"The market is active regardless of the pandemic. So, if you find that ‘needle in a haystack’ you have to be prepared to make a decision, or someone else will capture that candidate.”
CHICAGO (PRWEB) August 02, 2020
Linda Mack, President, and Founder of Mack International was invited to moderate a panel for the Opal Group’s Family Office Planning and Structured Forum held virtually on July 1, 2020. Linda was joined by panelists Carol Schleif, Deputy Chief Investment Officer, Abbot Downing (MFO); Trish Botoff, Principal Consultant, Botoff Consulting, LLC; and Michael Rosenblatt, President, The Quest Organization. The topic explored was “Talent Management and Continuity during the Pandemic Crisis and Beyond.”
The session opened with a discussion on the level of preparedness family offices felt when faced with circumstances surrounding the pandemic. Contingency planning and business continuity were thrust into the spotlight. “The panel reported many family offices found it challenging to respond to the unanticipated need to work remotely,” said Linda. “Plans were not in place in many cases.” There were, however, examples of some family offices who had experienced unforeseen circumstances like 9/11 in New York City. “Family Offices who were “battle tested” by prior were able to quickly pivot and set up alternative office infrastructures and shift their staff to work remotely. Their transitions were much smoother.”
The pandemic’s impact on hiring was particularly profound. The ‘shelter in place’ edicts affected the entire process, as in-person interviews were necessarily replaced with video conferencing. Both the family and a prospective candidate were compelled to reach a comfort level with virtual meetings. Linda’s observation was most did so quickly and remarkably well. “Competition for talent continues to be intense. Thanks to technology, most people are accustomed to video conferencing, however the question becomes, are you comfortable enough to hire someone you have never formally met? The market is active regardless of the pandemic. So, if you find that ‘needle in a haystack’ you have to be prepared to make a decision, or someone else will capture that candidate.” The panel discussed families they knew who were hiring at more junior levels or inviting professionals to join them on an interim basis until they were confident in making offers for a permanent position.
Onboarding and mentoring new executives on a virtual or remote basis presents a distinct challenge when the office is essentially “closed.” The panel agreed communication was paramount—whether the situation called for 1:1 or collaborative teams. Some examples of best practices included assigning a “buddy” versus a “boss” to mentor and assimilate the new person into the family culture. At the executive level, we also heard examples of family principals or board members helping a new leader with other key executives and staff members. Stories were shared on how families engaged and motivated staff, showing gratitude and building morale. “Some Family Office leaders seeing their staffs working diligently despite remote conditions are planning to recognize and reward that hard work in order to retain key employees,” said Linda. “Of course, for some, it is too soon to tell how much their respective budgets might be constrained or adversely affected. But the desire to show appreciation is there.”
Plans going forward are not entirely clear. Linda continues to help families dealing with the continued uncertainty. “No one could have anticipated the scale of this disruption and the consequences to individual family offices. Most would agree getting back to the office will be difficult before the fourth quarter. Comradery, collaboration and brainstorming in person creates a more powerful connection not easily simulated virtually. People are anxious to be together again. The good news is we have proven we can successfully make working remotely a positive and productive experience. In the future, when we do have the choice, to what extent will remote working replace onsite presence? Only time will tell.”
About Mack International LLC
Mack International is the premier, a boutique retained executive search and strategic management/human capital consulting firm serving national and international clients in the family office, family business enterprise, and the wealth management industries on a national and international basis. Founded in 2002, the firm has achieved an exceptional track record of success as evidenced by its unmatched industry expertise, in-depth market knowledge, and unparalleled track record of success. Founder and President, Linda C. Mack has established proprietary methodologies such as the Mack 360© and is credited for having coined the term “expert generalist” in the industry.