Boyden Executive Search

Determining fact from fiction is harder than ever in a socially connected and digital world. Add to that a common global experience - like a pandemic - and we certainly have a lot to talk about!

Here in the executive recruitment and leadership business, we have heard plenty of fiction about how this year has impacted executive recruiting and organizational design. That’s why Boyden Executive Search is kicking off a new myth-busting series.

Over the coming weeks, we will be calling out the assumptions we are hearing and leverage our data, insights and experiences to validate or refute the facts. Each week, we will dive a little deeper into the topics below. Along the way, we welcome your questions, comments and any new topics you would like us to explore.  Let’s begin:

Myth: The borders are shut so cross-border executive hiring is a no-go.

Au contraire While closed borders have obviously made-in person interviews pretty much impossible, reaching into the US market to recruit top talent continues unabated. In fact, it looks like it might be on the rise if our clients are any indication. The pandemic has opened the eyes of Canadian employers to the possibility of successfully working with US-based executives remotely. If an employee can work remotely from Oakville, they can just as easily be based in Omaha or Orlando . Further, in this remote environment, the risk of turnover may be higher, but the implications of turnover are much lower if the executive departs.

Shopify may have been first out of the gate to declare the bulk of its global workforce was going ‘digital by default’ with most employees continuing to work remotely for good, but they certainly aren’t the only company with eyes wide open to the possibilities presented by remote work. In fact, at Boyden, we have seen the pandemic actually open borders for clients when it comes to executive hiring. Perhaps more than ever, Canadian companies are searching for hard-to-find talent in other markets, particularly the US.

That’s because, while the pandemic has been devastating in countless ways, it has given us a trial run of remote work. And, it turns out, it's more than workable. There are challenges, yes, but many reports show that productivity is way up, new forms of collaboration are possible, and there are some real wins for work-life balance. If anything, it’s become quite clear that there either isn’t a need for a traditional head office or we just don’t need to be there all the time.

That notion opens the doors to a huge talent pool beyond our borders. If relocation is no longer  a requirement, and all relocation barriers and risks disappear, offering and accepting a role becomes simpler for both candidate and employer. While there is a great deal of freedom and possibility in that, it’s important to remember that it also means it’s equally simple for either party to bid adieu.  The likelihood of securing talent may be higher and the chance of losing that talent may be higher, but the implications for both are much lower.

The digestibility of that balance may be worth considering if your organization is short on specialized local talent and would benefit from casting a wider net. If you do decide to take the plunge and seek out talent south of the border (or abroad!), here are a few things to keep in mind:

A remote role might not be as suitable for a CEO or a cross-functional leader compared to the head of a singular function, but so much remains to be seen as we wind our way through the pandemic and beyond. In lieu of waiting for the history books to be written, it’s safe to say the remote environment has changed things forever, opened up a world of talent beyond our borders, and made clear that much of what we thought was impossible is achievable.

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