Are you exiting a Leader?

Today’s organizations are in constant evolution and sometimes that means well-liked leaders need to be transitioned out. The focus is often on the transaction from the time the necessary change is identified, to the decision being made, and ultimately executed. Time and effort are exerted into the decision-making: seeking advice from legal and HR to ensure the package is fair and the process for execution is clear. In other words, the energy is put into the “what” as opposed to the “how.” What is sometimes overlooked or underestimated is that the thoughtfulness around how you treat the remaining employees will be what sets the organization up to successfully navigate the change with minimal risk.

In the Harvard Business Review article, “So You Think You’re a Good Listener,” Barwise and Meehan (2008) suggest that in most boss-subordinate relationships, superiors overestimate their openness to receiving difficult messages and simultaneously underestimate the extent to which the power difference discourages subordinates from speaking their own minds.” Let that sink in for a minute and think about a time that this could be true for you? Now, what if you are the executive who is going to let the team know their well-liked leader is no longer with the organization and they are in your good hands? Are you confident that the trust is established? If so, how do you know? If not, how are you going to build it?

Having been an internal HR professional for many years, acting as a trusted advisor to all levels of an organization, it was a common occurrence to see the misalignment between what a leader thought was an open and positive work environment and what the employees felt – low trust or fear of speaking up. When a well-liked leader is exited from the organization it can exasperate any underlying fear or skepticism that may already exist. Employees may not feel comfortable or safe to be open or honest when there is a lack of trust. For example, there may be extra workload for the team. They may be willing to initially take on the workload but if they do not feel safe to speak-up when they feel overwhelmed, they may end up resentful or burnt out, creating a toxic work environment and you could be completely oblivious to it.

How can you build trust and ensure the remaining employees are supported through a leadership transition? Here are some key considerations:

Values: Live and breathe the organizational values and ensure accountability for the right behaviours throughout the transition. Employees are paying close attention to the behaviours at the leadership level that are both being rewarded and corrected. Leading by example especially through tough transitions will help you build and maintain trust. Start with treating the exiting leader with grace and integrity so they can leave with their dignity and respect intact. Respect the contribution this leader has made during their tenure. How you handle it will influence how your employees feel about your leadership and impact their continued commitment to the organization.

Vision: Be clear on what the future looks and feels like for the employees impacted. Clarity on the path forward will dismantle assumptions and gossip. When change occurs it is human nature to immediately wonder what does this mean for me? Often times, the change in leadership is part of a larger cultural shift. If the leader was well-liked it can be hard for the employees to understand why this has happened and worry that the organization will not be the same. They are probably right to an extent, so how can you paint a picture for them to see what the future state holds for them?

People: Know who will be impacted by the change. Be prepared to address the reaction and support them. Address uncertainty and potential chaos that the team will need to navigate. Encourage the team to work through the change with you. Allow the team time to process and accept the change. The decision to exit a leader from an organization can sometimes take weeks or months and those who have been involved along the way have had time to process and accept the decision. However, the team will be hearing the news for the first time and will have a reaction. They may feel anger, hurt, fear, defensive or even betrayal. A well-liked leader has loyalty throughout the organization. Know your audience. Plan and prepare well in advance. Show compassion and empathy. Reiterate the values and the associated behaviours. While employees may be emotional about the news, they still have a responsibility to behave professionally and in line with the organizational values.

Communication: Provide frequent, consistent, relevant and timely communication. Practice transparency and deliver messages with honesty and authenticity. Include and acknowledge milestones and find time to recognize the progress along the way. Doing so will bring acceptance, build and sustain trust, strengthen engagement and help to mitigate potential risk such as negative attitudes, mistrust and the loss of key talent.

Focus can be spent on the upfront communication. Once the initial steps have been taken to exit the leader and advise the team, the follow through can fall to the wayside. With one less leader and the pressure to fill the gap everyone gets busy. If the work is getting done and no one is complaining it is easy to assume everything is okay. Additionally, it is possible to rationalize or minimize the role the leader played in order to justify the decision.

How will you know if things are okay? Be present. Listen. Observe and be aware of the nuances, body language and what is not being said.

The key to ensuring a successful leadership transition is to be thoughtful and purposeful about both the what and the how. To sum it up, leadership transition is more than a transaction it is a transformational process that requires a high trust in the organization’s leadership. In order to build and sustain that trust throughout the transition consider the importance of how you treat the exiting leader; an emotionally safe work environment; a clear vision and living the organizational values; knowing your audience and leading them with compassion and empathy; and creating effective two-way communication.

Amanda Penney - Senior Director Org. Performance & Leadership Transition
Amanda Penney, CPHR, Senior Director Organizational Performance and Leadership Transition

Claire Roussel-Sullivan se joint à Royer Thompson – Gestion & ressources humaines en tant que consultante senior basée au Nouveau-Brunswick

Halifax N.-É. (Mecredi 12 juin 2019) – Claire Roussel-Sullivan possède plus de 25 années d’expérience dans tous les domaines de la gestion des ressources humaines, y compris plusieurs postes de direction dans l’une des plus grandes compagnies d’énergie au monde.

« Ayant vécu et travaillé dans toutes les provinces maritimes, ainsi qu’en Alberta et en Colombie-Britannique, je suis ravie de revenir au Nouveau-Brunswick », a déclaré Mme Roussel-Sullivan. Au cours de sa longue carrière, Mme Roussel-Sullivan a acquis une connaissance approfondie des ressources humaines et possède une expertise particulière dans les domaines suivants: stratégie en ressources humaines, rémunération des cadres, relations de travail, gestion du changement, formation et perfectionnement, recrutement, diversité, droits de la personne et harcèlement. Elle est passionnée par l’alignement des ressources humaines à la stratégie d’entreprise, l’analyse des données en ressources humaines et la constitution d’équipes de haute performance qui répondent clairement aux objectifs de l’entreprise et sont axées sur l’optimisation des résultats.

« Nous sommes très heureux de fournir à nos clients une gamme complète de services bilingues au Nouveau-Brunswick et dans l’ensemble du Canada », a déclaré Kim West, présidente de Royer Thompson. « Possédant une vaste connaissance et maintes années d’expérience en matière de ressources humaines, Claire est très enthousiaste face à l’accompagnement, le conseil et l’orientation des cadres supérieurs, des dirigeants et autres personnes clés qui abordent des défis en leadership, gestion du changement et autres défis reliés aux ressources humaines. »

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Contact:

Harriet Wiegert

Tél. 902-422-2099

Courriel: hwiegert@royerthompson.com

A propos de Royer Thompson

Royer Thompson est une société de gestion des talents axée sur le développement du potentiel humain au sein des entreprises en soutenant un objectif commun, en recrutant et en cultivant le leadership et en encourageant un esprit innovateur, clair et entrepreneurial.

Claire Roussel-Sullivan joins Royer Thompson Management & Human Resources as Senior Consultant based in New Brunswick

Halifax NS (Wednesday, June 12, 2019)Claire Roussel-Sullivan brings 25+ years experience in all facets of human resources management including senior HR leadership roles in one of the largest energy companies in the world.  

“Having lived and worked in all Maritime provinces as well as in Alberta and British Columbia, I’m delighted to return home to New Brunswick,” says Ms. Roussel-Sullivan. Over her extensive career, Ms. Roussel-Sullivan has gained a broad view of HR with expertise in areas such as strategic HR, executive compensation, employee relations, change management, training and development, recruitment, diversity, human rights and harassment.  She is passionate about aligning HR with business strategy, HR analytics and building high performance teams with clear line of sight to business objectives and focus on maximizing results.

“We are very pleased to provide clients with a full range of bilingual talent management services in New Brunswick as well as across Canada,” says Kim West, President of Royer Thompson. “Drawing from her vast HR knowledge and experience, Claire is very keen to assist and coach executives, leaders, and other key individuals through leadership, change management and other HR challenges.”

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Contact:

Harriet Wiegert

Tel. 902-422-2099

Email: hwiegert@royerthompson.com

About Royer Thompson

Royer Thompson is a talent management firm focused on capturing the full potential of people in organizations by supporting a share sense of purpose, recruiting and cultivating leadership, and fostering an innovative, caring and entrepreneurial spirit.

AESC Welcomes Royer Thompson into its Global Membership of Leading Executive Search and Leadership Advisory Firms

New York – May 9, 2019 – The Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC), the global professional association representing the quality standard in executive search and leadership advisory solutions, announced the approval of Royer Thompson into its global membership. The firm’s acceptance follows extensive vetting, including reference checks, site visits, votes by AESC regional councils and commitment to the AESC Code of Professional Practice.


Headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Royer Thompson is a full-service management and human resource consulting firm, focused on capturing the full potential of people in organizations by supporting: a shared sense of purpose; organizational design; recruiting and cultivating leadership; and fostering an innovative spirit. The firm supports organizations through structural change, alignment and delivery of strategy by ensuring the right people are doing the right things at the right levels.


For over twenty years, Royer Thompson has provided strategic advisory services in times of transformational change and has attracted and retained senior management professionals with depth in recruitment, leadership development and evaluation, governance-related services, organizational design, human resources planning, service delivery, and career transition.

“Our clients and top talent know no geographic boundaries which makes it imperative for us to recruit, develop and foster executive leadership within a global context,” says Kim West, President of Royer Thompson. “We are very pleased to partner with AESC, an impressive association of like-minded search consultants and advisors who are committed to top quality service, collaborative learning and bringing depth and innovation to our clients.”

About AESC

Since 1959, AESC has set the quality standard for the executive search and leadership advisory profession. AESC Members, ranging in size from large global executive search and leadership advisory firms and networks to regional and boutique firms, represent 16,000+ trusted professionals in 1,200+ offices, spanning 70+ countries. AESC Members are recognized leaders of global executive search and leadership advisory solutions. They leverage their access and expertise to place, find and develop more than 100,000 executives each year in board of directors and C-level positions for the world’s leading organizations of all types and sizes. Dedicated to strengthening leadership worldwide, AESC and its members share a deep commitment to the highest quality standards in executive search and leadership consulting—for the benefit of clients and the profession. We Shape. Connect. Educate. Learn more about us at aesc.org.

Royer Thompson expands its Organizational Performance and Leadership Transition practice

-News Release-

Royer Thompson expands its organizational performance and leadership transition practice with the addition of veteran human resources leader Amanda Penney.

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia – Amanda Penney is joining Royer Thompson Management and Human Resources as Senior Director, Organizational Performance and Leadership Transition, effective April 8th, 2019. Amanda brings 15 years of human resources leadership to the firm, most recently as Director of Human Resources with a prominent private sector company during a time of business transformation.

Over her career, Amanda has had leadership oversight for performance management, succession planning, career development, recruitment, compensation, benefits, and labour negotiations. With experience throughout Atlantic Canada, she has worked in insurance, real estate, resource and manufacturing sectors and has provided support in multi-generational and unionized environments.

“Amanda is a progressive human resources leader and a discrete, trusted advisor.” Kim West, President of Royer Thompson says leadership transition and organizational performance are critical to success for companies in 2019. “More than ever, organizations are in a constant state of evolution, assessing and developing leaders, retooling skills, restructuring functions and often downsizing or supporting individuals to transition out of an organization and on to their next opportunity.”

Royer Thompson’s practice includes:

  • Performance management
  • Restructuring and change management
  • Executive and manager transitions
  • Termination and severance
  • Succession planning

We are committed to helping our clients as they navigate the critical phases of defining and supporting necessary changes within organizations. “We believe helping organizations be agile and responsive to changing conditions is an important component of a comprehensive human resources and talent management strategy,” says Ms. West.

“I am thrilled to be joining a team of highly respected professionals who are committed to supporting organizations capture the full potential of their people,” says Amanda Penney. “Sometimes in order to achieve high performance, organizations must make the difficult decision to exit people. These decisions have a significant impact to not only the individual leaving but also the team left behind so it is important for transitions to be handled with integrity for everyone.”

Contact: Harriet Wiegert

Tel. 902-422-2099

Email: hweigert@royerthompson.com

Royer Thompson is a talent management firm focused on capturing the full potential of people in organizations by supporting a shared sense of purpose, recruiting and cultivating leadership, and fostering an innovative, caring and entrepreneurial spirit.

Canadian Companies Care About Their People

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia – Royer Thompson Management & Human Resources Consulting today released the 2018 Termination & Severance Practices in Canada Study, the only survey of its kind that reflects data strictly from Canada. This year’s survey reflects that Canadian companies continue to make difficult decisions to optimize company performance however, these companies care about their people which is reflected in their severance and transition strategies.

Download the 2018 Termination & Severance Practices in Canada Study.

“When workforce changes become necessary, such as restructuring and downsizing, employers continue to help affected employees deal with job loss by providing transition services as part of the severance package,” says Kim West, president of Royer Thompson. “Overall, respondents say the economy in 2018 is strong – most companies surveyed anticipate the same or slightly fewer transitions over the next 12 months than in the previous years.”

Employers are concerned for the future of their employees even after departure from the organization. 74% of respondents say they provide outplacement services to transition employees because they believe it is the right thing to do. 56% of respondents want to help employees receive the skills and training needed to succeed in their next job and almost 50% provide career transition support to mitigate risk of being sued by a terminated employee. Nearly half of the employers respond that they provide support because they believe it will send a positive message to remaining employees.

Report highlights:

• In 2018, individual performance (64%) is the main factor for terminations, followed by organizational structural change (59%).

• Looking ahead, survey respondents expect the main cause of employee terminations over the next 12 months to be organizational structure change at 57%, individual performance at 52 % and business strategy change at 29% as the third cause. In 2016, only 41% of respondents picked individual performance as a primary factor in employee terminations going forward.

79% of respondents in 2018 identified job level as the major criteria for length of transition program, which has been steadily rising over the past four years. 47% of respondents cite expected difficulty of job search as a criterion – 47% in 2018 vs. 41% in 2014.

• Career transition services are included in the majority of termination packages, with approximately 80% of participating organizations including these services at the executive and manager level, and the majority of participants providing these services at the professional level.

• In 2018, employers are typically offering executives four to six-month career transition programs, down from six to 12-month programs in 2016. For professional and management positions, the most common career transition program provided to terminated employees is three months.

• Ninety-two percent of those surveyed required employees to sign a formal release to receive their full severance.

• There is some variety in severance payment structures, however, a key trend is prevalence to lump-sum severance today, rather than salary continuance.

Royer Thompson is the Atlantic partner of VF Career Management, a network of individually owned and operated Canadian companies who specialize in career transition services. Partners across Canada collaborate on the survey as part of their continuing commitment to understand the context in which we provide career transition services, conducting the Canadian survey in 2014, 2016 and 2018. Data for the 2018 Report was collected this spring from 176 respondents across Canada. Similar surveys were conducted in 2014 and 2016.

Contact: Harriet Wiegert
Tel. 902-422-2099
Email: hweigert@royerthompson.com

Royer Thompson is a Canadian talent management firm focused on capturing the full potential of people in organizations by supporting a shared sense of purpose, recruiting and cultivating leadership, and fostering an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit.

Royer Thompson adds additional depth to its Talent Management Advisory Team

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia – Sonya Stevens, Ph.D., ACC, is joining Royer Thompson Management and Human Resources as Senior Director, Talent & Leadership Development, effective September 17th.  Sonya recently returned to Halifax after six years in Toronto, where she held a leadership role in learning and development with TD Bank and consulted at a global consulting firm on talent and leadership development for Fortune 500 clients.

Sonya is a strategic thinker, who approaches today’s most pressing business challenges with curiosity, optimism, and practicality. Her expertise and approachability make her a trusted advisor to clients and colleagues. In assuming her new role at Royer Thompson, Kim West, President of Royer Thompson says Sonya brings a wealth of experience from working with diverse organizations, including companies, across various industries including healthcare, financial services, professional services, utilities, construction, retail, and government. She has a strong focus on developing evidence-based and practical solutions that drive tangible organizational impact.

“Increasingly our clients are looking for advice and support to leverage the full potential of their teams,” says Kim West. “Whether fostering a learning culture, building leadership competency models, assessing and developing talent, coaching executives or developing career paths and team capacity, Sonya’s integrated, holistic approach has proven to be a game-changer for organizations.”

“I am thrilled to be joining a firm that is truly passionate about unlocking the potential in people. I am convinced that the culture organizations foster through the quality of their people practices is integral to long-term business success, says Stevens. “I look forward to meeting our clients, understanding their business challenges, and helping them to find solutions that help them get the most out of their people.”

Sonya holds a Masters and Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Saint Mary’s University and a BSc in Psychology from Dalhousie University. She is a Registered Psychologist (Ontario) and International Coaching Federation certified coach (ACC). She has completed advanced training in Return on Investment (ROI) methodology and is certified in many leadership and personality assessment tools. She is also a published academic author and an active member of various professional associations.

Contact:
Harriet Wiegert
Tel. 902-422-2099
Email: hweigert@royerthompson.com

About Royer Thompson
Royer Thompson is a Canadian talent management firm focused on capturing the full potential of people in organizations by supporting a shared sense of purpose, recruiting and cultivating leadership, and fostering an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit.

From Sweat Pants to Dress Pants: Practical Tips from a Recent Grad

Ellen Snook, Human Resources Coordinator

“Ah, the relief of finishing exams and earning a university degree”, that seems to be the first sentence I hear when I talk to the graduates of 2018. The second sentence is usually about the stresses of finding a job, or if they have found a job, the fact that they are both excited and apprehensive about entering the workforce (which is completely normal by the way!).

Finding that first real job and gaining work experience can be daunting, especially if you have not had any office experience in the past. The transition from full time student to full time employee is an important change in life. Only you can determine how well you will be prepared for it, so let me help out a little with some of my personal experience. As we enter a new life chapter from sweat pants to dress pants, I felt that sharing my tips and tricks for new grads would be useful and could help facilitate the conversation that many of us students are thinking about! I’m a recent business grad starting my career, and in our practice at Royer Thompson, we advise clients to be purposeful, resolute, and well organized in the job search.

Here are my top ten tips for new grads:

  1. Learn everything you can about companies of interest. Look at websites, annual reports and attempt to reach out to employees within the organization to show your interest and receive any other information about the company.
  2. Aptitude and personality assessments can be useful to explore jobs that may not be obvious, although you have the degree, there may still be career options you may not have considered.
  3. Find out if the company hires recent graduates or has an internship program; many organizations are interested in developing talent and engaging with new graduates just like us!
  4. Prepare for the interview. Anticipate their questions and come prepared with yours. Many career websites and blogs are offering interview templates that you can use for practice. I had no idea what a behavioural interview was before my first interview (you aren’t alone!). Genuine curiosity is a highly rated quality by employers.
  5. Your CV and LinkedIn profile evolve as you gain experience, so keep them current and accurate! Be sure to turn off your notifications on LinkedIn when you are updating your profile. Turn them on for the big things like a new job! (Sending an email to your followers that you just added 62 new skills to your profile isn’t something you want.)
  6. Ask for information interviews and follow-up immediately with a note or email summarizing the topics discussed and affirm your interest; recruiters notice things like this.
  7. “If you qualify, APPLY!” Apply for numerous jobs. Get your resume out there. Indeed.com is your friend, create a profile and have them push out emails to you so you can see what jobs are posted daily. But remember that 80 % of jobs are not posted, networking through LinkedIn and at events is just as important.
  8. The best way to land your first job is through someone who knows you and is hiring, or by having a connection who will vouch for your academic, volunteer or extra-curricular experience and character. Reach out to that old family friend to ask if you can take them for a coffee to catch them up on what you have been up to the past four years. You have the degree, no one can take it away from you, so put yourself out there and talk about how you can contribute to an organization!
  9. Practice makes perfect. Every encounter and interview is an opportunity for self-discovery and to practice your pitch.
  10. You’ve got this, remember to keep positive. You’ve already accomplished a lot and you are keen to learn and contribute. There will be disappointments along the way so keep yourself whole, active and healthy in mind and body.

 

Feel free to reach out to me through LinkedIn to continue the discussion surrounding the student to employee transition or check out our services on our website www.royerthompson.com.