In the latest of our ‘Meet the 2022 SMA Shortlisters’, CRN catches up with Bechtle UK managing director James Napp (pictured), to talk about agile working, the importance of getting a work/life balance and the return of face-to-face events, plus much more. Bechtle UK is shortlisted for the Best company to Work For £101m+ turnover
How has your business evolved over the past year? Has the pandemic changed how you plan for the future and how you view and execute sales & marketing strategies?
We have kept a very clear focus on keeping our culture alive while empowering colleagues to embrace the agile working opportunity. We have widened our recruitment strategy to create a broader base to ensure that we are no longer a ‘best kept secret' as a great place to work.
In terms of sales and marketing strategies, we have developed a portfolio of market-leading packaged solutions across all our key technology pillars. We are now working hard to ensure we get these in front of customers and prospects as we transition ever more towards a solutions and services model, whilst retaining our strong e-platform capability. Gaining customer feedback has been crucial throughout this period.
With many firms insisting staff return to the office for at least part of the week since the pandemic ended, how is your company operating in 2022? Is it a mix of homeworking and office working? Or fully office based?
We took a lead on this to ensure we retained the right balance of culture and co-working, while at the same time ensuring we offered our teams the option to work remotely to help balance home, work and life!
The mix is working really well and having some days where most of the team are in is definitely contributing towards keeping the fun and interaction alive - it certainly helps having attractive welcoming office spaces. People make the place and retaining the soul of business is extremely important to us.
How do you keep your staff motivated? Do you have any special incentives/schemes that they take part in?
Being together and sharing experiences as often as possible is very beneficial, so we have food provided most weeks and recently held a 4pm fully catered BBQ complete with bar to keep the social element strong. In a few weeks we have an offsite summer party with live music, food, bar and entertainment which both our offices will join to party into the night.
We have also started a Sustainability Squad who are contributing some fantastic ideas to help our net zero push in personal, business and community settings. The engagement and initiatives across the company have been fantastic to see. We also gave an ‘exceptional bonus' recently to help everyone to deal with the sudden impact of the cost of living.
How have you managed to stay close to your partners and customers over the past year?
As much contact as possible as early as possible on coming out of Covid. We are balancing the use of video technology and onsite visits well to be as efficient and sustainable as possible, while recognising that there is no substitute for face-to-face contact. We will be hosting some select events in Q3 including the inaugural Bechtle Golf Day and a 360-degree technology immersion day for customers with some of our biggest partners.
What have been some of the biggest challenges for the channel in the past year in your opinion?
Aside from the obvious component shortages, recruitment has certainly been a recurring theme. The narrative in the MSM, IT press and social media also creates challenges, and many peers would welcome a return to more IT and business-focused content to balance out the noise around more headline-grabbing topics.
What are you most looking forward to in the coming year?
The next exciting steps for Bechtle UK…watch this space.