How to be a More Effective Leader When Hiring Talent

09/28/2017 01.51 EDT

Have you ever interviewed with someone and were convinced they never saw your resume? What kind of impression were you left with as a result?
How to be a More Effective Leader When Hiring Talent

As we continue to hire new talent, the competition is nipping at our heels. Given the increasingly competitive search environment, having a recruiting strategy in place before you need to hire a new team member is a critical step to attracting the talent you need.

When hiring new talent, the competition is nipping at our heels. It’s not uncommon now to speak with an executive who has received several offers simultaneously. Given the increasingly competitive search environment, having a recruiting strategy in place before you need to hire a new team member is a critical step to attracting the talent you need....

Rating Philadelphia as a Place to Live and Work: Senior Executive Insights

12/16/2015 02.42 EDT

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Click here to view our report: Rating Philadelphia Survey Results – Salveson Stetson Group  

End of the Day Parade

07/15/2013 09.20 EDT

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There are many things I love about the Please Touch Museum, Philadelphia’s children museum.  One of my favorite activities is its End of the Day Parade, a daily tradition where staff members and colorful characters wander through the museum with instruments, encouraging children and their families to follow them.  They march around the museum and eventually out the main door.  This parade is an orderly process that allows the children and their families to end a day of play and learning in a fun way without tantrums, tears and resistance.  It is brilliant!   I have always wondered if the End of the Day Parade would be effective in the workplace.  Change and transitions are disconcerting for everyone – children and adults alike.  HR executives are constantly focused on leading change management initiatives, attempting to determine approaches that may help the organization and its employees navigate through shifts in strategy, organizational redesigns, restructurings and adapting to new leaders.  During times of change, many questions emerge, including:   What messages do we need to reinforce and how often do they need to be repeated?   Are leaders clear on the direction they are going? Which employees or key talent need to be communicated with and how do you ensure their “buy-in” to the changes? How do we retain top talent under times of uncertainty? How do we coach managers and leaders to ensure consistent messages and themes are being stated? What obstacles will we face and how will...

4 Ways Companies Can Fix Succession Planning in 2013

01/29/2013 04.15 EDT

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Succession planning is a bit like flossing your teeth or going on a New Year’s diet – you know it is a good idea and that it can only make you healthier, but it is difficult to muster the discipline necessary to follow through on the commitment.   Most companies take a similar approach toward building a succession plan – or not building one.  The majority of organizations today lack an adequate pool of internal candidates ready to replace the executives who are slated to be promoted to the next management level or retire.  By first addressing the shortfall they have of candidates for key positions in the organization, companies can then begin to develop a comprehensive succession plan.   To stick to that New Year’s resolution of finally mapping out your organization’s successors, follow these four simple steps to get started.   Find out who cares about succession planning.  If the Board, the CEO or division leaders don’t care about succession planning, don’t waste your time trying to drive a program.  If you want to get them interested, remind them of some spectacular successes (or failures) in succession planning that had a real effect on the company.  If they still aren’t interested, update your resume and start looking for a new job. Conduct a “succession audit.”  Don’t panic – this does not have to be a big deal.  For each critical position in the organization, identify two types of employees who are already on staff: those...

Post Recession: Executive Pay on the Rise

01/04/2013 02.46 EDT

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In the years leading up to the recession, the talent market was hot. Unemployment in 2007 was hovering in the 4.5 percent range and U.S. GDP growth – while not as robust as the late 1990s – had recovered nicely from the business and geo-political turmoil of the early part of the decade.   These factors created a business environment where the need for new senior executive talent was at a premium, and the price companies were willing to pay for such talent showed it.   In a recent study of our executive placements since 2006, we found that executives changing jobs in the two years leading up to the financial meltdown enjoyed a windfall in terms of compensation increases. On average, they were receiving an increase in total compensation of almost 25 percent.   Executive pay drops with the economy – 56% in 2 years   Adding to low unemployment and high GDP growth, a key demographic issue seemed to be fueling this increased appetite for talent: the upcoming mass retirement of the Baby Boomer generation. The eldest of the Baby Boomers were turning 60 in 2006. They had recouped their investment losses, their retirement accounts were bursting at the seams, and they appeared on the verge of enjoying the “New 40” at their leisure. Then, well, you know the story.   As the enormity of the financial meltdown took hold in late 2008, it threw U.S. corporations into turmoil. At first, they were paralyzed and began instituting hiring...

The One That Got Away: Why Some Companies Just Can’t Land Superstars

09/20/2012 09.33 EDT

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“We need to win the war for talent!”; “People are our most important assets!”; “The only capital we have is human capital!” blah blah blah   Insert CEO’s name here and these statements could come from the leader of any Fortune 500 company.  Ask one of these leaders what their top five priorities are and invariably a talent related issue will be in that group.  So, if talent is so important, why are so many companies so bad at recruiting the cream of the crop to their companies?  Mostly, they can’t get out of their own way.  Their recruitment processes aren’t designed to differentiate themselves from the crowd and often end up frustrating high performing, high potential candidates who could be difference makers in their organizations.   Listed below are some of the major stumbling blocks:   You can’t recruit a 100 mph candidate with a 55 mph recruiting process. Great talent is always in demand and, more importantly, always in play.  If it takes you two weeks to get a candidate on the interview calendar, another week to get that candidate feedback on her interviews and three more weeks to schedule second round interviews, don’t be surprised if she calls you up in week five of this marathon to tell you she has taken another position.  Many companies, particularly large companies, just can’t make the wheels turn fast enough for a superstar candidate, even when they really want to bring her on board.   Stars are...

What to Assess When You’re Assessing

05/29/2012 09.35 EDT

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The use of some type of assessment methodology has been on the increase in the executive selection process over the past several years. While executive assessment is nothing new in Corporate America and tools such as Assessment Centers have been in use for well over 30 years, the proliferation of the use of assessment tools in the selection of external leaders is a relatively new phenomenon. In my experience, assessment tools for external candidates have become fashionable over the past decade and can be tied to the increasing focus that many corporations place on talent management.   Traditionally, and in my opinion incorrectly, corporations have held the recruitment and selection of external leaders as separate and distinct from such company pillars as its culture, leadership development and succession planning process. The attributes by which an external candidate wins a leadership position in a new company are often at odds with the process by which an internal executive would receive a promotion in that same company.   Take the Julie Roehm/Wal-Mart debacle as an example. If Ms. Roehm had been subjected to an assessment process that included a review of how she would fit within the Wal-Mart corporate culture, would the company have hired her in the first place? Not just to Wal-Mart’s benefit either, as Ms. Roehm herself told Fast Company in 2009 for an article titled “Behind the Rebranding Campaign of Wal-Mart’s Scarlet Woman”: “She now ranks cultural fit — geographic and corporate — at the...

The Front Line

02/01/2012 11.05 EDT

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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...

Struggling With Retention? 3 Tips for Keeping Top Talent

12/07/2011 02.15 EDT

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Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to pose this question to a group of executives:   Which of these is more challenging in your business?   Finding great talent Keeping great talent   By a margin of 2:1, survey respondents said they had more trouble keeping talent.  One respondent took the time to point out the heart of the problem in his company:   “We keep investing in our employees and the competition keeps giving them much better offers.  It’s not only about the money, but also the job titles.  If we start offering the same to any of them, we will end up with ten managers in each department.”   This comment highlights a few of the frustrations faced by employers who know the value of their employees, invest in them and sometimes end up losing them to the competition.   As with most things related to people and organizations, there can be several variables at play when you are not retaining the talent you most need in your company.  Some of these issues are under your control and others are not.  But if you want to begin to understand what might be going on in your company, I suggest you ask yourself these three questions:   What do employees think of your culture?  Sometimes it’s hard to understand what employees really think about your company.  How can you find out what’s on their minds?  For starters, employee survey tools can help.  Some leaders take...

The Ideal Retained Search Relationship

11/21/2011 12.27 EDT

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While conducting the search for a Vice President of Human Resources for an international consumer goods company last year, I had the hardest time convincing the hiring manager to interview one of the candidates we surfaced for the position.  She had fewer years of experience than he was seeking, her industry exposure was related but not a one-to-one match and she had several moves early in her career – something he reacted negatively to.  He just did not want to interview her.  After going back and forth with him as the search progressed, I finally said “Brian, trust me. She’s the right person for the job.”   He begrudgingly acquiesced and, after three rounds of interviews, enthusiastically offered her the role.  He promoted her within six months of her start date.  While speaking with him recently about his reluctance to grant that first interview, he said “I would never have interviewed her based on her resume.”  At that point, I knew I had earned my fee for the assignment.   Retained search did itself a disservice during the pre-information age when it held up the mysteries of candidate development as one of the key differentiators for the industry.  The message was “we can find people that you can’t.”  The industry made it seem like there was some black box—locked away in the safe at corporate headquarters—that held the names of executives who somehow couldn’t be accessed by those not initiated into the executive search club.  As candidate...