Looking towards 2015 with S. Benjamins & Co.
We are excited about the New Year and expanding our work to support you in several areas. Let me share where we are focusing in the changing landscape:
1. We will continue to help clients “Fill” strategic Director, Vice President and above leadership positions with pipelines of quality talent using our hybrid retained yet flexible model of search.
Half of our searches remain in the Human Resource arena and we see that continuing.
We will expand our sourcing strategies into creative social technologies and consult with our clients on messaging and target marketing. We believe that to win in this market it will be critical to build talent communities before you need them and ensure they fit your brand and culture.
We facilitated several client and open breakfast forums this year on social technology and the impact it is having on attracting the right talent. We plan to continue this effort and introduce how to develop future relationships and build talent communities or pipelines of prospective candidates before your need them.
2. We will address “Fit” as we take on assignments and help our clients strengthen their assessment skills of potential talent for the right job at the right time. After years in the business of talent identification and evaluation, I believe that we humans, were just not programmed to make the best people decisions. It is far too complex. It requires time to learn about ourselves first and then develop the skills to assess others. For that reason, we are adding assessments as part of our search process.
As a learning HR professional, manager and then leader at Baxter International many years ago, I recall the huge investment the company made in developing managers to be great assessors of talent. It was the key differentiator in their culture – to hire stars. It required a discipline and training that remains a legend for those that knew the company here in OC and yet still a big challenge today. Some things don’t change so fast. Daniel Kahneman’s book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” illustrates that humans are systematically illogical. Not only do we mis-assess situations, but we do so following fairly predictable patterns
Given the scarcity of senior leadership talent, the stakes are high to get this right. Several of our HRoundtable members are dedicating resources to helping C level leaders learn to adapt their selection process. We are having many more conversations about hiring for potential vs. performance. Congratulations to our clients that are breaking the mold in selection and experimenting with new ideas for engaging great candidates. We want to do more of this work in 2015.
3. Lastly, we will focus on “Future” talent by offering onboarding consulting as an extension of our search work. We know that it makes a difference if newly hired leaders are prepared to learn your culture, understand respected behaviors and develop goals aligned with business. We can learn from the newly hired millennial who wants to understand how they fit in, what impact they will have and what they get to learn and do as part of the first year experience. Doesn’t everyone want that today?
Onboarding assistance will range from electronic tool-kits that might be self-managed to individualized coaching. Every leader I speak to wants an accelerated and efficient first 90 days so that hires feel engaged and excited about their role and expectations get set to meet first year goals.
A recent conversation with a respected organization consultant who specializes in engagement says that employees are clear about what they want from their leaders. Are their leaders listening? High-engagement firms had total shareholder return that was 19% higher than average in 2009. In low-engagement organizations, total shareholder return was actually 44% below average. (Hewitt Associates).
Let’s not forget our HRoundtables and the amazing energy we see in our quarterly learning forums with premier firms and their CHRO’s. This past year our newest group, the Emerging Leader group grew and will continue to do so. This group is our future CHRO pipeline and they are eager to learn from their peers and experiment with new ideas. They are wearing many hats, juggling global priorities and those courageous leaders carve out time for themselves. They know how critical it is to find and commit to personal development time and its impact on professional success.
Next year we will celebrate 15 years of hosting provocative and current trends Great Start Meetings for our community of HR leaders in LA, Orange County and San Diego. From Dan Pink, Sylvia Ann Hewlett, Blake Mycoskie to David Rock and Chamine Shirzad, we look for the up and coming respected thought leaders. Watch for our announcement soon regarding an exciting April 28th event with a nationally respected leader on “Culture Trumps Everything: Cultivating a Culture of Success.”