Digital, Data & Analytics Case Study: Talent Pipelining & Pooling


  • Our client, a global pharmaceutical company headquartered in London, was transitioning their global branding from being best known as a market leading pharmaceutical firm, to a company renowned for improving the lifestyle of consumers.
  • Key to this evolution was an extensive review and build out of their Digital, Data and Data Analytics function.
  • The challenge that presented them was how to attract, hire and retain the very best Digital talent, especially as many of these individuals are not easily identifiable, are increasingly in demand, and most often not from the Life Sciences sector.


Norman Broadbent implemented a three-stage process:

  • Firstly, utilising our extensive networks across all business sectors, we produced an exhaustive map of all DDA talent for our client. We also incorporated a range of innovative initiatives to connect with this community – from crowdsourcing, to attending hackathons and industry events, to managing an internal referral scheme within our own client’s workforce.
  • Secondly, in close communication with the client at all times, we refined this list to produce a second ‘longlist’ of the most relevant individuals and set up ‘scoping’ calls and meetings to discuss their propensity for a move, openness to a sector change, push and pull factors with current company/role, and what the remuneration package would need to look like to make a move attractive and viable.
  • We also gained insight on a range of broader topics, such as the market for DDA talent, skill shortages for up-coming projects, and, without disclosing the name of our client, we conducting a brief perception analysis via covert questions on a range of companies including, but not restricted to, our client.
  • Finally, and again in close agreement with our client, we began the process of pipelining, in stages, groups of DDA executives for informal meetings on a rotating monthly basis.


  • Over a process of twelve months, we provided our client with a sustainable and consistent pipeline of talent that they could engage with and ultimately hire. This resulted in 23 hires across their Digital function in this time frame.
  • We also provided a comprehensive and continuously evolving document, including details on projects they were engaged on, market insights and business intelligence. This report gave our client knowledge of where available talent was, the type of proposition they would need in place to attract it, and how they would need to motivate and engage these individuals to retain them for as long as possible within a fiercely competitive recruitment market.


  • A global pharmaceutical company sought critical support to hire multiple Digital, Data & Analytics Executives to build a market leading DDA team.
  • Norman Broadbent’s Research & Insight practice identified over 1,000 individuals to produce an exhaustive longlist to work from. We set up client interviews with 265 of the very best and most relevant individuals from this initial research.
  • Simultaneously, we also produced a highly detailed insight report for our client, providing market intelligence on all emerging trends within the DDA market across all business sectors.
  • A focussed perception analysis report of our client’s brand was also produced without compromise at any stage.
  • Our client was able to hire 23 executives from a diverse pool of candidates, in turn building a world class Digital, Data & Analytics function.
  • Our client also received significant data and intelligence on how best to engage and retain these individuals against unprecedented competition from rival companies, both in and outside of the sector.

For a confidential call to discuss how Norman Broadbent Group could help you overcome your business or people challenges please contact Andrew Smith on 07841 862 912 or via email at

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“In the end, it’s all about the people …”

During any period of forced disruption the pace of change and development is accelerated, often at an unimaginable pace. In today’s Covid-19 context, new technologies are emerging, and we are adapting existing routines and processes to fit the challenges we face enabling us to learn and evolve to survive, cope and thrive.  However, the pace and success of that change will be heavily shaped and influenced by some major people factors. These are:

  • Culture: the way we do stuff around here
  • Skills: the technical and management skills that exist organisationally and individually
  • Attributes: a quality, feature or characteristic that exists at an individual or organisational level

Underpinning the above is the difference between success and failure.  That is leadership. Any crisis demands a style of leadership that is very different to the norm. Whilst the fundamental characteristics will be constant, certain traits will be elevated and be more in demand.

So, in simple terms the success you and your organisation derives from any disruption is determined by your people. Yet history is littered with examples of failure caused by this obvious factor being ignored or underestimated. Why is this? Studies and our own experience can shed light on this, as structure/process/routines are all logical and can be modelled, evidenced, constructed, while people are unpredictable/emotional/irrational and therefore cannot.  Well, maybe not, however we can model those characteristics that are required to suit a particular context, we can then assess scientifically the culture/skills and attributes that are needed, and then we can do the same with leadership. Many organisations do and certainly are doing now, with one eye on the future to ensure they have the capability required to come out ahead of the curve and their competitors.

There are some simple, practical steps to take, the first of which is a list of questions to ask yourself before diving into any set of solutions.  Start by mapping what the future may look like for you and your organisation and then ask:

  • “How relevant will what you do be and the way you do it?”
  • “How much will you need to transform, adapt, and pivot?”
  • “What will be different, how will it differ?”
  • “What will you need in order to transform successfully – is it investment, skills or culture?”
  • “Do you have the right mix of experience, skills, attitude, and agility from Board to shop floor to deliver the transformation required?”
  • “What’s the gap and how big is it at an individual, team and collective level? How do you bridge/close it?”
  • “What should you be doing now to make sure those critical personnel in your organisation, and the customers who will be vital to your future success, are fully engaged and with you, for the short and long term?”

Underpinning all these questions will be “Do I have the right people to get me to where I need to be?” By answering that question, identifying the consequences of your analysis, and then implementing the solutions, you will be taking control, preparing for the future, getting ahead, and beating your competitors.

Finally, let’s not forget that post-Covid, all leaders will be judged on how they acted, the results they achieved, and the new foundations they laid for the future. Now is the time to look ahead and set yourself up to succeed.

If you would like to confidentially discuss how The Norman Broadbent Group  could help you overcome your business or people challenges,  please contact, Tim Drake, on 07912 465162 or via

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Case Study: Interim CIO, Industry Sector: Private Equity

Our CIO Interim Practice supports Organisations and Boards experiencing change and transformation, gap management challenges, and pressure points. A confidential service built on over 40 years of experience, our networks of Interim Executives allow us to introduce trusted senior Interim Managers within days so that business momentum is not lost.


Norman Broadbent Interim Management were asked to support the COO of a leading European mid-market Private Equity firm. ‘Top 5’ in its field, they needed to find a senior Interim Head of Technology to initially work alongside, then take over from the CIO. The were a number of immediate issues to deal with, but primarily the management had lost confidence that Technology could deliver to the organisation. This meant more management time was being spent addressing shortfalls, downtime and other issues, while limiting strategic development. In addition, the board wanted an IT leader who could not only “get it done”, but also one that could contribute to Portfolio activities as well. The Board were keen for us to support the COO and provide a ‘C’ level Interim Manager who would right the ship, get technology working again and start a review , rebuilding confidence throughout the organisation.


We arranged to meet the clients in their London Offices, and took an in-depth brief. Given the sensitivity of the role, the client also asked us to work under NDA. We started to immediately to engage with the Norman Broadbent network, and set about meeting and briefing relevant Interim Managers, all under NDA. Within 72 hours were able to submit four qualified, available and referenced candidates to the client. The top three were interviewed, and two candidates went through to a final meeting with a New York based board member. Feedback from this was both were appointable, so when the first candidate pulled out at point of offer, we had a very strong fall back candidate who accepted the role.


The client appointed our Head of Technology within a week of our first conversation, and he started the following week. Immediately, the Interim Manager was able to identify key issues in service delivery, and remedy them to the delight of the stakeholders. Furthermore, he began rebuilding the trust that had broken down, utilising this when he stepped into the CIO role. He also began to put in place a new strategy, including an enterprise cloud migration, allowing this truly global firm to work seamlessly 24/7 from any office. In addition to all the core challenges, he was also asked by the firm to support with due diligence on future acquisitions, as well as supporting and advising the leadership of existing portfolio companies. The firm were delighted, renewing him a number of times, and he was described by one ExCo board member as “simply a gamechanger”!

For a confidential call to discuss how Norman Broadbent Group could help you overcome your business or people challenges please contact Mike Davies on 07411 686616 or via email at

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Corporate Social Responsibility in the time of Coronavirus

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) often falls to Boards, and can sometimes get overlooked, particularly during a crisis. Yet businesses will be remembered for their responses and behaviour during the coronavirus pandemic for years to come. Large global conglomorates have had CSR departments for years, responding to a growing desire from consumers that their brands do more than simply supply their product at a market-appropriate price, but in many businesses, it is down to the leadership to ensure that good corporate citizenship is considered. Research indicates a growing trend for consumers shifting loyalty to other brands which are perceived to be good corporate citizens, even if their product costs more. This shift in emphasis is usually attributed to the rise of millennials as a dominant consumer group, who are considered to be the most engaged with ideas of ethical, moral and sustainable responsibility.

Research into this area suggests that it is not simply a question of making sure the business does its recycling. Millennial consumers are often described as ‘incredibly cynical’ – that is hyper-engaged and able to recognise authentic acts of responsibility, from those that are little more than window dressing. Authenticity is key – organisations should be able to demonstrate clear, direct actions where they have placed social benefits ahead of profitability. Businesses can no longer solely exist to return profits to their shareholders – they must instead strive to add value for all stakeholders – shareholders, yes, but also employees, communities, and the world at large.

Good corporate governance is not just key for attracting and retaining customers. Millennials make up approximately 50% of the workforce, and will make up 75% by the year 2025. They show a marked preference for working for businesses with a clear sense of purpose, and a demonstrable track record of corporate social responsibility. Nearly three quarters of millennials say they would take a pay cut to work for a socially responsible company. Energy companies have reported difficulties in recruiting the best talent into their oil and gas sectors, with millennials preferring to work on new technology or renewables. CSR has become necessary not just to woo consumers, but also to attract talented individuals to businesses.

The forced-disruption of covid-19 offers two potential avenues in terms of CSR. Some businesses, looking to cut costs, may cut their CSR programmes.  Alternatively, it is an opportunity for businesses to act as the good citizens they want to be for the betterment of all their stakeholders.

Many businesses will be judged on how they responded during the Covid-19 crisis, and many have jumped on the bandwagon to embrace CSR – but there should be a warning attached. Millennials are, for the most part, savvy consumers who have grown up in the era of fake news and social media. Consumers are increasingly adept at detecting cynical attempts to create a socially responsible ‘gloss’ on their activities. Consider the cynical responses to Elon Musk’s claims that Tesla had supplied 1,255 ventilators to hospitals in the US. Commenters on social media were quick to point out that the units in question were actually BPAP machines (non-invasive breathing support equipment) and question why someone had gone to the effort of sticking Tesla logos over the logos of the actual manufacturer. It was almost as though Tesla had seen the opportunity for some good publicity, and leapt at it. While businesses of Tesla’s stature should absolutely be using their global supply chain infrastructure to support governments in this time of crisis, using such an act deceptively and potentially as a way of ‘demonstrating CSR’ will often backfire.

The best advice is to ‘think local’ when considering increasing CSR engagement during the pandemic. Think of responsibilities to employees, suppliers or even existing CSR partners, and your local community, before dreaming of big attention seeking headlines.

Supporting employees is a key indicator of being a responsible employer, and in the coronavirus pandemic this can range from guaranteeing salaries (as Microsoft did for their hourly workers), or offering 0% interest loans, to simply supporting them through the challenges posed by coronavirus – be that encouraging flexible working to support those with increased demands on their time, or supporting safe working conditions. UK retailer, Next, have committed to only processing a set number of orders per day to protect warehouse staff and enable them to socially distance at work, often closing the online store before 9am as the daily order limit is reached. In contrast, Amazon has come under fire for not doing enough to ensure warehouse staff are able to work safely.

Suppliers are another key stakeholder within the business ecosystem who should not be forgotten. Committing to paying small suppliers’ (who may not have the cash surplus to see through the crisis) outstanding invoices, or even payments in advance in anticipation of future supplies are just some ways businesses are ensuring their suppliers will still be in business once the pandemic has passed.

For those businesses who already partner with not-for-profit organisations, or encourage their employees to volunteer, the sudden changes cause by the pandemic may leave those projects high and dry. However to simply pull the plug on those organisations would be a mistake. Most charities will themselves be potentially struggling, but also looking to pivot, to provide a different level of support to their communities throughout the crisis, and would benefit from continued support. Take for example an educational charity, which may wish to divert funds originally planned for an away day or trip to offer food support to those entitled to free school meals.

Even global businesses will have a link to specific locale, and the current crisis offers opportunities for businesses to strengthen their ties to local communities. Whether by supporting food banks, encouraging staff to offer their time to support community initiatives, or pivoting production facilities to produce sorely needed products – anti-bacterial hand gel, visors, masks or other PPE, there are plenty of ways to provide support locally.

Of course, not all businesses will have available resources to continue supporting projects as before. This will not necessarily mark them out as ‘irresponsible’ in the minds of consumers. However, communication is key. Being honest with stakeholders about what can be offered and what they might need will ensure that the interaction is authentic, and it is authenticity above all things that consumers respond to. Trying to ‘claim credit’ for scaled back or past actions will not win any hearts, or minds. Speaking with stakeholders to understand what they need, and delivering that solution is crucial to ensuring the response to the coronavirus is authentic, with a focus on delivering what is most useful, rather than what is most likely to garner publicity.

If you would like to confidentially discuss how The Norman Broadbent Group  could help you overcome your business or people challenges,  please contact Angela Hickmore, Group Managing Director

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Case Study: Interim H&S, Getting back to work, safely

Health & Safety Covid Case Study:

Interim Occupational H&S Consultant


  • Our client had an urgent need to conduct a fast and extensive review of their Occupational Health and Safety plans specifically relating to re-opening a key site post Covid-19 lockdown.
  • 27 independent interims were identified and approached. Our focus was on candidates with significant previous  experience in successfully delivering independent reviews within Manufacturing businesses.
  • The candidates were shortlisted within 72 hours of briefing. Our Client was  delighted with the speed, professionalism and  thoroughness of our process.


  • Our Client, a leading British automotive manufacturer and luxury brand, is preparing to reopen a key site to commence work quickly (and safely) once the Covid-19 lockdown is relaxed.
  • To ensure their existing H&S team’s planning and procedures are robust and optimum, they urgently needed to conduct an independent review of all aspects of Occupational Health & Safety.
  • To achieve their H&S objectives, they had two choices. Either engage an expensive H&S lawyer or bring in a dedicated expert on an interim contact experienced in both legal aspects and additional business needs to review the current structure and advise on improvements. Having consulted us about available talent, they chose the latter option.


  • Once instructed, we quickly set about identifying candidates with previous experience in successfully delivering these type of extensive site reviews within similar manufacturing environments.
  • 27 Interim consultants were identified and approached. They were then filtered further, and a shortlist of suitable candidates shared with the client.
  • During a further review with the Client, we went through the relevant experience and suitability of each candidate in detail. During this review, three candidates were selected for interview.


  • The candidates were shortlisted within 72 hours of briefing, with the entire process taking seven days. The successful candidate had operated at the highest level in this field, recently working with the government as one of their chief advisors. They also had significant relevant experience within the manufacturing sector.
  • Our Client was delighted with the speed, professionalism, and thoroughness of our process. Most importantly, they were very impressed with the quality of candidates. Their chosen candidate delivered above and beyond the Client’s expectations.
  • The use of an Interim not only gave our Client an independent viewpoint, but also brought some innovative solutions to the assignment in a cost-effective, time-efficient manner.

If you would like to confidentially discuss how The Norman Broadbent Group  could help you overcome your business or people challenges,  please contact, Nick Behan, on 07748 760 937 or via

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