Cowen Partner’s Top Executive Search Articles & Trends in 2022

      The following articles stand out as the most searched and read from the many articles our national executive search firm published in 2022. The most widely read articles focused on executive development, tackling a looming recession, and a return to office.

      See below for our top articles and a summary of each. 

      How Public Companies Can Learn from Private Equity

      Private equity has long been a fast way to earn quick, massive returns on investment. Private equity firms invest in undervalued or underperforming companies and seek to make significant changes to their operations, often leading to dramatic results. 

      With the right company and strategic decisions, private equity firms can realize their return within two to six years. Once the pace of growth begins to slow down, private equity firms sell their acquired companies to other investors — typically other private equity investors.

      Returns to private equity firms from their investments are often enviable and unmatched through other traditional methods, like regular trading on stocks. If the private equity firm has the necessary capital, it can hold multiple portfolio companies at once, implement specific changes, and turn around and sell them for a return on the open market. 

      While the private equity model has much to offer, most U.S. public companies have failed to jump on the trend. Certain factors prevent many of them from doing so. Some elements are financial, like the potential for capital gains taxes, while others are mindset-related. 

      Public companies tend to tread lightly on short-term gains in favor of a buy-and-hold mindset. However, a public company can use specific strategies to benefit from its acquisitions, just like a private equity firm.

      Aligning Executive Pay to Drive Performance

      Executive compensation is often a hot topic around the boardroom table. Ideally, the board wants to ensure that its executives receive fair compensation for their efforts but also have a special incentive to reach specific goals for the company’s growth. 

      A poorly designed executive compensation package can result in management leaving for greener pastures or organizational goals not being met.

      Companies use many “best practices” to set up compensation packages, but they aren’t effective for every single company. The industry sector, company revenues, company objectives, and executive expertise can all play a role in the design of compensation plans.

      COO Performance Metrics: How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your COO

      A COO is responsible for the day-to-day running of your company. In this article, we explain the role of the COO in detail, outlining the different hats the candidate may have to wear depending on your business’s needs. We also list general metrics that you can use to appraise your COO’s performance. Note that there are different COO performance metrics you can use to judge your COO’s effectiveness, and the ones you use will depend on your company or the industry in which you are operating.

      Nonetheless, there are general metrics that deal with operations that you can use to judge your COO’s effectiveness. They are:

      • Employee turnover rate
      • Labor utilization
      • Operating margin
      • Operating cash flow
      • Cash conversion cycle

      We also explain how you can set and evaluate the metrics. It is crucial that you inform your COO beforehand on the specific performance metrics you would be using to judge their effectiveness. After s(he) agrees, you may set a schedule for evaluation, such as a quarterly evaluation followed by a yearly one.

      However, we didn’t stop here. We also explain what you can do if you are a startup looking for a COO to help with your company’s operations. We discuss when you should start thinking about hiring a COO, their roles, and whether you should hire from the inside or recruit from the outside.

      Businesses That Thrive During a Recession

      All the red flags indicating a looming recession are up. Inflation is increasing, interest rates are sky-high, and mass layoffs have begun. 

      Over the last few months, we’ve seen 11,000 people dismissed from Meta, 14% of the workforce cut at Stripe, and 550 employees dismissed from Opendoor Technologies. Twitter, Amazon, Zillow, and Disney announced their own layoffs and hiring freezes. 

      While the damage is limited chiefly to tech firms, it may extend to other industries in the coming months.

      While news of a recession tends to sound off alarm bells to investors, economists, and the general public, specific industries tend to remain stable and even outperform their peers. Let’s look at the sectors primed to ride through the upcoming recession.

      The CHRO Playbook: Start Your CHRO Journey on the Right Foot 

      New CHROs tend to get excited about their roles because they have the opportunity to revamp an organization’s human resource function, implement new benefits solutions, and bring new life to a company. Some CHROs fill an existing position, while others join the organization in a completely new role.

      Whether you’re the newest member of an existing C-Suite or joining a team that will drive the company from the ground up, you’ll want to make sure that you set yourself up for success. It’s essential to create a strategy so you can settle in quickly and implement your ideas. 

      Our CHRO playbook offers essential tips for managing your transition and ensuring buy-in from employees and colleagues.

      Is the Company You’re Planning to Work for Stable?

      Lots of effort goes into looking for a new job. You’ll need to take a sharp pen to your resume, prepare cover letters, undergo the interview process, and potentially take a few tests. Ideally, you’re searching for a company offering a role in your desired career path that also provides an excellent benefits package.

      However, applicants often get so caught up in finding the proper role that they fail to perform their due diligence on the company they’re seeking to work for. Just as you’re subject to lots of scrutiny before receiving an invite to join a new organization, you should analyze the company to ensure it’s the right fit for you. 

      Joining an unstable company can potentially harm your long-term career prospects. You may find yourself laid off unexpectedly and repeating the job search process much sooner than expected. You may also be miserable if the workplace isn’t welcoming.

      It’s easiest to investigate public companies for financial instability since they have financial reporting requirements they must comply with every quarter. If you know what to look for, you can identify red flags before stepping into a job that could harm your career or pocketbook.

      Before you accept a new job, take the following actions to gain a broader understanding of the company’s history and current standing.

      Flourishing During a Recession

      The economy has been a regular topic of conversation throughout 2022. Despite ongoing job growth, inflation is at a 30-year high. The Fed is engaged in a battle to fight a recession and continuing inflation by increasing interest rates, but so far, their actions haven’t been enough to tamp down rising prices.

      Companies are well aware of the potential for a recession, and some believe we are already in one. 

      Recessions tend to spark fear among consumers and businesses. After all, the Great Recession of 2008 led to numerous layoffs, and many organizations had to close their doors forever. 

      However, there are ways to ensure that your organization stands ready for a recession and comes out better on the other side. Consider these tips for preparing for a potential economic downturn.

      How CFOs Can Drive Revenue Growth

      CFOs play a pivotal role in driving revenue growth in organizations as they sit at the center of all financial operations in the organization. Because of this specific role, it is conceived by many that CFOs have little business with revenue. However, CFOs, in essence, are not merely bean counters concerned with cutting costs. They are strategic thinkers who assess the firm’s financial strengths and weaknesses and recommend ways to strengthen the latter while maximizing the former.

      CFOs hold a strategic management role that is only open to experts with the necessary skills and knowledge. Through financial leadership and strategic planning, they are able to not only cut unnecessary costs but also find ways to increase efficiency and productivity. Thus, boosting profits.

      The CMO Playbook: Your First Days as a CMO

      Stepping into a newrole as CMOis an exciting time. You’ll be joining an organization you’re likely unfamiliar with and given the task of growing revenues and expanding market reach. 

      You must have a plan in place for your first days on the job. While you may not make significant organizational changes in your first few months, your colleagues and employees will look to you for direction and wonder how you’ll transform sales and marketing activities. 

      Here are a few essential tips to get you started on the right path.

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