Now what? Insight From Leaders in the Industry

April 27, 2020
Posted in General
April 27, 2020 ThePost

What happens next as we seek to define the new normal within Architecture and Design?

We’ve spent the last month asking our clients within all areas of the Architecture, Interior Design and the Showroom sector, “How are you handling this crisis and what are you doing to move forward?

We were intrigued to hear the feedback and wanted to share findings with our network. As three key components were recurring from each firm, read more to find out…

Prepare and Revamp

Overall, companies are taking this time to prepare and revamp their business models to embrace the change and find a way to stay competitive. Those within hospitality design and showrooms experienced the most furloughs and layoffs. However, many of these clients have specific timelines to hire back their key employees. Staying connected with the key furloughed employees and trying to ensure they remain loyal and engaged has been an area of concern. For those companies that had lay-offs, many aren’t planning on re-hiring the same team. As firms are pivoting and moving into new verticals, they are looking for skills that the previous employees just don’t have. One option is to dive into training for these skills or alternatively it’s time to start building the bench of future talent that can bring these attributes to the company. We can confirm the candidate pool is larger than ever due to furloughs, lay-offs and restructuring but it won’t stay this way for long.

Hiring or “Building the Bench”

Standard operating procedures as it relates to hiring will have to flex in order to take advantage of the candidates that are available on the market right now. Companies are moving out of their comfort zones and implementing virtual hiring strategies that encompass not just the interview process but also onboarding and training. We are seeing companies write new clauses into the offer letters that push back some of the standard hiring requirements, like drug testing, to 90 days after hire to allow the time needed to safely complete these steps. The other approach is to bring new team members on as contractors for the first 90 days with plans to convert them to employees.

Marketing & Technology

Overwhelmingly we are seeing companies investing in marketing and client experience. For product driven companies’ virtual sales tools have been implemented along with further investments in elevating the e-commerce distribution model. Prior to COVID-19, only about 14% of total furniture sales in the U.S. were made online. Those able to supply the market in our new normal will certainly see an increase in this revenue area.

Architecture and Design firms are also adapting to virtual client presentations and limited site visits. Leveraging technology in such a tactile industry can seem counterintuitive, however, in the long run these tools will serve to enhance efficiencies and offer alternatives. Research shows that in past recessions only 9% of companies come out stronger than they were before, and the key here is to stay a step ahead of your competitors. Though you may not be ready to hire at the moment, hosting virtual interviews and selecting key candidates for when you are ready to hire will shorten your recovery and allow you to make up any losses to direct revenue or your future pipeline more quickly.

Whether your company is still operating with a full team or determining how to recover once we open up for business, the message we heard repeated from top leaders was “understanding that the future needs of your business will look different and the sooner to take action and adapt the higher the likelihood that your firm will move through this in a positive way.”

If your firm needs guidance or needs additional resources, we at Interior Talent are here to help. Connect with a team member today to leverage our 17+ years of experience.

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