4 Strategies for Managing the High C-Suite Volatility Trend

17 Nov 2021

4 Strategies for Managing the High C-Suite Volatility Trend

Although the business world began focusing on high C-suite volatility and turnover during the pandemic, as Odgers Berndtson’s data shows, high C-suite volatility is looking like an established trend, not a short term ‘blip’ .

Our advice? Be prepared. The good news is that, if this high turnover is not directly driven by the pandemic, HR and talent leaders have some control over it. They can put strategies in place to either manage turnover or use it as an opportunity to hire leaders who can support new directions, goals, or pivots.

When it comes to your C-suite talent strategy, here are a few things you can do as a leader to make sure you’re meeting this trend head-on and setting your executive leadership team up for success in 2022:

  • Identify your key flight risks and engage in an ongoing dialogue to ensure their career needs and aspirations are being met. As part of this effort, make sure you’re reviewing executive compensation on a regular basis – what was ‘competitive’ in Q1 is likely to be lagging the market by Q3. You can also leverage executive development as a tool to enhance retention and make sure leaders are getting the support they need.
  • Make sure you have a strong succession plan in place – and that it has been ‘stress tested’ against a range of C-suite turnover scenarios. Do you have any indications of who on your leadership team might be planning a move? How about their successors? Does your plan account for unexpected departures? A review of organization design could help you identify and plan for these scenarios. Keep in mind that turnover is high across executive leadership levels, not just the C-suite.
  • Proactively strengthen your executive talent pipeline. Not every leader can be retained, so make sure you’re filling your pipeline. Internally, evaluate successor readiness regularly, and strengthen it through coaching, leadership development and ‘stretch’ assignments and placements. In parallel, make sure you’re attracting and acquiring new C-suite back-fill executive talent. You may want to review and re-package your organization’s ‘career offer’ for 2022.
  • Finally, if you are replacing members of your C-suite, make a plan for onboarding them successfully. Onboarding a new leader is an opportunity to support the most important goals and people in your business. A comprehensive onboarding process, including new leader acceleration programs, helps your new leaders be as successful as possible, as quickly as possible. 

Even post-pandemic, these high turnover trends are likely here to stay. If you need assistance with retention of key senior talent, succession planning and readiness, attracting and acquiring new executive talent or onboarding, we’re here to help.

-Andy Parsley, Partner at OrgShakers