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Can executives work from anywhere?

Terry Farber Eliasaf | July 3, 2022

The world is ready to make lemonade out of those sour Covid lemons. Working from anywhere is here to stay, opening the doors to global recruitment opportunities, including for executives.

Innovations in global trade and technology have made the world a more connected place. Rapid digital transformation is enabling businesses to interact and provide services to people across the globe, like never before. While the Covid-19 pandemic may have slowed supply chains across the world, it has exponentially accelerated globalization efforts, especially among growth-minded companies across industries. Worldwide lockdowns and stay-at-home orders drove 63% of company leaders to embrace digital transformation sooner than originally planned, and we saw social and collaboration tools shift from being ‘nice-to-have’ to ‘must-haves,’ in order to support remote work needs.

Now that we are learning to live with the pandemic and its recurring ebbs and flows, it seems that working from anywhere is here to stay. This, of course, is not just a company contingency plan, in the event that the next Covid wave sends us back to quarantine. Rather, employees and companies alike have seen the intrinsic value of hybrid or remote work approaches, and those who are growth-minded now demand said work models.

For employees, benefits include no more commuting (and therefore, more free time before and after work), the ability to work flexibly from any location and while wearing any attire, and improved morale. For companies, those benefits lead to increased productivity and satisfaction on the job, which, in turn, promote greater profits for the entire organization. What’s more, when employees work from anywhere, companies can have their pick of the global talent pool, rather than settling on the best talents within a particular geographic location. This, of course, includes a new and breakthrough segment of the working population: executives.

New normal, new recruitment challenges

According to Forbes, remote work is here to stay and will only increase in the coming years. In the US, remote work opportunities for high-paying jobs increased from under 4% before the pandemic to over 15% in 2022. Yet, despite the fact that 74% claim that working from home is better for their mental health, and 84% reported being willing to take a pay cut, in exchange for greater happiness on the (remote) job, this new normal is not without its fair share of challenges - for employees/job seekers and companies alike.

When it comes to recruiting new executives, the world is every future-forward company’s oyster. However, in opening their office doors to remote talents from around the world, executives suddenly find themselves face-to-face with massive amounts of people from different cultures and backgrounds, living in different time zones, speaking different languages, possessing different specializations and expectations, and navigating technical challenges linked to internet connectivity, data security, and communication. Of course, it goes without saying that these challenges are experienced by the candidates as well.

The pandemic has changed what executives do on the job, and how they do it, in order to overcome remote management challenges such as the lack of face-to-face supervision, lack of team cohesiveness and ongoing communication, social isolation, and potentially lowered productivity. Digital fluency and the ability to lead remotely are now must-have executive abilities, among others. Those who have adapted to the new normal and want to make the most of the ‘work from anywhere’ movement are looking to be inspired by companies looking to hire, fully aware that they can have their pick of companies, around the world.

Here, employer branding comes into play; companies must sell candidates on working for them by discussing their mission, values, innovation opportunities, benefits, and authentic voice. A people-first philosophy can be particularly effective, and the use of testimonials from satisfied global employees can go a long way, if a would-be executive is to be swayed to join their leadership.

Additionally, interim managers from around the world are now being recruited to lead projects during transitions to this new normal. In doing so, companies are able to fill roles that suddenly become open, for a myriad of reasons, and continue to meet KPIs, while searching for more permanent positions. Candidates seeking to assume leadership roles but unsure of whether the company is a perfect fit for them, can now “try the role on for size,” as an interim manager, with the hopes of being offered a permanent position, should the placement be mutually satisfying for all sides. This is a truly revolutionary change for the executive search field, opening the doors to more and better-suited matches between candidate-executives and companies, worldwide.

Note that it’s integral that the recruitment experience is consistent for all candidates. Yet, at the same time, it must also be localized for candidates from different geographic locations. To achieve this goal, a certain degree of cultural knowledge and sensitivity is required. Establishing an organizational culture that embraces diversity and inclusion across geographic and socio-cultural boundaries is key.

What remote executives can do to succeed on the job

Once candidates and companies have made the decision to enter a working relationship, it’s time to integrate all the knowledge and adopt trends brought forth during and because of the pandemic. At Hunter, we understand that starting a new leadership position from anywhere in the world (i.e. without relocating) can have its fair share of challenges. That’s why we’ve culled a few of the latest remote leadership trends right here, to make the transition period and the relationship between companies and new executives, that much smoother:

Companies should encourage executives to get to know their team members, before diving into work. Executives should be provided with briefs about team members, and schedule (remote) “get to know each other” meetings, to learn each team member’s work style, strengths, motivations, and what engages them, day in and day out.

Executives should leverage the latest remote communication tools to manage teams, set expectations and timetables, monitor progress, keep the dialogue flowing, and allow for casual conversation, in addition to business-as-usual diatribe.

If possible, in-person meet-ups should be periodically scheduled to bridge gaps caused by geographic distance and aid in fostering a sense of cohesiveness and team spirit.

The foundation for these trends or best practices to succeed is the relationship established between the executive and the company, as early as during the initial recruitment phase. When done right, both parties can understand how they can execute a remote leadership experience that feels closer than ever, and promote better business results, than were previously achieved, through 100 percent in-office (and mostly locally-recruited) employment.

Hunter (Kestria Israel): Your single point of contact for global executive search

At Hunter, going beyond is more than a slogan, it’s the philosophy that guides us, each and every day. For over a decade we’ve been going the extra mile, learning who our clients are and what they need, to form long-lasting, mutually-beneficial relationships that grow businesses and professionals alike. Our unique people-centric approach and partnership orientation are what motivate us to listen, learn, look beyond pre-existing bounds, and make successful matches between candidates, companies, and VCs.

Partnering with Kestria, the world’s largest executive search alliance, we are able to tap into the massive global talent pool and leverage scores of geographic, cultural, linguistic, and other knowledge to guide candidates and companies through successful recruitment processes that culminate in long-lasting partnerships. Active in 90 cities across 6 continents, we’re your ideal partner, championing the new normal and promoting positive executive placements for remote leadership positions that meet your needs best.

Looking to gain a competitive edge through remote executive search? Talk to us about our global executive search services <Contact Us>