This article was first published on LHH. It is authored by Robert Hosking, Senior Vice President, Managing Director – Search Practices, LHH.
If there is a single thought I’d like to leave with you as we put an extremely challenging 2020 in the rear view, it would be this:
If you snooze, you are most definitely going to lose.
For the first time in a very long time, those of us in the search world are seeing top leadership candidates receiving multiple offers from multiple organizations. What that means is that in several instances, I’ve been in the unenviable position of having to call a client organization to give them the bad news: another company has swooped in and hired your preferred candidate right out from under your nose.
Competition for transformational leaders has seemingly exploded. And that’s more than a little bit surprising.
For much of 2020, the demand for executive leaders dropped way off. COVID-19 unleashed a wave of economic disruption that left a lot of organizations focused on survival, not on new hires. The uncertainty also meant that many top leaders were simply not interested in changing jobs. It was a bear market all around in leadership recruitment.
And then, as we got closer to the end of 2020, it was almost as if someone flipped a switch.
As the pandemic lingered into the fall, business leaders and HR professionals started shifting from survival mode to strategic mode. They had endured the shock and awe of the first wave of the pandemic, made some adjustments, and were now looking towards 2021 with a forward-looking agenda: enabling their organizations to transform to survive and thrive.
Gartner, a global research and advisory firm, recently surveyed 800 HR leaders to uncover their top three priorities for 2021. In late October, after months of pandemic disruption, Gartner found that more than two thirds of respondents identified the need to build new skills and competences as a top priority for the coming year. Respondents also flagged organizational design and change management, and development of current and future leadership bench strength.