Ron Thomas is the Managing Director at StrategyFocused Group. He talks to Business Africa Online on Why organizations should engage HR consulting firms, how people can differentiate themselves, what excites him about the future of HR and advice for the employers, the employed and prospective candidates. Excerpts:
BAO: Tell us about StrategyFocused Group and your role at the company?
RON: Strategy Focused Group is a global team of Human Capital Strategist committed to helping organizations solve people issues within the organization. We do that by working alongside you to solve your toughest problems and helping you capture your greatest opportunities. The key to organizational success is the level of talent you have within your walls. The way that they are engaged, collaborate and innovate is the key to your success. Your goals will not be delivered unless you tap into and empower your workforce. I serve as Managing Director and we are based in Dubai
BAO: What are the challenges recruiters and organizations face in selecting the right candidates?
RON: The question I would ask is why should someone work for you or your organization. Sure, you will find someone who just needs a job and they will jump at your offer. However, is that the RIGHT CANDIDATE. The pendulum has swung and the ball is in the court of A Talent. Your organization is competing along with all the others to try and find that game changer. Organization are going to have to figure out what is the value proposition for working for your organization.
Imagine for a moment you make an offer to a candidate. The candidate comes back with, “I will think it over as I have some other offers on the table. However, tell me “why should I choose you over the others?”
That my friend is the future of talent within and outside of the organization. What is your story?
BAO: Why should organizations engage HR consulting firms when they have In-house HR Unit/Team?
RON: Not to diminish the capabilities of in house HR departments, but there are 2 different skill sets in both arenas. HR consulting firm work within a consulting model and the quest is to find solutions. That is a step by step process of critical thinking where the solution could be 4-5 steps in. HR departments at times being overwhelmed will take a problem and attempt to solve it forthwith. However, some departments are moving towards forming consulting teams within their department. That is the future model of a successful HR departments.
HR consulting firms such as ours are comprised of specialist from retail, healthcare, technology etc and are steeped in the consulting process to finding solutions.
BAO: Drawing from your experience as a HR Consultant, if you had one bit of advice for companies sell to HR Department, what would that be?
RON: I will give you an example. One of my Asian partners was working on a plan to crack a new market. I had made the initial meet and greet which was successful. When I virtual emailed the partner, he responded by sending a long email about the particulars of the relationship with number, profit participation etc. I almost fell out of my chair when I read it…. My lesson to him is that we have to build a relationship FIRST. NEVER jump directly into a business scenario. Get to know them, what makes them tick. What are they trying to accomplish etc.
From that point on I took over and set up some calls to discuss how we could help. After a few calls and general discussion we got down to the numbers and started that process.
BAO: In such a competitive market as Nigeria to be specific, how do you think people can differentiate themselves?
RON: People today have to think of themselves as a brand. What is your value proposition? What do you have to offer? What vision of you would I get if I read your LinkedIn bio? What is your story and your narrative. Why should I hire you? Everyone today must think in those terms, how do you get found with the cluster of people in your career space. What is your narrative?
BAO: What excite you about the future of HR right now?
RON: HR is in the driver’s seat and they have an opportunity to be the most critical department within an organization. HR’s new role is to become the architect of the workforce. How do you identify critical roles to success in reaching the organizations goals. How do you build a workforce to achieve success? What are the organizations goals and how to you understand your role in each initiative?
The largest cost in organizations financials is the people cost. What is that cost and how do you maximize the value of that investment? Those are the issues that HR departments should be concerned with.
BAO: Where’s the best place to prepare for leadership? Business school or on the job?
RON: Business schools for the most part do not teach leadership. On the job will work if the dynamics are correct. By that I mean, does your organization have dynamic leaders that everyone looks up to. Does the leadership team set a great example for the employees? I wrote a recent article relating to this. Click this link to read more https://www.eremedia.com/tlnt/would-they-hold-the-elevator-for-you/
Each person that wants to be a leader should understand themselves first. What makes them ticks? How dedicated are they in being a mentor or coach to their team. What is important to them? Are they seen as authentic leaders or check the box leaders? Once your leadership DNA has been understood, only then can you move forward to beginning your leadership journey…
BAO: One advice for the employers, the employed and prospective candidates?
RON: Employers: Spend more time with your most important investment. Understand why they work for you and what your organization can do to make them successful. Once CEO friend told me that he views his job as “taking care of the people that take care of the people” That should be the guiding light for organizations going forward: take care of your people and your goals and profit will fall into place.
Employed: You are a brand. How do you maximize that brand? What is your narrative about you? Why should someone hire you. You are the CEO of You Inc. How good a job are you doing? Are you reaching your organizations goals?
Prospective Candidates: Read the above for the employed…
Ron Thomas is the Managing Director of Strategy Focused Group an international consulting firm based in Dubai.
He has been identified as one of the top 5 HR/Leadership thinkers in the Middle East by CIPD. He received the Outstanding Leadership Award for Global HR Excellence at the World Human Resources Development Congress in Mumbai, and was named as one of the 50 Most Talented Global HR Leaders in Asia
His work has been featured in the Wall St. Journal, Inc. Magazine, Workforce Management and numerous international HR magazines covering Africa, India and the Middle East. He is a columnist/blogger for magazines such as Insight magazine, HR People of Africa, SHRM and CEO.com. etc.
He has been contributing author to numerous books.
- It’s Time for High-Performance Government: Winning Strategies to Engage and Energize the Public Sector Workforce-Howard Risher
- Learning to Lead: Lessons in Leadership for People of Faith Willard Ashley
- Effective Onboarding programs-Doris Sims
As a consultant and management educator, he has worked with companies such as Central Bank of Nigeria, Iran MTNCell, King Faisal Hospital-Jeddah Saudi Electric Company, BASHRM, JLT [Saudi Arabia], Dubai Tourism, American Hospital of Dubai, Dar Al Riyadh, Gulf Bank-Kuwait.
Prior to consulting, he worked in senior level roles for IBM, Martha Stewart Living, Xerox HR Services. Board memberships include the Harvard Business Review Advisory Council, McKinsey Quarterly Executive Online Panel, and HCI’s Expert Advisory Council on Talent Management Strategy.
He is a sought-after speaker throughout the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific Region.