Confident lady business coach team leader posing in office, portRegardless of industry, if there is a retail or e-commerce component, the chances are good that you’ve noticed significant changes — and so have executive recruiters.

It’s a particularly great time for those leaders who have tech experience to be placed in positions they find rewarding. Recruiting firms have likely noticed the differences from before the pandemic, and most of them have embraced digital strategies necessitated by the pandemic.

An insightful article on the Hunt Scanlon Media website addresses what executive recruiters and the executive leaders themselves want to see from new leaders who want to dive into the unpredictable but possibly lucrative waters of modern e-commerce and retail.

In search of adaptability

Overall, what leaders for companies that center on retail sales are looking for is someone who can think different — and do it at quick pace to keep up with ever-changing standards.

“They’ve also been able to initiate these changes without necessarily seeking board approval,” said Melissa Reed, an executive recruiter for retail and consumer businesses quoted in the article. “Such actions have arguably been swept under the COVID-19 carpet.”

Part of Reed’s work is to prepare a report for her executive recruiting agency that gives an overall picture of what investment in people will look like for those in retail realms. That report notes that it’s a great period in time for possible growth, despite misgivings as the new year turned.

“Fundamental to this will be investment in talent because only those businesses that have bold and forward-thinking senior people in place will be able to maximize this tremendous opportunity,” according to the report.

It’s leaders of e-commerce departments, including those in the C-suite, that have been elevated to new positions that include brick-and-mortar roles, as well as the digital world. Reed believes that a leader’s ability to pivot and adapt will be a key hiring draw from this point forward.

“Dramatically pushing forward pre-COVID-19 plans has been of great significance this past year and has marked out those progressive firms with bold leaders from the timid also-rans,” she said. “We’ve seen the emergence of new DTC (direct-to-consumer) and platform/marketplace models.”

Making career moves

Reed also believes that the hesitancy of the financial downturn is waning — now some leaders feel more comfortable seeking new opportunities.

“Adding to this dynamic is the myriad companies that are now questioning if they have the right people in the right places,” Reed said. “This will be further fueled by the inevitable raft of restructurings that will be a feature of the retail sector over the forthcoming months.”

Another factor in question is the overall retail landscape. With physical stores either closed or at limited capacity, companies are likely deciding things differently when it comes to the overall leadership mix.

“There are question marks over the futures of senior store-based and head office staff who have been on extended furlough,” Reed said in the article. “Digital has replaced much of their revenues.”

To that end, companies will need to get their timing right when it comes to finding the right person, Reed said. Relevant skills for retail leadership — especially those that make digital sales a high priority — will be the ones that most top recruiting agencies and hiring managers across the country are seeking.

Although, they should be doing that with intention.

“Great care has to be taken when investing in people to ensure the right leadership and capability is in place to be able to seize the opportunities that will come with recovery,” Reed said. “This must be balanced with the optics of hiring when furlough, redundancies and closed stores are affecting others in your organization.”

Finding the right candidates

With all the changes that the pandemic has brought about — include a lot of renewed optimism — it’s clear that executive recruiters are looking for is someone who can create a vision and guide team members to execute in a high-growth environment.

One of the things that we do at Y Scouts is to help place results-oriented leaders at companies with a clear mission. These professionals are performance-driven and understand how the purpose of a company should guide every decision.

Our discovery process works in tandem with our own research on a company’s unique DNA in order to match candidates with compatible organizations. Our partner companies want to hire someone who is distinctive inspired by what a company has to offer in all areas, from culture to strategic planning.

To find out more about what we can provide to leaders from all walks of life as well as companies searching for the best leaders, visit our website.