8 Most Sought-After Traits for Human Resources Executives

09/05/2018 04.35 EST

Whether the company is small and privately held or large and publicly held, the profile for the HR executive is fairly similar.
8 Most Sought-After Traits for Human Resources Executives

There are common key traits clients seek in their HR Executives

Clients have an ideal profile for HR executives as they add talent to their organizations....

Moving Ahead in the HR Field

10/12/2016 08.53 EST

HR leaders not only need to be insightful in the most progressive HR practices, but they also need to understand the business in order to effectively contribute as a member of the executive team.
Moving Ahead in the HR Field

Success does not come to those who wait. Make sure to volunteer to serve on committees or projects, especially if it involves cross-functional teams. You will continue to learn, build relationships, and get noticed.

Serving as a key member of a human resources team can be a rewarding career path. If you are focused on the business and support its growth or changes, you will be ahead of the curve. ...

Five Ways to Treat Every Candidate

02/15/2012 09.00 EST

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As an executive search consultant, I have heard several horror stories from candidates about negative experiences at the hands of companies and recruiters.  If some of the scenarios below don’t sound familiar, consider yourself one of the lucky ones.   “The company seemed so positive about my candidacy, but now, they have stopped returning my phone calls.” “When I arrived at the company for my initial interview, not only was the receptionist unfriendly, but I waited more than 30 minutes for my interview.” “Upon arriving for my interviews, I learned that the company cancelled several meetings and I had an hour in between meetings.  They didn’t even appear to be concerned that I had downtime in my schedule.” “The recruiter rescheduled my interview three times before we met.  When we finally interviewed, he only spent 30 minutes with me and even took another call in the middle of our meeting.”   CareerXroads publishes an annual survey about how a “mystery candidate” is treated by the 100 Best Companies to Work For, as listed by Fortune.  According to this year’s report, 79% of candidates who apply for a position expect to receive some feedback, but only 19% of the top 100 companies inform candidates if they are not being considered.   As more companies begin to accelerate their hiring needs, it is so important for both internal and external recruiters to focus on improving the candidate experience.  The best candidates are quite difficult to find and are in...

The Front Line

02/01/2012 11.05 EST

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I’ve spent my entire career in professional services, starting as a mental health professional followed by various stints in different parts of human resources services – employee assistance programs, outplacement and career management – and for the past 15 years, retained executive search.   I always have felt that the professional services sector is a particularly challenging one.  Our stock in trade is knowledge, gained through both education and experience.  But knowledge and experience in no way guarantee success in professional services.  One must also master the “services” side of the equation.  Specifically, how does one deliver that knowledge through services that are efficient and appeal to the consumers of those services?  Clients, patients, investors, customers at a spa – all are looking for highly specialized knowledge and assistance, but if it is delivered poorly, they will certainly devalue it and go elsewhere in the future.   I am particularly interested in how the “front line” delivers professional services.  In an organization, employees on the front line have the most customer contact, thus affecting the organization’s reputation most significantly.  Also, because those on the front line often make up a large portion of the organization, they are the most challenging group in which to build a consistent, positive service orientation.  I always look for excuses to talk to the front line whenever possible.   I recently spent an unexpected few weeks as a guest in a large hospital, part of an integrated health system in a major...

What Companies Are Looking for in their HR Leaders

11/28/2011 02.45 EST

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In the executive search world, I often hear several “ideal profiles” when companies are looking for new human resources leaders; however, most companies have one thing in common: they want a solid human resources generalist who “knows their stuff” across a variety of functional areas.   In addition to broad-based human resources skills, talent management, leadership development and sometimes executive compensation expertise are critical.  While the most frequently discussed traits in the ideal description include business-oriented, passionate, trusted advisor, emotionally intelligent and high-energy, the importance of these competencies vary based on the business – is the company global or domestic?  Growth-oriented or contracting?  Publicly or privately-held?   Some questions you may want to ask to help clarify the ideal human resources profile for your company may include:   Do we need an executive who will be a confidante and advisor to the CEO and senior team? Will the leader need experience in evaluating potential mergers and acquisitions as well as being engaged in integrating new businesses? How involved will the leader be in increasing the level of engagement with the workforce to ensure the company retains its talent? Will this person inherit a seasoned team or will they need to develop employees and identify new team members? How much building or reshaping of the organizational structure will be needed? Will benefits need to be scrutinized to ensure there is a balance between quality of offerings and cost efficiencies? How much time will this individual spend on major...

The (as of yet) Unfulfilled Promise of Talent Management

07/20/2011 02.40 EST

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Talent Management is the new black. It’s trendy, chic, and virtually every Fortune 100 company wants to have it. But, what exactly is it? The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) defines it in the following manner. A holistic approach to optimizing human capital, which enables an organization to drive short- and long-term results by building culture, engagement, capability, and capacity through integrated talent acquisition, development, and deployment processes that are aligned to business goals. Do me a favor. Walk into your CEO’s office and give him/her this definition and tell me how long it takes for their eyes to glaze over. I’ll bet you $5 you don’t get past holistic. But, if you ask him or her what drives the business, having the best people is most likely going to come out in the first sentence of their answer. The rush to establish talent management as a function is based on the perception of the C-Suite that people are indeed important coupled with the uneasy feeling from those same leaders that they don’t know how to get, develop, and keep the best people to work in their organizations. The knee jerk reaction is to create a talent management function that owns “get, develop, and keep” for the company. A leader is appointed, several functions are assigned to them (most likely executive and organizational development, performance management, talent acquisition, and perhaps diversity), and this newly created organization often finds that they have no mandate, specific objectives,...

The Best HR People I Know

06/15/2011 10.05 EST

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The first in an occasional series on what differentiates the best HR leaders We do a good deal of recruiting for senior human resources leadership positions here at the Salveson Stetson Group. We’re often asked by our clients what our thoughts are on the ideal profile for an HR Leader. It’s a hard question to answer. Dave Ulrich, the HR Guru of our time, says in his book, HR Competencies: Mastery at the Intersection of People and Business, that the most effective human resources executives share a specific set of skills. They are credible activists, business allies, strategic architects, operational executors, talent managers, organization designers, and culture and change agents. This is a great list of qualities for any senior executive but when I’m asked what differentiates a superior HR leader, I give the favorite cop-out answer of any consultant worth his or her salt: “It depends.” What does it depend on? In my opinion it all depends on context. HR leaders who truly understand what their organizations best respond to are the ones who outpace the pack in terms of impact and access. They are not wedded to any one model or methodology but possess the organizational savvy required to discover which key unlocks their particular kingdom. Over the course of this series, I will outline profiles of HR leaders with vastly different approaches who, nonetheless, achieve a very high degree of effectiveness. Here’s the first. Bill Strahan Senior Vice President, Human Resources Comcast Why he’s...