Curiosity and the ability to tell a story are two skills market research companies seek in new hires, according to HR professionals featured in the panel discussion, "Talent Management: Finding a Match and Keeping the Fit". This has resulted in looking to graduates of the "ologies". Another attractive combination is business and technology.
The best part of the economic downturn was that retention wasn't a problem. But now, with business improving and more opportunities surfacing, retention issues are more important. Hiring and on-boarding have also become priorities.
When 40 percent revenue growth necessitated a 35% expansion of its workforce, Gongos Research faced numerous challenges, related Camille Nicita, Principal & COO. The company restructured its on-boarding process by tapping the research and general business expertise of a senior-level employee to serve as a mentor and manager for new hires.
ISO certification helped Kadence International immensely with its employee on-boarding process, according to Owen Jenkins, CEO, North America. "We had more than a dozen graduates coming in this year and with ISO in place it made the process much easier. A year ago the prospect would have scared me," he said.
A panel discussion featuring client-side researchers from Alcon, Valvoline and Sam's Club provided advice on how to cultivate and strengthen relationships. From Michele Fuller, Director, Global Market Intelligence at Alcon, who receives about 50 solicitation calls per week from MR firms: "Don't call and ask what my needs are. Learn my business and let me know your expertise, so if I need you in the future, I can contact you." Clients acknowledged that internal pressure continues to attach MR to a procurement process, but all reported making efforts to keep research free from such requirements or limit it as much as possible. They also expressed their desire to work with more senior researchers and their willingness to pay a premium for their expertise.
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