Seeking the HR VP's eventual successor...
Organization: A Canadian Essential Services Company
Situation: This mid-sized Canadian company's HR department had been well managed by the VP, HR for a very long time. In the course of succession planning for the organization, she was looking for her own successor to grow into her position. Further to this, the organization had recently gone public, so they were looking for someone who could bring the required level of sophistication to the role, have enough growth potential to hold out for 6-7 years before moving up to VP, and be able to operate effectively in a state of flux.
Assessment: This newly-created role required a mix of disciplined approach, planning and strategy, with the ability to influence and succeed in an environment of constant change. This individual needed the ability to work with and influence a leadership team who had been working together for many years, many of whom are quite set in their ways. Specific skills were required, including expertise in Compensation & Benefits, Succession Planning, and ideally Organizational Design. An interest in managing union negotiations was required, and experience was ideal.
Challenge: This assignment was challenging on several levels: #1. We were looking for a very strong, progressive thinker, who would be willing to take on a not-so-progressive organization and industry; #2. We were looking for someone with the professional and personal maturity to work comfortably with the senior executive leadership, and with the union; #3. And we were looking for someone who was strong enough and senior enough to play an active role in effecting organizational change, yet who would have enough career growth left to wait 6-7 years for the VP role. Because of this lead time, the successful candidate also needed to have demonstrated career longevity. The organization has a corporate culture of respect and team work; it was essential that the successful candidate fit in.
Solution: Our Toronto office specifically targeted companies, across industries, with progressive HR policies, and a mix of blue and white collar employees. We did not look at other companies in our client's industry, as our client is one of the most progressive organizations in that industry. The key to this search was networking through all of our contacts and candidates to find a person with that unique blend of skill set, at the right point in their career development.
Candidate: The successful candidate had enjoyed excellent career progression, having spent over 10 years with one organization. His experience had developed through assignments as a generalist, in compensation & benefits, and several years in succession planning for their most senior leadership. With his likeable personality and warm professional manner, he was an excellent cultural fit for the organization.
Postmortem: Both the client and the candidate were and have continued to be happy with the match. The candidate has integrated very quickly, earning the respect of his peers and co-workers. He has enthusiastically brought new ideas and discipline to the organization and proved to be a very strong and eager second-in-charge.
Footnote: The QualiFind Group’s Toronto office was subsequently engaged to build out this client’s marketing department which resulted in four recruiting assignments over the span of 9 months.