Bev White

My name is Bev White and I am the CEO of Harvey Nash Group, a $1bn global technology recruitment, IT solutions and leadership services group with 36 offices across the USA, Europe and Asia

7 years of learning in one tough year

There is a saying in the UK that a human year equates to 7 years for a dog. I thought about this recently when I was interviewed by a journalist and he asked how long I had been with the Harvey Nash Group. As I was about to reply I reflected on the past 13 months. I think I am not alone in thinking just how much we have been through, changed, and have grown in these months. Which is no doubt why I ended up saying that I believe I have accrued over 7 years of experience and deployed many well understood tools from my toolbox of know how and added a whole host of new ones too.  Sound familiar to you too?

As we headed into the early stages of the pandemic we were facing some familiar elements of handling change. There have been other times in the last 10 plus years where sudden economic change on a global scale caused us to react at speed. So, when we were in the early stages we had some familiar past experiences to help guide our early steps. But as time went on we needed to learn to develop new ways of working, supporting each other, keeping safe, and moving through ‘just existing’ and back to ‘living’ again. We learnt to work in teams from different locations, to help our clients and candidates without meeting them in person, we had dinners and drinks together remotely. We developed strong relationships with colleagues remotely, putting in the effort to speak together often and always listen with care.

About half way through the year we were familiar with these new ways of working and living. But for many it became tiring; in lockdown, weekends and ‘holidays’ didn’t feel much like a break from work. The commute we had before to decompress on the way home became a few steps from the kitchen table, the bedroom/office. So for many of us this became the new challenge, how to look after our wellbeing and to find ways to top up our resilience and enable us to find ways of retaining our work and home personas.

We pitched and won business with clients from our homes, we hired new colleagues from our homes. We innovated, creating new solutions and services. We invested in people, in training, and committed ourselves to creating moments that matter for colleagues, clients and candidates. We didn’t lose heart, we became bolder and more confident, as time went on, that we could build back better and stronger than before. We took difficult decisions, made tough choices. We learnt from our mistakes. At the end of the day it is great people that made all this happen.

This was a year that crammed 7 years of learning and growing into 12 challenging months.

We have started our new year well, we have much to look forward to. I think we can be certain that there will be tough moments throughout the year, fresh challenges to face into. What I can confidently say is that our colleagues will have the ideas, the appropriate response to handle anything that comes up. I am also optimistic that for all the tough moments we might face there will also be many wonderful times too where we should and must celebrate.

So, a lot of reflecting and honest appraising has been going on in my head. I would love to hear your thoughts too.

As the weekend comes around please do as always take time to rest and recuperate and keep safe and well.

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