Part-Time Executives: Making an Enormous Impact in Less than Forty Hours Per Week (Part 2)

The right part-time executive can provide more than full- time results. In this series, we delve into case studies where part-time executives made a strong impact.

This series on part-time executives is an excerpt from our new book The Executive Search where we break down the myths of interim executives.

Part-Time Human Resources: Getting More Talent to Keep Your Talent

A $750 million health care company had been growing very rapidly (both organically as well as via acquisition) over the previous five years, but their human resources department had not kept up with the times, and they were losing too many good people. Many were new hires within the first 90 days (a.k.a., 90- day quick quits).

One contributing factor was an inconsistent hiring and interviewing process to select top talent. Another significant gap in the process was a lack of focus on candidate care. A lot of extra work was being performed through duplication of work and forms; some departments were still using their own forms and templates rather than those that had been standardized across the company.

There were no strong onboarding programs, talent management, or retention programs, and the HR systems were antiquated. The company’s leadership soon brought in a chief human resources officer (CHRO), Roger, who brought with him fresh ideas on how to strengthen the hiring infrastructure, performance management, and retention to better support the company’s growth. But he could not bring in enough people with the right experience to get everything in place fast enough.

Roger turned to the interim management market and brought in an experienced, part-time human resources executive, Debra, who worked three to four days per week in coordination with his internal team. With this experienced outside help, the two were able to accomplish a number of initiatives more quickly than originally thought.

To help ensure understanding and consistency across the organization, Debra developed and implemented a hiring and interviewing skills workshop for leaders. One of the biggest pieces of feedback she gathered from the workshops was the need for templates and tools. Debra created a number of templates and sample tools, all accessible online, including checklists for both managers and candidates, job KPIs, interview guides, and a job preview; all were deployed across the organization.

Over 300 leaders experienced the hiring and interviewing skills workshop. It was also made available as an online training module for newly hired leaders, where they could review the tools and templates until they were able to go through training on using them in person.

Overall, the organization’s voluntary attrition was reduced by 5 percent.

Debra’s work created a strong support system for leaders throughout the organization. As she was winding down her project with Roger, other business unit leaders began requesting unit-specific support from Debra. As needed, she stepped in to support them and help get some traction with their talent acquisition and training initiatives.

Lesson Learned

Given the right tools based on best practices in human resource management, recruiting, and retention, a company can upgrade its management and talent practices with surprisingly few resources—in a surprisingly short amount of time. Attracting and retaining good employees with the help of a part-time talent management expert is a group commitment, but creating the infrastructure required to support that commitment can be a project handled by one highly skilled, part-time executive.

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