Evolving Expectations in Executive Search

“Necessity is the mother of invention.”

-Plato




Last year, companies of all industries and sizes were able to quickly establish the technology, structure, security and controls allowing people to work remotely. According to PwC, 83% of employers say the shift has been successful, and 55% of employees now prefer to be remote at least three days a week.


Today, as organizations strategically sunset their “pandemic mode,” leadership teams face the difficult choice to continue working remotely, recalibrate back to an office environment or balance both options through a hybrid approach.


While the answer is different for each business, it’s clear that these expanded work options have added an extra layer of complexity for hiring teams and candidates alike.


The Year of the Individual


For many professionals, the pandemic was a period of profound self-reflection. Ignited by new flexible work capabilities, they have made an array of lifestyle decisions that include switching careers, moving to a more geographically desirable location and accepting a safer, less challenging position in order to focus on other passions.


Though a uniquely individual process, these changes, sparked by the same catalysts, have happened en masse and are beginning to affect the way companies identify and hire new talent.


During the interview process, organizations now need to ask a new default question:

“What are your expectations for in-office work?”


When we pose this to candidates, the reaction is all over the place. Depending on the work structure the company has decided to adopt, this single vital question may render useless a once-ideal executive talent.


When a company considers engaging a firm like Townsend in a new executive search, we have to be aware of what the work structure is going to look like. If they allow for a fully remote role, then the question for us is, “Does this now become a national search?”


The Deep End of the Talent Pool


If our search was in, say Madison, Wisconsin, we historically looked for people in the center of the geographical bullseye and expanded out to an acceptable commutable distance. Now, we still start relatively close to the employer, but if the position is fully remote, we then expand the search to the same state, then to the same time zone, then again to the entire country.


While the potential for higher quality talent is raised exponentially through this method, the sheer size of the pool can often give hiring managers and search firms alike choice overload, to the point where it can become unmanageable.


Having a more thoroughly defined box and parameters in your search helps pare down the excess, while also ensuring the attraction of top talent to the organization.


Evolution of Economic Structure


Another marginalized trend that will soon become mainstream is the change in economic structure to offset the deltas between lower- and higher-cost markets.


An emergence of remote opportunities means companies now have to compete on a national platform, so compensation, benefits and perks have to be elevated to some level—whether you’re remote or not—to capture and retain talent in your region.


Evolution of Company Culture


Think of onboarding like an organ transplant. When placing an organ (a new hire) into a body (the employer), it’s only a matter of time before you can tell if it’ll be accepted by the host. Talented surgeons (hiring managers) know which organ will best fit the body, and can—with close attention—ensure it has all the conditions to thrive.


The rise of remote work has made this delicate operation much more difficult to perform. While efficiency, connectivity and productivity all remained strong, many companies find it difficult to cultivate and maintain culture in a virtual environment.


Companies onboarding remotely must make additional investments in programs that effectively communicate, cultivate and substantiate culture.


The Townsend Difference


Having completed searches from Sacramento to Charleston, Townsend has the unique ability to convey great company stories, utilize top-tier technologies and select the best talent for the organization—making us more efficient, effective and personalized than other firms.


Get in touch and experience The Journey to placing top executive talent, customized to any and every work structure your organization offers.




TownsendLogoNEW.png