As Melbourne begins to emerge from lockdown, we could be forgiven for thinking that the rest of Australia has been operating “normally” for a while now, but nothing could be further from the truth with restrictions being at various stages everywhere, many people working from home and the job market being sluggish to say the least..
However, many businesses have had their minds turned towards recovery and growth for a month or two now and while support mechanisms such as JobKeeper begin to taper off, growth from whatever position businesses find themselves in now is the only solution to surviving, thriving, saving and creating jobs.
What has changed in recruitment and selection and executive search? What are the new workplace and leadership attributes that employers should be looking for in their recruitment and selection and executive search activities? Here are six thought starters:
1. Emotional Intelligence
Emotional Intelligence has played a big role in recruitment and selection over the last 10 years. That was just the appetiser. With some team members being risk averse around human interaction, while others are more blasé about the risks that we will live with for some time yet, Emotional Intelligence takes on a new flavour. For new leaders finding themselves in positions after an executive search process, the challenge of managing remote teams with different levels of fear and motivation will be a test. In peer-to-peer relationships, finding people who understand and can work with different value systems and behaviours around the pandemic in respectful and accepting ways should be one of the top criteria for human resources and hiring managers in the recruitment and selection process.
2. Resilience and autonomy
Having teams working from home and other new environments tested the resilience of traditional management styles in the early stages of the pandemic. Many managers were uncomfortable with the removal of their ability to supervise even quite senior people because they weren’t “in the office”. It didn’t take long for a number of research projects to identify increased productivity, less stress and better worklife balance as positive outcomes of this new regime. However, as the time at home became longer, more and more people started to identify the lack of social interaction in the workplace as something that they missed. It seems clear that for the foreseeable future, office-based workers will be living in a hybrid world. Use of office space is going to be governed by moving people up and down high-rise buildings safely, reduced density in workplaces and anxiety about peak hour use of public transport. There will be more interview questions about resilience in both recruitment and selection and executive search processes but it is the ability to identify people’s capacity to work autonomously, deliver results and interact with their colleagues all remotely that will see the best hiring managers secure the best talent.
3. Digital Savvy
Above and beyond a level of competence in 365, Google and software as a service, the capability to use tools such as Zoom, Microsoft teams, Bluejeans etc have quickly become requirements as basic as reading and writing. The best executive search leadership talent and the broader management and administration highflyers have gone a step further. They have been able to adapt a combination of all technologies and good business principles to address their operational, financial, sales and marketing, customer service and logistics and supply chain responsibilities to enhance their organisation’s performance. The line between technology as a tool and technology as an extension of one’s capability has blurred very quickly. We are seeing office-based communication presentation tool such as Huddle boards begin to gain a foothold in Australian “meeting rooms” while real-time delivery of instant training, technical information and work instructions via wearable hardware is already here.
4. Effective Communication
Recruitment and selection processes have always had a focus on effective communication. However, when you start to combine the other 5 items in our list here, this takes on a whole new perspective. Whether the audience is internal or external, identifying candidates that have the ability to cut through, gain attention, get the message across and validate it has has become much more complicated.
5. Creativity and Innovation
When Eric Ries, in his book, “The Lean Start-up” expanded on the concept of “Pivot” in 2011, it washard to conceive that what he believed may now be the most overused word in the business lexicon during 2020. “Pivot” has become shorthand for creativity and innovation. In our everyday lives we have seen some café’s and restaurants close while others have found new ways to leverage their skills and the kitchens. For those businesses who start to regain traditional revenue, the best will also retain the revenue that came from their “Pivot”. What will be key for executive search and recruitment and selection practitioners is that they are able to identify the capability of candidates to develop their creative and innovative ideas and most importantly to execute them effectively.
6. Strategic Capability
It has never been clearer that “all strategy is revolution, everything else is just tactics”. The business leaders that take their organisations into a new future will, as a minimum, need to combine all of the above attributes in their organisations to deliver value to their customers and to their shareholders. It is incumbent on recruitment and selection and executive search practitioners to understand these new requirements, to evaluate candidates for them and to coach otherwise talented candidates to increase their skill sets in all of them.