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The Team at Laudale

Why employers shouldn’t underestimate the power of ‘wellbeing’

3 minute read

Businesses spend thousands and thousands of pounds on creating the right strategy to deliver results and yet a recent piece of research said that over a third of senior HR staff do not consider employee wellbeing to be an important part of that strategy.

This was despite the fact that the same piece of research found that 51% of HR staff see their employees struggle to concentrate when wellbeing is poor, noticed more sick days are taken and saw an increase in mental health issues.

So why aren’t more businesses and employers embracing wellbeing as part of essential business strategy?

There’s no getting around it, poor staff wellbeing affects the bottom line, through lost productivity, profits, time and resource businesses are losing out by not investing in the wellbeing of their employees. 43% of all working days are lost to ill health, stress accounts for 35% of these days. Absence isn’t the only factor at play, presenteeism for employees who are stressed or suffering from poor mental health costs businesses an estimated £26bn annually so businesses shouldn’t assume if employees are still clocking in that they’re happy or productive in their work.

It’s fairly simple to just start doing ‘wellbeing’ type activities but whilst often delivered with genuine intentions these don’t always mean much to the employees they’re designed to benefit. Don’t let that stop you from buying that pool table for your team or stocking the fridge with beers for 5 pm on Friday but be realistic about how sustainable their impact will be in the long term.

Embracing wellbeing as part of your overall business strategy is challenging because it’s about building real cultural change and not quick wins. It’s about asking the right questions to discover how your employees feel about the working environment you’re providing for them.  How do they feel when they get to work? Are they happy, raring to go or stressed and having difficulty coping? Whatever the answer investing in making your staff feel good about the workplace will set you apart as a great employer with the added benefit of increased productivity and performance.

Wellbeing can seem somewhat of a wishy-washy term, a HR buzzword perhaps but its power in your business is real, and should be ignored at your peril.

What’s your view? Talk to us @LaudaleHQ

5 things Technology leaders want to know about your opportunity

4 minute read

We’ve interviewed 1000s of ‘Business Technology’ leaders (IT Directors, CIOs, CTOs, CDOs, ‘Heads of’, etc.), from which we’ve gained a vast amount of insight.

Interestingly, no matter how many technology leaders we speak to, 9 times out of 10, we are asked a variance of the same handful of questions.

Why is this interesting? Because these questions are rarely answered or addressed by representatives of the hiring company at the first point of contact with a potential candidate.

In a talent scarce market this is a missed opportunity.

By clearly articulating answers to these questions up front you will greatly increase your chances of keeping the best candidates engaged. Weak or no answers to these points simply increases the probability that great candidates lose interest.

Done well, this means that everyone involved in your recruitment process is aligned and can answer questions like the following.

1.What are you trying to achieve with this appointment?
There are many variants on this question that centre around company vision, strategy, objectives, and how you would like technology to contribute. Does the business know what it wants to be? You’re making a significant change by bringing in a technology leader – why? What would you like the outcome to be, and by when?

2. How is the technology function currently perceived by the wider business?
It’s helpful that the candidate knows the current lay-of-the-land and what’s on their prospective customers’ minds. This perception isn’t always negative! The technology function could be flying and therefore it’s important to maintain momentum. Conversely there could be some bridges to build.

3. What level of financial backing and proposed investment in technology is there?
Think about your own position – if you’re being held to account for a function, knowing your budget is a prerequisite. It could be that there’s very little IT spend and the candidate will have to create efficiencies to reinvest. Or you could have a pot of cash. Either way, be clear about this up front.

4. What level of sponsorship and influence will the technology leader have?
Similar to the above point, but separate to financial backing. The incoming technology leader will ultimately make impactful decisions. How are decisions made? Will the successful candidate have access to the exec/board? Who is chiefly behind him or her when making the big calls?

5. How did this position come about?
Very obvious, right? Yet, few job adverts make explicit reference to this, and it’s infrequently clearly articulated at first point of contact. You might be creating a new CTO role to improve tech capability, following new investment. You might be replacing someone who hasn’t worked out. Whichever way the vacancy came about, clearly articulating this up-front is a simple and professional way to start the conversation effectively.

In your experience what else is important to address early on in the recruitment process? Technology leaders: what questions do you want answering before seriously considering an opportunity?

Preparing effectively for a strategic appointment can significantly increase the likelihood of a successful recruitment drive. Laudale help clients to make the key decisions that will shape their approach to recruitment.

Talk to us to find out more

A celebration of men – So What?

2 minute read.

It came to our attention this week that Sunday the 19th of November was International Men’s Day but we could have been forgiven for missing it. There was no Google doodle to mark the occasion, there was no flurry of event invitations to our inbox – you’ll remember of course International Women’s Day, every 8 March rightly celebrated, endorsed by superstars and reported upon across the globe.

No such fuss for International Men’s Day and that’s a problem.

Men have had a bad rap recently, the most powerful country in the world is ruled by a man who seemingly can get away with anything whilst revelations from Hollywood surrounding Weinstein and Spacey to name a few do not help the image of men presented to the world, but these types of men are not the ones International Men’s Day urges us to celebrate or listen to.

The quiet passing of International Men’s Day is exactly what the day seeks to avoid, men don’t talk about their feelings, suicide and drug overdose are more common in men, more men are rough sleepers, male victims of violence and abuse are not adequately supported or provided for. Men are negatively impacted by gender inequalities and stereotypes and it is this which the day serves to highlight.

The day is also one of celebration and appreciation of men, their achievements and positive contribution to society and here’s the good news, there were over 70 events in the UK celebrating International Men’s Day this year (in 2012 there were a dozen events) – one of which was a parliamentary debate , charities including ManKind and CALM ran initiatives to highlight the causes and celebrities including Sarah Millican and Amanda Holden showed their support.

In our business, we see many more men in IT and Tech leadership roles, but we also see initiatives and drivers to encourage change and this a hugely positive thing. It’s this desire to address inequalities and promote change which is the important factor. Men need positive role models as well, men have health and wellbeing needs, men are discriminated against and men provide worthwhile contributions to society, family, marriage, child care and the environment, and that is most definitely worth shouting about.

After all, it’s not equality if we’re only supporting and celebrating 50% of us.

What’s your view on International Men’s Day? Talk to us @LaudaleHQ

Location is a challenge when attracting talent, but it shouldn’t be a blocker…

 2 minute read

When hiring experienced talent, there are many factors that candidates weigh-up in choosing your business and the opportunity over a competitor’s – strategy, business objectives, culture, benefits, values etc.  But even when organisations have the makings of a great company to work for, we still find that location can be a hurdle.

Generally speaking, finding specialist and leadership talent is challenging, and the skills you demand to transform your business are in short supply.  This effect can be magnified if you don’t happen to be based in or around a major economic hub.

So when physically moving or opening new premises isn’t an option, what ‘low-hanging fruit’ can you address to help overcome geographic barriers?

Research & discovery  

Our clients have found that simple groundwork – or a more detailed discovery exercise – prior to beginning a search, provides useful insight on the current state of the local market, and can shape the direction of the search project. What’s the local or regional market for talent like? Which companies are hiring and firing? Where are good candidates going and why? Who’s doing what? What do good candidates know/think about your business? Engaging professional advice in this area can help keep your finger on the talent pulse.


People do relocate for jobs and it happens more often than you think.  Think about how prepared you are to compensate your new appointment, whether that’s a relocation package or bumping-up salary and benefits.  More specialist candidates are more likely to relocate for the right assignment, but an incentive to do so will make you much more competitive.  Naturally, the dynamic here is slightly different for permanent and interim. Think about a nationally competitive day rate and/or expenses for interim appointments.

It’s not just about the money… your Employer Brand and onboarding

Company culture is hugely important and arguably even more so if you’re asking someone to relocate. Salary is a big deal, and has always been one of the first things that candidates ask, but effectively marketing your workplace culture and the community around it will help candidates to visualise how they might fit. Also, think about the experience candidates have right through your recruitment process – from initial contact to starting work. Do candidates feel valued?  The companies that do this best aren’t always the usual suspects.  Simple things like great communications, buddy and mentor schemes, simply meeting up socially with new hires before their start date, all pay dividends.

Flexible and remote working 

This is such an obvious one in 2017. It’s easier than ever to connect workplaces through technology.  Furthermore, nearly every great candidate we talk to spends at least one day working from home and/or arrive and leave flexibly. We understand that stakeholder engagement, team leadership and critical meetings are best done face to face.  However, if the right talent is simply in the wrong place, should you really let this be a blocker? Remote working and flexibility are solutions that your competitors are using, and great incentives to attract talent. 

Invest in talent early

You’re already seeing a gap in the skills your business needs, consider investing in existing talent and attracting new hires with the right attitude to learn and cultivate the skills your business needs for the future. By keeping a close eye on your business strategy and effectively pipelining talent, you’ll be aware of what you want to achieve next and who or what you need to achieve it.

Regardless of size or industry all ambitious businesses are aiming to attract the best talent.  Location should not be a blocker to achieving this – don’t start packing the boxes just yet!

What’s your view? Has location impacted your ability to attract the talent you need? Have you benefitted from any of the points above?   

Talk to us @LaudaleHQ


How can you ensure successful business transformation? The importance of bridging the ‘strategy to delivery’ gap.

10 minute read

Welcome to the latest edition of Laudale Thoughts in which Suzanne Costella, an independent business strategy, architecture and transformation consultant discusses successful business transformation and how you can bridge the strategy to delivery gap.

Suzanne has 20 years experience leading strategy, architecture and business transformation, working with executive teams at a wide variety of organisations


Many businesses invest huge resources in defining a ‘brilliant’ strategy or kicking-off major delivery programmes, but then find they don’t achieve the results they anticipated or hit the timescales they had targeted.

Effective Business Transformation is hard…no question, but I will suggest Business Architecture as a really neat way for your business to get maximum value from your transformation, increasing and expediting your revenue and cost goals.

I understand that jargon like ‘architecture’, ‘roadmaps’ or ‘change journeys’ may instantly turn-off some people – you need to find the right language which works for your business.  What I think is really important is that you have an effective method to translate strategy into clear, implementable designs and plans, which all aspects of the organisation are aligned to. Many businesses struggle to bridge this gap, leading to common challenges.

Click here to download this free resource and take the next step to successfully bridging the gap between your strategic goals and the business transformation you implement. 






Northern Powerhouse – rhetoric or reality?

2 minute read

It’s been more than a year since George Osborne was unceremoniously dumped from Theresa May’s cabinet and whilst the former seems happy enough taking evil swipes at his former boss from behind his desk at the Evening Standard, it was a move that left businesses wondering what now for the Northern Powerhouse?

Has it become a sound-byte for the Osborne era or has the region actually seen some positive and tangible impact?

Many of the programmes started under the scheme are now well underway with over £1bn of government money having been invested in the region but there has been and is still a real fear that the ideology of the Northern Powerhouse will quietly slip away under a government pre-occupied with Brexit however there is an enormous positive in that the North and Manchester, in particular, has a real opportunity to keep the ‘powerhouse’ alive with the support of metro Mayor Andy Burnham who has already pledged £2m to make Manchester, the UK’s number 1 digital city.

Of course, it’s not just about Manchester, the Northern cities which combine to make the powerhouse are already developing vibrant and booming technology and digital sectors, Liverpool and Leeds, in particular, have seen strong growth in digital and tech jobs, these opportunities coming into the region offer a real alternative to London and the South East whilst names like the BBC, Amazon, and Google all combine to create a very attractive offering. Whether this is simply Northern grit and creativity or a direct result of the ‘Northern Powerhouse effect is questionable.

What we do know, as a business based in the North and representing northern technology talent is that the Northern Powerhouse sound-byte or otherwise has piqued interest in the region, people are intrigued about what’s going on ‘up North’ and we’re seeing more people considering relocation or moving back to the region which is testament to the strength of the region.

It’s this progress which needs to be built upon with investment in transport, connectivity and infrastructure making the North an even more attractive place for business and most important, investment in skills, working with education, growing the talent in the region and keeping it here because ultimately people will make the ‘Powerhouse’ a reality.

What’s your view, talk to us @LaudaleHQ

Facebook trials CV functionality should LinkedIn be worried?

With the announcement that Facebook is trialling CV functionality should LinkedIn be worried? It’s a move which would put the professional social networking site in direct competition with its more personally focused comparator, but will users really want to mix their personal and professional lives quite so closely in the future?

Our view is a resounding yes on both counts.  Facebook has a disarming reputation for wanting to ‘crush’ its rivals or at best just absorb them into its business, case in point Instagram and WhatsApp, and although Microsoft-owned LinkedIn might not acquiesce quite so quickly it remains to be seen what will happen if Facebook manages to take some of the LinkedIn audience.

Furthermore, anyone who has used LinkedIn to try and find suitable candidates or to find a new role will have experienced issues with its functionality and usability, not to mention the countless posts on the network itself bemoaning the increase of personal posts, cats birthdays, motivational quotes and memes, with many critics claiming it was now ‘just like’ – yes you guessed it – Facebook.

Could a nice clean interface with easily accessible information for job seekers and recruiters alike be the answer?

How will it work exactly?

The details are patchy at the moment however details discovered by developer Jane Manchun Wong and shared by The Next Web suggest the feature will let Facebook mobile users share their work experience and details without having to leave the app. The update expands upon the standard work and education details which already exist on Facebook.More

More importantly, the new feature reportedly appears to combine all the relevant information into a single professional looking package, away from the day to day Facebook activity candidates might not be so keen to share with recruiters and the wider world.

At present that’s all we know, however, Facebook’s approach to new features historically is to roll them out to a few selected users before engaging a wider audience and that’s what seems to be happening here.  It’s also not the first time Facebook has shown its sights are set on the professional market with the launch of ‘Workplace’ in 2016 and support for job applications launched in 2017 for Facebook’s IOS app.

What’s your view?  Would you choose Facebook over LinkedIn for job seeking or sourcing talent? 

Let us know @LaudaleHQ

Event Highlights: The Chief Data Officer’s role in Business Transformation

On Tuesday 17th January we hosted a breakfast event on the role of the Chief Data Officer (CDO) in Business Transformation. The event brought together a collective of thought leaders in our network to discuss a strategic approach to data. We were joined by Interim Chief Data Officer and Data Strategist Julie Screech, and Data Strategy & Governance Lead Andrew Sharp, who provided us with detailed presentations on data-enabled transformation that stimulated our discussion.

Julie Screech

Our first speaker Julie has over 20 years’ experience in Data Strategy, the last 7 of which have been advising organisations that require Executive-level Data / CDO expertise. Julie has worked with clients including Google, P&G, Shell & BSkyB, and has vast experience in transforming the use and management of data as a strategic asset. During the event Julie shared her knowledge of the role of the CDO, as well as the commercial opportunities associated with an effective data strategy, and we have compiled a snapshot of her insights below. If you would like further information on these presentations, or future Laudale events, please contact us.

The importance of the Chief Data Officer

The latest predictions published by Gartner reveal the growing importance of the CDO role to organisations. By 2017, it is reported that 50% of regulated companies will require CDO, by 2019 this will result in 90% of large organisations hiring a CDO, and by 2021, 90% of CDOs will be responsible the ethical use of enterprise data.

The responsibilities of the CDO

The CDO is responsible for driving value from an organisation’s data assets. These include data strategy, the democratisation of data, the effective use of data as a business tool, stakeholder management, data management and governance, and the implementation of data initiatives. The ‘CDO function’ is becoming a key horizontal domain, comparable to IT, HR, and Finance. The CDO is involved in the planning and execution of most strategic digital business initiatives, and will spend more than 70% of their time enabling commercial solutions.

The difference between C Suite Roles

Part of Julie’s presentation aimed to demarcate the roles of Chief Data Officer, Chief Digital Officer and Chief Information/Technology Officer, drawing distinct roles with an interconnectivity that requires conscious management and collaboration across the business.  Interestingly, Julie quoted a recent stat that roughly 68% of CIOs saw the CDO (Data) role as an important ally.

  • Chief Data Officer – Responsible for determining what kinds of information the enterprise will choose to capture, retain and exploit and for what purposes.
  • Chief Digital Officer – Generally responsible not just for digital consumer experience across all business touch points but also the process of digital transformation.
  • Chief Information/Technology Officer – The most senior executive in an enterprise responsible for the information technology and systems that support enterprise goals.
Andrew Sharp

Our second speaker, Andrew, has extensive experience in Data Strategy and Governance, and his 25-year data career includes key roles at Royal Liver, National Australia Bank, Scottish Water and most recently as a consultant to Shop Direct Group.  Andrew has a wide-range of experience from leading large programmes, like Treating Customers Fairly (TCF), to heading ‘Data Culture’, and provided us with a presentation that focused on the role and importance of data governance in business transformation. Below are some key takeaways.

What is Data Governance?

Data Governance simply put, is the practice of organising and implementing policies, procedures and standards for the effective use of businesses structured and unstructured information assets. Businesses considered to have a mature data governance would have a clear strategy for data including elements such as data dictionary, data standards, data owners, data stewards, data enterprise boards and a data issues register.

Why do we need Data Governance?

There are a whole host of benefits that come from implementing data governance in your organisation, some of these benefits included:

  • Increase income opportunities  
  • Reduce operational costs
  • Increase operational effectiveness
  • Improve customer service
  • Create standard repeatable processes
  • Provide process and reporting transparency
  • Enable better decision making

Getting Data Governance right

There are key skills needed to effectively embed data governance. Firstly, you need an individual who has a wealth of prior knowledge and experience of the design and implementation of data governance frameworks. Secondly, that individual requires a balanced blend of business, technical and analytical skills. Thirdly, it is imperative that the individual has the ability to sell importance of data to senior management and stakeholders at all levels.

Chief Data Officer’s role in Business Transformation

If you’re interested in our upcoming events or more information on the role of the Chief Data Officer (CDO) in Business Transformation, follow us on LinkedIn.

Breakfast Event: The Chief Data Officer’s role in Business Transformation

Let’s talk growth and transformation.

We are running a breakfast event where you will be able to do exactly that. Run by leading data strategists, the session will focus on the emerging role of Chief Data Officer and the strategic use of data for business transformation and growth. Come and join us for the chance to share your experiences with like-minded people and hear the data myths revealed and dispelled by our experts.

Tuesday 17th January at 08:00 – 09:30 at Chancery Place, Manchester.

Please see the following link for the full invitation:

The CDO Role in Business Transformation

If you would like to secure a place, please email Claire Robertson: claire@laudale.com