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The Key to Talent Retention: Communication & On-Going Feedback | S1:E16

  • Episode 16
  • 'Inside Executive Search' Podcast

    Attracting, selecting, and retaining top talent is a challenge for many businesses. Join long-time executive search professional Scott Peterson, alongside Steve Yakesh, President of Direct Hire & Executive Leadership Search at one of the leading executive search firms, to discuss insights and techniques to assist companies to achieve their best results. If you’re an executive leader looking for advice on hiring the best talent for your company, you’ll want to hear this advice from these industry experts.

    Steve Yakesh | President, Direct Hire & Executive Leadership Search

    As President of Direct Hire & Executive Search, Steve Yakesh leads Versique’s award-winning permanent placement division with more than 20 years of experience. Additionally, he guides strategy for Versique’s twelve practice areas, including IT, HR, Finance & Accounting, Engineering & Operations, Sales, CPG, Digital Marketing, Executive Retained Search, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Family Owned and Demand Generation.

    Scott Peterson | Vice President, Executive Leadership Search

    Scott Peterson leads the Retained Executive Search division at Versique as the Senior Practice Director. In his role, Scott fills critically-important senior level positions such as CEO, CFO, CIO, COO. Scott has over 20 years of experience in executive recruiting. Additionally, Scott has also served on the Board of Directors the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation, Medina Golf and Country Club, as well as several youth sports organizations.

    Podcast Transcription

    Intro: 00:02 Get ready for your weekly dose of talent strategies and tactics from industry leaders to help you attract, select and retain your top talent. You’re listening to Inside Executive Search with Steve Yakesh and Scott Peterson.
    Speaker_1: 00:30 Hello and welcome to the Inside Executive Search podcast. My name is Steve Yakesh, and this podcast is for business owners, executives and board members seeking strategies and tactics to recruit the very best. If you’re not feeling 100% confident that you have a plan to do just that, keep listening, this podcast will help you get there. That said, Mr. Scott Peterson, number 16 welcome. I’m back. Ready for number 16 all right. Last week we talked about recognition rewards and the ever controversial work life balance for executives. It’s never quite in balance, but we hope to get there. Yeah, exactly. So, this week we are talking about communication, ongoing feedback and what is the right cadence, Is that every 30 days? Is it a monthly, quarterly check in etc.?
    Speaker_2: 01:24 Yup, this will kind of round out the retention side of our podcasts as well and then we’re going to be excited to dive into some other topics or revisit some topics as we head into podcast 17 and beyond. It’s a little bit of a teaser. It’s kind of like that trailer on TV. You’re like, oh, I’m going to watch that. Hopefully people will feel that same way. I got to listen for that. I have to watch for that.
    Speaker_1: 01:53 Well, normally those trailers have some kind of comedic relief or thriller, well I thought it was pretty funny. Okay. We’ll go with that. All right, let’s dive right in. So, communication, specifically feedback. I’ll just turn it over to you.
    Speaker_2: 02:11 Yeah. So the thought here was we do a great job of on-boarding in the first 30 days, company history where we’re at, where we’re going, I’m learning all about, again, depending on the complexity of the company, what does each division do, what does each of our product lines, etc. This is sort of what I would characterize as keeping the executive on board and that’s going to be a communication process that is set up from the beginning of, hey, we’re going to do a check in with the executive and in this case, we hired a CFO, and so what do we do with that CFO if I’m the CEO of the company on a periodic basis to make sure that their one engaged in the organization and two have feedback from me about how they’re doing their job or how we wanted them to start, what were the big milestones what are the, what were the big milestones that we wanted them to meet in that first year? And so how do we talk about that?
    Speaker_1: 03:12 Well, and I think that’s a great idea, Scott, because you know, we’ve all been in those meetings, you’re meeting weekly on just the weekly stuff that needs to be done, fire drills, different projects, things of that nature and you get into this cadence and you forget to do more of a formal, how are you doing? What can I help you with? Are you feel comfortable, you know, those types of things. In addition to the, hey, you’re doing a great job. And the recognition like we talked about last week.
    Speaker_2: 03:40 It’s really a 360 as well. As the CEO and I’m talking to you Steve, as the new CFO, am I doing everything that meets your expectations of what we talked about during the process of being hired? Right? And vice versa. What did I expect you to achieve in those, again, 30, 60, 90 days. Again, that cadence really is dependent on the company and their style so that you can provide that feedback. Steve you did great on these three things, but we’re still behind on x and y. It gives them an opportunity to correct themselves if they’re not driving down the right path, at least from the CEO’s perspective, but also provide that feedback to the CEO and say, you know what, I think we really should pivot and these should be their priority, not these two things. And so, it allows for that dialogue on a formal basis. And it’s back and forth. The executive teams should be a team, right? And so some of those is as a group of executives together that they’re getting feedback from each other because the
    Speaker_1: 04:56 Well, and I think especially early on in an executives tenure with a company they’re in their third or fourth leadership meeting and they’re presenting whatever topic they’re asked to do to be able to provide that feedback. Hey, I love how you positioned it this way, however, in the future, I think given, Bob, Susie, Jean, and Robert’s personalities, they would receive this information better if you would’ve done it this way. Right. Those things can be critical.
    Speaker_2: 05:31 Right. And I just think you want to set those gates or milestone of, hey, we need to achieve these things in the next 30, 60, 90 days, 1 year out, whatever it might be, and then make sure you are following up on those things so that you again can provide that feedback and then the executive also can say, I am doing the major milestones and the gates and it might be some other more minor things that I need to work on. Hey, stylistically, my team doesn’t like me when I don’t ask for their input and I give them the answer, those sorts of things. It’s just normal kind of business 101 that sometimes we get so busy and so chaotic that we forget to slow down to speed up.
    Speaker_1: 06:20 Yep. Well, and I think it’s important. Whatever cadence you choose, whether it’s every 30 days or every quarter, put that on the calendar for whatever your cadence is and don’t miss it don’t matter regardless of what’s going on.
    Speaker_2: 06:34 Even if you only have time to do 10 minutes of your hour, do the 10 minutes and focus on the biggest things in that 10 minutes. Right. And then agree to postpone the rest for the next one.
    Speaker_1: 06:47 Well good. Well this is a short one, but we’re in a wrap it up since this is the last one, but I would agree with you that it is a critical one to keep them. As a recap of all our different retention episodes, we talked about the alignment in job, culture and career path. We talked about the on-boarding and the importance of that, setting those expectations, getting them familiarized with the team, the tools and the processes internally. Also, about leadership, peer groups, compensation as an ongoing retention tactic and then last week we talked about recognition, rewards and work life balance. Then the last one here today is all about feedback and what is the right cadence and don’t forget it and how important it is.
    Speaker_2: 07:45 That’s exactly right. I think even though we left this to the end, and it might be the shortest topic we talked about, I think it is probably the most critical from an ongoing retention tool. If I’m an executive and my boss, the guy I report or gal I report to, doesn’t give me feedback on the job I’m doing. I can’t change what I’m doing. Right. Good or bad. And so, you want to recognize the good, correct the bad and I think the only way to do that is I have a systematic approach to doing it.
    Speaker_1: 08:20 Yep, as we just listed off all the different retention strategies, there’s a lot of them and there’s not one size fits all. So the last recommendation is as a board, executive, business owner, understand and get to know your executives and leverage most if not all of these, but when you do them, how you do them, what format you show up with, those are all customizable cause there isn’t one size fits all type things. There’s not one playbook for this. All right, well as you alluded to earlier in the episode, this concludes the retention and we’re going to be going off on to some case studies, some maybe some guest speakers, we might revisit a few of the topics in more detail given some of the, the listeners feedback and comments we’ve heard. So we will see everybody next week with a teased topic that we don’t know yet. If you want to get ahold of Scott, go ahead and look him up on or LinkedIn and if you like what you’re listening to, feel free to subscribe to the podcast
    Speaker_1: 09:56 We are ready to go into a new era of topics. Looking forward to it. Thanks Scott.

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