Monday, September 14, 2009

IBJ - Economy Pushes Execs Into Small Firms

hile I was on summer family vacation on beautiful Crystal Lake, Michigan, I received a phone call from Barabara Quandt, Indiana State Director of the NFIB, asking if I would speak with Peter Schnitzler of the Indianapolis Business Journal about a story he was working on.

In speaking with Peter, I discovered that he was focused on a topic that is extremely important to the health of the Indiana economy and especially growth segments in the Indianapolis area like Life Sciences and medical device promoted by Biocrossroads.  Schnitzler's story focused on large corporate executives' migration to small and medium sized, locally headquartered companies.  While this is a primary focus for Career Solutions Group, it is also a key to the successful growth of new companies and industries in the Indianapolis area.  Key talent that is being downsized by localy Fortune 1000 companies must find job opportunities locally or they will have to relocate to other areas of the company.  The recession has provide a unique opportunity for smaller companies to attract high level talent that they normally could not attract.  But, "talent upgrading" as I call it also presents difficult challenges for small organizations who try to integrate managers used to a large corporate infrastructure.

One element of Schnitzler's article actually says the opposite of what I tried to convey to him.  He says that I joked about placing executives who didn't know what to do once they were on board.  I can say that I've never placed anyone at a small company who wasn't well counselled about the dramatic change in environment that they were entering.  It's one of the main reasons why our firm has been so successful in helping small, growing companies hire large corporate talent for the long term. 

This topic is very important for local business leaders to read about.  There is a stigma, especially in the private equity and venture capital community, about large corporate executives being able to make a successful transition to a smaller, high growth company.  It is possible.  And the most successful high growth companies, some that we work with, do this almost routinely.  But maybe surprisingly, many of the CEOs at these smaller, localy headquartered companies didn't want to talk to Peter about the article.  For various reasons, they didn't want what is "their business" publicized.  Some are very confidential and protective of any information which could be a competitive advantage.  Some are suspicious about having the IBJ write something about them which might be taken out of context.  What ever the reason, it is unfortunate that the stigma persists.  

But small Indiana headquartered companies (defined at 500 or fewer employees by the federal government) do successfully acquire talent from large corporations if they take the careful steps to create a specific role through job analysis, conduct a broad search to identify a potential "universe of candidates", and go through a detailed finalist selection process, picking from finalists who all meet the critical technical requirements of the role.  Many of these smaller companies do not have an HR departement and that is why engaging a firm like Career Solutions Group is a smart move for them.

Since 1995, Career Solutions Group has created custom recruiting solutions for Indiana headquartered companies.  Some of our projects have been national in scope for filling multiple, similar positions or populating talent databases with our client's competitors employee data.  Other executive search and executive recruiting assignments have been tailored to meet the specific needs of the client company, ranging from a broad national search to a niche industry search to a local or cross industry technical-skill-transition search.  Regardless of the size, scope, or objective of the search assignment, Career Solutions Group is committed to providing a high level of quality service, tailored to meet our clients' needs which has led to long term, repeat clients in a variety of industries like banking, medical device, advanced manufacturing, and more generally with local closely held businesses.  If you are a locally headquartered company, especially one of the smaller companies as described in the IBJ article, working with a an Indianapolis search firm for talent recruitment and talent acquisition can pay huge, long term dividends by reducing costly turnover and adding high skilled talent.

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