Over the past few years, the leading global Fortune 500 utilities technology company with more than 22,000 employees around the world with diverse water expertise — and a shared purpose, has gone through a period of intense acquisitions to augment its capacity to solve water faster. Each acquired company brought with it its finance, supply chain, procurement, and HR systems which resulted in a very fragmented IT landscape architecture.
In this context, the newly appointed CHRO who leads all aspects of employee experience, including recruitment, development, compensation, benefits and well-being, and diversity, equity & inclusion, faced a huge challenge of shifting the direction when searching for the new VP of People Operations. Traditionally, the role was placed in the hands of a person coming from a traditional Business Partner background. However, the company recognized the need to focus on data-driven HR decision-making.
Finding a candidate who not only had an HR background but also had experience working with data and analytics to inform HR strategies across a diverse and international environment became critical. The search had to be conducted confidentially, which added a layer of complexity to the recruitment process.
Given the significance of the role and the need for a candidate with diverse attributes, there were many stakeholders involved in the executive search process, making it a complex and multifaceted search.
The Pacific team’s long-term trusted relationship with the client enabled them to go beyond the tick-box exercise and transcend mere skill requirements. Instead, we crafted a comprehensive appointment brief centered on finding an individual whose values and purpose aligned with the company’s ethos. This candidate needed to possess not only the necessary skills but also the innate capacity to establish strong connections, rally colleagues, and overcome potential resistance to yet another HR system and process changes.
Based in the company’s European HQ, and reporting to the CHRO based in the US, the role had a global reach and this, alongside other requirements, informed the go-to-market strategy and the scope of research-led sourcing strategy covering multiple countries and a strong focus on diversity and inclusion.
The key aspect of this mandate was managing communications between the stakeholders located across 3 continents and meticulous planning of the interview process to mitigate the risks of losing the best candidates due to unnecessary delays.
We made a concerted effort to streamline the process. We utilized structured video interviews, synchronized interview schedules accommodating various time zones, and even coordinated interviews when the candidate was traveling. We were highly committed to ensuring a smooth and efficient experience for all parties involved.
In the end, both male and female candidates went through the CHRO interview process. The successful individual has been in the role for nearly a year now and is performing exceptionally well.
We cast a wide net, considering candidates from various countries, including Spain, Hungary, and Sweden. In the end, the successful candidate was found in Switzerland and had an impressive track record, having led HR operations on a global scale, overseeing payroll, business analytics, and HR services.
Typically, the candidates go through a rigorous assessment process to mitigate personal bias and eliminate guesswork from decision-making. In this instance, in addition to this, towards the end of the process, we were asked to provide our insights into the candidate.
Our opinions were highly regarded, and we take it as a true indication of being a Trusted Adviser to our client. We continue supporting the newly appointed VP of People Operations and have since placed two additional team members under his leadership.