Developing a High Potential Leadership Bridge

Fortune 50 Industrial
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We partner with clients to provide strategic leadership solutions…in support of strengthening the client’s Human Capital value proposition and leadership pipeline, and often in support of strategic transformation initiatives.

The Situation

Embarking on a global Operations Transformation journey, our client identified a clear need to improve internal leadership pipeline across the enterprise. This global industrial Fortune 50 client and its global operations leadership team recognized the critical need to take a proactive approach to selecting, recruiting, and developing high potential operations leaders to strengthen its leadership bridge across the Corporation.  The Company required a strategic value partner to help align this critical talent acquisition mandate with its corporate strategy and operations transformation mission.

With operations across the globe, and a strong diverse and inclusive culture, we had to ensure that selection criteria and assessment insights considered all facets of diversity, while equitably including a broad array of differences spanning culture, race, ethnicity, and gender among others. 

The program was designed to be executed from the US headquarters, and once proof of concept was established, the program would gradually be rolled out to multiple global geographies.  

The Engagement

Our mission was to participate in the design of this strategic talent acquisition initiative, aimed at bringing in high potential future leaders with different perspectives, and a common interest in global operations.  Key to the success of the project would be identifying transformative talent, while at the same time, honoring and protecting the legacy and spirit of the Company’s innovative, process oriented, and outcome driven culture.   Second, we would play an active role in the assessment and selection of candidates into the program, and then coach each of the new hires through an individually customized leadership development program, throughout their two-year period in the program.

Once the conceptual design of the program was clarified, our first priority was to develop a Leadership Benchmark to be used as a reference tool to guide the assessment and selection of candidates.  The benchmark needed to capture the essence of the enterprise culture, its values, and success operating behaviors, while also reflecting performance drivers recognized as key to success within the environment.  Additionally, the benchmark aimed to reflect sensitivity toward the requisite leadership capacity required for success in the program, as well as leadership capacity required for long-term success across the Company’s global operations.  

Critically, we engaged key stakeholders, including newer transformation executives as well as legacy operations leaders to participate in a benchmarking process.  The stakeholder group spanned each of the verticals with Operations and also represented an appropriate cross-section of diverse perspectives.   The benchmark was considered a critical cornerstone to the rigorous multi-faceted candidate selection process.

The evaluation process included our multi-dimensional assessment approach in order to gain a comprehensive objective view of each candidate which we could then map against the benchmark.  Candidates were also subjectively evaluated through the multiple facets of the process including one on one interviews, individual and group case study presentations, workgroup dynamics, role play and presentations highlighting personal uniqueness, experiences, and aspirations.

Operating as part of the Company’s Executive Panel, we participated in each facet of the evaluation, selection, and hiring decision process.

The Solution

Over the course of seven years as the transformation journey progressed, nearly 200 high potential emerging leaders were hired.  Each year the pool of candidates started at approximately 1,000 before the final annual group of approximately 100 candidates were invited to participate in the selection process. 

Given the rigor of the process, offers were extended to over 50% of the candidates invited to participate in the full selection process, exceeding the client’s expectations.  Nearly 80% of the offers were accepted, representing a significant improvement over the 25% recruiting conversion rate previously achieved by the Company prior to the implementation of this process. 

Our multi-dimensional assessment process, and participation in the overall selection process provided guidance and insights to the Corporation throughout this strategic initiative which led to the recruitment of leadership candidates who not only met broadly defined “high potential” criteria, but importantly met criteria specific to operations leadership within his global enterprise.  This was all guided by the creation of a customized Benchmark reflecting the criteria as defined by subject matter experts, the Company’s stakeholders.

In addition, as a result of an inclusive benchmark, and a balanced process that included both subjective and objective data collection components, bias was mitigated and the outcome yielded a highly diverse, leadership group. 

Finally, leveraging candidate insights gained through our assessment process, we efficiently and effectively coached the development of each high potential leader throughout their two-year journey in the program.  Our Leadership Effectiveness program was customized to each individual and it was tied into their Company Individual Development Plan (IDP).

The Corporation realized significant improvement in recruiting success, and measurable productivity-based return on investment, in addition to measurable value in executive time saved as a result of an optimized candidate assessment and selection process.  Emerging from the program, these high potential leaders moved into various leadership roles across the Company and many are leading businesses and key functions today. 

The Program became a Gold standard benchmark for other similar programs across the Company and was also subsequently rolled out into multiple global regions. 

Other Outcomes