SBC sets itself apart from other search firms because of our passion for search and connecting others with great opportunities. Coming from a corporate background I was afraid that going into a firm might be more transactional, but I love the deep connections that are fostered with both the clients we work with and the candidates we place. I feel as though I am an extension of our client organizations and am able to be a trusted business partner. Our clients have a lot to offer candidates and SBC is able to connect them with top talent candidates. Over the years, it has been so rewarding knowing that SBC has been able to create these long-term relationships with both our partners and candidates.
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What I have always admired/loved about SBC is the authenticity of relationships that are created with clients/candidates/community members. Although the majority of our work is done virtually, there is still a very personal connection we make with those we interact with. Whether it’s the pro-bono work we do for non-profits or the recruiting work we do with Fortune 500 companies, our hearts are focused on the people side of business. I find that you can most prominently see the results of these personal relationships at our learning events – there are endless hugs, personal conversations and cutting edge thoughts being exchanged. It’s rare to find an organization that puts such an emphasis on long-term connections!
Recently I had the good fortune to meet Charles Antis, founder and CEO of Antis Roofing through our shared work supporting the nonprofit, OneOC, that helps organizations enrich their missions with instituting giving and volunteering efforts. Charles is a role model for all of us. He has artfully blended giving back to the community with his business's purpose.
Sherry Benjamins: What do you attribute to your company’s success?
Charles Antis: I have to start with the people. You can’t carry on or achieve much of anything without an amazing team. Before we understood how to leverage marketing or social responsibility as a means to get more work, we were always extremely customer focused. If one person in the room is unhappy, I’m going to do anything I can to fix that relationship. This belief led to an extremely high expectation for customer care. Our first level of success started there and allowed us to grow.
SB: Can you tell us more about customer care?
CA: The customer needs to be right. It doesn’t matter why they’re upset because in their dissatisfaction is a kernel of absolute truth on where we can do something better. In our company, we always air on the side of generosity towards the customer.
SB: Part of your success has been social corporate responsibility. When did that start?
CA: In the company’s first year, I received a call from a lady with a leak problem. I went to check it out and as she opened the door, I was overwhelmed by the smell of mildew. Her daughter grabbed my hand to show me the house and in her room was a mattresses with moldy bedding. I went home and organized a relief party to immediately fix the problem. We didn’t start with a policy to fix situations like this, but they happened again and again. We never let anyone have a leaky room just because they didn’t have the money for it. We can’t be good at what we do unless we’re willing to help people in need.
In 2008, Sharon Ellis, the CEO of Habitat for Humanity, OC asked if we would donate a roof to a development and we’ve donated every year since. We quickly realized that we were making an impact and it was exciting! When we talk about it inside our culture, our people see it happening and want to be a part of it.
SB: Are your employees onto this mission of giving?
CA: We have about eighty employees and for our industry, it’s a pretty young workforce. In the office, we’re about half millennials and out in the field, we’re a bit older. We embrace newer voices and perspectives and have a common response when thinking about social responsibility. We also embrace a changing workplace. I know that we have to adjust to a changing culture and we are all listening to create a more flexible workplace. Our employees want to give back. Even the baby boomers, who at first don’t want to talk about these issues as much, get really excited about the conversation and join in. We’ve gotten a lot of recognition for being philanthropic and it’s important for me that this recognition is directed towards the employees.
SB: What do you think gets in the way of an entrepreneur building a “cause” culture with a commitment like this?
CA: Small business owners have to scrape by to survive. I understand how difficult it is to take that hard earned money and donate it without seeing a clear bottom line of investment. We always share anecdotal stories about the benefits, but we haven’t seen a clear algorithm yet to support this decision. But only by doing shows others a way to understand and follow. It’s hard to shed the biases of our past, but with the shifting climate right now, everyone is re-thinking strategy and culture. I don’t see myself as a pioneer, I’m just quick on transitions.
SB: Can you share more about your mascot and visual graphic of the Roof God?
CA: I grade myself by how well I sleep at night. We serve up to half a million homes so when it rains, I understand how our customers worry about their castle being in danger. In 2008, I started to think about how I could tell this story with images. We went to an artist specializing in comics to create the Roof God as a way to encapsulate this feeling of being able to relax, knowing that your roof is being taken care of.
SB: What have you personally learned on this path as CEO?
CA: I’m trying to create value. If the value isn’t coming to me or my employee’s wallets that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not good value. I could be putting money into securities, but instead I give it back to the community. This is where I differ from a lot of small businesses. If I put an extra half million in the bank to accrue interest, that’s great. But if I take that same half million and put it out into the community, it will create an exponential ripple effect that will find its way back to me and my stakeholders. I haven’t figured out how to show it on paper—yet—but I believe that the return is ten times more than keeping the money in the bank. Once you understand that it’s OK to give away more than think you can, I think it’s the safest and most secure path to creating success.
SB: What do you recommend for the new entrepreneur interested in trying this strategy out?
CA: Don’t wait. Build giving into the model. Be generous. The Toms model stands out. You’ll have a difficult time competing in the market if an intention like this doesn’t ring with authenticity. It’s a tougher economy with slimmer margins, I get it. But try it! Make it a living breathing part of your everyday and you will notice the difference.
SB: How does your new President share your values?
CA: Our new President, Karen Inman comes into work every day with the same, likeminded passion and enthusiasm. She believes in what we do and loves it. She wouldn’t be at a roofing company if we didn’t have a cause built into our brand. We get the Google people because our brand is visible and powerful. We make decisions that reflect family values and our recruiting has gone up to a level that I never knew could exist!
How can businesses today create and value the space, time, and culture to give back to their community, to be driven and inspired by a cause?
On this episode of Talent Talk we focused on "The Future of Managing -Those Darn Millennials" . We sat down with two Millennials to find out what leadership traits the admire about leaders today and what traits they plan to bring to the table as leaders of the future!
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. Check 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. Here 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 re-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.
Don't we all want to work with amazing people? There is plenty of research and real life experience that says investing in who decisions pays off. Finding the one for your company means achieving success or just getting by.
Enlightened CEO's place the importance of people decisions at the top of their list of important skills to develop and invest in. I grew up as an HR professional at American Hospital Supply (AHSC) - later acquired by Baxter Healthcare. From the first introduction to the company through thoughtful and interactive interviews, to a well articulated offer and then onboarding, I was fortunate to have a world class experience. I can say that now. After 20 years plus in the field and working with many companies as we help them find the one, they still struggle with this work and more importantly, in getting the process right.
Joining American at the time felt like joining a family. There was great care and planning on making us feel welcome, immediately connected to resources and people that cared about our success. Thank you Bob Ruh for inspiring me even with that high bar for performance! We were always clear on what the responsibilities were and where the challenge could take us. I was very early in my career and had come from a company that offered little development and almost no conversation about the business. It taught me to take initiative. AHSC prepared me for doing my best work with incredibly talented people.
It is important to find the one. And, it means getting the first part right and then ensuring that you have all the other parts in place; integrating the one into your culture, developing their skills, stretching them with challenging assignments and having a plan for development. Oh, and I almost forgot, scheduling conversations with key influencers and your boss about how it is going and what is needed to keep you on track and engaged.
Finding the one means;
- having regular meaningful conversation with people. It seems many have lost that focus for there is so little time to commit to this today. There are way more initiatives on everyone's plate and little time to reflect and care for the ones that contribute.
- looking at entirely new options for your workforce. Frankly, the one you want may get more excited about a gig, a project, an experience with you rather than the full time position you have posted. John Boudreau masterfully talks about these options in his book, Lead the Work. To continue to find the one, we now have to look at other ways for our talent to contribute.
This future of work offers a huge upside to individual workers and their leaders. Think about it; we see how younger professionals, mid-life or late stage careerists are taking on what they want, when they want it and where they want it. Let's get over the old model of employment and think more about what "the one" defines for themselves. You will be surprised how committed and aligned those workers will be if we ask, listen, share perspectives and help each other grow.
On Episode 3 of Talent Talk we addressed The Future of Hiring - Defining the New Flexible. Gone are the days of "work-life balance". It is now all about offering employee's benefits that allow them to blend the lines between work and life.
The Future of Hiring - Eliminating Bias
Today’s topic is all about using new tools and strategies to move beyond “old boy network” hiring and towards a hiring strategy that allows for a more diverse workforce.
In this episode we will discuss:
- What made Young’s Market decide that it was time to amplify that success by weaving a diversity initiative into the recruiting strategy.
- How the diversity initiative has effected the way Youngs Market recruits veterans and new graduates.
- The positive results of hiring a more diverse workforce.
- Quick Tip!
There is a sense of anxiety in our world today. Just read the newspaper or try following the political scene for a few days. It is crazy making. The financial markets have calmed down for the moment however, there is little confidence that we have a smooth sailing year ahead. So, is it hard to find the optimists? Maybe. Settling for a pessimist view is not the answer. Bill Taylor, speaker and author of Mavericks at Work and a new book soon coming out called; Simply Brilliant: How Great Organizations Do Ordinary Things in Extraordinary Ways, talks about a future outlook that sounds promising and "optimistic." He sees a fierce optimism in companies that are ordinary but blend new ideas, have deep commitment and are resilient in the face of change. I want to meet those companies and their leaders! I would like to help them find additional leaders as they grow. They embrace the positive and not the negative.
There is so much being written about great leaders and those guided by purpose. Are those leaders defining success so that they stand for something special (as Bill Taylor suggests)? Yes, they are successful for they have a business, product or service where they think about where they have come from, but re-invent the future with a keen eye moving forward with a clear line of sight. They might be genius to achieve that - however, think about the definition of genius as another favorite author of mine, David Whyte, a poet that touches the heart) defines it. "Genius is something we possess", says David Whyte.
- "Human genius lies in the geography of the body and its conversation with the world. We have a unique signature and stories from our lineage that have not been fully explored. Genius is a gift and a possibility that has not yet occurred; it is not a fixed commodity but a conversation to be followed, understood and celebrated."
The optimist continues to believe and has the confidence to create a play book for the future. I would like to start a new conversation with our clients about hiring for genius. Let's listen to what the CEO believes tough minded optimism looks like in their company. The, let's translate that. It could be, as Bill Taylor reminds us, that optimistic leaders know how to use what they already know but are willing to re-frame it tenaciously for a positive future and not a negative one.
This month we sat down with Kristie Griffin, Director of Talent Acquisition for our wonderful client, Dignity Health. With a compelling trajectory of moving from big tech to healthcare, Kristie exemplifies a kind of agency that leadership expert and author, Bob Rosen, defines as grounded. Kristie’s drive to balance her personal and professional goals have fostered a flourishing career path that welcomed change. It reminds us of the importance as leaders to look inward as much as outward.
How did you come to working in the “people business”?
Before I knew the people business was my niche, I was a student athlete at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on a full basketball scholarship. It was a constant balance, competing on the court, leading as a team captain and figuring out what my future held. I knew, since the time I was twelve, that I wanted to be a senior leader of a company. Graduating with a degree in Business, I began my career as a Technical Consultant for Deloitte and then transitioned into my first HR role, as a college recruiter for Stryker Corporation.
After working at tech giants like Google and Microsoft, what brought you to Dignity?
If you look at my career progression, I focused on personal growth, learning and reprioritization when needed. From Google to Dignity, where I now lead a talent acquisition team, I have gone through some major transformations. On the family front, while at Google I went from having two children to four. This shifted my mindset to a place where I wanted to go from fast track to being present in life as wife, mother and employee in an environment that did not operate at burnout pace. After 5 years I made the very hard decision to leave Google and join Microsoft who provided me the opportunity to work on complex business challenges, manage a large team and work 100% remotely from home.
That was the first big shift and it was amazing. I managed a team of thirty, including three managers, and I expanded my scope to a global reach. As a co-lead for all the staffing managers at Microsoft (over 100 employees), I learned from experts, experienced exciting career growth and most importantly, was able to balance and thrive in my personal and professional life.
The next huge shift was to move our family out of Silicon Valley. After a wonderful move to Sacramento, while at Microsoft, I took the next step towards community involvement and was looking for a work culture of purpose. This led me to Dignity.
Dignity’s core values revolve around ideas of compassion, humankind and advocacy.
How can a company shift their culture to promote a philosophy of compassion that’s not a “nice to have,” but a “must have.”
It has to start at the top. It can’t only be a grassroots effort and happen organically without buy-in from executive leadership first. Creating a very deliberate action plan and communication strategy is essential and hiring practices should engage people authentically. That’s why our function is so critical. We work closely with leaders to ensure that our talent attraction strategies and interview practices focus not only on the technical aspect of a job but also key behavioral attributes. This ensures that every person we hire is aligned to the company’s mission, vision and values.
What are you most proud of accomplishing this past year?
I’m the most proud of defining and building a team that values and operates collaboratively and doesn’t engage in silo mentality. It is about partnership and honest relationships, both professionally and personally. I was just explaining to my daughter the relationship between team sports and work based teams. It’s very clear to me the correlation between team unity, team chemistry, team bonding and being a leader that motivates your team to peak performance. And that’s not just applicable to athletics. It’s very applicable to professional life. I take that team concept and apply it to my work every day. We’re only as strong as our weakest link. How can we optimize the work we do together and build synergy? What are the steps we need to take to build a world class organization? What can I do different as your leader to help us achieve our collective goals? That’s my biggest accomplishment. Creating a team and helping define how we can win together and support each other.
What is on your challenge for 2016?
What keeps me up at night is working towards, and being a critical voice for shifting culture. It’s something I can’t do by myself. It’s something I can express my passion about and share data to support the notion, but it takes a partnership and a team approach across multiple business functions to really shift the culture. How can we prepare ourselves as a company to be a major competitor in the war for talent? With the looming mass exodus of baby boomers, we have to make sure that in health care, we are completely poised to capture the next generation of talent. We must first engage and acquire the talent and then manage and grow them. The culture of healthcare will continue to shift and it will be an on-going challenge to help shape and define the healthcare workforce of the future.
Any final thoughts?
I love that I work for a company who has a reputation of being a high-quality, values-driven system with a commitment to extending our mission of care and service to those in need.
We keep Hello Humankindess at the forefront and makes coming to work every day extremely enjoyable.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about Kristie’s mindful navigation as a leader from big tech to healthcare at Dignity. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by big picture planning and small-scaled daily demands, but we must not forget to look inward to ask ourselves if what we do every day is fulfilling what we value the most, not just as a leader, but as a human being.