Human Capital Forum: C-Suite Talent, Increasing Retention

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How do you identify top C-suite talent? And what’s the best way to improve culture and retention for existing employees?

These were among the most popular topics in the latest BluWave-hosted Human Capital forum March 9.

Megan Ryan Kanefsky of J.F. Lehman & Company, Kristin Brown Patrick of New State Capital Partners and Abby Wilson of Transom Capital Group joined our own Rena Frackt Zimmerman as panelists for the virtual event.

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Here are some highlights of what was discussed.

Identifying Top C-Suite Talent

The panelists discussed the importance of creating scorecard assessments for all executive positions to test technical aptitude.

Incorporating objective criteria, such as personality assessments, can also be helpful. For example, when hiring a CFO, the process might involve screening for cultural fit, sending an assessment that models financial statements with errors and conducting behavioral interviews with key stakeholders.

To ensure success, it’s essential to communicate effectively with candidates and get alignment on what you’re looking for from the onset. Putting in the work upfront can help build a high-performing executive team that drives company growth and success.

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Assessing Talent to Value

Hiring deeper within the organization – beyond the C-suite – also came up. The panelists said that one important aspect of the hiring process is using data to evaluate talent.

Objective criteria like cognitive abilities and behavioral fit for the role can help companies focus on hiring for aptitude and growth potential rather than just credentials. Encouraging a mindset of thinking outside the box can also help identify junior talent with a strong aptitude to learn and grow.

While it may take longer to find smarter and better hires, these candidates are more likely to stay and contribute to the growth and success of the company.

Improving Retention and Culture

Creating a positive and engaging work culture – vital to retaining top talent – was the third and final topic the panelists discussed.

One way to encourage employee buy-in and create a sense of ownership is to offer profit interests to all employees, not just top executives. This can motivate team members as they feel invested in the success of the company. Leadership programs for middle managers and director-level employees can also have a significant impact on retention rates.

Regular standing events create a sense of loyalty to the organization, too. For example, weekly lunches or bi-weekly events can encourage collaboration and give different levels of the organization opportunities to interact. This can foster a sense of community and help create a more positive work environment.

Simple acts of recognition and gratitude can also go a long way toward building a more positive culture, the panelists said.

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This event was conducted with the Chatham House Rule in place.


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