As recruiter for leadership profiles we are used to being contacted by senior managers all the time. Before the Covid-19 crisis it often concerned people that were out of a job or fearing to be, and who were actively looking for new employment.

Lately this has been changing. We are seeing a new phenomenon emerge: senior managers that have a great career on the ‘outside’ with a lot of potential at their current job, but who are starting to seriously question themselves and their future…

Such managers do not necessarily have less work, nor are they uncertain about their future in their current job. On the contrary, their leadership and ‘virtual’ presence is needed even more. And yet they take more time out of their busy schedule to think. And to brainstorm confidentially with external soundboards like ourselves.

Why? Here are some explanations.

Due to the lockdown they:

  • are ‘forced’ to spend more time with their loved ones, discovering its importance, starting to realise that time is flying and that kids grow up rapidly;
  • begin to understand that many of the hours that they’ve been travelling were actually a ‘waste of time’;
  • start to question whether they truly enjoy what they are doing, now that they are away from the office rat race;
  • are starting to realise that they have been in a specific sector or at a certain company for too long, and that they crave change;
  • see how their employer is dealing with the crisis, and do not necessarily like this attitude;
  • ….

I’m sure that there are many more explanations, but these are some that we have been hearing at M18 Executive Search.

What will the impact of this trend be on the job market?

You may think that due to the crisis there are less job opportunities for such senior leaders, but you’re wrong. Indeed many employers have introduced a hiring freeze for now, but executive level candidates with high potential are still being sought after and recruited.

Even more so: real leadership talent will be key in helping companies face the challenges ahead. Having the right leaders will help them set the right strategy, ensure its optimal execution and guarantee retention of other key employees within the organisation. True leadership is the possibility of taking tough decisions whilst keeping the right human mindset.

Some companies see this strategic value add and are willing to make recruitment exceptions for such talent.

So what can you do as company?

  • Nurture your high performing executives so that their questioning remains limited;
  • And if despite these efforts senior execs still decide that it’s time to move on, then be prepared. Have your succession plan ready and make sure to have multiple back-up scenario’s. It’s always best to have your in-company management options ready, but don’t be afraid to prepare successors outside the company.
    We are always interested to hear/read your views.

And if you need some external advise on how to ensure a smooth succession planning, then we’re here to help.

Stay safe and healthy!

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