Talent Management & Acquisition

It might seem justifiable to postpone talent management during this crisis. But there is arguably no better time for organizations to get clear answers to the killer questions of talent management: What talent do we have? What talent do we need? And how do we fill the gaps? We need the right leaders to navigate our organizations, societies and countries back to recovery and beyond. Answering these basic questions of supply and demand will be fundamental to the survival of many businesses and even entire industries.

39% of HR leaders say they're harnessing the crisis to reshape and reprioritize their company's talent agenda.

Our point of view

COVID-19 may disrupt talent processes but it doesn’t need to stop them. Learn how to create virtual talent experiences built to withstand COVID-19 and carry your firm through the long term.

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Your questions

Every day, COVID-19 is raising new and complex questions for leaders and organizations to answer. Korn Ferry’s Ilene Gochman shares her perspective and advice.

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How we can help you

In the face of unprecedented magnitude and a rapidly accelerating pace of disruption, leaders must either self-disrupt or be disrupted. If your leaders are more comfortable reinforcing the status quo, then you need to take a fresh look at what’s required for success. Our research-based, predictive Success Profiles identify the vital leadership attributes needed for success. Korn Ferry’s Talent Hub holds Success Profiles for thousands of roles including profiles for a self-disruptive leader or a crisis leader. Alternatively, we can develop customized profiles for specific roles or levels, aligned to your strategy and organizational culture.

Our research-based, predictive Success Profiles identify the vital leadership attributes needed in a crisis.

Now is the perfect moment to observe what leaders do when they don’t know what to do. Seeing your leaders behave on the battlefield may have yielded some surprises and disappointments. Now is the time to re-assess them using updated criteria, through formal assessments and talent discussions. We have adapted our world-class assessments and research-based talent reviews to be delivered virtually. Recent research by the Korn Ferry Institute proves that our virtual assessments and simulations deliver comparable participant experience, predictive power, and developmental value for individuals and their organizations as face-to-face equivalents.

Virtual assessments deliver comparable predictive power and developmental value as face-to-face equivalents.

We have known for a while that developing potential is now all about preparing people for the unknown. And at no time has this been clearer. Organizations need talent and leaders who are learning agile, who know what they do when they don’t know what to do. We develop high potentials and leaders at every level to develop these capabilities. We offer personalized coaching – delivered virtually – on assessment results and development actions; we also have both off-the-shelf and tailored virtual learning experiences that are both engaging for participants and effective at driving behavior change.

We develop agile leaders who succeed in disruptive times.

Some companies default to reducing their recruitment activity during a crisis. But the reality is that acquiring top talent is as – if not more – important than ever, as companies need every competitive edge they can get to navigate the storm and prepare them for success in the post-outbreak era. We can identify and attract these unique leaders, assess for ideal organizational fit, and build appropriate frameworks for compensation and retention.

We can identify and attract the right talent to lead in a crisis.

While most organizations have taken a significant hit in revenue as a result of the crisis, industries on the front line (e.g., healthcare, delivery services, telecommunications, grocers) are having to recruit huge numbers of employees at speed to cope with demand. Our fully integrated Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) technology solution, Nimble, uses artificial intelligence and best-in-class Korn Ferry IP to make high-volume hiring a productive, positive, and prompt experience for everyone involved. This end-to-end solution will enable you to source, attract, assess, select, and onboard the right people for the job—seamlessly and at an affordable cost-per-hire.

We can source, attract, assess, select, and onboard the right people for the job—seamlessly and at an affordable cost-per-hire.

This crisis will end. And when it does, you’ll need the right people in the right place at the right time to hit the ground running. It might mean refreshing your definition of talent, especially if the crisis has exposed capability gaps or accelerated your digital transformation. This also means staying close to your company’s workforce plan. Knowing that your organization will need more salespeople to support growth after the decline can help you start developing your employer value proposition messaging and building talent pools early. We can help you define the profile of people you need for the future, develop the right buy, build or borrow strategy, and support you to deliver.

We can help you to identify, attract and develop the talent you need for the future.

Deep insights at your fingertips – at all times

In our hands it’s more than just data. We use it to build the DNA of outstanding leaders, effective organizations, high performance cultures and game-changing reward programs. In your hands it can continue to inform smarter decisions backed by more than 4 billion data points, including:
– Over 69 million assessment results
– 8 million employee engagement survey responses
– Rewards data for 20 million employees across 25,000 organizations and 150+ countries

Our thinking

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The impact of the coronavirus on talent strategy

The coronavirus pandemic has created a number of supply and demand issues: some understandable, such as hand sanitizer, while others are less so (toilet paper?). But for many organizations, the COVID-19 crisis has also revealed surprising gaps in their leadership and talent supply.

That’s why we suggest that now is the perfect time to review, re-evaluate, and redesign the processes your organization is using for acquiring, developing, and managing talent during the coronavirus outbreak.

Why it’s important to manage talent during the coronavirus outbreak

With the upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have many pressing issues to deal with, including survival. It may seem that the organization’s talent strategy would not be among the forefront of priorities.

However, a crisis is the perfect time to realistically assess your talent—and to make changes to your talent management practices. Organizations should take the time to gather the data they need now on their current leaders to answer the two essential talent acquisition and management questions:

  1. What talent do we have? And what is our current supply?
  2. What talent do we need? And what is our immediate and future demand?

Organizations that have taken steps to be sure they can answer these questions regarding their supply and demand—or that take steps now to address these questions and adjust their talent supply chain accordingly—will be poised to make the strongest recovery from the economic crisis in the wake of the pandemic.

Therefore, organizations need to undertake talent reviews and assessments now—and to do so more frequently than ever—so they can find the leaders capable of leading them through the recovery.

Why now is the right time to assess leadership talent

There is no better time to measure your leaders’ performance than when seismic challenges force them to make decisions and act. The challenges that adversity presents allows leaders to rise to the occasion—or exposes their flaws.

To lead effectively during the coronavirus, executives and other leaders must take bold steps, even when they don’t know precisely what to do. They must be prepared to:

  • Step into, not away from, development.
  • Embrace uncertainty.
  • Navigate complexity.
  • Lead with empathy, curiosity, and passion.
  • Be fast, decisive, and bold.
  • Run toward the fire; in other words, to be willing to make decisions and take risks.

Not all leaders will have these innate qualities. Managing talent during the coronavirus outbreak is challenging, but virtual assessments can help organizations determine whether their leaders have the right qualities to succeed during this crisis and beyond. They can also identify opportunities for organizations to continue developing talent in disruption, particularly their high potentials and leaders, through virtual personalized coaching. Organizations can also use assessments as a starting point for managing the performance of struggling leaders.

Organizations need to make data-driven talent decisions

Some leaders will shine as they face the unprecedented challenges and unpredictability of the COVID-19 crisis; others will falter, because they lack the critical capabilities that are considered mandatory for serving on an organization’s executive team. These organizations have not taken the right steps to manage talent during the coronavirus outbreak.

Organizations that employ executive leaders struggling to manage through this crisis must now ask—and answer—a series of tough questions about their talent processes.

  • How did they select their leaders?
  • Were their decisions driven by data?
  • Do they have the right data to make talent decisions?
  • If so, how are they using that data in their decision-making process?

It’s all too common for organizations to use the right data to make the wrong decisions. It’s also likely that leaders accept data when it confirms their opinion and dismiss it when it contradicts their viewpoint—even if that viewpoint isn’t supported by data. Here’s how these situations often manifest in organizations:

  • Managers may conflate past performance with future potential in different roles.
  • Leaders may be suffering from the myth of meritocracy: they may have a bias that favors people who are politically astute, have highly developed networks, or enjoy the patronage of influential sponsors—even when they lack the capabilities required to fulfill a more challenging leadership role.
  • The organization may be biased in favor of those who look, sound, and act like incumbents.

Now is the time to look at data with fresh eyes. Leaders need to find the courage to make evidence-based decisions and challenge their own view of talent—especially if the data contradicts their beliefs. The coronavirus crisis means that most organizations will need new talent strategies for managing performance and developing talent in disruption.

Virtual processes support managing talent during the coronavirus outbreak

Many organizations harbor a preference for face-to-face HR interactions simply because that’s the way that they’ve always conducted talent acquisition, talent reviews, and coaching. Some believe that the only way to create the intimacy required for an effective review process is to meet face-to-face. These organizations have been slower to move to a virtual environment for HR processes.

But it’s often the case that a virtual environment offers a safe space that makes reviews even more effective. Traditional face-to-face meetings can feel confrontational and cause the participants to view conversations as a competition. But when managing performance online, participants are more open to dialogue, ask more questions, and remain considerate of different views—that is, if organizations know how to create a safe virtual space that fosters credibility, reliability, and trust.

Moreover, a number of other HR processes have been improved with virtual processes, with talent acquisition, learning and development, and assessment among them. At Korn Ferry, we have been delivering virtual assessments every day for many years. Based on our experience, there are four key principles that make the virtual delivery of talent processes, including managing performance and developing talent in disruption, successful:

  1. Make it simple.
  2. Keep sessions short and focused.
  3. Include practical and interactive components.
  4. Add elements that create emotional connections.

We’ve used these strategies successfully to help clients manage talent during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Navigating the job market during coronavirus

The job market has tightened as a result of the coronavirus. And the recruitment impact of the pandemic is unprecedented. Organizations that are struggling have laid off top talent, while organizations with surging demand, such as healthcare institutions, delivery services, and grocery stores, have had to rethink their in-person recruitment and hiring processes.

Regardless of the recruitment impact in your market, reducing your hiring activity may not be the right decision. Without top talent, your company won’t have a competitive edge in the rebound from the coronavirus. Organizations can rely on Korn Ferry’s Success Profiles and the Korn Ferry Digital suite of products to help them manage talent during the coronavirus outbreak: these Korn Ferry tools help organizations find highly qualified candidates for leadership and other roles that fit with your culture—and to help you offer them appropriate compensation plans and benefits.

Organizations seeking to recruit more staff need technology to hire in volumes—and to do so virtually. Korn Ferry’s volume hiring solutions, based on artificial intelligence, help organizations find the right talent at an affordable cost, building the talent pipeline necessary to sustain the organization for the duration of the crisis, regardless of the impact of coronavirus on the job market.

Four principles for successful talent management during the coronavirus outbreak

Incorporate these four principles to your organization’s talent strategy to ensure your organization is prepared to weather the coronavirus crisis and to start the recovery when the crisis subsides.

  1. Seize the moment. Leadership is front and center on everyone’s minds right now, so it’s the perfect time to redefine and refine all of your organization’s talent processes.
  2. Measure what matters. There is a clear differentiation in leaders’ performance during the COVID-19 crisis. Some are quickly figuring out what to do; others are going back to old playbooks and repeating what’s always been done. Consider whether your organization’s assessments consider the leadership qualities that will make a difference in this crisis and afterward.
  3. Update your data. In the pressure cooker of COVID-19, some individuals identified as high potentials in your organization may have turned in disappointing performances. Some successors may have proven their worth. Use updated criteria and metrics to reassess your potential leaders—in either formal assessments or informal talent discussions—and make sure you’re identifying the right talent to secure the future of your organization. Take steps to develop your talent during the disruption to avoid a gap in your talent pipeline.
  4. Follow the principle of virtual by design, not by default. Organizations cannot just take their traditional, in-person processes and drop them into the online channel. Take time to plan for the differences of the medium and the new ways you’ll need to engage your teams. Technology may play a role here: many platforms have features and functions that make it easy for participants to connect and share—and for organizations to manage their talent during the coronavirus.

Now is the time to continue developing talent despite the disruption

Managing talent during the coronavirus outbreak will test your organization’s mettle. Although COVID-19 has put a stop to many things, it has accelerated the need for organizations to confirm that they have an adequate supply of talent to meet current and future demands. Now is the time for organizations to think about their talent processes and oversee the present while thinking several steps into the future to stay ahead of the competition.

Korn Ferry helps organizations build virtual talent strategies, including those for acquiring talent, managing performance, and developing talent in disruption—so they will withstand—and recover from—the COVID-19 crisis. Contact us to learn how we can help you improve your approach so your organization can better manage your talent during the COVID-19 outbreak.