The pool of available talent is suddenly both changing and expanding, and visionary leaders can make the most of it by preparing the ground for post-crisis recovery and growth. As management guru Jim Collins has shown us, making the leap from good to great starts with getting the right people on the bus.
Throughout history, economic hardships have created windows in which exceptional employees and leaders are widely available for a limited time. While most of us become short-sighted and irrational during crises, the best leaders and organizations stay calm and use them to their advantage, sprinting away from their competitors and never looking back. To use another analogy, they bring in architects to plan the new building even as the firefighters work to save the old one.
So, how should visionary leaders go about capturing this once-in-a-century hiring opportunity? Through urgent and disciplined engagement in several initiatives:
- Ask your top leaders to list three to five great players they would have liked to have hired over the past five years and then check in with those people.
- Set up a task force to source potential candidates from target sectors and companies who may now be either jobless or open to change.
- Interview and check references remotely with the same rigor you would in person.
- Go out of your way to motivate the best candidates.
- Don’t ignore the sourcing, retaining, and development of in-house talent.
This pandemic has created unprecedented trauma around the world. The economic fallout will be equally painful for many. It can be tempting to focus on the short term of crisis management, but when we emerge from this unfolding tragedy it will be the long-term thinkers who not only survive but thrive. If your organization is well-capitalized and visionary enough to hire for lasting greatness, now is the time.
Claudio Fernández-Aráoz is a senior advisor at Egon Zehnder and was a member of the firm’s global executive committee for more than 10 years. He is an executive fellow at Harvard Business School and the author of It’s Not the How or the What but the Who(Harvard Business Review Press, 2014).
Full Story: Claudio Fernández-Aráoz: Now Is an Unprecedented Opportunity to Hire Great Talent in Harvard Business Review (01 May 2020).