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The Current Climate:

Due to the climate of economic uncertainty, business model disruption and the speed of connectivity between stakeholders, social, and environmental impacts are more frequent and damaging than ever before. This instability has elevated the 'purpose' agenda and an evolution in the leadership skills, competencies and behaviours that are required to filter risk, identify emerging opportunity, and build confidence among an organisation's stakeholders.

Companies require insight into the modern blend of skill and competencies required where performance, purpose, and reputation meet.

  • Performance - Do they have the relevant leadership competencies to do the job (and work cross-functionally) across disciplines?

  • Purpose - Can you help define their organisation's role in society and translate the business' external impacts / materials into successful strategy?

  • Reputation - Can they articulate a compelling story to engage and empower a varied group of stakeholders to take desired actions?

The Modern Public Affairs Executive

Reputation has been reset. Public affairs practitioners now need to be comfortable with ambiguity. They must remain fluid in re-positioning strategic orientation against the shifting backdrop of a highly connected and politicised environment, whilst creating competitive advantage out of challenges, moving from 'defend and protect' to 'engage and lead'.

The function must be a part of the Executive Committee’s decision-making process and seen as a team of ‘trusted advisors.' A recent report cited that 82% of Public Affairs VPs attend their firm’s Executive Committee’s meetings, with 42% sitting on the committee itself, in order to help shape strategy.

What are the Skills required?

Practitioners therefore need to provide the crucial link between helping to understand and define the economic opportunities into action-on-the-ground, through both corporate and brand campaigns.

Practitioners need to provide clear and empathetic support to employees and consumers, untangling potentially complex and misguided information into compelling communication and value propositions. This will be directed to a range of stakeholders who will be at various stages of understanding what the organisation’s vision is and what it means to them.

They need the credibility to engage with policy makers to shape and influence new legislation. At all levels, they need to be a well-respected figure with gravitas, integrity, influence, and a robust commercial track-record of leadership in order to leverage value from policy.

As coaches, collaborators, and connectors, practitioners need to help set strategy and devolve responsibility into the business.

People want to know what an organisation stands for, where it is coming from, and where it wants to get to. Practitioners need to cultivate and articulate a story that captures the culture of the organization, armed with case studies, personal stories and a strong key message. They require the ability to influence and guide key decision makers and stakeholders in the business.

What is the Experience required?

Industry experience is not often cited as necessary. It is far more important to have the functional experience across the communications mix. Cross-sector movement is common in corporate affairs and communications.

Practitioners require experience embedding business transformation or change management programs, and the ability to create compelling business cases and positioning initiatives to promote behavioural change. Building alliances through collaboration, influencing, networking with 'opinion formers,' and understanding how they interrelate back to the commercial business strategy.

Why Acre?

Acre, the world’s leading Public Affairs and Communications recruitment consultancy has been positioned at the intersection of these conversations since 2007. We empower our clients through executive search and recruitment services, leadership development programs and access to the relevant insights and networks, all with the purpose to bring the right individuals and organisations together. We work on permanent recruitment assignments as well as contract and interim assignments. 

Acre are working in partnership with our in house leadership development tool, Acre Frameworks, to develop a useful competency frameworks to support practitioners in their careers.

Contact Us:

​Get in touch today to discuss our Public Affairs Recruitment services.