How to Attract, Build, Retain & Engage Your Workforce Today

Louis Montgomery and Phil Menzel of JM Search say that for all the hardships it caused, the COVID 19 pandemic produced some positives for the world of work. Join JM Search and Hunt Scanlon Media tomorrow for a webinar discussion about the unique opportunities and silver linings that have surfaced since the crisis.

May 10, 2023 – The COVID-19 crisis changed the world of work in many ways. And though it caused significant hardship, it also had some silver linings. “The greatest has been the increase in workplace flexibility including the expansion and acceptance of hybrid and remote work,” said JM Search’s Louis Montgomery. “This change has provided individuals and organizations much greater flexibility regarding how, when and where work gets done. It’s enabled individuals with families to be more present for their kids’ activities including seeing them off to school, attending events and being present when they return home. We believe this had led to better work/life integration.”

Another benefit of remote/ hybrid working has been an expansion of candidate pools, according to Mr. Montgomery. “Because many roles no longer require a daily physical presence in a particular location, organizations can expand their geographic reach for candidates and potentially create a more diverse candidate pool,” he said. “And while there is a strong back-to-office movement in many organizations, we believe greater workplace flexibility including remote and hybrid work is here to stay.”

Mr. Montgomery says that another positive has been a focus on organizational culture and diversity, equity, and inclusion. “In the immediate aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, many organizations reexamined their reality of diversity, equity, and inclusion,” he said. “This led to a recommitment to DEI in many organizations, and the creation of dozens of many new roles to focus on the important area. Increasingly organizations are viewed as catalysts for social change. Many potential candidates, not just individuals of color inquire about their potential employer’s commitment to DEI as part of their consideration process. While there has been some retrenchment recently there is a greater focus on this important area than pre-pandemic.”

Hybrid / WFH Schedules

“All talent strategies have been impacted by the increased need for connectivity,” said JM Search’s Phil Menzel. “The reason is that if you have chosen not to change your approach to connectivity and require people to work in office Monday through Friday, then you are going to have a smaller potential pool of talent and you will need to adjust your thinking about how to fill all your needs with less available people interested in your company.”

Mr. Menzel notes that if you have moved to a hybrid model, then most of your talent acquisition strategies have changed as well. “Most of them seem to be on the positive side of the ledger, but all change come with challenges,” he said. “There certainly is an ability to increase your scope of people that you can consider across the country (if not the globe). This leads to a greater emphasis on sourcing strategies that include LinkedIn / social media that will bring more potential candidates to accommodate a broader aperture of qualified candidates.”

Company Culture

One outgrowth of the pandemic was that many more individuals were seeking meaning in their work, according to Mr. Montgomery. “They want a culture that values them as individuals and the contributions they can make,” he said. “They want to feel the work they do connects with a larger purpose and aligns with their values.”

As a result, says Mr. Montgomery, organizations are spending more time and effort actively working to improve their cultures to attract and retain a workforce that is increasingly asking how is this organization benefiting society? How am I growing because of being here? Is this a place I’m proud to be associated with? How is my firm promoting racial, social justice and protecting the environment?

“An increasingly common feature of our remote/ hybrid workplaces are core work days,” said Mr. Montgomery. “Since it’s rare for employees to spend five days a week at their work sites, many firms have established these days to help assure people are present in their workplaces at the same time, to help assure the opportunity for people to connect in person. To help maximize the effectiveness of these core days, organizations are using these periods to conduct town halls, development forums, and community service events. These extra efforts can help bridge the gaps for colleagues not interacting daily.”

As organizations are increasingly viewed as vehicles to help promote social change, involvement in their communities is becoming more important, Mr. Montgomery notes. “Providing employees the opportunity to participate in either periodic or on-going service projects are seen as actual indications of their commitment to improving racial, social justice and environmental causes,” he said. “More and more organizations have created foundations and/or enhanced giving opportunities for their employees to turbo charge their efforts to support causes that are important to them and their teams.”

How have the roles of C-suite leaders evolved to meet the new priorities/demands of today’s workforce? “The clearest evolution is one that requires more focus and attention on a workforce that is changing rapidly; take your workforce for granted at your own peril,” Mr. Menzel said.  The big question is whether these changes are permanent (due to there being a sellers’ market for talent) or will it normalize to employers having more control.”


JM Search and Hunt Scanlon Media have teamed up for a highly anticipated webinar tomorrow. We invite you to join JM Search along with a diverse panel of C-level executives for an engaging webinar discussion about the unique opportunities and silver linings that have surfaced following the events of 2020. During this session, our speakers will share why they have re-evaluated their business and supporting talent strategies in recent years, and how this reassessment has been a catalyst for reimagining how we attract, build, retain, and engage our workforce today.

Free registration … Click here to sign up!


As a partner with JM Search, Louis Montgomery specializes in the placement of senior HR and DEI leaders and their teams. He helps organizations add diversity to their ranks with 75 percent of his placements having been women and 50 percent having been people of color. As a former HR and DEI practitioner, Mr. Montgomery understands what it takes to be successful in this demanding field. His deep experience as an executive search consultant have honed his skills as a top assessor of talent. His background includes recruiting experience across numerous sectors, including private equity-backed companies and publicly-traded firms across consumer goods, financial services, industrial, government contracting, higher education, trade associations, and non-profits.

As partner, Phil Menzel brings nearly 30 years of human capital experience to JM Search. Having been the top HR executive for multiple multi-billion dollar businesses, he has recruited and led search committees for countless key executive hires, which enables him to view a search need through the lens of his clients. Mr. Menzel leverages his decades of experience in corporate management to help clients strategically evaluate their short- and long-term executive leadership needs and ultimately build the best possible management teams.


Mary Beth DeNooyer is chief human resources officer for Keurig Dr Pepper. With nearly 25 years of human resources experience, she joined the company in July 2019 from Pinnacle Foods, where she was CHRO following its Initial Public Offering. Prior to Pinnacle Foods, Ms. DeNooyer served as CHRO for Hillshire Brands and, before then, held key HR roles at Sara Lee, The Pepsi Bottling Group and General Mills.


Jacinta Carter has served as Swisher International’s EVP of human resources, people and culture since January 2022.  She is a values-driven, results focused human resources leader who delivers solutions that help companies realize the full potential of one of their most valuable assets – their people. Ms. Carter has a track record of creating inclusive and collaborative cultures that inspire business growth and strong customer satisfaction by empowering and motivating employees to continue to grow and to bring their best to the job. Prior to joining Swisher, she served as SVP of HR for Atrium Hospitality. In that role, Ms. Carter was a key member of the executive leadership team that was responsible for growing the company from a small start-up in 2015 into an industry leader. She led the creation and development of Atrium’s overall human resources strategy, talent acquisition, leadership development, organizational design, compensation and benefits, cultural development, HR operations, and technology solutions.

Daryl Gormley serves as CEO for Aquamar, a manufacturer and producer of quality and sustainable surimi products in styles that meet the needs of foodservice, retailers, value-added processors, and consumers. In his role, Mr. Gormley oversees the strategic direction for the premium Surimi business delivering on commitments to the shareholders and investors. Mr. Gormley has also played a significant role in developing Aquamar’s brand heritage and building a company rooted in customer service, collaboration and producing results.

Kathy Gardner is VP, head of people of operations at Palladium Equity Partners. She is an accomplished human capital change agent who drives value creation to establish successful operational leadership and organizational structures. On a national and global scale, Ms. Gardner has a track record of innovative talent agendas, retention strategies, succession planning, performance management, and executive development by building scalable and sustainable business operations. By helping organizations position themselves for long-term growth it unleashes the potential of people. Palladium Equity Partners is a private equity firm with a special focus on founder and family-owned businesses. The organization has invested over $3 billion of capital in 38 platform investments and 163 add-on acquisitions in consumer, services, industrials, and healthcare. Previously, Ms. Gardner ran North American operations for Bridgepoint, a private asset growth investor specializing in private equity and private debt with over €37bn of assets under management.

Attendance is free. To learn more and register to attend, click here!

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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