How executive search is adapting to serve post-COVID organizations

Executive Search
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一月 31, 2022
Executive Search
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AESC discusses how Executive search has adapted and transformed during COVID. 

Excerpt from the article originally published in AESC's Executive Talent digital magazine, contributed by our consultant Nick Chia and his fellow AESC members.

Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Nick Chia was featured as a co-author of AESC's Executive Talent article, "How executive search is adapting to serve post covid organizations." The article is excerpted below.

COVID-19 hit organizations in previously unfathomable ways: most urgently, they had to figure out how to keep people safe. Second, they transitioned as many functions, processes, transactions and modes of communication as they could to digital. Ultimately, they navigated disrupted supply chains and the shifting regulatory and policy responses to the pandemic, and many adapted their business models to a new reality. It isn’t over, and staying relevant, staying in business through the ongoing upheaval requires executive talent with essential skills to drive change and lead their organizations to adapt in this unprecedented moment. AESC member executive search firms are supporting organizations worldwide as they adapt and transform. They too are changing.

In service to their clients, retained executive search firms adapted, and continue to adapt. From conducting a virtual end-to-end search process to the leadership profiles now most in demand, COVID-19 drove rapid, unpredictable change and tested the agility of the executive search profession. Firms and consultants adjusted to an uncertain market, the shift to remote work, travel restrictions, evolving leadership criteria, new service demands and changing client and candidate expectations. With a vibrant and innovative approach to capturing the opportunities and mitigating the challenges of these tumultuous times, the result is a more nimble, responsive and innovative profession—changed—and well-positioned to thrive, whatever the future holds. We spoke with AESC representatives to better understand the shifting dynamics of executive recruitment and how AESC members are helping clients getting it right for the post-COVID era of business.

While 2019 was a banner year for the retained executive search profession, according to AESC data the profession took a big hit in Q2 of 2020. “When COVID hit, the demand for our services dipped,” says Anthony Batchelor, Partner and Chief Commercial Officer at Odgers Berndtson, Canada and Board Director, Americas, at AESC. “In the early days of the pandemic, there were a lot of organizations that might've been thinking about changing up a couple of key executives and decided not to do that. Optically, letting people go at the beginning of the pandemic would not have looked great. So, we did see a lot of organizations press the pause button. I talked to numerous CEOs who said, ‘this is actually going to be a really interesting leadership test for my senior executives, to find out whether they can rise to the occasion and deal with a real crisis.’ And a lot of CEOs that I chatted with were thrilled with how their leadership teams responded.”

To read the full article, click here.