The Importance of Having the Right Executive Leaders in Place During Potentially Challenging Times

The Importance of Having the Right Executive Leaders in Place During Potentially Challenging Times

Having the right leaders in place is vital for the success of any business. Strong strategic direction leads to the outcome of a company’s bottom line, sustainability, and brand perception.

Solid leadership can also impact a business’ microenvironment. Recent statistics have shown poor business advice costs UK businesses approximately £12.9 billion per year.


Icon of an arrow pointing down with text: Poor business advice costs UK businesses approximately £12.9 billion per year


As the cost of living in the UK increases, with a challenging economical period on the horizon, risks are being amplified for businesses with limited diversity in skills and experience in their leadership teams.

It’s been consistently proven that hiring new leaders during or in preparation for an uncertain economic climate, in fact, drives a business’s performance and offers more financial stability.


Two people sat at a table taking notes while another person stood up is talking to them. The people are all wearing suits in a business environment, all are smiling.


Here are three common recruitment mistakes to avoid during uncertain times and our advice on hiring a great leader to navigate a challenging economy.


Common Hiring Mistakes Made During Challenging Economies


Delaying Essential Hires

While delaying hiring efforts to prevent business expenses may seem like the safest approach, you may be surprised to know the outcome can actually prove more costly overall.

Defining an ‘essential’ hire is subjective to each business. Without being proactive, you will risk forcing inexperienced and unspecialised leaders into tough situations where there’s a significantly higher chance of poor decisions being made.

Don’t hesitate to seek out an executive search firm to advise you where gaps lie in vital leadership expertise.


Person in suit on the phone whilst looking at a laptop screen.



Hiring a ‘Jack-of-all-trades’

It’s not uncommon to see businesses reserve funds by combining what should be multiple leadership roles, into one. In some cases, for smaller businesses or start-ups, this may the only viable option. However, for medium and large enterprises, it’s almost guaranteed that a department will fall short of the attention it needs by assigning one Director to oversee multiple areas i.e., HR, IT and Marketing.

Chances are, Directors are far more experienced in one discipline and therefore, could procrastinate or make the wrong decisions on behalf of any other departments.

It’s also critical to consider the well-being of a director that has the responsibility for multiple departments. High levels of pressure can result in burnout, which ultimately impacts the company’s productivity.


A person with their head in their hands. They are dressed in a suit and sat at a laptop in an office environment.



Undervaluing Job Offers

During times of economic hardship, the power dynamic usually falls in favour of the business, however, in the last 2 years, we have seen an all-time high in job opportunities, which has subsequently meant employers have had to place all efforts in retaining and attracting new talent. Therefore, this power dynamic may not shift as expected.

Despite having the final sign approval when it comes to negotiations, many hiring managers make the mistake of offering a leadership appointment at a salary less than its worth or what the market commands, in the assumption they will receive an acceptance regardless. If you’re unwilling to offer or compromise on fair remuneration, be prepared to receive a rejected offer.

If you have a set salary benchmark for a role, consider other attractive perks:

  • Longer term incentives (LTIPS) & Equity Participation
  • Remote and/or hybrid arrangements
  • Private healthcare packages
  • Creative Bonus Structures

Our team can provide market intel and advise on remuneration packages for your industry, role and location.


How to Hire a Great Leader

Hiring the right leaders is an essential criterion of any successful business. Here’s our advice on finding the right leaders.


Identify Knowledge Gaps

Review the strength and depth of your leadership’s capabilities by undertaking a SWOT analysis of the executive team. Pinpoint each members’ strengths and weaknesses and identify whether any of your executives have previous experience leading a business through turbulent times.



Two columns, one labelled strengths with an icon of a dumbbell


Once you have this data, distinguish the areas that need to be addressed and consider hiring a leader that can fulfil these demands. This will form the foundation of a job description, specifically tailored to your business requirements.


Work with an Experienced and Trusted Search Partner

We understand recruiting internally can be a challenge, especially at board and c-suite level.  To widen your talent pool, reach out to an experienced executive search firm with established networks. They will be able to deliver effectively and to the essential criteria derived from your gap analysis.


Satellite view of the earth with lines connecting different places.


Something that often gets overlooked when selecting an executive search firm, is the expertise, reputation and experience of placing leaders during economic hardship. Newer firms will have a limited understanding of the complex and unique skillset required to successfully complete this assignment.


Key Takeaway

The best method to develop your recruitment strategy for potential challenges is to assess your current leadership team and determine whether the skillsets can be supplemented by training, or if new leaders need to be added into the mix.


Get in Touch

To arrange an initial consultation to help you determine which leadership roles would benefit your business, please contact Parkinson Lee’s Managing Partner, Lee Bhandal, at l.bhandal@parkinsonlee.com

Parkinson Lee has been operating for close to a decade, and in that time has established a huge talent pool of executive-level professionals across the UK. We have extensive experience serving PLCs, AIM listed companies, PE-backed firms and SMEs across both the private and public sectors, spanning many different industries.

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