James Martin Practice Group Leader, London
Our mission? Identify, attract, and develop executives with the vision, business acumen, and functional mastery to make HR a prime driver of your profitable growth.
The surest way to sustain business success is to build a “talent dynasty” in which your exceptional people deliver enduring competitive advantage. That takes a unique brand of HR leadership. Egon Zehnder serves clients who view HR not merely as an administrative function, but as a strategic imperative, and want star players leading the way.
The consultants in our Human Resources Practice bring extensive experience, deep insight, and access to a global pool of top HR talent. Our expertise covers Chief HR Officers, Chief Talent Officers, and HR Division Generalists, as well as leaders in Compensation and Benefits, Leadership & Development, Diversity and Inclusion, Organizational Development, Resourcing, and Shared Services. We undertake critical assignments at international, regional, and national levels across industries.
The ability to manage the technical aspects of day-to-day delivery in an international setting is now a prerequisite for the HR function. HR directors are also expected to have a deep understanding of the wider business context, to contribute to broader business strategy development, and to have the executive presence and emotional intelligence to act as a thought partner (and occasionally as a personal advisor) to the CEO and other board members. A war for talent exists in many areas. Finding truly great HR leaders can be particularly challenging.
We work with you to develop a detailed profile of your ideal HR executive candidate. Indeed, an important part of our role is helping you rethink the very concept of “ideal candidate.” Our HR experts help you weigh the anticipated as well as immediate challenges of the targeted HR role, your company’s changing strategic objectives, the corresponding opportunities to productively tap more diverse perspectives, and the tradeoffs between candidates who have worked primarily within HR versus business executives who – while lacking HR experience – could bring valuable strengths to the HR function.
Pipeline of Great HR Leaders
We can help you craft personalized development tracks for each of your rising HR stars. Specific approaches to help rising HR leaders build business expertise next to functional expertise include rotating them into line roles; providing opportunities to collaborate with customer-facing functions; frequent mentoring from the CEO and other senior leaders; and targeted training to sharpen their business acumen, strategic thinking skills, and results orientation. These approaches will prepare the HR function to engage in the full strategic partnership that has long been sought by CEOs and CHROs. Significantly, we can also help you assess leadership potential – using a unique methodology that helps you anticipate how rising leaders will perform in new and more demanding executive roles – to help you create more accurate and reliable leadership development and succession plans.
Personal, Global Search
When the candidate profile calls for external search, the consultants in our Human Resources Practice personally and confidentially engage their local and global relationships and Egon Zehnder colleagues to identify candidates with the full range of competencies required to meet your needs. Each Egon Zehnder consultant’s reach is truly global. Our equal partnership structure and fixed-fee pricing policy motivate our consultants worldwide to work on your behalf. Your search consultants are also supported by a dedicated team of researchers who simultaneously run your requirements through relevant segments of our database, which is continually refreshed and tracks top executive talent worldwide. Through this rigorous process, we closely examine candidates who appear to be a potential match, analyzing critical incidents in their careers for insights into how they might navigate the challenges they would face in your targeted role. Because there are many different paths to becoming a great HR leader, we are careful to seek out candidates with a diversity of backgrounds and experience – including holding P&L roles, leading entrepreneurial growth, and working in global markets.
Our consultants approach the best-qualified candidates personally and discreetly. Through rigorous “360 degree” references we compile candidate comparisons and can show you how each one compares to best-in-class benchmarks.
As we move deeper into conversation with interested, well-qualified candidates, we conduct interviews grounded in our sophisticated and rigorously validated leadership Competency and Potential Model. Our evaluation encompasses far more than the customary professional track record check and referencing. We methodically surface the candidate’s full range of capabilities, explore their aspirations and behavioral characteristics, gain penetrating insights into their readiness to perform in the targeted leadership role, and assess how smoothly candidates would integrate into your organization and culture.
We develop trust-based relationships with candidates, gaining a close understanding of their requirements and concerns. So as your search progresses toward the hiring phase we are ready to serve as problem solvers and facilitators. Our fixed-fee policy ensures that we can play this sensitive role with no conflict of interest.
Our value add does not end with a successful hire. For newly appointed senior executives, the first few weeks and months in the role are critical. They must quickly understand the organization’s culture, set the right priorities, and establish credibility with colleagues and stakeholders. Our Accelerated Integration service speeds your new executive’s journey to full impact. We start supporting executives well before “Day One” in a new role – ideally, as soon as the appointment decision is made. Egon Zehnder consultants help your executive build an accurate and insightful picture of the upcoming integration challenge, making the keys to leadership success vividly clear and crafting a plan to hit the ground running. We also work personally with the welcoming leadership team as well as the executive to quickly cultivate interpersonal trust and open dialogue. Through the first 90 days, our consultants gather and distill candid feedback on the first impressions the executive is creating during the initial integration. We meet one-on-one with the executive at regular intervals – creating “islands of time” to allow them briefly to set aside all-consuming operational priorities, reflect on progress, identify and prioritize early wins, and calibrate their approach as needed.
We pride ourselves on the fact that most of our client relationships are long-term. We earn your loyalty by being consistently effective, energetically responsive to your needs, and tenaciously committed to your ongoing success. Our goal across all our services is to help you make better people decisions for critical roles, systematically increase your leaders’ readiness to take on bigger challenges, build a sustainable talent pipeline, and ensure that your leadership teams have the diverse strengths required to create competitive advantage.