7 July 2019

Temple insights for the new financial year

As the new financial year begins, we wanted to reach out to you and give you some of our insights for FY20.  Last year was a great year for the Temple Team, even with the elections, and we have been busy.

Here are some observations we have made:

Use your external relations skills – internally

For senior and head of function roles, it is EQ that matters.  The ability to negotiate, persuade and influence internal business stakeholders – using every campaign tool that you have ever used externally – is what is separating the great from the good.  It is a trait we see in all those who are truly successful in telling truth to power, including with the CEO and the Chair.  Don’t get me wrong, operational excellence is a given, but those who are succeeding best – and who are in demand for head of function roles by our clients – are those with exceptional internal stakeholder skills.

The power of purpose

‘Purpose’ is all the rage.  The challenge for professionals in our industry is how to implement and deliver the ‘power of purpose’.  A few town hall events and some nice new ‘screensavers’ will not cut it.  Cultural transformation requires more sophisticated employee engagement and internal communications specialists than ever before.  It also needs senior employee engagement advocates to have the gravitas, the seasoned stakeholder skills and commercial savviness to be able to work with business leaders and ensure the organisation is walking the talk.

Government relations is more critical than ever

In addition to helping organisations add bench strength in their current government relations and policy teams, we have recently helped a number of organisations hire their ‘first’ true in-house government relations professionals.  If you are not influencing decisions, they are being made without you. With the level of scrutiny and interest from Government that almost every industry is facing, now is not the time to be left without strong relationships at local, state and federal levels.  More importantly, as the recent elections have taught many, there’s no point waiting to try to pick winners.  Those with the detailed understanding of the policy process and the ability to build relationships across the bureaucracy and with all parties – whether they are in government or not – are best placed to shepherd their organisation through the political challenges and opportunities to come.

ESG is a shareholder issue

The rise of shareholder activism from both institutional and retail shareholders is not going away. One of the impacts we are seeing is that Investor Relations, CSR and Corporate Affairs functions are having to work increasingly closely together.  Indeed, we are listening to conversations about where should ESG sit – with Investor Relations or with Corporate Affairs. Should CSR teams be part of IR not Corporate Affairs?  Do IR, Marketing and Corporate Affairs belong together?  The debate is certainly going on.  And while different organisations may choose different approaches, one thing we know is that Chairs and Board Directors are expecting high quality collective advice from their reputation professionals.

Infrastructure is still leading the way on community engagement

We are now seeing very sophisticated skill sets emerge with practitioners who have now worked on multiple billion-dollar projects, each time adding to their experience.  These practitioners are in demand.  We are working both locally and internationally on community engagement roles as our people are best in class.

Diversity Matters

This year one of our clients specifically asked us to ‘de-identify and de-gender’ every shortlisted candidate we sent to them for consideration.  Apart from the ungainly writing that using ‘they’ continually forced upon us, we were absolutely delighted to support this request.  While we always make sure that we provide shortlists that have a balance of gender and are as diverse as possible, we found the process uplifting and illuminating.  When we wrote about this on LinkedIn the feedback and comments we got were overwhelming.  Clearly, we have tapped into a vein. Also, on the diversity front, a column that Susan Redden Makatoa wrote for Mumbrella on age in communication also got incredible feedback. We are very proud to be part of leading these discussions and will continue to do so.

We really want to thank all of our clients and our candidates – we love working with you and developing the skills and the respect for our industry.

Rebecca Tabakoff
Executive Director and Founder
Temple Executive Search