Finding transformational leaders in a competitive talent market is a struggle that organizations across the country are facing. Although we serve organizations around the globe, our executive search clients in Nashville, TN must overcome an additional challenge. The Nashville unemployment rate is remarkably lower than the national average at 2.6%.
It is our responsibility as an executive search firm to Find transformational leaders regardless of the labor market conditions. Here in Nashville, the conditions have demanded creative strategies to stay selective in such a competitive talent market. Our executive recruiters leverage the following four approaches to ensure our executive search clients are guaranteed value without compromise.
1. Expand Your Location Parameters
Hiring locally can be misconstrued as a cost-effective approach to executive search (no travel or relocation expenses, etc.). However, it could be more costly in the long run to limit yourselves exclusively to local candidates. Employers dealing with the dual challenge of low national and local unemployment rates have to offer higher compensation and benefits packages to attract local candidates. Eventually, this can be far more costly than a few one-time expenses for interviewing and hiring leaders in a less competitive talent market.
When one of our executive search clients prefers a local candidate, we focus on Nashville leaders but encourage the hiring manager to consider expanding their location parameters, at the very least regionally. This strategy ensures that we provide high quality and a high quantity of top-tier candidates for our clients to consider.
2. Identify Pivot Point Leaders
As exhibited in our recent report, Pivot Point Leadership: Defining Positions that Drive Organizational Performance, there are certain roles within your organization that have a stronger impact on the overall success of your company than others. For example, Disney realized that for all their focus on high-level corporate leadership, the pivot point position is in fact their street sweepers. These people had the most impact on their customers, providing park directions and greeting guests even though their functional responsibilities did not necessarily include it. Disney focused on nurturing and developing these employees because they were deemed crucial to the park’s success.
These pivot point positions are the roles you must not compromise on. You can stay selective by opening your geographical targets as mentioned above, but you should not compromise on the responsibilities and requirements. As Dee Ann Turner, former talent architect and first female officer at Chick-fil-A, explained in our report, “hire for competency, character and chemistry”. Selecting the wrong people for these pivot point roles will have a ripple effect across the organization’s performance elsewhere.
3. Move Quickly
A competitive talent market leaves no room for hesitation. There are times when we find the perfect executive within one week of launching the search. There are times when it takes our executive recruiters the full twenty business days to find the diamond in the rough. No matter when we present a candidate to our Nashville executive search clients, we encourage them to take immediate action and quickly move the candidate through the interview process. Prolonging the process increases the likelihood of inbound competitive offers to the candidate…especially in a tight labor market.
One suggestion to improve the speed of your hiring process is to align all decision-makers at the beginning of the executive search process. We pre-schedule candidate interviews the day we launch our search to ensure the process can move forward as quickly as possible. When additional stakeholders are misaligned or not included to start with, the process slows down significantly.
4. Protect Your Investment
If you’re located in a city like Nashville with an extremely competitive labor market, you must do everything possible to retain your executive leaders once you find them. Leadership integration is a crucial piece in this puzzle. As opposed to tactical onboarding, leadership integration is a strategic and intentional process that sets a new leader up for success in the functional, cultural and organizational dimensions of the role. It gives leaders the tools to succeed so they can add value within their first 120 days on the job and beyond.
The Leadership Integration process also acts as insurance for your talent investment. If new leaders are engaged, supported and guided in their first few months on the job, it protects your organization across the high costs associated with turnover and additional executive search fees.
A competitive talent market does not mean you need to compromise what you’re looking for in a transformational leader. Stay selective and be intentional while incorporating these strategies into your recruiting efforts. The results will ensure you find value without compromise.
Steve Hayes has been focused on helping organizations acquire, coach and develop leaders throughout his career in Human Resources. In 2000, he founded The Human Capital Group, an Executive Search and Leadership Advisory firm with Purpose: To Find, Strengthen and Grow transformational leaders that deliver lasting results.