Growing your business with Insightful People Solutions

The Harvard Business Review states that, ‘As any good leader knows, their most important job is attracting, retaining, and advancing the right people.’

At Tribus, our unique data-driven approach helps leaders achieve this confidently, cost-effectively and consistently. By doing so, we give them back the freedom to focus on what they do best.

Why does your businesses need Insightful People Solutions?

There are several factors which make it increasingly difficult to attract and retain talent. Skills shortages is just one example which is often a concern for our clients. In its pre-pandemic 23rd Annual Global CEO Survey (2020), PwC found that, ‘The supply of people possessing STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) skills and the uniquely human skills (e.g., creativity, empathy, collaboration) increasingly prized in today’s job market cannot keep up with demand.’

Other factors only add to the challenge. The rise of home working means that employers have to compete with businesses across the UK or even globally for talent. Companies have to demonstrate a clear and sustainable vision and purpose to attract the best candidates. Both new and existing employees have increasing expectations around what they perceive to be basic benefits, such as health insurance, gym memberships and flexible working.

These problems are not restricted to the UK.  A survey by The Conference Board in 2016 indicated that ‘Failure to attract and retain top talent’ was the number one issue recorded by global CEOs.

The importance of upskilling employees

‘The availability of key skills has been a top ten ‘extreme concern’ for the last decade, impeding innovation and prompting higher people costs.Businesses cannot hire their way over this skills gap at a price they can pay, so the imperative is clear. Employers and employees must join hands and invest in upskilling or risk irrelevance.’ PwC, 23rd Annual Global CEO Survey

Are smaller businesses immune from these problems?

The short answer is no. In 2019, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) commented that, ‘FSB evidence consistently shows that skills shortages are one of the top barriers preventing the growth of small businesses. Our Small Business Index (SBI) for Q4 2019 shows that more than a third of small businesses report that finding skilled staff was a barrier to expansion.’ This was the highest percentage recorded since the question was added in 2013.

Although the end of the furlough scheme is now likely to bring a spike in redundancies, which may rejuvenate the job market, it’s worth noting that employers will have taken steps to identify and retain their best people. This means that you won’t necessarily attract applications from the pick of the crop.

Of course, deciding which employees to keep can be a tough decision and one which may have significant repercussions. In the SBI report for Q3 2020 (December 2020), the FSB noted that, ‘Many firms expressed concerns over having appropriately skilled staff, with just over a fifth (21.1%) expecting this to be a barrier to their growth over the coming year.’

Implementing effective solutions

In 2021, businesses of all sizes will need to take a four-pronged approach to ensuring that they have the right people in the right place at the right time. They must:

  • Attract – position themselves as an employer of choice
  • Recruit – ensure they have the leaders to be successful
  • Retain – take effective steps to retain their most skilled and promising employees
  • Develop – help their people to realise their potential

In later blogs, we’ll examine the role each of these can play in building successful, profitable and resilient businesses. In the meantime, please contact us for more information.

Is loneliness the price you pay for success?

Few people on the leadership ladder realise quite how lonely it can be at the top and how failure to address feelings of isolation can hold them and their business back.

As leadership coaches, we’re trusted advisors to many CEOs and senior leaders. We know that loneliness doesn’t just affect the person feeling it, it has a ripple effect on their peers and teams.  

In this blog, we share seven ways to conquer loneliness for once and for all.

1. Face the facts

In order to achieve their goals, businesses need employees at all levels to be:

  • Productive
  • Engaged
  • Motivated
  • Fit and well

Unfortunately, loneliness:

  • Reduces productivity
  • Causes a loss of enjoyment
  • Generates tension
  • Reduces tolerance and empathy
  • Results in poor health

In a survey for the Mental Health Foundation in the early days of the first lockdown, 24% of UK adults said they felt lonely in the previous two weeks.

If a quarter of ‘everyday’ people can feel lonely, how much more prevalent an issue is it for leaders who are burdened by unique, even scary, responsibilities?

According to the Harvard Business Review, half of CEOs report feeling lonely in their role and, of this group, 61% feel that it hinders their performance. If we look at the CEOs as a workforce, over 30% would have a performance issue as a result of loneliness.

It therefore makes sense to tackle loneliness as we would any other performance issue. Admitting that there is a problem is the first step.

How authority changes everything

‘First-time CEOs are particularly susceptible to isolation. Nearly 70 percent of first-time CEOs who experience loneliness report that the feelings negatively affect their performance. These feelings are not limited to CEOs. In fact, loneliness and its repercussions can affect any individual with newfound authority. Leaders owe it to themselves — and more importantly, their organizations — to make sure this isolation does not impact their effectiveness.’

Thomas J. Saporito, Harvard Business Review

2. Build a trusted support network

We all need someone safe to unload onto, to bounce ideas off and who we can rely on to give us their honest feedback. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to be someone that you work with on a day-to-day basis. As Amy Gallo wrote in the Harvard Business Review, ‘The higher up in the organization you get, the less likely you’ll receive constructive feedback on your ideas, performance, or strategy.’

So, if you can’t rely on your colleagues, who can you turn to?

We recommend asking a past CEO, a trusted board member and/or a spouse to provide the support you need.

3. Make connections

You can grow relationships with employees by finding new ways to interact with them, such as weekly group coffee breaks on Zoom, ‘ask me anything’ sessions or having 1:2:1s with employees from different departments. As well as reducing your loneliness, this could help generate new ideas for the business, strengthen employee relationships and grow your employer brand.

Although it can be harder to connect with other CEOs than with your own employees, following them on social media gives you the opportunity to learn from their leadership experiences. Leaders who are open about the challenges they face and the lessons they have learned include:

4. Make progress

It can feel as though your ability to progress is hampered by the constant need to make hundreds of small decisions. Developing and empowering your teams to take some of the burden will allow you to free up the time to achieve more meaningful goals. It will also give them a sense of autonomy and grow their self-worth.

5. A rounded life

There’s little point encouraging your team to have a work/life balance if you model the opposite behaviour. Don’t just be a leader, spend time outside work being a friend, relative, supporter or mentor. However busy you are, you still need some downtime, whether that be exercising, doing some manual work or gaining some much-needed perspective through journaling.

6. Develop your company culture

Creating a loneliness-resistant culture whose values support wellbeing, collaboration and development will benefit employees across the business. It also supports achievement of the business’s goals by increasing employee motivation and engagement. This can have a positive effect on employee productivity and retention.

David Chamberlain, one of our Co-Founders, comments, “Your strategy and culture should be linked. Strategy defines the rules of the game, culture defines how you decide to play. A collaborative culture fosters teamwork and reduces loneliness. A competitive culture has the opposite effect.”

7. Work with an Executive Coach

As coaches, we can act as external sounding board, allowing you to share frustrations, talk through challenges and find solutions in a supportive and confidential environment. By acting as a ‘critical friend’, we’ll help you work out how to navigate the challenges of leadership, such as loneliness, and improve your self-awareness and adaptability.


Loneliness doesn’t have to be the price you pay for success. If you’re ready to boost your performance by tackling loneliness head-on, please contact us today. 

Six ways to help your business thrive

Businesses which achieve the best return on investment in people pay equal attention to how they attract, recruit, retain and deliver. In this blog, we explore ways of strengthening your performance, so your business becomes more successful, profitable and resilient.

Finding the leaders that you need to take your business forward

The cost of hiring the wrong leader can be huge. As well as the financial cost, estimated for a manager to be over three times their salary (Recruitment & Employment Confederation), it has an unquantifiable cost on productivity, culture and morale.

Our Executive Recruitment service is designed to eliminate many of the frustrations, blockers and mistakes which dog senior level recruitment, such as recruiting like-for-like replacements, CV overload, failure to qualify candidates properly and overlooking incompatible values. Instead, we’ll challenge you to ensure that the job and person specification is exactly right before approaching and assessing a small pool of potential candidates to test their potential fit.

Only when we’re satisfied that they are worth your time, will we make introductions.

The real cost of poor decision making

“We calculate that a poor hire at middle-management level at a salary of £42,000 could end up costing a business £132,015 in total to resolve.”

Kevin Green, Chief Executive, Recruitment & Employment Confederation

Developing your leaders, teams and culture

The one thing that’s going to be certain in a post-pandemic world is uncertainty. Over the last few years, we have all become used to some change, such as operating on an increasingly public stage, but now we are expected to accept, implement and embrace change at a remarkable rate.

Although traditional business skills such as decision making and communication will always be valued, your leaders and teams will need to develop softer skills such as adaptability, curiosity and humility in order to survive and thrive.

Our People & Culture Development service will bring together coaches, mentors, trainers, D&I experts and wellbeing specialists in a personalised programme to give your people the support they need.  

Laying the foundations for continued growth

Your business may have evolved naturally so far but taking a more proactive and objective approach to its design will make it easier to achieve your strategy, increase efficiencies and nurture innovation.

David Chamberlain, one of our Co-Founders, comments, “Taking a step back and looking at the roles needed to fulfil your business’s objectives, rather than the people you have available, is incredibly powerful. It helps you avoid one of the common mistakes smaller organisations make – shaping their structure to suit loyal employees’ skills and needs.”

Our Organisation Design service will help you take an objective view of the structure your business needs to be more successful and help you get the right people in the right place at the right time.

Ensuring your key people can evolve with your business

No matter what steps you take to minimise loss, it’s impossible to retain exactly the same leadership team year in, year out. As well as roles becoming available due to ill-health, retirement or resignation, business growth will also open up new management vacancies. Regardless of the reasons, having a pool of potential leaders ready to step into a more critical or key position will help safeguard your business’s productivity and profitability.

Our Succession Planning service will help you identify your strongest talents, nurture their leadership skills and ensure they are committed to your future.

Keeping it in the family…or not

Family-run businesses can avoid succession planning in order not to rock the boat. In PwC’s UK Family Business Survey, while 69% of family-run businesses had succession plans, only 18% described them as formal. If you’re a family business, we can help you take an objective view of what you need to do to protect your business’s future whilst protecting family relationships.  

Saving time and money by fine-tuning your processes

Recruitment will always be a business need. Streamlining and optimising your processes now will pay for itself time and time again. With the average length of the job interview process at 27.5 days (Glassdoor), shaving even a few days off will give you a competitive advantage and free up valuable internal resource.

Optimising your processes can also help get relationships with candidates off to a strong start, turning even unsuccessful applicants into advocates.

Our Recruitment Process Optimisation experts have the knowledge and experience needed to help you develop processes which will attract more suitable candidates, reduce administrative burden, turn new hires into loyal employees and grow your employer brand.

Becoming the employer of choice in your industry or area

Your employer brand is how you differentiate yourself in the work market. Get it right, and it’s easier to attract, recruit, retain and engage the right people. Even if you haven’t purposefully set out to develop an employer brand, your employees, ex-employees and previous recruitment activities will have generated one for you.

Strengthening your employer brand will help you attract candidates who have the right skills to take your business forward and who are a good cultural fit.

Conversely, a poor employer brand, or one which is mismatched with reality, can hold your business back.

Our Employer Branding services will identify why your employees love coming to work, benchmark you against your competition and help you develop a brand which is unique, honest and compelling.

The importance of employer branding

“An employer brand isn’t just a PR stunt to generate job applications. There’s nothing worse for a candidate, especially a senior hire, than starting a new job and feeling like they have been misled. It erodes trust between the employee and employer. We help businesses create an employer brand that’s true to the business and which fits with their strategy and public brand. This helps new hires to feel settled and reassured that they’ve made the right decision.”
Sarah Knight, Co-Founder at Tribus.


Addressing any people-related areas of weakness will enable you to take your business to the next level, but there’s no simple ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution.

Our unique data-driven approach will help you develop an objective view of your business’s strengths and weaknesses. We’ll then work in partnership to develop a customised package of services that will meet your unique needs.  To find out more, contact us today.

Seven ways to reduce the risk of a bad executive hire

The cost of getting a management hire wrong has been estimated by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation to be three times the annual salary.

Here, our executive recruiters share seven ways to avoid recruiting the wrong person…

1. Get the brief right

By this, we don’t just mean copying buzz words from a competitor’s vacancy. Recruitment is a golden opportunity to look at a role with fresh eyes, so it’s worth taking a step back and rethinking the skills, talents and values you need to help you move the company forward. Of course, once you’ve repositioned the role, you can spend a little time making your job description stand out from your competitors’.

Sarah Knight, one of our Co-Founders, comments, “We often find that companies come to us for a ‘like-for-like’ replacement, but they realise whilst talking it through with us that they need someone different…someone who is more dynamic or prepared to challenge the status quo. The best candidate may be one who has gained experience outside the client’s industry but has some insight or appreciation of their market. Harnessing their ‘new ways’ of thinking and doing things will allow their new employers to innovate and grow more quickly. 

2. Fish in the right pools

We don’t measure our success in terms of CVs received and we don’t think you should either. When it comes to applicants, the only thing that matters is the quality of your shortlist. All shortlisted candidates should have the right experience, skills and potential and show synergy with your culture and values.

It’s worth remembering that the best talent isn’t necessarily looking for work. We’ve spent time cultivating the connections and confidence needed to identify and approach appropriately skilled leaders. If you don’t have a team of experienced recruitment specialists to do this for you, you can consider your audience and target your message appropriately using a range of online, and potentially offline, channels.

The power of networks

100% of candidates placed by our lead executive recruiter in the last 12 months have been headhunted into their new roles.

3. Ensure the proposed salary is realistic

There’s nothing more frustrating than issuing a job offer, only to find out that the candidate feels that the salary you’re offering is inadequate. If this has happened to you before, you’re far from alone. According to a study in 2017, 27% of rejected offers were turned down for precisely this reason.

To avoid going back to square one at a frustratingly late stage, we recommend benchmarking salaries and benefits before beginning the recruitment process. If you’re working with an executive recruiter, ask them to share information and their opinions with you too.

It’s also worth having an open and honest conversation about a candidates’ expectations sooner rather than later. If you’re working with a consultant, they can do this for you and pass on details of the expected package and salary, or you can ensure that your job specification clearly indicates the salary available. It’s worth having some wiggle room for an exceptional candidate whose requirements may creep into the next salary bracket.

Reducing your risks

You may worry that an executive recruiter may bump up a salary to earn more commission. If that’s a consideration, look for a firm that charges a fixed fee, like us.

4. Vet applicants

Although lying on a CV can amount to a criminal offence under the Fraud Act 2006, many candidates still believe that a little CV creativity is a harmless exercise. Up to 50% of CVs are believed to contain fraudulent information, ranging from almost harmless white lies through to made-up qualifications, exaggerated experience and inflated salaries.

Doing due diligence on shortlisted candidates is therefore essential to avoid future embarrassment and disruption. We recommend investigating any gaps in career history, asking for evidence of recent qualifications or achievement and checking LinkedIn against CVs. A quick Google and social media search will give you a better feel for the person and their values. These simple steps can avoid wasting valuable time and protect your reputation. We also vet candidates via telephone and face-to-face interviews, so we fully understand them, their career and motivations, as well as recommending that clients seek references after making a job offer.   

5. Don’t rush into a decision

According to a survey of HR decision-makers by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, one in three bad hires were a result of the business needing to fill the position quickly. Rushing recruitment can be a temptation when other valuable members of the team are having to pick up the workload but hiring the wrong person will cause more disruption and damage in the long run.

We suggest evaluating your recruitment processes between recruitment campaigns as identifying potential efficiencies and improvements is far easier to do when you’re not faced with an urgent deadline. Sarah comments, “Your recruitment process is more than blocking out a day in your diary and deciding what questions to ask. If that’s news to you, you should probably give us a call! We can evaluate your current processes and help you make them more efficient or effective. Alternatively, asking an executive recruitment firm to find candidates will reduce the time-to-hire so your team can regain productivity as quickly as possible.”

6. Break the mould (Diversity & Inclusion)

Ensuring that you attract applications from women is just the tip of the diversity and inclusion iceberg. In an ideal world, your job specification and employer branding will attract a truly diverse group of candidates, including some who think and behave differently to you and existing members of your leadership team. 

Making D&I part of your recruitment process will help your business become more innovative, responsive and resilient. You can begin by eliminating any biased language from job specifications and ensuring that the recruitment process is standardised so all interviewees have the best chance of interviewing well. 

Taking an objective view

“We’ll often use psychometrics to dig a bit deeper with a candidate and explore team/company fit. We look at diversity in terms of drivers, personality, strengths, weaknesses and attributes within the wider team. This allows us to understand how that individual would impact on team performance and ensure that biased decision making, or decisions based on ‘gut feeling’, are a thing of the past.”
Sarah Knight, Co-Founder of Tribus

7. Use interviews for their full potential

An interview is so much more than an opportunity to see how someone answers questions. You can include tasks to test how well they can put their knowledge into practice under pressure or to evaluate their communication skills. Interviews also allow you to see what leadership skills candidates demonstrate, such as curiosity, humility, adaptability and empathy.

Evaluating candidates against a range of skills will help you fight bias and ensure that you make the right decision.

Sarah comments, “Doublecheck that members of your interview panel understand the importance of their role and are prepared to answer searching questions about the business and its values. Interviews are a two-way process. Candidates are unlikely to only be applying for one job, so you need your interviewers to represent your business in its best light, without making false promises. Making your role sound attractive is especially important if you’re based in the South West, where there are more vacancies than people.”


Finding more efficient ways to get the right person in the right job at the right time will:

  • Reduce recruitment and training costs
  • Improve productivity
  • Reduce stress
  • Minimise disruption and distraction
  • Encourage employees to trust your decision making
  • Free up the interview panel to concentrate on their core tasks
  • Improve reputation/grow employer brand
  • Help retain customer/supplier relationships

Fortunately, there are lots of ways you can improve your chances of making a good hire, not just the seven we’ve listed above.

If you’d like to find out more, we’d welcome having a confidential chat.  Simply contact us to arrange a convenient time.