When I was asked to write Insight’s year in review, I went back through my notebook and tried to spot any reoccurring themes… one thing stood out – communication. It wasn’t even close; it was written on nearly every page.

This trend isn’t unique to me or to Insight – increasingly there is a move by organisations to prioritise ‘soft skills’ such as empathy and communication. Management consultancy firm, McKinsey, project that the demand for these skills will grow by 22% across Europe over the next decade.

Insight has been banging the drum on this front since its birth. When I joined in early 2016, I was immediately introduced to the company values and working practices – communication was at the heart of these.

The aim was (and still is) to ‘do recruitment differently’, taking a more consultative approach and encouraging staff to converse in a less transactional manner with candidates and clients. MD, Richard Collins has previously described our recruitment process as ‘trust-centric’ – you cannot build trust without proper communication.

Automation is on the rise – I recently used this handy tool to check if I was set to be replaced by robots… only a 1.4% chance, phew – but this connects with McKinsey’s findings. It’s the ‘soft skills’ that are much harder to automate. A computer can crunch the numbers, less good at offering solutions to candidates and clients when a role doesn’t go to plan.

We don’t want to run a recruitment firm where a computer programme scans job descriptions and CVs, matches them through an algorithm and fires them out indiscriminately.  Yes, these tools can be useful, just as emails and direct messages allow us to communicate more easily, but is this communication at its best? Would you hire someone without meeting them? No.

Temperament and personality are key to finding the right fit, and this is why we place such importance in maintaining close relationships with our candidates and clients, allowing for quality communication.

Social events outside work are integral to good team communication… rooftop yoga (left) and Top Gun experience day (right).

But it isn’t all about external communication, we have to talk to each other within the business. That’s why we’ve taken time to support World Mental Health Day in October and World Kindness Day in November. These are chances to take time, stop and ask how someone is really doing, offer a compliment or words of encouragement.

In keeping with this, we created our ‘Lunch & Share’ forum this year. These are relaxed, open meetings for staff to share ideas and techniques. During our most recent session, Senior Procurement & Commercial Management Consultant, Taj Singh, spoke on how he used meaningful communication to foster close relationships:

‘I learnt the importance of supporting my candidates in order to build their confidence for roles I knew they could do. I led and coached a candidate and met her on several occasions to help support her to realise that she was capable of working within a different (and much larger) organisation. I did this by building trust with her over time, several face-to-face meetings, and coaching her to recognise why her experience was a good match for the role.’

Taj Singh

2019 marked a significant year here at Insight. We entered into our fifth year and continued our planned expansion as a business. But there are always bumps along the way – unexpected twists and turns. Sticking to our values helped us through difficult patches and we are now back on course.

We now head into 2020 with our focus still firmly on expanding, but also with the lessons learned from an eventful 2019 at the front of our minds – ensuring our principles don’t become diluted.

Automation will be a huge part of 2020 and beyond, but just as with any technological advancement, how you use it is key. We aim to stick to our values, prioritising proper, meaningful communication, and incorporating new technologies to assist, rather than replace this, allowing us to talk to more people than ever.

Wishing you a happy Christmas and a healthy new year, from all here at Insight.

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Alex Kassab

Alex has been with Insight since January 2016 - initially working as part of the back office team, he now helps manage Insight's website, blog and social media output - whilst also pursuing a career as a script writer for film and television.
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