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Case studies

Tucker Stone have had a transformative effect on our business. We no longer wring our hands wondering where our next consultant is coming from. We know Tucker Stone will find them, and those who have joined us over the last few years are thriving with us. Our relationship with Tucker Stone is a true collaboration and will be key part of our continued success.

Managing Partner - Sheppard Moscow

Global Talent Acquisition Director

Global Agency For Open Source Information

Context

This global specialist agency are experts in their field and with strong brand presence. They had been through some significant changes over the past 3-4 years, including new ownership by a well-known Private Equity firm. With this change of ownership came restructuring and investment which included the appointment of a future-focused, performance-driven global CPO. The CPO designed a strong HR strategy to meet the needs of the high-growth business and in doing so identified some key priorities around the Talent Acquisition function, which included new systems and processes, attraction strategies for key talent particularly in technology, employer brand, and EVP.

Challenge

The challenge of this brief was to find an accomplished recruiter with both sales and technology experience in an international context (preferably including US experience), who had also been responsible for the wider talent acquisition strategies and efforts to include careers site development, early careers programmes, DEI, EVP, employer brand etc. The client was open to consider up and coming talent, but they needed to have had some of this more strategic experience too.

Solution

We developed a strong partnership with our client, who was able to outline the client-side process from the outset and this greatly contributed to the strong candidate experience we were able to provide.

We wanted to “cast the net” as wide as possible so placed an advertisement on LinkedIn and received a very strong response in terms of both quality and quantity. There was however a smaller number of candidates who fully the met the brief. It became apparent that there was a good amount of well qualified, international recruiters with both sales and technology experience, but they were lacking the wider, more strategic experience at this level.

We were able to produce a shortlist of 5, well qualified candidates, with one that consistently through both the Tucker Stone and client processes demonstrated she was the best candidate with all the requisite experience we were looking for. She was also what could be considered up and coming talent, this was her first Director level role, and she was able to clearly demonstrate, based on her previous performance and achievements, that she was an excellent choice.

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Interim Director of ED&I

Investment Banking

Context

An international investment bank had the unfortunate situation of an interim Head of ED&I that had just joined the organisation leave at short notice and very early into a long-term assignment with them. They needed not only an experienced and highly credible subject matter expert at short notice, but the senior leadership team needed someone who could work closely with them to elevate the work they were doing in this space.

Challenge

Whilst the seniority of the candidate required was self-evident, there were other ‘must haves’ for this interim to be successful. The role would require someone who had experience within a global, matrix environment, an individual with strong people management skills who could lead a high-potential, if relatively new, team to navigate the organisation as well as provide them with the individual development they deserved, and lastly someone who had the ability to build strong relationships quickly across all levels of the business. The importance of the role coupled with the circumstances meant they also needed to identify someone extremely quickly.

Solution

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 technical knowledge and breadth of experience that would enable them to be successful and were also 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 swiftly and quickly designed and rolled out pioneering initiatives globally which further demonstrated the business’ desire to be a leader within ED&I and, from a candidate and employee perspective, an employer of choice.

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Head of Employee Experience

Leading Media Organisation

Context

A leading and highly regarded broadcast media organisation was looking to overhaul its employee experience proposition. Already renowned for innovative and impactful work around talent, learning, DE+I and organisational culture, the desire was to elevate all aspects of the employee journey with a strong focus on simplification of how the employee, line manager and executive leadership accesses reward, people data and first line support.

We were asked to identify a Head of Employee Experience (a newly created role) that would lead on all aspects of reward, people analytics, HRIS, HR Operations and people governance. A role that brings process and rigour (light) to an organisation that prides itself on creativity, innovation and avoiding process for process’ sake.

Challenge

As is often the reality with newly created roles that are broad in nature, many candidates will naturally lean toward one or two of the areas of functional expertise and have less exposure to others. Alongside this, the need for deep expertise in certain aspects of this role was only likely to be a focus for a fixed period of time/programme, meaning that beyond the ‘heavy lifting’ of a new operating design, the skills required were likely to pivot towards another area of focus/workstreams.

We needed to find leaders that had demonstrated this ability to pivot whilst also having the precision and depth of expertise to truly elevate the offering to a level previously not experienced within the organisation. How these changes were subsequently ‘comms’ within the organisation was crucial to the success of the whole programme and therefore exceptional written and verbal comms and stakeholder engagement would be critical traits of the successful hire.

Solution

When searching for a role that has multiple functional disciplines it is important to cast a wide net. Whilst obviously approaching and speaking to individuals who already oversee a similar remit was our priority, we also engaged with candidates who were deep experts in one of two of the areas and assessed their potential to ‘grow into’ the additional areas of responsibility.

Network referrals were especially important on this hire, speaking with industry leaders across the reward, people ops and people analytics arenas allowed us to garner recommendations of future thinking experts in these spaces. Following a high number of discussions, we were able to build a strong shortlist, which encompassed leaders that demonstrated both deep and broad experience. We were delighted to appoint a leader who not only has the technical skillset to succeed but who also brings an approach and mindset that thoroughly resonated with all the key stakeholders throughout the interview and assessment process.

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Chief Talent Officer - US Based

Global Travel & Leisure Brand

Context

Our client, headquartered in Florida and with c80,000 employees globally, had recently hired a new Executive Vice President of HR. She had been appointed to upgrade and professionalise a large HR function that was performing well on a basic level but not aligned to new business objectives. The CEO understood that unless the business went through a fundamental cultural transformation that impacted mindset and behaviours across the board, then it was in danger of being left behind in an increasingly competitive and disjointed market.

Challenge

Having reviewed the HR team, the EVP HR concluded that the first key appointment was a Chief Talent Officer, to be based out of their headquarters and to lead an integrated talent solution globally, which included talent management, talent acquisition and overall employee experience. The candidate pool was limited due to location so it was likely the successful candidate would need to relocate. The industry sector itself was also not known for a particularly progressive approach to talent so limiting the search to the leisure hospitality sector would have been a mistake. Fundamentally the client wanted their function to lead the market, so the approach and target market needed to reflect that ambition.

Solution

This role was a particular challenge because it not only held a significant operational responsibility (team of c120) it also had a very creative and strategic element to it. It needed to drive the talent strategy and exceed the organisation’s expectations of the function. Due to the location and sector, the search needed to be broad, and candidates were approached across different industries, particularly those known to be leading in the talent space. After extensive market research, it was clear that progressive talent professionals were interested in migrating from New York and so this was also a particular focus. Ultimately the successful candidate was found in a global IT Services business and was able to bring a different approach to talent strategy. As a sector agnostic functional specialist, the ability to locate and assess from a broad talent pool ensured the candidate with the most appropriate capability was hired rather than the best available in the industry.

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Interim M&A Consultant

PE backed Property Management Company

Context

A midsize, PE backed property management business had made the conscious decision to become more acquisitive. Given all growth historically had been organic, the newly appointed HR Director recognised that there was no internal HR M&A skillset and therefore bringing an interim onboard to support this critical phase would ensure that, from a people perspective, they integrated the multiple acquisitions in the most successful way possible.

Challenge

With two potential acquisitions already nearing the end of due diligence by the time the new HR Director joined, speed in identifying the right candidate was critical. In addition the HR Director was wanting the interim to provide some support to them as an unofficial Head of HR so, whilst the M&A work was the focus, the interim would also need to bring a breadth of generalist experience at a senior level and have the pace and resilience to operate across multiple workstreams at once.

Solution

The regular contact we maintain with our interim network meant that there were a handful of candidates we immediately knew would be potential solutions for the client. However, given the significant and almost overnight growth the business would experience we identified that the ideal solution for the company would be to engage someone who had operated in far larger organisations and would be able to assist with laying the blueprint for how the business might be structured longer term. The successful candidate had consulted on an interim basis for several SME’s but had also been the HR Lead for a number of acquisitions for a bank as well as leading the HR function for a FTSE 250 business. They slotted in seamlessly to the team and had an immediate impact.

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Divisional HR Directors

PE baked retail company

Context

An established, private equity backed, online retail organisation had recently acquired 2 competitors, thus enabling the business to hold market leading positions in 4 new major European territories. The Chief People Officer was leading concurrently on an HR and business transformation strategy that included implementing a new organisation wide CRM solution and operating model that drove significant synergies and, would enable all 6 European markets to operate in the future with shared product, technology and commercial models.

We were asked to lead the recruitment for 3 new divisional HR Directors to partner with the newly created leaderships teams to ensure the successful design, implementation, communication and future success of the businesses post structural change.

Challenge

As with many integrations post acquisition, the key challenges that faced the new HR Directors sat around cultural alignment, ensuring trust and seamless service from newly centralised processes (and functions), plus ensuring the markets still had control of their key in-country products whilst benefiting from access to the wider group product portfolio.

We needed to find HR leaders who had significant experience of multi-cultural business integration, a strong understanding of digital consumer organisations and, the programme management skills to ensure the transformation was landed effectively, to a tight timescale and on budget. The 3 roles were recruited in 3 different Western European geographies.

Solution

When searching across multiple geographies, it is important to use both targeted search and network referrals in equal measure. One of our key differentiators as a specialist HR executive search firm is our extensive network of HR leaders gained over many decades (across multiple industry sectors) located in key global hubs.

Of the 3 successful hires, 1 was already well known to the consultant, another was a direct referral from a Group HR Director who we had worked with for over 8 years and the 3rd, whilst unknown to the consultant prior to commencing the search, was easily referenceable via 4 members of our extended network who had worked with them at various times in the last 13 years.

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HR Director

Property Partnership

Context

Following the appointment of a new Managing Partner, an international property business set out a new five year strategic growth plan which included significant investment in the corporate infrastructure. Historically the HR function had been seen as administrative and preventative and had an extremely poor reputation amongst Partners and employees alike. The Managing Partner wanted a new strategic HR function that aligned itself to the overall business objectives, with an equal and active voice on the board.

Challenge

By their own admission, the Partners could not describe what good HR looked like for their organisation.Like most professional services businesses there were a lot of opinions and one of the challenges was to define a brief that everyone could agree with and crucially understand. Expectation management was also key – aspirations had to be tempered in some instances and raised in others. A candidate needed to be sourced who could balance the strategic aspiration whilst delivering an HR function from the ground up, which was inevitably going to involve a hands on approach

Solution

Whilst it is agreed by most that HR skills are transferable across industry sectors, it became clear that working in a multi decision making environment/Partnership was crucial to the brief. Candidates were assessed against technical skill and capability but more importantly against their desire to build a function in what was often going to be an HR cynical environment, where resilience and courage would be key to success. The successful candidate came from a global professional services where she was a divisional HR Director. Frustrated by her lack of autonomy and the slow pace, this role appealed to her on a number of levels. She had worked in smaller businesses in the past and so was realistic about the delivery aspects of the role. She has now seen as the right hand of the Managing Partner, who now values HR as a strategic function and as an enabler not an inhibitor.

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Interim People Director

FinTech Start Up

Context

A small but extremely high growth challenger bank were seeking a People Director to support them on the next step of their journey but, with international expansion already underway and challenges across most elements of HR, the Exec Team couldn’t collectively agree on what the role looked like. It was decided that engaging an experienced interim who could support them on a short-term basis whilst also helping to shape the permanent role was the best solution.

Challenge

Although a strong brand with driven, inspirational leaders, they disagreed on what the biggest people challenges were facing the business and found it hard to articulate what good HR looked like for them so it was integral to agree upon a handful of key deliverables that the interim would be responsible for in the short-term so that expectations were managed on both sides. The broader People Team was under resourced so someone who could provide strategic input to the CEO but also roll their sleeves up was important and, given the nature of the business, required an interim who had worked in a regulated environment previously.

Solution

Culture fit is always key but, in this very entrepreneurial and relaxed environment, it was important to source someone down-to-earth and personable but with a strong commercial acumen who could help senior leaders drive the business forward. Although there were interims known to us who had worked in similar assignments, a referral from a client introduced us to a candidate within the online gambling world who had helped them grow internationally and had even opened an office in Asia which was part of the company’s growth plans. Their introduction was not only well within the timeframe the client requested but they’re now laying the foundations for a permanent successor in the not-too-distant future.

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HR Director

Private-Equity backed luxury high-street brand

Context

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.

Challenge

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.

Solution

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.

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Interim Talent Acquisition Consultant

Global Engineering Company

Context

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.

Challenge

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.

Solution

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.

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Global HR Director

Global IT Service Provider

Context

This Global IT Service Provider has been, historically, one of the world’s most decentralised businesses and in a new era of leadership, focusing on client experience, business efficiencies and high performance, a business transformation was required. This huge challenge involves consolidating agencies and support functions. The company’s IT function was the first of the business enabling units to undergo transformation, and is now a global service, offering a combination of in-house support, outsourced solutions and consulting services to the 100,000+ employees across the businesses. In 2019, Tucker Stone was asked to find a Global HR Director for the IT agency of this company.

Challenge

The challenge to this search brief was finding a candidate who could operate on three, completely different levels. Each one requiring different skillsets and capabilities.

1.
HR leadership for a small, international IT services company. Reporting to the CEO, leading an HR team to provide a service to c. 500 international highly technical employees. Unlike the company’s other agencies, the IT agency is more of a professional services / technical outsourcing environment, requiring an HR leader to modernise a function which had lacked leadership & strategic capability.

2.
Organisational Design & Development experience. The IT agencies mandate was to take on more and more technical accountability for the company’s agencies. Strong programme management & business transformation experience was required to continue the people change across 2000 IT professionals who would be affected by the augmentation of IT agencies mandate.

3.
Ability to function in a complex matrix across thousands of businesses and over 100,000 employees. Huge influencing and stakeholder engagement experience required, at a senior level across a population of CEOs, HR Directors & IT populations.

Solution

Marrying this three-in-one mandate required identifying people who had diverse experience: hands on HR leadership in an SME, big global & complex structures & change/transformation expertise. Research and networking were key to our success. We approached candidates in global professional services organisations, specifically IT services/outsourcing businesses, where change and transformation is part of an organisation’s DNA. Amongst them, we were able to identify a select few who could also roll their sleeves up and deliver in a small-company environment – for the most part, candidates with these backgrounds like structure, resource, strategy, direction – none of which was on offer at this company. To add the final element of complexity, these people needed to operate in a highly de-centralised, non-systemic environment. Through careful cultural assessment we were able to identify a small number of candidates to fit this contradictory and unique brief, and, who technically, could do the job well.

One candidate stood head and shoulders above the rest, and after a swift and decisive interview process, was appointed 7 weeks from commencement of the Search. The candidate has subsequently been promoted to cover UK HQ as well as the IT agency and has transformed the perception of HR in just 6 months.

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Total Reward Director

Global Media Company

Context

A midsize international media company was diversifying its services and going through a commercial transformation. This change in direction meant a switch in culture and employee proposition favouring a more bonus led commercial structure. The HR Director realised her reward function was no longer fit for purpose and a new type of Reward Director was required to drive a cultural change through the business. This was also the opportunity to relinquish her RemCo responsibilities and recruit a credible operator to lead on those activities.

Challenge

Whilst a strong media brand, this organisation was not seen as a leader in HR strategy or as an employer of choice in the Reward space. The opportunity itself was very exciting but needed to be marketed in a realistic way to manage expectations on both sides. Brands in the public eye can also distract candidates from the technical realities of a role due to their overwhelming desire to work for that particular company. This was certainly the case in this assignment and so the emphasis had to be on capability and technical skills. It was clear the role would suit a candidate with a passion for Reward & Recognition, not just the media sector, who was able to bring a different perspective to the function. To focus the Search on the media sector would be too narrow and unlikely to find that fresh approach.

Solution

Research was the difference in this Search. To find Reward professionals who understood a change in commercial focus our research function had to explore different sectors and companies and then approach accordingly. The successful candidate was found working abroad in an executive compensation role. He was keen to return to the UK to a broader total reward role. His experience in financial services and the pharmaceutical sector brought the new approach required and he is already breaking the reward mould and making the difference the HRD required.

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In our roles as both employers and recruiters, Tucker Stone is committed to growing and maintaining a culture of inclusion and celebrating difference.

Tatshana Tran, Operations Manager - Tucker Stone