June 18, 2020 – It’s easy, with the drama around the coronavirus, to lose sight of the fact that it might – just might, and with luck – be short-lived. When that happens, the world can start to get back to normal. “In the meantime, many companies have taken advantage of the easy, good times to build their businesses,” said Gary Woollacott of Horton International.
“This enforced lull in business activity may be an excellent time to properly assess your assets – in all classes,” Mr. Woollacott said. “Take a cold-eyed look at what you’re working with and think, is this the best that I can do? You will need to move quickly though – just as in good times, talent doesn’t wait around for long.”
When asked what impacts current pandemic will have on executive search? Mr. Woollacott said” It’s too early to forecast the long-term impact on our industry. There’s plenty of speculation but I don’t think that executive search is dead and buried – we will still have our uses. If anything, there may be another ‘flight to quality’ as often happens in downturns.”
“Rather than focusing on clients, now is the time to focus on candidates,” he says. “When this is over, they will remember how we (and their employers) treated them and made them feel. If employers make sacrifices on behalf of employees that will help sustain the business post-CV19. From our point of view, candidates might be more open to move if they see that their employer doesn’t value them quite as much as they had thought.”
Accommodating Clients and Candidates
“Separately, we are taking extra practical precautions on behalf of candidates and clients with ongoing searches to accommodate their concerns,” Mr. Woollacott points out. “This is an excellent time for a client to be recruiting, or to be a candidate open to an opportunity, while the competition is confused and panicking.”
“It doesn’t look like this slowdown is going away quickly – it’s so much more pervasive than anything else we have seen in decades. Naturally we hope for the best, but we are hunkered down for the worst,” he said.
People generally prefer to work for a company that is genuine and sincere, with a real sense of purpose. “That adds up to sustainability,” Mr. Woollacott said. “Senior managers who sacrifice their employees in the name of cost-saving may well find that their best people leave, once they realize where the true loyalties of the company lie. It doesn’t look like this slowdown is going away quickly – it’s so much more pervasive than anything else we have seen in decades. Naturally, we hope for the best, but we are hunkered down for the worst.”