Adding a training, development coordinator helped this company grow

The old days of giving employees at every company the same benefits or the same experience are long gone. Replacing them is an individualized work experience, helping hone unique company cultures where workers feel empowered, engaged and, hopefully, like a valued member of the company over the long term.

That’s the viewpoint of Josh Mangum, Senior Director of Corporate Strategy at Search Solution Group in its Charlotte headquarters. Mangum is responsible for the company’s development of short- and long-term business strategies – and that means understanding what makes a business work and what doesn’t.

Many times, that ties back to employee experience. Both through his insights into the market with Search Solution Group’s clients and his experience at the company itself, Mangum notes that businesses across industries and regardless of size must be creative with their compensation packages, come up with great work environments and develop a strategy that helps employees find a way to blend work and life in satisfying ways.

Not all about titles
“It’s not just about title and pay,” Mangum said. “It’s about creating a culture and work environment where people can excel. … That is why having a more customized recruitment is what separates one employer from another.”

Retention is a key issue for many businesses. According to a recent Willis Towers Watson study, more than 50 percent of all organizations globally have difficult retaining some of their most valuable employees – a huge cost factor in terms of time as well as money.

At Search Solution Group, that translates into paying attention to what employees want in terms of having a great experience from the moment they accept a job, Mangum said. That’s why the company recently created a new position to help with hiring, onboarding and those all-important first days and weeks on the job.

The company’s Training and Development Coordinator role may seem unusual for a business with 70 employees, but it makes sense when you look at the industry as a whole and the overall goals of Search Solution Group, Mangum said.

“This is a traditionally tough industry – it can be cutthroat. They don’t call it headhunting for no reason,” Mangum said. “We survived that – our founder came out of that environment and succeeded. As we grew and scaled, we had to temper (that industry reputation) with a work culture that wanted to be more balanced.”

Defining the company
For example, the company’s new president has spent a lot of time during his first six months in the gig talking about defining the company, determining its culture, coming up with “who we want to be and who we want to recruit,” Mangum said.

As a result, Search Solution Group has a rigorous interview process. Mangum, who calls it “extensive,” described it as meeting with multiple people in every room with multiple touch points and “lots of communication.”

The Training and Development Coordinator then steps in when someone gets a job offer. That role seeks to focus on “setting people up for success when they first get here,” Mangum explained.

“You want to give them every opportunity to succeed that you can,” Mangum said. “We want to give them the training, tools and resources that lead them to success. Because we can truly only hold someone accountable (for their work here) if we give them the tools to success.”

At the end of the day, the coordinator job has been worth it and then some, Mangum said. The company has seen its retention rates going up and employee-satisfaction rates in surveys coming back all positive, Mangum said.

“It’s a conscious decision,” Mangum said. “The Training and Development Coordinator has been instrumental. Our employees are extensions of our brand. Every single one of them is on the phone for hours a day, talking to high-profile candidates. We’ve got to make sure they’re trained and knowledgeable. … That’s also had a big effect in terms of client appreciation because we invested in training.”

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Karen Dybis
Karen is an editor and writer for Corp! Magazine. She graduated from the University of Michigan and has worked at The Mackinac Island Town Crier, The Kalamazoo Gazette, The (Adrian) Daily Telegram and The Oakland Press. Karen was a Detroit News business writer with stints in retail, workplace issues and personal finance. Dybis also was a blogger on Time magazine's "Assignment: Detroit" project. She is author of four Michigan history books, including "Secret Detroit" and "The Witch of Delray."