“Neuro-diversity” is the next area of challenge when it comes to talent, a conference was told.
Mark Evans, marketing director at Direct Line Group, said employees with conditions such as autism, dyslexia, ADHD and dyspraxia offered companies a different perspective.
Speaking at ProcureCon Marketing in London, Evans likened the situation to a beehive, in which 90% of bees do the same thing every day but 10% “do whatever they like”. It is this 10% who find new food sources and hive sites. “They are revered by other bees,” he said. Evans said neuro-diversity was “the next thing in the talent conversation”.
Evans said constant change was the biggest challenge faced by firms and “everyone is frazzled”. “The best quality to have as a leader is a cool head in these challenging times,” he said. “As a leader you are only as good as the people in your team so the key challenge is talent.”
Speaking of the relationship between marketing and procurement he said: “It’s not a commodity buy, it’s about the added value.”
Evans said procurement was now an “integral part” of marketing, though this was not the case six years ago when Direct Line Group was “a bit out of shape”. “That relationship has grown; procurement has grown,” he said. He said buyers were given feedback from suppliers on what they do.
Concerning the three key attributes buyers needed when working in marketing categories, Evans said they needed to be able to switch from a high-level strategic perspective down to granular details, the skill to work in partnership and an ability to show profit and return on investment.