Heidrick & Struggles Replaces Culture Shaping Leader

November 21, 2016 – Heidrick & Struggles has said that Jim Hart will retire as head of its culture shaping division Senn Delaney. He will serve as a senior advisor to Heidrick’s leadership team at the beginning of the new year. Michael Marino will succeed Mr. Hart as president and CEO.

“Jim has led the growth of the world’s first dedicated culture shaping firm into a vital part of the portfolio of transformative leadership and talent services Heidrick brings to our clients,” said Heidrick president and CEO Tracy Wolstencroft.

Culture Shaping Competition

Culture shaping work contributed about 6.5 percent, or $36 million, to Heidrick’s portfolio in 2015. This year, it is on track to funnel slightly less to the No. 4 Hunt Scanlon Media ranked global talent provider as more rivals jump into the business, making top line growth harder to come by.

Just two weeks ago, Partners In Leadership launched Culture Search, a new division which will put an emphasis on the consulting firm’s culture management and executive leadership offering. “Culture Search builds on nearly three decades of Partners In Leadership culture and accountability consulting expertise,” said president and CEO Gordon Treadway. Of interest to clients: Culture Search provides some of its culture assessments free of charge, and other client-favorable features include a no penalty clause, a back-end loaded payment schedule, and a fee cap.

Mr. Marino has served on the leadership team at Senn Delaney for more than 20 years, most recently as a partner and EVP. He has led strategic accounts across a wide range of industries, including FedEx, Loblaw, GlaxoSmithKline and USAA. Mr. Marino also has been instrumental in new product development for the culture shaping business as well as integrated products for Heidrick.

Prior to joining Senn Delaney, Mr. Marino was an executive at Chase Manhattan Bank. During his 10-year tenure there, he served as a senior human resources executive for Asia-Pacific, and helped establish the Chase-AMP Bank of Australia. He served as country manager of consumer banking for Chase Thailand and he also developed strategic plans for Chase consumer banking in Japan, Thailand and Malaysia.

“As a leader and advisor to leaders for more than three decades, Mike understands the foundational importance of creating a thriving, high-performance work culture to meet the challenges created by changing customer needs, technological advances and volatile global market dynamics,” Mr. Wolstencroft said.

In 2012 Heidrick & Struggles acquired Senn Delaney. Since 1978, Fortune 500 and Global 1000 CEOs have worked with the culture shaping advisor to help shape their corporate cultures, well before ‘culture’ and ‘talent fit’ entered the lexicon of human capital management leaders.

Culture shaping is now seen as one of the most important drivers to achieve competitive advantage among companies, and most search firms, including boutiques, now offer some variation of it. It includes human capital management, business transformation strategy, leader engagement, talent optimization, organizational development, HR transformation, and leadership & talent management.

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Heidrick Seen As No. 1 Culture Brand

In a recent poll by Hunt Scanlon Media sponsored by Mullin International on culture shaping, ‘Aligning Strategy and Culture,’ respondents cited culture as the most important workplace consideration at their organization (73 percent). When asked how culture was driven as ‘a leadership priority’ at their organization, 42 percent responded ‘from the top down.’ Half of respondents said that culture at their company could be ‘significantly improved upon.’ Tellingly, when asked if culture could be ‘significantly improved upon,’ nearly half of respondents (48 percent) said yes.

Culture seems to be what attracts many employees to companies: 56 percent of respondents to the Hunt Scanlon culture poll selected it as a ‘priority’ over job satisfaction and compensation. Respondents said that culture change needed to become a ‘more significant part’ of their organization’s leadership agenda (44 percent). When asked which search firm was best identified with offering culture shaping services, Heidrick & Struggles came out on top, with 44 percent citing the recruitment company over Egon Zehnder and Spencer Stuart (each identified by 28 percent of survey respondents).

Why Its Here to Stay

Study after study suggests that culture shaping is a concept that is here to stay. A study released by rival leadership solutions provider Korn Ferry Futurestep found that nearly two thirds (61 percent) of executives said organizational culture was the most important recruiting advantage for global organizations. In another separate study, Korn Ferry Hay Group found that “driving culture change” ranks among the top three global leadership development priorities.

Organizational culture has reached a tipping point, said Larry Senn, founder and chairman of Senn Delaney. Most CEOs, he said, obviously know that culture matters and that it can have a strong impact on business results. But, he added,  “companies that focus on culture are becoming icons for job seekers, especially the future generation of leaders who place a premium on work-life balance and culture fit in choosing where to work.”

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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