With CXO hiring mandates getting impacted by the economic downturn, executive search firms are offering services that go beyond pure search. Firms like Accord Group, Egon Zehnder and Executive Access, to name a few, have tweaked their service offerings to include transition services, leadership coaching and cultural transformations to cater to emerging client needs.
Accord Group India managing partner Sonal Agrawal said: “The slowdown has affected CXO hiring in some sectors, and some companies are offering paid transition assistance to CXOs of good standing who have been made redundant. In response to evolving client needs, we have selectively unbundled some of our core services to provide sharper leadership talent solutions for our clients. They now pick the service they need at the time — popular offerings are career transition services and independent market reference checks.”
According to Executive Access India MD Ronesh Puri, the industry is mostly witnessing replacement hiring, while fresh hiring has fallen by 30-40% since a year ago. “Time lags in hiring too have lengthened as companies err on the side of caution. During these phases, we offer services like leadership coaching, mentoring, management appraisal, outplacement. When you are well entrenched in this industry and you understand the ethos of a company, you try and help the client grow through your knowledge and experience,” said Puri.
Benchmarking talent against competition, compensation analysis and evaluating reporting structures are some other services search firms offer companies looking for external help on these matters. The idea is that while internally, an organisation may have a restrictive view of its talent, a third party can do a better assessment of the same.
Egon Zehnder has evolved into a firm that offers solutioning services to its clients for a longer-term relation.
Egon Zehnder India managing partner Pallavi Kathuria, said: “There’s been some slowdown in sectors like automotive, NBFCs and telecom, but over the years we have changed our focus to not just hiring but on solutioning through executive development, board effectiveness, talent reviews, etc. When a client is not hiring, we help them in strengthening talent pipelines and cultural transformations.” Kathuria, however, said at leadership levels, the firm does not see much of an impact from economic cycles.
Can such additional services help search firms tide over a bad patch? Pure-play executive search firm BTI Executive Search MD James Agrawal, said services other than executive search cannot earn the kind of fees firms earn from the core business of executive hiring. “The only way to emerge out of an economic downturn is to diversify the search portfolio so that the firm is not over dependent on any one sector,” Agrawal said.
Source: Economic Times