As we move into the second quarter of the year, the Nonprofit and Social Impact practice at Koya Partners | Diversified Search Group has rounded up a few key trends we’re watching. Below find 7 key themes identified by Managing Directors Michelle Bonoan and Marissa Delgado and Managing Associate Tiara Muse.
Continued Focus on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice and Access
The focus on DEI continues, with a strong push to hire leaders of color and build equitable, inclusive cultures. Candidates are prioritizing organizations and sectors that have advanced on their DEI journey and are looking critically at those that have not. Our practice has noted an increased awareness of accessibility as a key concern when it comes to DEI, and has seen a movement toward focusing on ensuring that nonprofits are creating inclusive and accessible environments. This includes everything from building accessible web sites to being a welcoming, inclusive workplace for team members with a wide range of disabilities.
17 states and counting have passed laws around pay transparency. This is a trend that seems to be here to stay. These laws, which are aimed at closing the racial and gender pay gaps, typically require job postings to explicitly list a salary range and may also prohibit potential employers from asking candidates to provide a salary history. Organizations that are not prepared to follow these emerging guidelines may find themselves falling behind when it comes to hiring. Candidates are increasingly demanding salary transparency early in the process, and might just move on from a potential organization that does not offer up this information. Koya Partners | Diversified Search Group’s policy is to post a good faith salary on any job description posted on our website, and we are prepared to help clients work through this process and its implications.
Longtime Leaders and Founders Stepping Down
We have seen a significant increase in long-term Executive Directors, Presidents and CEOs stepping down. As we move away from the COVID era, leaders who may have otherwise retired in 2020-2021 have begun to do so en masse. We are also hearing from CEOs and Executive Directors who are simply exhausted or burned out from the stress and pressure of leading through the pandemic. Many of these leaders are considering career changes that take them out of CEO role and allow them to focus on being individual contributors or pursuing consulting work.
Increase in Internal Candidates
Our team has observed an increase in the number of internal candidates we are seeing in our engagements. While it would have been rare several years ago, it’s now not unusual to see more than one internal candidate express interest in a leadership role. The high number of founder and long-term leader transitions noted above have created opportunities internally for many rising leaders who have a deep personal connection to the missions and organizations they serve but may have felt stagnant in their career growth because of flat organizational structures or a lack of opportunity to advance.
Many Boards of Directors look and operate much differently than they did before 2020. We’ve seen an increase in board members who have full-time jobs in addition to board service, which often means they have less free time than some of their retired predecessors. This has led to a decrease in board engagement in many of our searches, as it is difficult to get a busy board engaged in a comprehensive search process. We have worked to adjust our processes to reflect this new reality, while also ensuring that boards understand that a comprehensive, effective, and rigorous process requires time and commitment.
It’s clear that some version of remote work is also here to stay. For the most part, the candidates we engage with are not at all interested in relocating, much less commuting to an office five days a week. Organizational leaders are continuing to struggle with how to build culture and promote collaboration in a mostly virtual environment. This specific leadership challenge is becoming more and more of a core competency that emerging leaders will need to demonstrate in order to be competitive candidates.
We have seen average transition times between jobs grow to 6 or more weeks, especially at the top level. Leaders moving from one organization to another are taking great care to ensure that they leave on a good note and also give themselves enough time to decompress and be ready for their next chapter. It’s important that Search Committees and hiring managers take this longer transition time into account when setting timeline expectations.