Commercial awareness is a skill that should be consistent throughout the entire hierarchy of a company, as it ensures that the business is being run as efficiently as possible.
Based on organisational aims and objectives, the best employees will be able to manage their own responsibilities and act in accordance with what the business is trying to achieve, related to several areas including profit, expansion and reputation.
As well as business and industry developments, it is crucial for employees, particularly in high-risk sectors like banking and insurance, to remain on top of what is expected of them in order to be successful.
So, what exactly is commercial awareness? And how can it benefit employees?
What is commercial awareness?
Commercial awareness can be defined as a developed knowledge of specific objectives, how the business works and an understanding of external factors such as wider industry knowledge and legislation that can then assist an individual’s actions and decisions for the good of the business.
More often than not, employees at all levels will demonstrate their awareness without even noticing. Understanding how the company they work for is run, making suggestions for improvement and maintaining an understanding of how competitors are operating are all adequate examples of displaying commercial awareness.
There is of course, a large responsibility on the business in this regard to communicate specific targets to their workforce. If an employee’s assumption of objectives is misaligned with the wishes of those in management, this can have a negative impact on future operations.
With so many companies working in increasingly competitive environments, having a workforce that is aware of exactly how to carry out their roles, aware of current industry trends and aware of how to work in accordance with specific regulations can prove to be extremely beneficial.
How does commercial awareness benefit employees?
While having a workforce that has an understanding of their roles and the industry in which they work is advantageous for leaders, there are also a number of benefits of maintaining a sense of commercial awareness for individual employees also.
Improving within their own role
Employees who want to excel in a specific area should be continually developing their awareness aligned with current trends and business objectives. In doing this, an individual will be able to carry out what is expected of them and more, as they will be prepared to face a wide range of challenges associated with their role.
Opportunities for promotion
Business leaders obviously want to retain their best employees for as long as possible. If an employee has proven their worth and is incredibly valuable to the company, then there will always be opportunities for internal promotion. The individuals who are able to confidently demonstrate their commercial awareness in several areas will be the ones who grab the attention of business leaders.
Applying for a new role
When the time comes for an individual to look for and secure a new position, commercial awareness of the specific industry they want to work in should be prioritised. Realistically, business leaders will interview a high number of people who are qualified on paper to do the job. When it comes to hiring the right person, however, leaders will assess which candidates displayed a clear understanding of what will be expected of them, as well as how they will react to professional trends and developments.
In summary, commercial awareness is something that individuals can demonstrate and develop naturally, and is mutually beneficial for both employers and employees. Maintaining a strong sense of awareness throughout an entire hierarchy will enable individuals to work in a way that will help both them and the wider business to improve.