HR Director, Private-Equity backed luxury high-street brand
A premium beauty brand, received private equity investment in order to double their salon numbers and grow, nationally. Their first appointment was the Non-Exec Chairman, whose first recommendation was that they created an HR Director role to steer the business strategy to focus entirely on its people. As a services business, employee development and engagement and retention has a direct correlation to customer retention and the commercial mandate for a strategic HR Director had never been more critical to the future growth and success of the newly-structured business.
The challenge was to find an HR Director with the experience of navigating the delicate relationship between the new PE Investment Directors and the Executives. The “honeymoon period” post-investment was very much still in evidence, but some of the intended changes, and desire for growth meant that serious change was afoot and the HR Director would be key to advising the Exec and Non-Execs, as well as being part of that senior management team. Excellent stakeholder management was required, as well as serious commercial capability, to prove return on investment from all the people initiatives which were needed. It was a brown-field site, with a huge hand-on element, so the team required someone who could be in the detail, and actually deliver as well as sit with the top teams and contribute the longer-term vision for the business.
Culture fit, as always, was key to success. In a highly customer-facing business, a friendly, down-to-earth personality was required, with considerable resilience, commercial knowhow and a solid HR Generalist skillset. The client knew they didn’t want anyone from their industry as they recognised that HR was not well embedded within their competitors. The challenge, therefore, was knowing where to look for HR Directors with this mix of skills and background. Our search focused on retail, hospitality & any other sector where customer service was the heart of the business’s success, where budgets were lean & resource are usually tight. The shortlist ticked all these boxes and the successful candidate came from the Airport Industry, running the complex mix of customer service, security & regulation under serious commercial scrutiny. They had a unique mix of corporate capability without being too rigid in their approach, and the ability (and willingness) to get things done.
Interim Talent Acquisition Consultant, Global Engineering Company
The UK division of this international engineering business had seen a revolving door of Talent Acquisition Leads across the previous few years. The appointment of a new HR Director led to a review of the HR function and one of their first decisions was to hire an interim TA Consultant who could manage the relatively small number of hires they had at that time but also conduct a review of the function from top to bottom – talent attraction, employer branding, candidate engagement, onboarding – whilst partnering with hiring managers to better understand their frustrations with the ultimate aim of establishing a more robust and successful TA function.
Whilst providing a strategic review of a TA function and implementing new ways of working is an enjoyable project for many, it was imperative to ensure the interim was still happy to deliver the operational recruitment element and comfortably balance the demands of both workstreams at the same time. Given reporting lines, experience within a global, matrix environment was essential as was significant recruiting within a technical environment such as engineering, manufacturing, or oil & gas. In addition, the skillsets being recruited were extremely niche so it required someone who could align with the brand and attract the candidates from competitors.
Our experience of operating within the interim HR market for over 10 years meant that, despite the very specific requirement, there were 3 interim candidates we knew, all of whom had the relevant industry experience, had completed similar assignments and were either immediately available or very shortly due to complete their current assignment. More importantly for the client, we had successfully placed all 3 into roles previously and could provide first hand feedback on their success in those. The successful interim was onboarded quickly and very quickly started building out greater capability within the UK but also joining things up internationally so as to capitalise on moving exceptional talent within the organisation.