Savannah Group: 'The fundamentals are the same but tech is changing the process'

Savannah Group: 'The fundamentals are the same but tech is changing the process'

Executive Grapevine
Executive Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd

Executive Search might appear a simple industry to define: surely, it’s just the placing of the right type of senior leader to the right organisation.

Yet, with increasing digitisation changing the way that consumers expect services to be delivered – ordering from Amazon takes just one click – professional services are also having to evolve at a terrific speed.

This expectation, is ensuring that Search firms manage their own offering to stay on-track with consumer trends, John Ellis, Managing Partner, Savannah Group exclusively tells Executive Grapevine.

He explains: “As people get used to that [consumer] experience, they expect their Executive Search experience to have evolved as well. We spent six months researching our clients to find out what they wanted from a modern search firm.

“They told us they wanted a more bespoke, tailored service that enhances rather than competes with their in-house recruitment teams.”

Ellis explains that when Savannah launched, the above ethos became their “core offering” – as well as becoming increasingly geared to the hiring mores of the future, which puts greater emphasis on diversity.

He adds: “I think the search industry as a whole needs to evolve. Consumers expect greater immediacy of information, transparency and personalisation – and clients want to de-risk the hiring process as much as possible.

“Firms need to invest in the technology, people and processes to exceed their client’s expectations and challenges themselves to do things in a different way.”

And, much like consumers expect instant delivery, alongside in depth knowledge provided by a subject area expert on that product, Ellis notes that the “days of the generalist headhunter” are over, as clients demand a certain depth of knowledge.

“Platforms like LinkedIn have increased the visibility of candidates,” Ellis explains, “so, if you’re working with a generalist, as a client you have to ask: ‘what level of access will they have to top talent that we don’t’ have ourselves?’

“We are only human, and there is a limit to the number of relationships that a person can physically manage, so a Search or Interim consultant has to decide where those relationships should be focused.

“It’s through deep relationships with senior leaders in a specific function or industry that you can access the best talent but crucially get access to the insight and understanding that has been developed by that consultant.

“That’s the real value clients are looking for.”

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