Henley Associate Director, Brendan Blayney, writes about how the Henley business and team is adjusting to different working conditions:

“At Henley Research we are very lucky to be in a position where we can continue to operate our business and carry out all our work and projects as usual during and despite the current global coronavirus crisis.

We took the decision to close our physical office in Birmingham, UK two weeks ago, and all colleagues have been working from home since last Monday. We are quite used to team members working from home on a regular basis, and we have all the relevant technology in place to support this across the company. The transition to home-based working across the company has been very smooth, and we remain very much in a position to be able to continue to support our clients with executive search, talent mapping, talent pipelining and insights projects over the coming weeks and months.

All of our Research Consultants remain extremely busy carrying out a range of active assignments for our clients, ranging from executive recruitment projects to fill live vacancies, through to broader talent mapping and pipelining projects, and market research and business intelligence reports. This includes many projects that started before the current lockdown, as well as many that are still being given the green light during and despite the crisis.

While many potential candidates for our searches are currently exceptionally busy during the crisis, for example some of our candidate on live assignments that are responsible for managing large international supply chains of consumer packaged goods, the fact that everyone that can do is working from home means that people are often in a much more convenient position to receive our calls and discuss potential new career opportunities. Some potential candidates may also be facing uncertain futures in their current companies in part due to the economic upheaval caused by the crisis, and may therefore be more receptive to our approaches.

We also recognise that many people around the world – including our clients and current and potential candidates – will have been personally affected by the coronavirus outbreak, and will have concerns for themselves and their family members’ health. It is important that when talking to people that we treat this subject with the appropriate degree of sensitivity and empathy.

While some companies may struggle to conduct face-to-face interviews and make hiring decisions in the coming weeks and months, many companies will have no option but no continue to operate business as close to usual as possible, with video calls increasingly seen as an acceptable substitute for in-person interaction. This particularly applies to our clients in the pharmaceutical and FMCG sectors that are now facing unprecedented demand for their services, with no let-up in their requirements to find and recruit the best people.

At the same time, for these and other companies, the current “quiet” period is also a good time to focus on desk-based research into key markets and companies, identifying key talent for future requirements in the coming months once things begin to normalise. We are currently carrying out a major European talent mapping exercise in the pharmaceutical industry across key roles in commercial, medical and market access functions for one of our UK-based clients, for example.

No doubt there are further challenges and twists and turns that we can all expect to face in the coming weeks and months, but Henley Research will continue to be available to support all of our current and potential clients with their executive search, talent mapping, talent pipelining and insights projects throughout this difficult time for the world.”