Settling into the new norm

To a remarkable degree, consulting firms have adjusted to the new norm under COVID-19 fairly well. The adage that “Necessity is the mother of invention” has been proven true in the last few months. All consulting firms were forced to reimagine and reorganize their business operations when the pandemic forced firms to shut down office operations and work remotely.

As firms settle into the new norm, it is clear that at least for the remainder of this year, significant portions of business activities have to be conducted while staff are working from home. From the discussions we have had with firms over the last few months, here are two challenges that most consulting firms have highlighted to us as representing their biggest challenges for the near future.

Ability to Obtain New Work
Firms who know that their existing clients are likely to cut back on new projects are especially concerned about their ability to obtain new work in this new environment. Traditional methods of obtaining new business by physically meeting with prospects and attending conferences and networking activities are no longer feasible. For the most part, in-person conferences have been cancelled, and most firms prohibit employees from attending business conferences and meetings. Firms are adapting, however, leveraging technology to put together remote live presentations to showcase their capabilities.

Luckily, most firms were experiencing significant growth before the pandemic-related shutdown and had a healthy backlog of work. It also helped that construction was deemed an essential activity in most jurisdictions.

Training Staff
As working remotely becomes the new norm, firms are evaluating staff training to make sure that they have the capability to service both existing and new clients. It is essential that the skill set of junior staff continues to grow so that there is homegrown talent that can take on more complex roles within the firm. Firm leaders are concerned that opportunities to train and inspire are harder to come by in this new environment. Firms are also focusing on making sure staff stay connected and engaged while working remotely.

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