After being kindly reminded by LinkedIn recently that I have been interviewing financial communications professionals for 14 years, I feel I have grown up with many of the stars. When I review what a star performer in financial comms looks like, I see three things in particular – the innate confidence to advise at a senior level, a steely drive, and charm to influence. They are often to the point, not afraid to ask for more, and have an air of wisdom about them, seemingly beyond their years.
The ability to secure and retain stars in your company is a challenge for any business leader. So what do our favourite financial communications leaders say about what makes a star performer in their field? We asked them to share some of their knowledge.
“A star performer has to have the right balance of analytical ability, narrative coherence and persuasive flair. Only one of the above won’t do – it must be all three.”
Andrew Walton, Senior Managing Director, FTI Consulting
“In financial communications, the perception of the financial community and broader stakeholders is equally important. Our job is to translate complicated financial messaging into terms that anyone can understand. The best professionals recognise this and adapt their messages to strike the right tone with different audiences”.
Oliver Mann, Partner, CNC Communications & Network Consulting
“Head, shoulders, knees and toes. ‘Head’ because you need to be intelligent; ‘shoulders’ because you need to manage multiple tasks from multiple clients; ‘knees’ because you need to be able to stand firm under pressure from clients, media and other advisers, and ‘toes’ because you need to wear out a lot of shoe leather to widen your network as much as possible.”
Ed Gascoigne-Pees, Partner, Camarco
There is clearly a lot to consider what makes a star – from analytical abilities, the skills to translate complicated financial messaging to different audiences, through to the desire to wearing out your shoe leather by networking.
Being multi-talented is evident and being a ‘master of many’ is what it takes in this ever-changing, complex communications landscape.
I frequently hear that keeping star performers happy, well rewarded and engaged is a challenge. They can be a bit needy, after all. So it’s important to give them positive feedback and attention (not just let them ride the wave of success) but not to the point where you’re feeding their ego or neglecting the rest of the team. Acknowledge their strengths and achievements regularly, but help them learn to monitor themselves and recognise the contributions of the other members of the team. Make sure the work is fairly divided across the team – it can be tempting to give it all to the rock star, as you know they will get the job done, and brilliantly too. But doing this can also present the risk of burnout. The stars are also likely to not want to let things go, so be mindful. They are pacesetters – so make sure they are working at a pace that’s inspiring to others, not one that they can’t keep up with.
Remuneration is often a high priority to financial communications professionals, especially the star performers. Business leaders should be aware of the market rates for salaries and bonuses as this certainly helps to keep them happy.
You may be interested to read that the results for the industry’s most accurate salary and bonus survey for corporate and financial communications, carried out by The Works Search, is coming out soon. Stay tuned.
The Works Search is dedicated to securing the ‘best in class’ senior PR and corporate Communications professionals. To get in touch, call us on 0207 559 6690 or email email@example.com – we would love to hear from you.