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Oakleaf Executive Market Update – May 2020

Over the last 7 weeks, HR leaders in almost all organisations, regardless of sector have been incredibly busy. Across the board, it has been noted that HR is needed now more than ever before. Conversations we have been having with HR Directors is that they are leading the Covid-19 crisis committees, advising executives on what their employee base should look like to operate efficiently, but most of all preparing and forward planning to bounce back quickly. They certainly have a voice, and I am sure this is set to continue.

The response from our clients who we have been working with in the first half of the year has remained extremely positive. We are still completing on board level HR mandates. One very senior mandate commenced the week of lockdown and completed this week, all through virtual interviews. The candidate experience was one of the best they had ever had. Interviewers were available at short notice, no Easter breaks, no commutes to consider and so the process was slick and at pace. One positive message to come from the lockdown is employers have time to assess and meet candidates. They also have time to give feedback.

One of the challenges we did face in the earlier days of lockdown was the commitment from candidates who are employed. The integrity to their current employer and general increase in workload has meant some candidates to withdraw or put their search on hold. There is also a slight nervousness due to the uncertainty, they also feel the need to support their employees through this very difficult time. This has created a slight drop of potential candidates for some of the shortlists we are currently working on. I think this will change in the coming months when we all have a clearer understanding of what the world of work might look like.

As we start to see some sort of light at the end of the tunnel, businesses work hard to understand how best to navigate their organisations, we predict OD&D skills will become increasingly in demand. It will be their skills that can effectively support businesses through successful change.

This might be in the form of specialist interims working with current HR teams, or CEO’s who realise they need something different from HR to what they have been receiving previously.  BAU will be a thing of the past. Getting the balance between being a highly commercial HRD or CPO and being personable and addressing the wellbeing of employees even post this crisis will be of upmost importance.

Katrina Stewart – Partner, Oakleaf Executive

Related articles

The Commerce and Industry team at Oakleaf seem to have experienced a tale of two halves.

Whilst the market awaits the outcome of plans to release the lockdown, we saw the highest market activity that we have seen since mid-March

Over the course of the last 12 months, we have seen an increase in internal mobility and direct sourcing in the larger corporates

Legal and Consulting firms appear to be in a stronger position of all professional services firms with some movement in terms of new job roles

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