All Posts in Talent Economy

October 7, 2016 - No Comments!

SBCo September Newsletter – A CEO and CHRO’s View on Finding the One

Search and selection is a high stakes game and there’s pressure to get it right. As we all know, great talent is hard to find!

Our clients see the value of strategic approaches in the search for talent. More important than finding great talent is finding “the one” person who is not only adept at the technical skills of their role, but can also seamlessly integrate into the culture of your organization.

At S. Benjamins & Co., our creative intention is about helping you find the ONE. With that in mind, we recently revamped our web site to focus on our unique process and purpose. SBC imageCheck it out here!

In the spirit of our new website and our long standing purpose, we asked three of our favorite clients and friends how they find the ONE.  Read on to see how Jamie Latiano with Renovate America, Steven Milovich, ABC Entertainment Group and Carol Geffner, Professor at USC and healthcare entrepreneur see talent acquisition today.

Jamie Latiano, SVP People & Culture, Renovate America
San Diego based – The leader in Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing

SB: How do you find the ONE in your business? 

JL: While cliché, hiring for attitude, energy and training for skill is one of the biggest keys.  jamie latianoHere at Renovate America, we are growing dynamically and there is a lot of change as our business is scaling quickly.  Identifying behaviors such as resourcefulness, flexibility, comfort with change, leadership, communication and alignment with our Core Values has proven to be an effective assessor for hiring the right talent.

We are fortunate to attract great talent by having an awesome corporate culture grounded in impactful work, smart, dedicated, fun people and a philosophy of empowering people to do great things…together.

SB: What do you see changing in this landscape as you look ahead? 

JL: It is becoming more important for us to identify specific experience and competencies that serve as pillars for our growth and success.  While the foundation of hiring people aligned with our culture and values will remain strong, identifying gaps in competencies or knowledge is important so that we can be targeted in getting the right people in the right place, at the right time.

SB: What is your advice to other leaders who are focusing on finding or developing the ONE?

JL: My advice is that there should be foundational or “non-negotiable” things that a hiring manager looks for.  For me, this is in the areas of values, attitude and behaviors.  Diversity is important, especially diversity of thought. Also, in order to keep great talent showing up great, we have to allow them to shine, be their best and bring their discretionary effort to drive success daily through business deliverables, contributions to teams and to the culture of the organization.  It is a two way street; we need to be able to recognize “the ones” that fit our culture and values, and they need to want to jump on board, be inspired to grow, drive, and deliver.  When there is that symbiotic relationship, it is magical; there is incredible accomplishment, people own the outcome, enjoy the journey, and make history together.

Carol Geffner, PhD – Professor of Management, Governance & Policy, USC
USC Price School Professor and CEO of Newport Healthcare Advisors

SB: How do you find the ONE in your business? 

It starts with clarity about what the organization is looking for.  We work with our clients to CarolJGeffner-headshotre-think what is and will be needed in key positions rather than making an assumption that what worked in the past will be acceptable today.

We also take a holistic view of candidates. Think about how an individual will fit into the culture, how they work with others and if they have the attributes to lead change.   And in most leadership positions it is critical to screen for emotional intelligence. Organizations are social enterprises and working well with others is one of the most important aspect of success.

SB: What do you see changing in the landscape as you look ahead? 

CG: Healthcare is the industry undergoing a true transformation.  In a world that is changing so radically, it is imperative that we build leaders who can lead through uncertainty while simultaneously move their organization toward a compelling future.  From a behavioral and neuropsychological point of view, people respond more favorably when they move toward something positive vs. negative.  What this means is that an element of leadership success is being able to create (with others) an emotionally interesting and vivid picture of the company direction.

We have four generations in the workplace. This has enormous implications for the way in which we structure and lead businesses.  Millennials are more concerned with making an impact than fitting into a structure. This means organizations will re-think how to recruit, manage and engage people with very different motivations.

Lastly, we are operating within a customer-focused paradigm. One implication of this is that transparency is the norm.  Determining on a daily basis what openness means is a central responsibility of leaders.  Insular management will not work in the future.  Leading from  the “outside-in” and building a customer-centric organization is a mandate for success.

SB: What is your advice to other leaders who are focusing on finding and developing the ONE?”

CG: Think about the whole person and how they will fit your culture. Consider their emotional and social intelligence and the ability to work with and lead others. Be mindful of bringing in talent who can lead the business to the future as opposed to preserving what exists today.

Our Final Thoughts... 

The best people in HR go against the norm. They are early adopters for change and compete to find the ONE.  We hope this story has inspired you to new thinking about the future of talent.

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.


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!

August 24, 2013 - No Comments!

How about a new job offer focused on a “gift or barter”exchange?

As a Recruiter we talk to our candidates and clients about compensation, financial incentives, stock options, bonuses, and it goes on.  What about barter or gift exchange?  Marina Gorbis, Futurist from the Institute of the Future just released a new book called, The Nature of the Future: Dispatches from the Socialstructed World.”  She has fascinating chapters on how the new economy is emerging right now and we can open our minds to new models that support meaningful work.

One topic is about money.  Why are so many people spending their time doing something for free?  There are more of us, even us boomers that are putting our beliefs into action.  We see this in a volunteer rate in this country that is doubling. Candidates are opting for meaningful philanthropy time in their new jobs as one example.  (Google, Jamba and others)

Marina says, in a gift economy, the most important technology is the technology of social relations.  There is a natural orientation towards encouraging exchanges, learning from others and establishing processes that allows for the right people with the right resources to facilitate exchanges easily.  There are new kinds of currency that are not new really.  She shares some fascinating examples of this relationship to money in the past and now what that means in our emerging new economy.

Daniel Ariely, a behavioral economist, also writes about this.  In his book, “Predictably Irrational,”  he says, “People will work more for a cause than for cash.  I am not recommending we do away with money in exchange for performance and results.  I am suggesting a new way of looking at motivation and the importance of social exchange and how this will change work.  What are you doing to bring passion, self direction and connectivity with others inside and outside the company into your work?

Published by: admin in Recruiting, Talent Economy
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July 27, 2013 - No Comments!

Are you “Positioned” for Talent Acquisition Change?

The recently released book, "Positioned" by  Dan L. Ward and Rob Tripp offers a wonderful historical overview (that part is short) and fabulous current day case studies of strategic workforce planning.  The stories are great, the applications real and it speaks to the urgency in solving workforce challenges that are just around the corner.  Capacity and knowledge gaps can drain any company.  We need to be thinking now, as our workforce is aging and young entrants are trying to make their way in to fulfilling positions and new careers.

I find many of our clients reluctant to train and develop young talent -they want the experience now and the results now.  I think now is here and developing core talent will be what makes or breaks success in companies today.  The book highlights some great examples of companies that get this and are invested not only building strategies but doing the work of planning and engaging leaders.  We still have plenty of leaders who dismiss the notion of talent planning and re-deploying.  Read this book, talk about it at your team meetings and let me know what resonates with you.  Thank you to all the authors here in this book - much appreciated to those searching for what's next in talent that we must tackle.

June 28, 2013 - No Comments!

The Open Talent Economy

Let's challenge every assumption you have about your workforce?  Imagine that.  Every assumption you have about how people come into your company has changed or will change.  A recent Deloitte Global Human Capital Report says that by 2020 more than half of your talent will not be working for you.

The growth of contingent, brokered assistance, consultants and external partners will help you run your company.  What are the implications for hiring what they refer to as "balance sheet" talent.

We already see a growing percentage of "borrowed" talent.  My consulting friends are quite busy.  In some specialties such as compensation, total rewards, and organization design, there is just more work than talent available.  We have not even seen the growth of "big data" yet.  Analytics and the power of this insight for predictive modelling, will be fascinating for I am not sure companies have the resource internally to tackle this.  I think open source networks are another unknown in terms of growth - share with us who is experimenting with open source networks, like Innocentive.  This let's you post problems and see solutions coming in from all over external networks.  There are so many smart folks outside your company too - how shall we tap into that going forward?


Published by: admin in Talent Economy
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March 17, 2012 - No Comments!

Understand your Job before saying “Yes”

We know how carefully companies are about defining their positions and don't hesitate to say what they need from prospective candidates. It is time to focus on you - are you assessing carefully what the job is before you say yes.

A recent blog in Harvard Business Review from a McKinsey consultant effectively outlines what you can do to make the right "Yes" decision. He gets it right, make sure you know what you will be learning in this role. Require a discussion about the accomplishments that are expected in the first year. Are you sure what resources, coaching and support you will have to be successful. We just don't see candidates asking about this.

I know part of our role as consultants in talent acquisition is to prepare managers to answer these questions. We may harp on those that are too vague and want more about how this person will have impact. This is crucial work. Our candidates are not shy to ask and it is our job to have all that figured out. If we don't, they may slip away to another possibility.

Published by: admin in Talent Economy
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November 12, 2011 - No Comments!

If you won the lottery, would you quit your day job?

Most folks think about this for a moment and say, "yes, I would be off to something else if I did not have to worry about finances."  Jim Finkelstein in his book, "Fuse, Making Sense of the New Cogenerational Workforce" talks about our changing relationship with money.  Is it a measuring stick for performance for you?  Boomers have thought of it that way for a long time.  Millennials, on the other hand, tend to think of pay as a naturally occurring, and immediate result of appreciating their work.

pay-for-performancePay for Performance was our Boomer approach to pay - Pay for Potential is the way of the future and from what Jim says, it is the best way to recognize and reward those that achieve "rock star" status regardless of age.  Share your views on this, we want to hear.