Agnieszka Zajac and Robert Scharfe (Odgers Berndtson): Talent for today and tomorrow
“We work with company boards and executive committees to leave a legacy for future generations.” - Agnieszka Zajac
“We aim to ensure the dynamic development of clients’ business and the sustainability of their companies.” - Robert Scharfe
Odgers Berndtson Luxembourg managing partner Agnieszka Zajac and financial practice chair Robert Scharfe argue that the future of a company is shaped by defining its purpose for today and tomorrow, then by attracting the individuals to make it happen, wherever they might be in the world.
What role does Odgers Berndtson play in the Luxembourg market?
Agnieszka Zajac (AZ): Odgers Berndtson is a global player in top-level recruitment with 50 years of experience, 1000 employees, and 71 offices in 35 countries. We are consistently ranked among the top 10 global executive search firms. I chose to join Odgers Berndtson to share the knowledge and trends of tomorrow's job market to Luxembourg and to broaden access to rare talent, wherever people might be in the world.
Robert Scharfe (RS): The Luxembourg firm specializes in identifying, recruiting, and supporting the development of highly talented individuals in key sectors of the Luxembourg economic, financial, and institutional ecosystem. We have a strong foothold with our expertise and deep understanding of the local market with its international dimension and aim to ensure the dynamic development of our client's business and the sustainability of their companies.
How would you analyse the challenges facing business leaders today?
RS: The business world is one of unparalleled complexity today and requires increasingly sophisticated skills and capabilities on the part of managers. Regardless of the sector, the challenges and opportunities presented by digitalization and sustainability, to name just two, require substantial investment by companies and their leaders. The result is a hunt for under-resourced talent and a surge in the financial packages they can command.
AZ: Our daily work is to help the board and executives, and we work with them to leave a legacy for future generations. The biggest challenges are ESG, whose facets range from diversity, ethics, and inclusion along with the ability to find the right leaders, with competencies and forward-thinking attitude to implement the course decided by the board. Other key issues are digital transformation and succession planning. For example, we are putting in place practical schemes to help women fulfill their potential as leaders while striking the right balance between their professional and private lives. This benefits the company, the employee, and society at large.
How do you help companies create the leaders of tomorrow?
AZ: The future is prepared by clearly defining the company's purpose today and visualizing the path it wants to take tomorrow. This helps clarify medium- and long-term needs and attract the right people, with not only the skills but the values and beliefs needed to move the company forward. Global businesses such as Unilever and Walmart, or domestic ones such as the Luxembourg Stock Exchange or Post, have defined clearly the objectives and governance that will guide their growth in the months and years to come. This approach opens the door to much more diverse, value- and future-driven recruitments, both internally and externally. Many companies ask us to provide this type of support.
RS: We act as a partner to companies in succession planning and therefore in the assessment and management of the skills of existing executives, particularly those with high potential, but also in identifying and recruiting new leaders in order to strengthen the company’s existing skills.