Sunday, August 16, 2009

Edgwewood Human Capital Consulting is Launched

The current economic downturn has impacted millions of workers in the US and created a new dynamic in the hiring environment. The types of positions now available in the AZ market are typically lower to mid-level positions to be filled with workers with 6-9 years of experience. Just enough experience to be productive without a lot of payroll. This means most of the opportunities available to me in this market bring me back to work I did 10 to 15 years ago and provide only 50% of my most recent income.

I am not above considering such positions. I have applied for many and I am at several different stages in the interview process with three organizations for such a position. The challenge in being considered is one of experience and perception of expense. Hiring organizations are wary of someone with too much experience who applies for a position significantly below prior experience levels. Dummy down the resume too much and they are wary of you for different reasons.

The hiring process takes longer today as well. For example, one position in the Oro Valley, for which I have applied, has been in play since June. Two phone interviews, individual interviews, group interviews. The feedback has been that they love me, etc. However, while the position has been approved, the decision to fill the position with a specific finalist has not been approved. Approval must be made at the executive team level. Mind you, this position is a specialist-level position. It is not a management level position. It is now August and the executive team will not meet until next week. If, they approve me as a hire, the offer will come the following week and the likelihood that I will start at the beginning of September is remote. In the past, a position at this level would be filled in two weeks! I am an HR professional. I know this stuff!

Not too long ago, I woke up to the reality that the odds are against me in seeking a traditional position in the AZ market. Positions at my level of experience do not exist at this time. I am too qualified for the others. A good friend at the premier recruiting group in AZ for HR professionals told me that AZ is not a great place for me to be with my background and experience. AZ is more a transactional town. I have a big-market, strategic background. Employers think I am too expensive or will not be loyal to them - They believe I will always looking to move up or out.

Seeking opportunities outside the state creates a new set of problems. Employers do not want to relocate an employee nor do they want to incur the expense of an employee commuting at this time in the economy. Selling a home is incredibly difficult in AZ with the high number of foreclosures. It is quite the pickle!

I decided to take matters into my own hands. That's right. I am not waiting around for a traditional opportunity to develop. I decided more than a month ago to begin consulting in earnest. If a great traditional opportunity is presented, then I may consider the opportunity. Until then, I will keep my skills up, develop new work relationships, and make some money.

My new venture is named Edgewood Human Capital Consulting. “Edgewood” is one of many translations of the name Boizelle. I have always liked the sound of it. I offer HR consulting services with a specific focus on talent management (recruiting, training, performance management, management and leadership development, succession planning, and performance coaching).

My venture is off to a good start. I am doing work for the Phoenix office of RSM McGladrey, my former employer, Leadership Choice, a local management and leadership development firm, and a pharmaceutical company in valley.

I have delivered several projects already for RSM McGladrey and several more are in process. I have developed and delivered a leadership workshop for interns. I am developing a management development curriculum for entry level through manager/director personnel. I am developing and delivering a workshop for new accounting students at Arizona State University on personal branding. I may also build off this project to provide a similar deliverable for the accounting professionals at RSM. A blog on personal branding for accountants is forthcoming. Stay tuned for more information. A book on the topic is also under consideration.

I have created a management development/leadership development framework for Leadership Choice based on a meta-analysis of current management and leadership literature. With that framework, I have also identified the core skills and mindsets that are needed to move from being a producer of work to a supervisor/manager of workers to a manager of managers, etc. To support the framework and the associated coursework, I have developed a process for assuring transfer of skills from coursework to the job through a mentoring program and developmental assignments. I will help deliver the coursework and transfer process to a healthcare industry client with my friend at Leadership Choice this fall.

I am actively marketing my services within my Arthur Andersen and RSM McGladrey networks with several phone conferences set up to market my services and spread the word. Feedback so far has been very positive.

I also recognize that I need to develop more professional contacts and business opportunities in AZ. To help accomplish this end, I have joined the board of The Valley of the Sun Chapter of ASTD (American Society of Training and Development) and serve as the Director of Marketing and Communication. I am responsible for overall marketing and communications to the chapter members and to the business community at large. I prepare a quarterly newsletter, send monthly event communications, seek new chapter members, issue press releases, seek event sponsors, etc. What better position to hold to meet new people in my field and get my name and business exposure.

I don’t know where all of my efforts will lead. To date, I am enjoying the consulting work I am doing immensely – to the point that I am not sure that I want to return to traditional work. The economy has forced me do something that I have always wanted to do. As more work comes my way and as I make more commitments to clients, I may redefine how I make a living and add value to the market.