What matters to executive search professionals for 2020? Where are the major opportunities and what’s standing in the way of success? The numbers are in: Invenias surveyed 400 global executive search professionals to discover the top priorities, challenges, and predictions for the year ahead.
The most dominant theme to emerge from this year’s results? The rise of firms embracing digital transformation. Historically, the executive search industry has been a bit slower to adopt technology and realize the value that it can provide to one’s business. In fact, even now, only 14 percent of executive search professionals feel that their team has fully adopted their technology and 21 percent reports little or no adoption.
There are a couple of reasons for this. The number one reason is training-related: a third say they lack training resources or training is cost-prohibitive. But tellingly, CEOs provide a different answer. CEOs and other C-suite leaders overwhelmingly report that they simply don’t have the time for it.
However, as leveraging technology becomes increasingly important to be successful (and competitive), executive search professionals are finding the time to make technology a priority. In fact, 25 percent say the digital transformation of their business is a top priority for 2020 (making it third most important initiative out of 16 choices) and 86 percent say they must embrace new technology to remain competitive in the industry.
So why are firms placing high priority on technology in 2020? Or if you’re not one of those people, what opportunity could you be missing? Let’s look at a couple of reasons. (Spoiler alert: all of these are related to each other.)
1) User-friendly technology can increase adoption and improve the value of your data
Why is this important? Because this data can help you execute successful searches both now and in the future. Research teams and recruiters tend to be the heaviest users of databases and CRMs, but senior consultants and partners, who often have the most valuable knowledge living in their head, are quite often the lightest users which means they enter data infrequently, if at all. This affects the business because no one can leverage that data for current and future searches, and if they leave the business it will be lost forever.
2) Powerful reporting can help you make data-driven decisions
If you’ve decided to embrace digital transformation and understand the value that data can have on growing your business, you will inevitably reach a point when you’re going to want to make sense of all of that great data you now have at your fingertips. Powerful reporting tools allow you to pull the data you need to see in the format you want to see it in so you have the insights you need to make impactful decisions for your business.
3) Investing in technology now will save you money in the long run
If you can reduce the spread of technology, you don’t have to invest in multiple siloed tools that don’t speak to each other can cost you more cash.
I haven’t met one executive that didn’t like the sound of spending less money and consolidating the number of software tools they have. One of the most common challenges I’ve seen is that firms are using multiple technologies to solve problems that one can do by itself. This is usually because some parts of your database aren’t easy to use or have glaring weaknesses, so naturally, firms go to other tools to solve for those. The problem with this is that these systems don’t talk to each other, so data is siloed and will likely never end up in your central system. It ends up costing more to have these extra tools, and after evaluation, it is likely costing dollars in lost productivity.
As firms look to invest in new tech, it is important not only to ensure that the technology is strong in your high-priority areas but that it also has an open API or existing partner marketplace. If you do need to add additional tools to your tech stack, those relationships and integrations with market-leading vendors will already exist.
4) Leading the way in tech makes for an awfully good sales pitch
Reputation still means a whole lot in sales, but your technology/data and how you are embracing digital transformation are playing an even more important role in winning business and gaining confidence from potential clients. More than ever before I am seeing firms use technology on a pitch to earn their client’s confidence and trust that they can carry out a successful search.