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To create a truly dynamic organisation, you need professionals and leaders whose traits support innovative culture.

dynamic (dai’nÆmik) adj. 

1. characterised by constant change, activity, or progress. 

2. positive in attitude and full of energy and new ideas.

Talent Acquisition is changing for Good.

The extraordinary pace of digital assimilation during the Covid 19 crisis has ripped up the expected transformation time frame of even the most optimistic digital champions. Adoption levels that would otherwise have taken years, have occurred in weeks. Along with the extraordinary shift in work related digital applications (Microsoft reported a 70% jump of 31 million MS Teams users in April 2020 and is now up to 250 million active users) consumer numbers in the areas of online shopping, streaming services and cashless payments also leapt. Severe and cruel crises are the real Mother of Invention. It is for a similar reason that Northern Ireland became a global leader in micro and plastic surgery in the 1970’s. Tragedy demands bold and rapid responses.

A dynamic reinvention of how firms attract and manage talent is also underway. Leaders are already discovering that the pandemic has reshaped how they must view employee engagement. Factors personal to an employee are more important than traditional external factors. A recent article by Gartner describes this expanded employer role as that of a social safety net. Given what organisations and their employees have shared together throughout this pandemic, there is increased employer responsibility for the physical and mental, health and safety of staff. Employers are playing a more supportive role in their employees’ financial, physical and mental wellbeing.

The world of executive and professional search has also changed, as sector firms respond to the highly dynamic needs of their customers.  Traditional executive search models that are largely dependent on personal networks are simply too slow and too expensive. Technology driven research is now at the root of all well run assignments as the need for agility demands reduced cycle times, lower cost and more innovative solutions. Many research functions now “work ahead of the need” developing talent pool awareness to be customer ready, rather than simply react to a request when it arises.

The cost of poor hiring is well documented. Search firms require a wider and deeper understanding of their customer’s culture, organisation nuances and purpose. A global reach is essential but local market knowledge is irreplaceable. The days of customers only being able to buy full-cycle services are also behind us. Good talent partnerships demand the ability to unbundle services, to provide what is essentially needed only; the provision of research content, talent maps, assessment tools and facilities, among other component solutions. Customers require greater choice and flexibility, that can compliment their skilled in-house resources.

It seems likely too, that the combination of organisations seeking short-term high value skills and the desire, post-pandemic, for greater flexibility among skills professionals and leaders, will substantially increase the number of interim and contract engagements.

Organisations that are making hires for the longer term will need to consider new challenges. It is more difficult to attract high performers in the present market and the competition for their talent is greater. But the response must be to raise the quality of the acquisition effort and the candidate experience, rather than lower the standard of recruit. Hiring profiles will also change, with greater emphasis being placed on those competencies that support the effectiveness and resilience of remote working and the leadership of remote employees. The requirement for stretch potential in new hires is now a must have.  

To create a truly dynamic organisation, you need professionals and leaders whose competencies support innovative culture. Gary Pisano, of Harvard Business School summarises these as:  

1. Tolerance for failure but no tolerance for incompetence.  
2. Willingness to experiment but highly disciplined.  
3. Psychologically safe but candid.  
4. Collaboration but with individual accountability.  
5. Flat but strong leadership.

These matter because culture and leadership are intricately linked. In the aftermath of this global shock, to recreate successful businesses while providing a social safety net for employees, organisations must behave like mature start-ups and their leaders must act like caring founders. 

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