1. The importance of wellbeing
This week was unofficial wellbeing week here at The Supper Club. We focused on both business founders and their teams. The fabulous Birch in Hertfordshire was the location for our inaugural Founders' Retreat - two days of mindfulness and me-time for busy, stressed and often quite isolated founders. It was a great event and everyone left feeling pumped up to face the end-of-year rush. We also held an online session on employee wellbeing strategies, at which the focus was on how to put together packages of benefits and incentives that can help teams address the increased pressures on mental and physical health. With people in such demand at the moment, a happy, healthy workforce has never been more critical to success.
2. It's a candidates market
People were very much at the centre of the discussion at The Supper Club's latest members' roundtable dinner. At Scaling Beyond £10m, a select group of founders, all running businesses on the verge of passing that magical milestone, discussed some of the challenges and blocks. Time and again the conversation returned to the sorry state of the talent market. Stories of candidates being poached at the point of joining a business (now free of notice period) were met with tales of astonishing salary leaps for anyone prepared to switch. There was widespread agreement that while problems had been caused by Covid and Brexit, also to blame was the abundance of cheap money in the City. Very often deep-pocketed competitors, able to offer staggering salaries to unremarkable candidates, are PE-backed businesses. A re-balancing of some sort seems in order and many founders clearly can't wait.
3. Social media
One interesting aspect to the great talent dilemma is how desperation to recruit is preventing some businesses doing full due diligence on candidates, meaning they are looking less at social media to assess potential recruits. Past indiscretions on social media can easily upset the recruitment process. But there may also be potential time bombs in company timelines as well, as Tim Bradshaw discovered in this excellent piece for the FT. He found that a four-year old tweet that included a video taken at a Tesla product launch, which included a Beastie Boys song playing in the background, caused an issue under the strict US copyright laws. He raised the fair point that many people, and the orgnisations they work for, could face reputational risks (or worse, financial penalties) from old social media activity.
4. Get your data organised
If many firms aren't sure what's out there in terms of social media posts, even fewer are aware of the data they are sitting on top of and the value it may have. It is a source of endless surprise that more companies haven't invested the time or resource to get on top of all the data they collect that could be helping them improve their decision making. Automation sounds like scary futuristic technology - the rise of the robots and all that - when it is really little more than organising data more intelligently to help machines make decisions. This is now the easiest way to scale a business profitably. The tools are right there in many businesses, but no one seems to see it. As Supper Club member Chris Morling, founder of money.co.uk, told the Scaling Beyond £10m dinner, every business should operate to the two-minute rule. That is, you should be able to answer any important question about your business within two minutes. That's the power of data.
5. Succession returns
If powerful media mogul Logan Roy could have the data he needs to answer the question of which of his children should succeed him, there would not have been two seasons so far of the utterly compelling TV show Succession. Season three launched this week and I can't wait to get stuck in. It is a real skill to create a cast full of such horrible characters and yet manage to make it so enjoyable to watch.