Adapting to a new normal

Adapting to a new normal
Published: 26 March 2020

Together we are all currently facing unique, unprecedented and challenging circumstances - personally and professionally. In whichever way one describes or analyses the current status quo it is unquestionably different and, therefore, the way we continue to help clients surmount the presenting challenges needs to adapt and flex accordingly.

We’re seeing client organisations continue to operate under huge and ever-changing pressures and at increased tempo and pace. Staff and workforce must find new routes through the challenge of balancing personal and professional commitments.  This has never been so apparent as for those in public-facing roles; in blue-light services, the NHS, local and central government where dedicated individuals and teams must continue to deliver business as usual in unusual times. And, of course, at the same time they are inevitably contingency planning against scenarios that nobody would want to happen in order to be prepared. “Hope for the best and plan for the worst” seems to be an underpinning theme.

What we’ve seen so far

A small minority of our clients have requested that some appointments need to go on hold because they have periods of being almost overwhelmed by what is presenting at the front door. But much of our work has continued – testament to the critical nature of many of the roles assigned to us. It is vital that whilst we need to address the immediate situation, this will pass and normality of some shape and degree will resume in due course. Our clients will reinstate their business plans and great people will be core to that. So, the message to convey is one of cognisance and sensitivity to the current climate and yet remaining on task to continue our work on behalf of our clients in appropriate and different ways.

How we’re working differently

We’ve extended some processes – particularly the engagement and attraction phases. We’re relying on greater and more effective use of technology – Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, Teams – take your pick. Virtual interviewing is replacing face-to-face which may feel unfamiliar – but pragmatism and risk intelligence dictate this course of action. A more commercial approach to the traditional panel interview – no rooms of people but deeper individual engagement. Rest assured that this flex will not compromise rigour nor quality and outcome for client or candidate. The one clear emergent theme is that, with search, not one size suits all, and the ability to balance risk, process and people is paramount. We’re all learning and finessing our approach and it feels like it’s working so far.

Moving forward

The world hasn’t stopped, and this is absolutely the case for most of our client organisations. Indeed, the reputation of many is being enhanced through their dedication and commitment to public service. Whilst being respectful of that, and aware of particular operating environments, the current circumstances shouldn’t blunt organisational leadership capacity nor individual career ambitions.

For more information, please contact Jonathan Clark, Partner and head of our Public Sector practice.

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