Recruiting Firms Reaching Deeper to Meet Changing Client Demand

February 9, 2017 – Boutique search firms are increasingly expanding their offerings beyond recruitment and giving clients a choice of accessory services like talent mapping, succession planning, and team building, to name a few. But some organizations are reaching even further, covering the full spectrum of a company’s talent needs, from bringing in new hires to helping employees land on their feet when they depart the business.

One firm, The Pi Group, recently added outplacement services to its arsenal of service offerings. And though it’s not an endeavor that pays the recruiter outsized dividends, it goes a long way in boosting a client company’s reputation for fairness, respect, and an overall employee-friendly environment. And that’s just one of the incentives.

“We see this offering as a truly niche, prestige, and client-funded delivery to consumer packaged goods professionals only,” says Steve Morrissey, founder and managing partner of the Darien, Connecticut-based search firm. “This is not a program to win mass-market numbers and compete with the Right Managements of the world. It is certainly not a major part of our commercial growth strategy either. Rather, it is a client-responsive, specifically-designed program we offer to senior-level candidates, relevant when the company wants to help transition that employee back to future employment in the brand world.”

An Evolved Purpose

When asked about the impact of providing such a wide range of talent services, Steve explained that it only strengthens his consumer goods advisory firm’s efforts to help its clients succeed. “Our core focus is an intimate understanding of talent search and advisory services as they pertain to the consumer goods sector,” Steve says. “It should be noted that as we build out these candidates, we are hiring very specialist skills; we are not diluting anyone’s focus internally or externally, but building a suite of highly-integrated but separate business practices.”

This has been a very natural development for the firm, he notes. “In dialogue with our clients, our fundamental purpose has evolved. We have moved beyond simply helping an organization fill critical talent gaps; we are now equipped to provide critical support of all aspects of clients’ talent management remit, so they are well positioned to achieve their ambitious growth objectives.”

Shift to Integrated Services

In broadening its offerings, Pi Group joins a growing number of small and mid-sized boutiques that are positioning themselves to compete with their large, global search rivals and stay relevant in these days of change for the search industry.

The Pi Group includes three practices: Perpetual Insights, which was started four years ago; Pi Executive, launched last spring; and now, Perpetual Ambition.

Perpetual Insights focuses on recruitment of middle to senior level management professionals, talent mapping, talent assessment, and interim management. Pi Executive, for its part, is devoted to C-level executive search, talent strategy and assessment, executive coaching, and on-boarding. Perpetual Ambition is the outplacement arm.

“Our increased investment in the diverse range of organizations’ talent advisory requirements is integral to our long-term growth,” says Steve. “The demand for a complete talent solution is high. Our mission has always been to meet our clients’ requirements or die trying.”

When I asked Steve what prompted the shift into integrated services, he explained that since his organization started in 2013, its focus has remained laser-sharp on its consumer goods clientele. Serving them through intelligent solutions is simply his firm’s mission, he says. That, in turn, has given Steve and company an invaluable perspective.

“With our privileged vantage point of having served over 50 leading brands in this sector, we have increasingly immersed ourselves into the culture, values, and structures of our clients,” Steve says.

“In so doing, we have developed an understanding of their real-world, talent-development challenges in the broadest sense. Always poised to respond flexibly to such client briefs, it was an organic process that led us to expand our services to the breadth you see now. No one client situation is the same and therefore it made sense to develop an integrated set of internal capabilities that address highly-related client challenges. In that vein, we have become a ‘strategic partner’ as opposed to a ‘transactional agent.’”

Agility and Deep Knowledge

Steve points to talent mapping as just one example of going beyond the traditional recruiter role. “A talent mapping engagement provides a client with a deep understanding of where the best individuals are in the market,” he says. “It is worth emphasizing, however, that while our service offerings are broadening, our focus on serving the consumer goods sector – and leading brands within it – is resolute.”

What’s more, Pi Group’s services are client driven. Having received excellent service and positive results across sales and marketing recruitment, for instance, the firm’s CPG clients have in turn sought help in other corporate functions, such as supply chain, finance and accounting, and human resources.

“They like our agility, honesty, deep knowledge of the sector, and unique approach,” Steve says. “Similarly, we now also offer clients expert consulting resources for short-term, outcome-focused, project-based assignments. In addition, as we have placed several individuals within certain groups or teams at a client, we have seen an opportunity to provide leadership development and offer high performing team programs.”

All this gives Pi Group unique insight into leadership team dynamics, says Steve. That’s opened the door to running high-performing team workshops and to helping support clients in initiating transformation programs in this specialist area, which the Pi Group calls its ‘Team-to-Tribe methodology.’

“As we place senior-level professionals, executive coaching opportunities have also resulted – hence all Pi Group partners now go through executive coaching courses at Columbia Business School to hone our skills in the art of coaching professional leaders,” says Steve.

Rebranding Efforts

Recent rebranding efforts are further reenforcing Pi Group’s focus on service. One critical element is the firm’s new state-of-the-art website, which offers a more comprehensive explanation of Pi Group’s full range of capabilities. It also provides easier access to functional expertise, client expertise, and open searches.

“We are thrilled to present our new corporate website and the robust information it provides clients and candidates,” said partner Pierre Trippitelli, who heads Pi Executive. “We believe that this new site aligns well with our company vision for continued growth, innovation, and client focus.”

Complementing those changes, the firm has also rebranded and redesigned the Perpetual Insights website. Among other enhancements, the new site outlines the firm’s expanded functional capabilities across sales, marketing, finance and accounting, supply chain and human resources.

Contributed by Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor and Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief — Hunt Scanlon Media

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