Is a publicly quoted, leading multinational in its sector, employing over 30,000 staff across 40 countries and with revenues of €4.5Bn. The CEO wanted to find a new Group HRD to partner with him and his Executive team to help with a company-wide transformation and culture change. The initial remit for the role was to find someone who could engage and empower people across the business in order to focus on strategies to drive the customer into the heart of the business; to achieve value driven growth; to further exploit its technology leadership and increase its speed; to leverage scale, reduce complexity and reach for lowest total cost.
The senior team included a new Chief Finance Officer, Chief Technology Officer, Chief IT Officer, Chief Procurement Officer and Chief Marketing Officer. The new Chief Human Resources Officer would therefore be expected to help this new team become a high-performing team, whilst acting as a trusted advisor to the CEO.
The candidate specification was exacting – candidates needed to be multilingual, with experience of manufacturing on a global scale and a strong track record in change and transformation at large multinational businesses. We used our extensive network to find candidates working internationally for large businesses with the necessary experience but, equally important, with personal characteristics such as the drive and gravitas required to deliver high performance targets within a challenging environment. Through our understanding of the business and it’s challenges, we were able to create a clear and insight-rich candidate profile and research brief for the search project.
Within a relatively short period of time we were able to present an outstanding shortlist of high-calibre Group HR Directors and those looking to make the move into a No.1 position for the first time. Drawn from around the globe, the shortlist was diverse but had the common underlining characteristic of delivering success in previous roles and in demanding environments.
We presented the shortlist candidates via a CV and set of candidate notes detailing our assessment of their fit against the requirements of the role, plus the reasons why this role would be a progressive and challenging option for each of them. We also highlighted to the client areas for consideration and gaps against the initial candidate brief.
The client progressed three candidates to the final stage of their interview process and following this one of these candidates was offered and accepted within nine weeks of our taking the initial client brief.
The successful candidate has made an immediate impact within the business and is working very closely with the CEO in delivering the transformation and culture change required to move the business forward.
A Private Equity backed B2B manufacturing business needed to hire a new HR Director to partner with the recently appointed CEO, CFO and COO, to be a commercially focused addition to the Board. The initial remit for the role was to do an audit of all people practices and related risk within the business and to create and lead a people strategy aligned with the overall business strategy, in support of the major transformation and turnaround required for business survival and demanded growth in turnover and profits.
We started by talking with a range of stakeholders to the role to understand the requirements for the incoming HR Director and ensuring synergy and cohesion of expectations and ambitions for their new colleague. We also spent time learning about the organisation including its recent history, its culture, its employee teams and its current and desired customer base. This enabled us to create a clear and insight-rich candidate profile and research brief for the search project.
We start every search with an SD team discussion to think about who in our networks could be a useful source for the project or indeed a great option for the role. In this instance we identified a benchmark candidate that we were able to introduce to the client in a short timeframe. This gave our client the confidence that we had understood their requirements, including cultural and team fit. Within five weeks we had presented a shortlist of six candidates drawn from both our existing networks and also from original research and networking specific to the client’s sector and market ambitions. Each candidate brought different strengths and capabilities to the role with a commonality of strong partnering through growth and change, coaching and international experience.
We presented the shortlist candidates via a CV and candidate notes detailing our assessment of their fit against the requirements of the role plus the reasons why the role would be a progressive and challenging option for each of them. We also highlighted to the client to areas for consideration and gaps against the initial candidate brief.
The client progressed two candidates to the final stage of their interview process and one of these candidates was offered and accepted within seven weeks of our taking the initial client brief.
The successful candidate has made immediate impact within the business and is working very closely with the CEO to expand the business overseas and secure the interim targets set by the Private Equity investors.
Our client had a decentralised business model, with limited resource at group level, and was seeking to hire an interim Transformation Lead to support an unprecedented programme of change. Reporting to a functional board member the remit of the role was to provide HR / OD support as the business embarked on a restructure of its global IT function, building central IT capability for the first time. To ensure that this programme of work was successful, the business understood that there was a need to manage the people element in the right way and they acknowledged that they did not have this capability internally. As is so often the case for interim search, there was a tight timeline to get the right candidate on board to align with key project announcements.
We talked with the client to gain a clear understanding of background, context and scope of the role together with the technical skills required for the incoming Interim Transformation Lead. For a decentralised business this was a significant project and it was crucial to recruit someone with the right style, approach and cultural fit.
Our Interim Practice has strong relationships across the interim HR community and maintains up-to-date details of candidate availability, day rates and location requirements. We are therefore able to identify suitable individuals quickly.
We presented a shortlist of candidates to the client within two days, together with an assessment of their fit against the requirements of the role and their ability to support a major international transformation programme.
The client deemed two candidates suitable for hire, with cultural fit proving the deciding factor. We supported the client and the successful candidate with the on-boarding process, ensuring this happened as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The successful candidate joined within two weeks of the briefing call. Following the initial six month contract the candidate was extended to support further transformation projects in the business.
Our client is one of the UK’s largest financial services firms with a truly market-leading, global footprint. The role was to lead all activities globally in the talent and development space. The challenge was that this part of the HR function had shrunk over a number of years as the business focused far more attention to compliance and regulation, so there was an element of the start-up challenge attached to the brief. Our client, the CHRO, knew what good looks like and we received a very thorough brief. We knew we would need to find an A+ candidate in every respect as, quite rightly, the bar was set very high.
This search in principle was quite formulaic – we understood the brief, our client was a very experienced operator, and the business was well-known. The first challenge was that we would need to find the best people in this space, globally. Through our network of senior leaders, we actively sourced for recommendations and referrals and our research team identified the candidates performing similar No.1 roles in large global multinationals. We are lucky in that our reputation is such that people will take our calls often at this level, which is key. The next challenge was the assessment of candidates’ knowledge and experience; as mentioned the bar on this was high and knowing our client’s expectations we had to ensure our interviews were thorough. We are of the opinion that great candidates like to be tested, and so the interviews for this role were in-depth from a subject matter point of view. It was really interesting to explore with these candidates the level of impact they had made in the organisations in which they currently operated.
We found an exceptional candidate, surprisingly not well-known to us, and identified via recommendation from a senior, trusted contact. The individual had kept a low-profile externally for a number of years and had been working outside the UK; however, the attraction of the role was enough to tempt a conversation. Client side, the selection was both well-managed and taxing, involving board level stakeholders and an external consultancy assessment. We feel confident in concluding that the candidate and role were both A+ and it felt like a natural fit.
Our client is a founder-owned business that recently acquired a PE backer. Their product was totally unique, cutting edge, and only recently launched, though it had already attracted global interest. The business was growing rapidly from less than 10 to close to 100 employees and unsurprisingly was experiencing significant growing pains. They were in need of someone to help them in a number of areas: 1. To provide stability and structure. 2. To lay the foundations in order to sustain their growth. 3. To help their leaders (who less than a year ago were product designers) to become business leaders. 4. To aggressively go to market in a global context and hire exceptional talent in a highly competitive market.
There were numerous factors at play and we felt our initial contribution here was delivered in the early meetings where we helped the client prioritise and define what they needed in their HR leader. It would have been easy to simply launch the search within the market given the attractiveness of the proposition; but in reality, to not explore what the business really required, and by potentially being a bit of a nuisance in delaying the start of the search, we managed to clearly define what was really needed, which built solid foundations for the search.
The SD team were very excited about this search – it was one of those X-Factor jobs that many candidates were keen to do (but in reality, few of whom had the required toolkit), so our research team, together with contributing ideas and recommendations, identified people who had helped other organisations to navigate a similar experience. This allowed us to put together a very strong and diverse longlist. The challenge came when we started meeting people. The business really needed someone able to contribute at the very top, helping to define strategy, but who was also happy to get stuck in at a tactical level. All of the potential candidates we met were great but it soon became clear only a couple truly appreciated the diverse challenge this role presented and were a match to the unique personalities of the founders and leadership team.
We presented our shortlist which was accepted and we then had to work closely with the business who had a rather ad-hoc approach to selection; which was totally understandable given their position in the growth cycle. Again, we felt we added real value here by managing a process that enabled candidates to present their experience and motivations as well as allowing the business to get to know them intimately. This was vital as there was a real element of people joining a ‘family’. Our final challenge was time. There was a huge desire to move quickly but the limitations within the founders’ diaries and travel arrangements, meant things didn’t move as fast as everyone had hoped. As a result, keeping both parties engaged became an additional hurdle to overcome.
In the end, we got there. While the candidate the company wanted was clear from an early stage, the thoroughness of our search meant that the business felt they had done their due diligence and beyond that had in fact informed the shape of the role. Now, it’s so far so good. The business is flying and they appear to be working in harmony, already augmenting the embryonic HR function with the hire of a new global resourcing lead.
A FTSE 350 Financial Services business required insight and proactive, external talent mapping and pipelining in support of a proposed change in its Head Office location. Our client needed data to support future workforce planning and any associated recruitment activity in a new region of operation. There was also a need to explore and determine the attractiveness to prospective talent of the organisation and its new location.
We created an insight, mapping and pipeline project. We started by talking with a range of stakeholders to understand the extent of prospective requirements, risks, and budgeted investment for the change in location. We also spoke with other employers in the new region of operation and to the local chambers of commerce and tourist board. We took time to understand all client initiatives to date to ensure we explored new avenues to talent for our client and to avoid duplicated efforts.
Given the broader change and transformation project that the organisation was undertaking, it was apparent that the entire insight and pipelining project would need to be handled with sensitivity and confidentiality. There was to be no open advertising in support of populating talent pipelines and all research and talent pre-qualification activities would need to be carried out in a confidential manner.
An earlier insight project that SD conducted for our client highlighted a lack of same sector talent prepared to move to the new office location. Therefore, our focus became identifying organisations within the region, that held similar values, reward behaviours, and competencies as our client. Using this as a basis of our talent research we were able to identify and engage the talent who presented a best chance of success in transferring into our client’s sector and who would be prepared to learn and master a new, specialist area of knowledge.
We also collected insight and data on reward structures in the region, perceptions of our client’s employer brand, and who were our client’s competitors for the same talent.
Following a research and engagement process we organised and conducted two assessment days in our client’s new location, during which we met with talent across a range of levels at which our client would be recruiting, as roles were confirmed during the change and transformation project.
We presented a range of insight across areas pertinent to our client. We also presented three pools, or pipelines, of engaged, prospective talent to our client for continuing engagement and selection to a series of client-led assessments and interview activities.