlighted the ratio shift from 5 jobs to every candidate, to 1 job to 38 candidates (source: Tech Crunch).

Leapfrogging to the future of work

Rounding off the event, Jeff Gohelf introduced Covid-19 as a fascinating case study in corporate agility and evolution, stating the pandemic has ‘leapfrogged us into the future by a decade’.

Using the examples of his international clients, he spoke about the overnight legitimation of remote work, distributed team, collaboration tools and working from home.

Jeff also shared insight into the value of applying the conversations of product design and development teams to HR departments, and the topics of personal growth and careers, urging businesses to go back to basics and identify their core values and the problems they solve. He argued that while the channel of delivery and format may change during times of crisis, the core values of businesses should remain constant.

Enhancing employability in the long-term

Speaking to candidates, Jeff encouraged them to reflect on what problem they solve. To be valuable in a post-Covid-19 world (and become ‘forever employable’), Jeff spoke about the need to think like an entrepreneur, to have self-confidence in your ideas and to continuously learn:

‘When things get dicey, how good are you at reinventing yourself?’ he asked the audience.

Candidates who possess  ‘enthusiastic scepticism’ –  a sense that you’ve done a good job, but you are enthusiastic about doing it an even better way – he said, are the people who would help organisations weather the next storm.

Overall, the roundtable was a fantastic success and we’re delighted to have received such positive feedback from those who joined. Thank you to Be, Jason and Jeff for sharing their expertise.

We hope to be back with another in the future – watch this space!

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