Business Resilience and Continuity

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Business Resilience and Continuity

Customer objections during COVID-19

Below is a collation of thoughts from David Etherington – Business Leader and Operating Partner with 25 years industry experience – on how customers may be reacting to COVID-19 and how you can be resilient as a business when handling these circumstances.


They may be implementing hiring freezes, or are busy with reducing their payroll/non-payroll workforce – but they may also be taking advantage of the new crop of talent freeing up in the market and hiring, or over-hiring where they deem critical to their business.

They may be reviewing their supplier lists, not just for whether they are doing a good job or not, but also whether they can fulfil their existing contracts, and whether there is risk of their suppliers going out of business. In these situations they may well welcome new and relevant suppliers aligned to the current conditions.

They are focussing their efforts surrounding staff and talent on critical and high-impact situations. They are less likely to experiment with new suppliers where it’s not critical, learning what is critical is the fastest path to being of use.

They are likely to be on the thick end of a raft of direct applications, as the movement of unemployed talent becomes more liquid – they may well value suppliers who can help them with bandwidth on admin and uphold their EVP to the market.

If you’re working with a multinational who normally does everything with local HR teams there’s a chance that these will be reduced and much more handled centrally – suppliers who hold relationships centrally and locally will survive this switch better.

They may be wishing to continue hiring but haven’t adapted their EVP to suit current conditions, suppliers who can help them craft the right messaging in regard to financial strength, security and future plans even with the downturn will attract more talent than ones who don’t.

They may well be busy looking at internal resource allocation and protecting overworked staff by moving people around to balance the workload – but not everybody hold the skillset or is experienced in resource management, perhaps some external resource can assist them.

Some clients may be inclined to use this time to upgrade their core workforce with strong talent, dropping out lower performers in the process.

Some will want to know how to turn the taps back on quickly, suppliers who provide talent mapping services are really well positioned to build talent pools which can be accessed at speed.

There may be some clients who want to engage with suppliers, but slightly differently with risk mitigation in mind – suppliers who are creative with their engagement models, without removing protections, may well trigger buying. A good example of this is the reverse retainer (effectively a cancellation fee), a client doesn’t have to pay a retainer up front as it is moved to the rear of the project on an open or fixed term, meaning the money is secure but deferred for the supplier.

There’s a few thoughts for you on what the clients might be doing/thinking, looking forward to continuing conversation in the Power Hive WhatsApp group around how we tune our approaches to get in pole position.



David Etherington