May 25, 2018 – Executive recruiters are in hot pursuit of chief human resources officers (CHRO) and other senior-level HR leaders across the nation. The best HR chiefs are seen as integral strategic advisors to the C-suite, and the ones in demand are those who are sounding boards for CEOs. Why is there such pent-up demand for top flight HR experts?
According to executive recruiters, corporate leaders are hiring more like-minded sophisticated, proactive, strategic HR individuals with strong business savvy to drive their people capabilities just as they would a P&L.
Recruiting such talent continues to be of vital importance for companies. One recruiter, Chicago-based Hanold Associates has been retained in rapid succession by five companies to find new CHROs. They include: Charles E. Smith Life Communities, Alta Resources, Tradeshift Holdings, CDW and Kindred at Home.
Charles E. Smith Life Communities is one of the largest and most highly regarded non-profit elder care organizations in the nation. Founded in 1910 as the Hebrew Home for the Aged, Charles E. Smith now serves more than 1,100 older adults daily in multiple residences situated on a 38-acre campus in Rockville, MD.
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The not-for-profit is looking for an HR leader with a minimum of 10 years of progressive experience, with a demonstrated track record of driving results from HR, talent management, organizational design and succession planning efforts. It is seeking someone with experience partnering with senior executives and line leaders to design, develop and deliver HR programs with tangible outcomes.
Alta Resources is a market leader in integrated business-process-outsourcing (BPO) services: customer care, sales, E-commerce and fulfillment. Many of the world’s best-known brands trust Alta Resources to help them connect and reconnect with consumers across every touch point, from online to offline.
Alta wants an authentic individual with impeccable integrity whose personal and professional values are consistent with its mission, vision and guiding principles. The right candidate will be a change leader and manager who thrives on continuous improvement. This individual will be laser-focused on exceptional customer service while relentlessly driving towards operational excellence and innovation.
Founded in 2010, Tradeshift is the world’s largest business commerce platform that connects buyers and sellers. It connects more than 1.5 million companies across 190 countries. Tradeshirt is looking for a senior HR executive with a demonstrated track record in delivering sustainable business results through best-in-class people practices. “They must understand intuitively the process of creating a vibrant, healthy, world-class culture and be engaged enough to know the state of organizational culture firsthand,” said Hanold Associates.
With revenues exceeding $6 billion, and more than 80,000 employees, Kindred Healthcare is the nation’s largest provider of post-acute healthcare services, delivering integrated solutions to support patients and manage their care across the home health, hospice, community care, long-term acute care hospital and rehabilitation services continuum.
A CHRO View on Building Great Teams, From Inside and Out
Managing a large workforce at any company is no easy task. But when that workforce is 32,000 strong, it requires the steady hand of a top human resource leader who will keep everyone motivated, engaged, intact and forward thinking. And that’s across 160 countries encompassing every cultural nuance imaginable.
Kindred is seeking an HR leader with functional expertise in shaping culture, organization design, performance management, talent acquisition, change management, compensation and benefits (including executive compensation), employee relations, process improvement, training, labor strategy and union avoidance and leadership/management development including succession planning. The incoming leader must have proven ability to establish and lead an effective HR function, including staffing, team building, HR analytics, talent acquisition and performance management tools and systems and the development and implementation of total rewards strategies.
CDW is a multi-brand technology solutions provider to business, government, education and healthcare organizations in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. A Fortune 500 company with multi-national capabilities, CDW was founded in 1984 and employs more than 8,700 coworkers. For the 12 months ended March 31, 2018, the company generated net sales of over $15 billion.
CDW, while still formulating its requirements, will no doubt be looking for many of the same traits desired by the other organizations seeking new HR talent.
HR Search Consultants
Hanold Associates is a boutique search firm specializing in HR officer assignments, serving clients such as Patagonia, Nike, eBay, Cummins, Kohler, REI, Google, Riddell, Fossil, Carnival Corporation, the UFC, Blue Apron, Amazon, Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, Vail Resorts, Abbott, Biogen, Great Place to Work, Electronic Arts, Godiva, Fiat-Chrysler, Bridgestone, Northwestern University, Heinz, Warburg Pincus, Medtronic, Zurich, Wikipedia, T. Rowe Price and SC Johnson, among others.
Following a record-breaking year of human resources searches at all levels, Hanold Associates has recently placed HR leaders at Mylan, Remitly and Visteon. In addition, the firm is seeking top HR executives for McCaffery Interests, Magid Glove & Safety, Synergy Flavors, REZ-1, Travelzoo and Charter NEX Films.
“We witnessed an unusual year in that we saw an uptick right before the year-end holidays, and then a long pause, pre- and post-inauguration until about the mid-February, and then the floodgates opened,” said Jason Hanold, CEO and co-managing partner of the recruitment firm. “The CHRO market is as strong as ever.” Last year, Hanold Associates garnered $6.6 million finding top HR leaders, allowing the firm a coveted spot on the Hunt Scanlon Media Top 50 search firm rankings.
Mr. Hanold recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon to discuss the current supply and demand curve for CHROs. Following are excerpts from that interview.
Jason, why the rise in searches in the CHRO space?
We have experienced a rise in CHRO searches in two key segments: established, mature organizations that are transforming and start-up to break-through stage companies who are installing their first sophisticated HR leader to shape or grow the culture and the organization. CEOs are move savvy and in tune with what great HR looks like, and their expectations from the function and leader have grown in correlation. Companies are demanding and expecting more from their respective HR leaders.
With the CHRO role evolving so much in recent years are there any new traits that companies seek in their incoming HR leaders?
Companies desire commercially-savvy HR leaders who have and share perspectives on the business beyond the people-specific implications. For the more ambitious and enlightened organization, they want one who could be a successor candidate to a P&L or even CEO role. CEOs fundamentally want an HR leader who can drive and wire an organization for continuous change and agility at all levels of the company. They want one who has a balanced voice, between that of labor and management. They desire one who can pull the most out of existing talent fast, whether through new learning and development or the right kind of talent intake. Most organizational growth is diluted because the company is talent-constrained, in that they may have enough people but without today’s needed skills, or not enough people from the outside are joining soon enough to keep pace with growth demands. Also, transparency, trust, integrity, grit and humility are leadership traits that have remained in demand.
“CEOs fundamentally want an HR leader who can drive and wire an organization for continuous change and agility at all levels of the company. They want one who has a balanced voice, between that of labor and management. They desire one who can pull the most out of existing talent fast, whether through new learning and development or the right kind of talent intake.”
Why the CEO / CHRO Relationship Is Essential
In partnership with CEOs, chief human resource officers are playing increasingly critical roles to ensure companies win the war for talent and maximize employee motivation across the globe, according to the “Executive Monitor” report by search firm Boyden.
It’s been said HR has the most mobility among corporate functions. How does that complicate the search for HR leaders?
Most organizations across most industries want to learn about great practices from other companies in other industries. Often, companies view themselves as having the best people in their particular segment and are less interested in hiring from a direct competitor, so this also fuels the transience across industries.
Finally, Jason, discuss the current supply and demand curve for CHROs.
The demand continues to accelerate aggressively, and the supply of wickedly smart, pragmatic, humble, financially-savvy, strategically-minded and operationally-oriented CHROs is barely keeping pace. However, we have enjoyed an infusion of amazingly talented leaders into the HR function in the past decade, effectively swinging the pendulum of credibility forward for the function. Although historically HR did not attract the very best people in business, today’s most distinctive talents are purposely pursuing leadership roles in the function, and that is a sure pipeline source for more of tomorrow’s CEOs.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media