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The blog.


Driving the Mission for the Organization

The heart of any company begins with its mission statement. The mission statement is the very definition of what the company stands for and the potential future outlook of the business. Much like a company’s value, it shapes the organizational culture where employees learn and grow. If one member of the team doesn’t believe in the same vision the entire team can begin to crumble.

Executives should be the ultimate advocates of driving the mission statement home. They need to constantly focus on how to better the organization and what steps to take to get closer to the ultimate goal. If they do not believe in the vision of the company, this can create a major disturbance in pushing the entire company forward.

Is it worth the time and energy to dedicate time and resources in coaching the executive to invest themselves more? Or should you turn your attention to someone that can prove to be a driving force towards the future?

Many times, the executive cannot offer 100% buy-in to the company’s mission. While the executive may offer great departmental support to the overall vision, if they are not focused on the same goal this can be a deterrent to the desired success in the long run.

Focusing attention on someone who wants to see organizational growth fall within the mission of the company is important. The executives and employees that support the direction a company is headed are more willing to dedicate the time needed to see the goals come to fruition. Try not spin your wheels on a stalled executive, and instead, cruise into the future with a group of supporters backing you.

The Details of Strategic Planning

Strategic planning identifies the abilities of a company and focuses on its strengths. It is used to set priorities, concentrate resources and energy, utilize operations and establish a clear end-goal.

To begin the process, an organizational team should be assembled, which embodies an appropriate representation of the culture and identity of the company. This team should be made of key implementers, outside facilitators, internal representatives and top-level executives.

The basic system of strategic planning begins with goal-setting through identifying the accomplishments that hoped to be accomplished in a set amount of time.

Goal-setting is followed by an assessment of the organization. The question “Where is the company currently?” must be asked and answered. This may be the hardest and most crucial step as there is a distinct differential between where the company currently is and where people want the company to be. The assessment should include internal and external “temperature” audits.

Strategy formulation or defining the future steps for the organization that focuses on the vision and mission is often the next course of action. Formulation is followed by implementation. Taking the steps that were selected in the third stage of the planning process and putting them to work can be the most time-consuming phase.

Evaluation is the final stage of the planning process. Recalling the goals that were set out in stage one and determining if the goal was reached successfully through the steps that were taken is important to ensuring continued progress.

Progress can be tracked and monitored through the use of the Balanced Scorecard, which targets the growth and improvement from the financial, customer/stakeholder, internal process and organizational capacity viewpoints. These Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) measure the extent of effectiveness and operational efficiency that is demonstrated during the implementation stage.

While evaluation is the final step, strategic planning should be cyclical. Whether it be refining the steps to achieve the initial goal or establishing a new goal, the strategic planning process should be a day-to-day focus for overall organizational achievement.

What constitutes a transformational leader?

There is an overwhelming sense of responsibility taken on by any leader. Strong leadership evokes a belief in the shared vision and the charisma to guide others has the ability to propel the strengths of the team. The way employees define their manager’s leadership style, has a large impact on the continuation of a successful leadership cycle.

There are nine identified frameworks of leadership styles – transformational, transactional, laissez-faire, servant, autocratic, democratic, bureaucratic, charismatic and situational. With these nine styles, also comes nine different ways a team can define their leader’s approach. Believing in a one-size-fits-all methodology may cause more adversity than prosperity. Leaders must have the ability to adapt their leadership strategy to fit the situation and their employees.

The responsibility taken on by any leader is more than just a guide towards the right direction. A leader must be willing to make the hard decisions, earn the trust and respect of his/her employees, believe and articulate a shared goal, and inspire people to do their best. Having the foresight to know what may lie ahead and recognize that a shared vision will distinguish a transformational leader from the rest.

Should Succession Planning be on your Company Agenda?

As the structure of an organization matures and employees begin to mature and transition from their initial roles, succession planning becomes a key piece in ensuring the organization will continue to run smoothly.

Be proactive in outlining a succession plan that works best for the culture of the company. Set aside adequate time to identify the key traits needed for another leader to fill the soon-to-be vacant position. Even if a transition is not expected immediately, proper timing and planning make a difference in the midst of any occupational shift.

In the spirit of timing, this offers an excellent opportunity to provide training to other employees that may be interested in leadership roles down the road or perform trail runs for potential candidates whom may be closer to the level of accepting more responsibility. Opening up the chance for employees to actively seek leadership roles and identifying top performers, organizations pave a greater road towards smoother transitions.

Through training and vetting, it is important to relay the shared vision of the organization. Engaging in transparent strategic conversations will not only help develop a greater vision for future success inter-departmentally but it will also magnify the strengths of top-performers.

Once an internal succession structure is identified, the process should be mirrored and appropriately transitioned to fit the hiring strategy, establishing the traits valued in top-leadership parallels that of new additions.

How to Properly Resign as an Executive

After deciding to forge a new career path, resigning from the current position is naturally one of the next steps. As an executive, the utmost importance falls on how their departure transpires and how it affects the company in the long haul.

Appropriate transparency and confidence will define how any executive leaves their current role. Naturally, as a leader departs, followers begin to raise suspicion. Being confident in the transition without making vague excuses will alleviate that worrisome feeling that may arise in employees. The reasoning behind such change should be professional and future-centric rather than focused on the specific instances that led to the transition.

An in-person announcement to the organization is the best way to break news for any leave. Falling in line with transparency, this method allows current employees the chance to ask questions, witness organizational support and positivity and, most importantly, observe the raw emotion that is paired with any goodbye. No matter the circumstances, good or bad, executives will be able to better gauge the reaction of their team and quash any potential rumors or “this is what I heard” scenarios.

Leaving the company in good standing should be at the forefront of any executive’s mind after deciding to depart from their current role. While two weeks’ notice may be the norm, more time may be needed to ensure adequate measures and plans are in place to set the company up for future success. Whether it be two weeks or two months, a proper go-ahead plan should be established and communicated to support the company that such executive was once a part of.

What’s more important – the degree or the experience?

With degrees becoming more and more common, the experience that a candidate brings to the position has taken the front seat in the hiring process. Needless to say, a degree does offer valuable skill important to a candidate’s resume.

The significance of completing a degree speaks to the candidate’s ability to be successful in various life and job-related aspects such as multi-tasking, social interactions, and ethical dilemmas. While the degree title and focus furthers the intellectual aspect of a candidate, it does not necessarily correlate to how much success a person will have within their position.

Experience is considerably the most valuable aspect a candidate can possess. The real-world experience that is transferable to the position in mind, provides far deeper insight as to how the employee will perform in a certain situation rather than the assumption of taught skills in the classroom.

However, a degree should not be any less valuable. Many entry qualifications for open positions specifically highlight the need of a degree to advance. Where the experience begins to overshadow a degree is through the interview process and the ability of a candidate to equate actual experiential moments to the demands of the job.

While the accomplishment of completing the route of higher education is still highly regarded in job recruiting, having first-hand knowledge of the qualifications that are to be expected has started to become the frontrunner when choosing between candidates with virtually similar resumes.

What defines a high-performing organization?

The ability for an organization to perform adequately doesn’t begin with goals and end with results. High performance is paired with strategic organizational structure and goal output.

Company leadership paves the way towards effectiveness. Through strong leaders, comes engaged and passionate employees focused on the organization’s goals and values. Leadership must have the understanding of the importance of acknowledging strengths of employees and building through weaknesses. This cultural design will, in turn, result in employees understanding their role within the company.

Effective organizational processes and procedures also allows for businesses to see high-performing results. From HR practices to marketing tactics, organizations must have established processes to yield wanted results. Granted, not every position allows for a clean step-by-step process. Solidifying a clear path towards company goals will provide employees and management the proper tools to focus on success should a situation arise that may initially detract from that.

The ability to react appropriately to change and complications sets strong organizations apart from the rest. While laying out an ideal plan of action provides the proper support for success, when things don’t fall according to plan, it is important to have a system that adapts. Growing a staff and culture that is able to manage a shift in plans, shows the strength and longevity of a company’s future.

Is your company brand more than just a logo?

In today’s society, attention is critical for success. If a company is unable to grasp and maintain the attention of customers, there is significant risk in getting lost in the mix of a hundred other businesses designed to provide their necessary services. The importance behind building a relationship beyond the brand name should be at the forefront of a company’s business model.

To go beyond a title and design on the company letterhead, there must be support, guidance and belief to push towards overall success. A company should be recognized by what it can provide both internally to its employees and externally to the community.

Offering the opportunity for employees to “buy in” to the process and ultimately, the success of the brand will translate to customers buying in as well. When employees are satisfied with the organization they are a part of and its values, it is much easier to attract customers who are satisfied with what the company offers as well. Employee benefits, incentives, and recognition opens the door for employees to create a cycle of positivity as they begin to recognize the support given, appreciate the opportunity and project the company values into customers.

Externally, standing out to your customers should also be more than the obvious. It should be supported through interactions, consistency, availability and appreciation. Having a brand that guarantees pleasant interactions, consistently provides a satisfactory product and/or experience, goes beyond the status quo. Acknowledging the dedication of loyal customers is guaranteed to maintain consumer share of mind.

While other companies offer the same products and services, going above and beyond for both customers and employees, will help the company become a brand, distinguishing itself from the competition and paving the way toward a tenured future.

Employees, when is it time to walk away? Employers, do you see the signs?

At any moment in your life, knowing when to walk away is difficult. Whether it be a professional opportunity or current career path, recognizing the signs of when to continue on is not always apparent.

From both an employer and employee perspective, the understanding of betterment for the future may be clouded by current situations. Once employees begin to recognize a needed change, their production is also affected tasking employers to take notice and recognize the same signs.

A lack of passion is a key indicator that it is time to move on. While it is completely normal to feel a lack of purpose occasionally, a continuation of that feeling shows a sure sign that the current position is not right. This demeanor is noticeable by both employees and employers as it affects task outcome and workplace morale.

Recognizing an inability to advance professionally signals a time to move on. As an employer, the potential of all employees should be top of mind and, if an individual has reached their full efficacy, it is important to allow them to continue toward maximum growth and encourage forward progression. On the contrast, as an employee, if the main focus is continued advancement and that is no longer possible, recognizing how talents can be utilized elsewhere within the company will prove to be more beneficial in the long run.

If there is not significant growth being seen, other opportunities should be considered. Employees should continuously bring amelioration to their department and the organization. Whether it be through workplace culture, task production or leadership, an employee should positively impact and strengthen the workplace. Conversely, an organization should do the same for its employees by supporting their needs, encouraging their progress and compensating accordingly. If a position or workplace growth is stunted, it may be time to walk away.

Through the looking glass: prospecting a client through a different lens

The process to recruit a new hire must be able to accurately gauge their potential success based on the objectives of the company and the available position, whether it be through an in-person, phone or video interview. This can be achieved through either a two or five-step process.

The use of a two-step recruitment process is quick and simple. Screening the resume followed by an in-person interview is the best way to find a suitable candidate in the least amount of time since it requires little back and forth between the organization and potential employee. Two-step hiring also allows for a candidate’s on-boarding process to be streamlined in a time-efficient manner.

This type of recruitment process is best suited for quick hiring needs and helps distinguish warm versus hot leads. However, this process lacks the substance required to properly vet a large pool of seemingly quality recruits since the speed of hiring for an open position poses threats of under-qualified applicants.

In contrast, the five-step hiring system begins with a resume screen and is followed by a phone interview, video interview, in-person interview and finishes with on-the-job skill testing. This process is best used for positions that require deeper skillsets than average, allowing for interviewees to highlight their abilities over a lengthened period of time.

The five-step system is also ideal for positions with large applicant pools as each step in the hiring process will naturally separate top candidates from average candidates and grants hiring managers the time needed to properly evaluate a candidate’s potential and organizational fit. While this process allows for an in-depth evaluation of a future employee, it can be deemed too lengthy, causing candidates to lose interest and abandon the hiring process all together.

Not all hiring methods are the same, choose one that works best for the organization that will set you apart from your competition.