ith offices in eight Canadian cities and more than 500 employees, Distributel is an underdog Canadian success story. A family-run business that survived early challenges from Ma Bell over its long-distance service, Distributel has grown to include a host of Internet and voIP services.
Organic expansion across the country and the acquisition of smaller telecom players presented a challenge to the close-knit company – a challenge that’s familiar to many SMEs as they make the light-speed jump to “Enterprise”.
How do you build and administer human resource processes, transparency and consistency, while keeping the familial feel of a small business? How do you integrate disparate programs from acquired companies (in two languages) into national policies.
This role required both professional human resources experience and acumen, and the nuance of steering a company from an ad-hoc to a uniform way of doing things.
This was not a search for an administrator: Distributel needed a thinker, builder and facilitator. Process would be required, but also leadership, creativity and the useful (and rare) ability to help people see things your way.
Distributel need someone to drive the HR bus and make sure that all the passengers were happy.
HR Thought Leader
Deep discussions with Distributel's CEO helped us develop a profile of an HR manager with spark and acumen. We then painstakingly tapped over 300 HR contacts (after 20 years you get to know a few people) for their thoughts on what this industry dynamo might look like.
Armed with this client and peer feedback, we plotted the role against our Matrix & Mapping methodology, building a visual representation of skillset and mindset for our candidate dashboard. All our of methodologies work together in our search process, filtering who we look for and synthesizing information from candidates in our rigorous process.
With the role's requirements set, we started to identify HR leaders, specifically in the Montreal area at first and then into other cities. We earmarked those with a strong social media presence, proof of thought leadership (speaking engagements, meetup participation) and a background in businesses crossing the SME/Enterprise threshold.
We shortlisted four exceptional candidates for Distributel. The selected candidate had a tremendous resume – applied experience in 4 disparate industries, her own HR radio show, and was a regular contributor to several professional groups. Thrilled to take on the challenge of building and leading Distributel’s transition, she had the provenance of a VP of Human Resources with the hands-on expertise of a Director. We felt that she was ideal and Distributel agreed.
Seven months into the role, the candidate has instituted foundational HR structures and is now working on more strategic initiatives. Our performance has lead to another Director-level search for Distributel.