When the pandemic hit, businesses had two choices. They could sit still and wait for the storm to pass, or they could adapt and keep moving forward towards their growth ambitions. And this is something we’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Should you be considering scaling in a pandemic… and if so, how do you do it?
We’ll be publishing three case studies over the coming months, showing how we’ve helped different businesses navigate the challenges they faced in the most unusual of years, but let’s start with a look at the pattern that we’ve noticed.
As executive search professionals, we’ve gained a huge amount of insight into this area over the past 12 months. And what we’ve found is that we can break businesses down into one of three categories:
- Businesses that opted for the “wait and see” approach and held off on their growth plans until the situation started to improve. These organisations played it safe, but are now starting to lag behind their competitors.
- Businesses that chose to continue moving forward, but weren’t prepared to adapt in light of the circumstances. These businesses are the ones finding it most challenging to recruit in the ‘new normal’.
- Businesses that decided to continue moving forward, but took a completely flexible approach to scaling. They acknowledged that this was an unusual situation and were open to hiring in new and different ways.
It’s clear who the winners are. When businesses embraced change – when they said ‘OK, let’s think about moving to a work from anywhere strategy’ – we were able to double our candidate pools with good quality candidates. When we expanded our search area by geographical location we could instantly give businesses access to talent that was previously untouchable due to office ties. This is how companies are going to thrive; by bringing in the best talent, not just the best talent in the local area.
Widening the audience pool through flexibility isn’t just about gaining access to talent; it’s about attracting talent, too. Back at the start, no one was really sure how things would change. But what we’ve seen is that some industries, like Cyber and Fintech, have really had no choice but to scale rapidly. Demand for these industries’ products has skyrocketed, and so, right now, everyone is essentially hiring for the same talent. Businesses need to look at maximising their EVP, and remote working, Zoom free Fridays and employee wellness days are examples of ways to do that.
Growing during a crisis
Scaling in a pandemic can be done. One of our clients has hired almost 600 people – all virtually – since March last year. They’ve become a multi-billion dollar cybersecurity company during a global health crisis. And at Innovex, we’ve done it ourselves. Our twelve-month plan turned into a four-month realisation, simply because we steered into the skid, rather than trying to go in the other direction. It’s about embracing change and seizing opportunity.
The pandemic isn’t going to last forever. We’re starting to come out of the other side. And we’re going to be left with a two-tier economy. There’s going to be a huge gap between those businesses that kept moving forward and kept growing, and those that didn’t grab this unique opportunity to grow. The former could experience a seamless transition into operating in the new normal if they are able to keep the positive change in place that their employees are now thriving in. But there’s still time to get ahead.
We’re helping our clients grow and scale during these challenging times, as well as navigating it ourselves. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help your business adapt, get in touch.
Watch out for further insights and our in-depth case studies, coming soon: