Tuesday, November 24, 2015
A key driver for success in a B2B manufacturer of machined products was engineering ingenuity and the ability to be ahead of the curve. The VP Engineering was an innovator and design expert but not a natural leader. Turnover had plagued the department. Due to business growth and forecasts, plans were to hire additional engineers and B&B was asked to partner on the recruitment of a new role, an Engineering Manager, who would manage, mentor and develop talent and report to the VP Engineering.
B&B met with the CEO, COO and VP of Human Resources to best understand the recent history and evolution of the business, current organization structure, customer base, product development cycle, engineering success, challenges due to turnover in engineering, culture, expectations of internal and external stakeholders, reinvestment into employees and company, engineering career pathing, and so on. B&B probed about the VP Engineering to better understand strengths, weaknesses, value, soft skills, and key drivers.
B&B was asked to comment and complimented the executive team on the success of the business but declined to take on the search as originally defined because the company was masquerading the real issue and that is that the VP Engineering is better at relating with products than people. B&B explained that there are two key challenges that were presented. First, the VP Engineering is a talented product developer, gains gratification from product development, and to maximize value going forward needs to key on product development. Second, the company needs to hire and develop additional engineering talent. B&B recommended changing his title to VP Product Development and assign staff on a project basis only. To solve the second challenge B&B recommended hiring a more senior leader with a history of managing and developing engineering talent who would report to the COO and have dotted line responsibility to the VP of Product Development. B&B was engaged, identified a select slate of candidates and completed the Engineering Director search within 38 business days. The incumbent VP was thrilled to concentrate on product development and the new hire was later promoted to VP Engineering.
Thursday, November 19, 2015
As time expands from the most recent economic downturn, the pendulum of supply and demand starts to shift. Over the last fourteen years, US economy was impacted with a recession in the 2000 to 2004 period and again a deeper recession from 2008 to 2011/2012. Most companies did not hire trainees nor develop talent during these downturns. Employers were in control and dictated the employment scene.
Today's times are different. Acquisitions, geographic expansion, infrastructure investing, product development, technology advancements, and a host of other initiatives to strategically grow revenues and increase valuations are common place…..and talent is needed to achieve these goals. Due to the recent recession, job churning has slowed down and that coupled with increasing retirements and lack of employer hiring and development during the most recent recession has shifted the pendulum back to the employee. The average tenure of employees in three age groups ranging from 25 to 54 years old have all increased. The quit rate is a historically low number.
In recent years technology has made a huge advance and employees that have not invested in developing their technical skills and gained highly valued experience are at a major disadvantage in today’s market. Rebounding from an economic downturn, the needs of hiring companies are more commonly not aligned with the long term unemployed OR tenured employed with stale experience. In many categories the demand outweighs the supply and availability of talent due to business evolution and technology. The accent on hiring is that candidates must be specialists with “current” or “advanced” skills required to meet performance criteria OR come from a direct competitor.
Average annual increases are 3% and the lure to change employers is not just about more compensation, better benefits, or a promotion. Social media has provided the employee with a vehicle to reference check a prospective employer and assess culture, leadership, stability and career pathing before signing up. Companies are now marketing their opportunities to attract talent and investing in training, upgrading benefits, and developing career pathing for top 8-10% of employees. The career choices for top talent are wide, deep, and rewarding. Navigating and properly weighing the career choices are confusing while retaining and securing talent is a major challenge for small to medium size companies with ambitious growth plans.
B&B partners with clients on search strategy, validation, and acquisition of talent and counsels candidates on career choices and expectations.
Monday, November 9, 2015
The 4th quarter is when the year long numbers become real. It is the quarter that has the most expense cuts and reductions in employment. It is the quarter for annual and strategic planning on talent deployment for the upcoming year. Turnover of leadership is soaring. Some of this is due to retirements and job changes, but the majority is forced resignations due to inability to meet expectations and move the company forward successfully in this new economy.
Not everyone is a natural leader and the lure to increase visibility, gain power, and be rewarded is a confidence builder. The most common reasons why leaders fail are:
(1) become self serving and do not support their team;
(2) will not delegate tasks to develop learning (become stressed out with work overload and create turnover of staff);
(3) stop directing people forward;
(4) become too political or arrogant;
(5) become resistant to change and can not adapt their style to a new environment (more reactive than proactive); and/or
(6) do not communicate well with external and internal stakeholders.
The challenge for most organizations is how do you go about finding the right leader for the right job at the right time? This requires planning and setting realistic expectations. First step is to define the search criteria. Sounds simple; however, B&B has found that 70+% of all exempt searches are altered from initial scope because hiring authorities are too inwardly focused and subconsciously not aligned with the goals of the role and the needs of the business. B&B partners with clients to create a complete and detailed description of core responsibilities, definition of opportunities to contribute, reporting structure, resources, client/candidate expectations, hard and soft skill requirements, and compensation. Before starting the search we want to make sure all parties have strategically evaluated the search and defined the interview process. The second step is to determine specific examples of workplace behavior and experiences that candidates should possess.
B&B partners with clients to define and assess the technical and soft skills, knowledge, and business experience required for hiring talent. B&B will assist in creating a search scorecard to align all the decision makers, ensure the evaluation and selection process, and facilitate the hiring process to secure the right talent at the right time.
Thursday, November 5, 2015
Another great testimonial!
"I had a great experience with Bohan & Bradstreet. B&B was a true asset to me during the entire process from the beginning with resume suggestions to the end with the negotiation of the final terms. B&B was completely upfront during the process and had me prepared for each step. They had great insight into the personalities of the executives with whom I met allowing me to effectively prepare for each meeting. Thanks again for all the help."
CFO, Financial Services