All Posts in Talent Economy

January 10, 2016 - No Comments!

Entrepreneurs are Paranoid – A New Year View

It always happens in January.  We start a new year and budget for 2016 and even though we are in our 19th year of successful business, I remain paranoid.  In the past it was stronger for me in the first quarter than other times of the year.  My husband says I do this every year and should not worry.  Last year we had our best year since 2008.  Actually I am proud to say that my level of paranoia is quite diminished relative to other years and we did celebrate proudly at the close of the year.

As business owners it is totally natural to be suspicious or fearful of starting a new year with a steep ramp for projects and not knowing what is ahead.  What we do know is that employment is up and more jobs are being filled than expected.  We also know that these emotions feed our desire to succeed, try new things and be innovative.  Yes, that is a win win for us worry warts. So, why am I paranoid?

Aside from reading the business section today proclaiming gloom and a "bad week for stocks which dims 2016 outlook,"  which I am trying to ignore, there is still that uncertainty on how our work will play out this year.  The business climate is good, however, I see our clients managing intense amounts of work, stressed at times and resource constrained.  Then, I remember what my dear friend and respected Professor, Jeremy Hunter, at the Drucker Institute says, "manage moment to moment and with intention."  My intention this year is to enjoy the moments such as when;

  • Colleagues and friends are there for you when you have a problem or a happy moment to share
  • Laughing at myself more
  • Delighted clients with new hires say they appreciate our help or just simply when we help them by listening
  • Candidates thank us for keeping them informed (whether they get the job or not) or call to say they love their job
  • People we care about call for career game plan help
  • HRoundtable  or Great Starts Breakfast conversations transform ideas into action
  • Stephan and I are able to try out new things like Argentine Tango and cycling trips; laugh and learn something newstephand sherry2016

What do you want your meaningful moments to be this year?

Enjoy the adventure of the unknown and if you also get paranoid, don't worry, it is natural and may contribute to your success this year in entirely surprising ways.  Happy 2016.


Published by: admin in Recruiting, Talent Economy
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October 8, 2015 - No Comments!

Live Well & Laugh Often

What does living well mean for you?  We just returned from a trip to Vermont and the green mountains were filled with vibrant color.  I observed that "live well" for the locals meant a lifestyle and mindset that was comprised of; appreciating talents of others, blending work and personal needs, and taking time to appreciate surroundings, and family & friends.  It wasn't about building wealth, even though we suspect it is a goal for some.  It seemed more about building experience and relationships.  The locals told us that folks coming to Vermont to experience the changing leaves are called "leaf peepers."  Within 3-4 weeks the leaves change and by November they have fallen.  The shift to barren trees and arriving snow, accelerates their joy of seeing, smelling and being outdoors with their friends.  They truly cherish the change and appreciate the idyllic surroundings.

Vermont colors

I know we have city life to contend with here in OC and LA, which brings  complexity, however, what if we were to adopt one practice that brought us closer to this "live well" mindset?  Consider the following practices;

Creative collaboration - Inn Keeper, farmer and chefs collaborate in Vermont - and they have fun doing so.  Do you have a trio of strategic collaborators?

Sharing of Expertise -  On our cycling tour there were various experts to help us on trails, transport, bikes, yoga and more. It seemed everyone was generous in helping us get what we needed and find our way when we were lost! What expertise can you pay forward?

Adaptability - A variety of cycling skills, changes in weather and unexpected rain plays a big part on a "Cycling Tour" in the hills of Vermont.  It requires being flexible, adapting to what a group of newbies and experienced riders require.  How adaptable are you when what you expect changes direction?

I think our city attitudes and fast pace make us react, when reflecting and appreciating the moment is more satisfying and healthy.  There are clear trade-offs and I am not suggesting we all move to the country; however, step back and be mindful or intentional (as our friend Jeremy Hunter might say) and live well.  I am learning that laughing often, appreciating positive energy in people, moving in dance, or simply taking a walk allows me to live well. Finally, try giving more than getting which puts a genuine smile on everyone's face.  Find your own Vermont and enjoy!



July 17, 2015 - No Comments!

How CEO’s of middle market companies can hire exceptional candidates for their business.

Our very own CEO & Founder, Sherry Benjamins, sat down with Critical Mass Radio Show to discuss how CEO's and Executive can find and hire great talent. The talent market is better than it has been in many years, but it is also more unpredictable than ever before. This landscape forces top leaders find, retain, and grow exceptional talent.

Tune into to listen to Sherry here



May 2, 2015 - No Comments!

Are you in a Profit Paradox?

We hosted a learning event this past week and enjoyed a provocative discussion with Dr. Gustavo Grodnitsky.  I invited our clients and a few really smart and engaging millennials who bring amazing honesty and refreshing energy to our discussions.  This is written by Derek Kozaites, a recent graduate is interested in International Studies and business.  Read what he had to say;

"I had the pleasure of attending a “Great Starts Breakfast Series” hosted by S.Benjamins & Co. The series is in its tenth year of orchestrating inspirational meetings to Southern California’s most forward thinking professionals. This particular event, presented by Dr. Gustavo Grodnitzky Ph.D., was titled “The Profit Paradox: Culture in the New World of Work”. Dr. Gustavo, a Colorado native known as a “social hacker”, presented an intriguing look into the rapidly changing environment of culture in the workplace. In his words, “culture trumps everything” (which is also the title of his new book)."

Derek says that Dr. Gustavo’s overarching theme of change is in seeing the world in a social context.  He said, "Analyzing the contextual nature of human behavior, Dr. Gustavo set the stage for the corporate struggle between business norms and social norms, arguing that companies with a social focus towards their “stakeholders” will ultimately succeed. Backing up this argument, Dr. Gustavo revealed one of the most captivating results of his presentation, a ten-year profit comparison between classic capitalism and social capitalism companies, which dramatically favored the social capitalism companies."

"As a member of the newest generation of young professionals, I took a sigh of relief following Dr. Gustavo’s presentation, finding comfort in the fact that businesses all over the world are seeking to understand and meet the demands of our ever-changing culture."

We better listen to these millennials - 80 million of them are entering our workforce in the next few years.  Thank you Derek for sharing.


January 9, 2015 - No Comments!

We Can’t Assess Talent Like Cavemen

This post was originally posted on LinkedIn on January 9, 2015


Thousands of years ago, cavemen most likely roamed this earth. They survived and evolved the human race by assessing their competition, future mates, and caveman friends by how they looked. Strength, agility, and resilience all signaled that you could survive the harsh terrains, thus making you ideal talent to carry on the human gene.

Fast forward a few hundred/thousands of years and we had telephones, electricity, and cars, but limited working demographics. With this, our assessment of great talent altered a bit. We began to focus on how where people went to school, how high their IQ was, and skills they were able to learn in school.

Then, the big boom happened... an explosion of technology (hello, computers!) put people on equal playing fields. It was less about where you went to school and was more about what kind of skills or competencies you had. Can you use Microsoft Word, do you know how to read excel reports?

Now we are about to head into the next era of talent evolution... Potential. With globalization, economic turmoil, market fluctuations, and scarce talent, organizations are going to be forced to assess talent on potential. The future of talent will not be based on past performance because past performance will no longer be a gauge of future success. Think of some of the greatest talent to build technology like Instagram, SnapChat, or even Facebook. These things did not exist when those engineers went to school or even when they took their first entry level job. Most likely, these engineers were hired because Instagram, SnapChat, or Facebook felt like these engineers had the potential to build a never-before-seen technology.

How you measure potential will depend on the industry, but one thing will remain the same... We can no longer look at how tall someone is, where they graduated, or how well they did in past roles to determine who will be successful tomorrow.

Inspiration taken from

November 25, 2014 - No Comments!

Finding the Game Winning Player in your Candidate Pool

Our colleague, friend, and longtime supporter of our HRoundtable, Ed Eynon, was recently featured in Forefront Magazine and naturally we had to share! Eynon relates workforce talent to something most of us are familiar with… sports and athletes.

“In his HR selection processes, Eynon assesses an individual’s talent in three ways: skills, knowledge and natural behavior. He gives priority to natural behavior every time.”

Natural behaviors are reoccurring traits that are “deep down, hardwired in your DNA,” according to Eynon, such as being friendly or being blunt.

“The natural behavior of wanting to be excellent can’t be taught,” Eynon said, whereas knowledge and skills can. Skills are the “how-to” steps to an activity, such as boiling pasta, changing oil in your car, or running on a treadmill. Knowledge refers to having relevant information stored in your brain.

If we return to the sports theme, there are several examples of the power of natural behavior. In 1999 U.S. defender Brandi Chastain blasted the team's fifth penalty kick past the Chinese goalkeeper after 120 minutes of hard fought competition to win the FIFA World Cup on U.S. soil.

Brandi Chastain

Or there is the young Kobe Bryant in 1996, who led Lower Merion High School to its first state championship in 53 years and would then go on to win multiple championships in the NBA.


Natural behaviors are either in you or not, but how can HR discern whether the right behaviors exist in a candidate or not? Eynon uses a scientific method to discern the presence of the desirable attributes and the absence of negative ones. He uses a proctored interview, at a fast pace, with validated and open-ended questions to scientifically assess candidates (you can read more about this in the article linked above).

Hiring the right employee pays off. Whether you take Eynon’s approach and measure through social media reviews or you prefer to use engagement surveys, there is no disputing that hiring and retaining the right talent is a smart and necessary business move. Some studies (such as SHMR) predict that every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs 6 to 9 months’ salary on average. That can get expensive fast!

So as you hire for your next opening, it might be worth looking at those intangible qualities in candidates.

August 15, 2014 - No Comments!

The Talent Economy

I read the Wall Street Journal article this past Wednesday, August 13th, about the CEO of TaskRabbit and the move to protect workers in this new model of independent contractors. I would love to meet their CEO, Leah Busque.  The booming freelance economy is growing and she is trying to reform it.  The peer-to-peer economy is fascinating for talent to consider and she wants to do more to protect workers.

Her workers are now given access to some benefits, networks of resources and discounts on cell phones and more.  I like her style and it fits with the trends we are reading about - one report said by 2020 half of our workers will be independent.  With healthcare reform, we will see fewer companies offering what was once the standard in benefits.

Think about the possibilities of this growing talent base as highly experienced folks who know they are talented, have skills and can define and design their own path.  Self driven and committed learners. These workers are giving their minds, passions and energies to multiple roles and environments and probably love it.  It might not be easy but it is leading edge for the companies are not offering the jobs for many.  Thank you Leah Busque for setting a new model of care if you will for talent.  Hire a tasker and check this out.   Let me know how it works and what you think.

Published by: admin in Talent Economy
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July 19, 2014 - No Comments!

Job Hunting in the Interconnected World

I had the pleasure of speaking this week to a group of 40 senior managers who are in job search mode.  I do this a few times a year and noticed this time, the group was smaller and much more positive about prospects.  They were an impressive experienced group of leaders from Operations to Sales and Marketing as well as HR.  They see the up-swing in the market but they still experience uneven growth in unpredictable places. They all chimed in that the opportunities might be there but the navigation to real conversations with corporate leaders was still illusive and frustrating.  The hiring process remains slow and elongated.   The old style of job search for a specific job is fading away.

Why is this the case? We are in a talent scarce market for those hard to fill, leadership or technically savvy middle or senior managers.  So, we clearly need to fill jobs and they are still posted out there.  However, there is a lot of noise and managers are overwhelmed with work.  We need to look at the network and the art of connecting.  I know we are all on LinkedIn checking out each other.  Who needs a resume today?   Talent is connecting and communicating across platforms and their own network and managers are doing the same thing.   It goes both ways.  It is a transparent and interconnected world.  If one company treats a candidate poorly, then it is shared across multiple or hundreds of connections potentially within minutes.  If Zappos leads the way by creating an Insider program - we all learn about it and comment.  What a novel idea, to create a place where a company can build new fans and leverage the relationship they already have with a huge fan base.

The Wall Street Journal this morning, has a weekend interview column with Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn and COO of PayPal.  He says that "your identity is now constituted by your network. You are your friends, you are your tribe, you are your interactions with colleagues and customers and even your competitors."   He says and I agree that we are no longer in control of our resume.

So, where are the jobs?  The Inc 500 and 5000 CEO's are fueling our economy and soaking up what they must do to attract and engage talent.  Every resource matters to them.  I have had more fascinating conversation in the past six months about how to build a great internal talent attraction system and culture than I can recall.  Yes, there is a steep learning and implementing curve for the small company but they care about getting the right talent and view them as an investment.  The concept of helping employees be "employable" by training and expanding their role is natural and essential  in a smaller company.  You have to wear many hats.

So, what does this mean for the job seeker? Forget the conversation about a "job" or a "title" and start communicating your perspective about business and growing talent.  Share your point of view online and in person - start conversations with business leaders and your job prospects in an entirely new way.  Ask them about their challenges, be curious, share your views and engage them.  Be bold, and give up a narrow view on what your title was  in a former job.  This interconnected world offers so much more information about who we are as leaders and the work we can get involved in.  Start there and you may be surprised to learn of an opportunity where there is a match in interest and in need.  We are in the network age - it is far more interesting and allows us to share our stories and find synergy in more fun ways.  Enjoy!

June 16, 2014 - No Comments!

Investing in Employees: A New Level of Brand Awareness and Employee Loyalty

You may have picked up your newspaper or checked your tablet today and read about Starbucks offering college classes to over 130,000 employees. It got us thinking, how many organizations are investing in their employees’ education outside of the internal training?

The American Council of Education approximates that roughly 20 percent of graduate students and 6 percent of undergraduates receive some financial assistance from their employers to attend school. As many as a third of undergraduates in fields like business and engineering receive tuition assistance from their employers. In fact, tuition assistance is the most common source of financial aid for college students, and on average it covers about one-third of the average annual cost paid by post-secondary students. Big name companies like Apple, Chevron, FedEx, Gap, Raytheon, and U.S. Airways (to name a few) offer some level of financial assistance to employees looking to further their education.

A 2002 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management of 510 employers found 79 percent offering educational assistance of various kinds. While some employers require that employees agree to stay with the company for a certain period of time post-graduation to “pay their dues” others see this cost as an investment in their talent and their brand. The CEO and Chairman of Starbucks was quoted by the NY Times as stating that even if employees left soon after receiving their education, Starbucks’ investment in the employee “would be accreted to our brand, our reputation and our business…I believe it will lower attrition, it’ll increase performance, it’ll attract and retain better people.”

Is there a shift happening in the way employers invest in employees? We think there might be. Organizations are moving away from pension plans and tenures and moving toward investing in early to mid-career employees who show a tenacity for productivity and an ambition to move up the ladder.tuiton



June 2, 2014 - No Comments!

SBCo May Newsletter- Weighing In on Global Talent

Weighing in on: Global Talent

The term "global" has inundated our workforce language and become a hot button topic for small, medium, and large organizations. Our world is reaching a pivotal point of interconnectedness. Six degrees of separation is now trending towards four degrees as technology becomes more accessible. With this trend, organizations are looking to capitalize in global markets, however many organizations are simultaneously facing a global talent crisis. The need for strong global leaders is rising while the talent pool is seemingly shrinking. Many of our colleagues, clients, and strategic partners find themselves scrambling to recruit, retain, and sustain global talent that not only produces results, but also cohesively blends a domestic and international brand. We decided to ask one of our recent HRoundtable speakers, who happens to be a global business CEO, how "global talent" translates in her organization. We also weighed in on how S. Benjamins & Co. thinks about global talent.

Recruiting Global TalentSherryBenjamins_v6
"Mobile, social and cloud is transforming the way we recruit, educate and train talent across the globe. Our HRoundtables of over 40 top level HR leaders meets every quarter and I learn what keeps them up at night. Many seem overwhelmed with the 24/7 demands of managing talent around the globe. They agree that leadership talent is scarce and getting people to move is tougher than ever. Young professionals want to manage their career in ways that do not always align with the corporate plan to move them overseas. HR leaders are examining ways to develop local talent that doesn't rely on expats. It continues to be a challenge that requires HR leaders in each market to collaborate with GM’s to better plan for higher probabilities of sustained success.
We see more technology available today to help leaders do this. I just learned of a software that can predict team success based on individual assessments across culture, function and geography. This looks at predictive measures of team performance tied to business outcomes. HR and business leaders can use tools like this to look ahead and predict their needs. While we might look for easy ways to accelerate manager readiness in growth markets, it comes down to knowing your team, your individual leaders and what needs to get done really well.

- Sherry Benjamins
President, CEO, S. Benjamins & Co.

Global Talent for a Mid-Size Global Organization
"As a consulting firm with 40 people spread over 5 continents, global talent means having people with the right capabilities in the right locations to serve our Alison No backgroundclients who have high expectations for expertise and solutions that work. Our clients are large companies spread around the world and “global” means having delivery capability within 3 hours of any work destination – be it Sakhalin, Seoul or San Francisco. We think in terms of our clients’ footprint – not markets.

“Talent” is our core asset and my top priority as CEO is ensuring that people with the talent needed to deliver today and grow for tomorrow want to be part of our team, love what they do, and contribute over time to our growth as a firm. Because we lack the resources of a large consulting firm, we try to manage our company like a talent incubator – taking every chance we can to grow capability at a low or no cost. To do this, we treat each client engagement as a learning experience that can further develop our capabilities. We also tightly connect our business strategy to individual development priorities through strategic learning projects led by our consultants – we can’t afford to do otherwise."

- Alison Romney Eyring, PhD
Founder and CEO, Organisation Solutions

------------------------------New Searches-------------------------------

Zenith- Director of Human Resources
St. Joseph Heritage Healthcare – Vice President, Administrator High Desert
Brinderson- Vice President of Human Resources
Dignity Health Medical Foundation – Executive Director, Bay Area
Santa Monica Seafood- Director of Human Resources
Jet Propulsion Laboratories - Instructional Technology Specialist

-----------------------------------------New Services!-------------------------------------------
S. Benjamins is all about talent. We find talent, help employers find great talent, bring talent together, and now we help talent define themselves. Our new advising service helps you create the message as well as specific actions that will differentiate you from other industry professionals and set you up so that companies find you and people remember you.

Our focus on how you communicate your distinctiveness, where to invest energy in social platforms and our perspective on how companies select talent, will help you build your plan for connecting to the right people. Understanding all of these elements will result in the greatest Return on Relationship. For more information on our new service, contact Corey Protzman at

Published by: sbcoadmin in Newsletter, Talent Economy
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