What Should CEOs Consider When Facing a Shortage of Talent?

(This article was drafted by Cornerstone Lima in response to a survey conducted in Peru in the third quarter of 2021. The concerns expressed by the South American business leaders broadly reflect the concerns of executives worldwide, so the survey and comments below by Diego Cubas, CEO of Cornerstone Lima, are relevant anywhere.) 

According to the recent survey “Human Talent Challenges Facing CEOs in 2022”, the main business concern of 55% of Peruvian business owners and executives continues to be the scarcity of local talent that fits the needs of their organization.

As a result, strategic positions within their companies are challenging to fill. While the COVID pandemic initially increased the number of professionals available in the market because many organizations had decided to downsize, companies began to recruit again once a “new normal” established itself. But their search focus had changed: now they were looking for talent with much more digital, innovative, agile, and resilient capabilities.

Today, companies take longer to find the ideal candidate with the necessary skills to achieve productivity and growth. And they are casting their recruiting nets farther. Diego Cubas, Cornerstone’s Chairman for Latin America, has observed this upswing in the “talent without borders” drive. “Recruiting a person who has the skills, fits the culture and has the passion for filling the role increasingly motivates progressive companies to scan the horizons.

The survey highlighted two significant challenges that CEOs face when making their selections.

40% of CEOs said that finding a candidate who will fit into the firm’s organizational culture is a core concern. 27% also mentioned the need to find a hire with the potential to step up to a higher position.

Recruiters, understanding that these challenges are related, need to spot the ideal candidate’s potential as well as their ability to fill the current position. “In principle, companies must come to grips with the key talent needs in their organization. They should design strategies to identify professionals who possess the skills and knowledge needed now and who can be relied upon to handle what the future may bring,” observes Ignacio Mealla, director of Vistage Peru.

Diego Cubas notes that often the future can be near at hand when a senior hire is almost immediately given responsibilities in addition to the ones usually assigned to a position.   Administrators have to hope that the new employee can handle the added challenge.   But this casual expansion of mandate can result in severe problems for both the new executive and the organization. As important as identifying talent, the recruitment and selection process must adhere to these four fundamental pillars: holistic understanding of the need, in-depth market research, exhaustive 360 ​​evaluation, and, in some cases, support for the executive through an executive onboarding process”, says Diego Cubas.

Review the management climate of the organization.

Selection is becoming a two-way street at senior levels (and even lower down the hierarchy).  More and more people are looking for workplaces with solid organizational cultures that align with their professional and personal values.  This is why the chemistry with a prospective new boss and the signals emanating from this possible new work environment will influence a candidate’s decision to continue or leave the selection process.

Continually reinforce training programs.

Training programs are vital for both seasoned workers and candidates entering the company. These training programs should respond to the real needs of the organization’s workforce. Building robust programs can be attractive to applicants considering working for an organization.

Click on the links below to learn more about Cornerstone Peru and Cornerstone International Group. Established in 1989, Cornerstone International Group is one of the world’s largest Executive Search groups. Currently, Cornerstone’s global reach extends to 60 offices and 40 countries.

https://cornerstone.com.pe/ (In Spanish) and https://www.cornerstone-group.com  (in English)

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