Lauren Griffin, Senior Vice President at Adecco Staffing USA
Years in staffing: 29
Fun fact: Lauren’s recruiting knowledge and connections run deep, yet she claims that she wasn’t the best recruiter. She hit her stride once moving into sales and management. This humility and transparency have certainly impacted her successful career trajectory as she approaches 29 years in staffing in June 2016 with responsibility for hundreds of people at Adecco.
Let me embrace Lauren’s transparency for a minute and derail this post. I always thought of Twitter as a waste of time. That is, until I got on Twitter and started engaging firsthand. People often ask for examples. Here you go! This Q&A is the result a conversation started on Twitter. Lauren’s authenticity and positivity shine through via her online presence and I couldn’t help but engage with her there. Take a second to follow her now to see for yourself. After talking, we identified that our connections bleed into “real” life too. She went to high school with another Twitter friend of mine (@MarkEldridge24, CEO of ALKU – and now “real” life friend too!). Twitter can be a great tool to connect with inspiring people. Lauren shares more lessons from her impressive career and the power of creating meaningful connections below.
You’re approaching the 30 year mark in the industry and 20 years at Adecco. What has kept you at one company for so long?
My first role in staffing was at TAD, which I reluctantly took after facing the facts that I needed to get a job after graduating college! However, I quickly embraced the industry and worked at TAD for 10 years before it was acquired by Adecco. The acquisition forced me to learn a new organization and navigate a culture that was very different. Going from a smaller private company to a global staffing firm was challenging, but also presented new opportunities which I was ready for after 10 years. Ultimately, I think stayed an additional 19 years (and counting!) due to the continued opportunities to try new things and grow. Plus, the colleagues and staff are stellar and it’s such a great work environment. I’m learning from someone every day, including people that are new to the job that help me look at things through a different perspective.
Internal retention overall is hot topic in the staffing industry. As a leader, what are 2 or 3 elements that you believe are critical to attract and retain top internal talent?
This is such an important topic and I spend a large portion of my time developing our internal talent. I have 500 colleagues in my division and an 83% retention rate, which I’m very proud of. Although some turnover is good, I truly believe this contributes to our overall success. You need to ensure you have the best and the brightest. It’s been interesting to see the shift in attracting new internal talent. There is much more interest in the brand and people are learning about you before they ever interact. Are you being authentic about your purpose and sharing that online? People, especially millennials, join a company because of what you stand for. I try to walk people through my own path and share the impact you can make in this industry. It’s not a huge exaggeration to say that if you get someone a job it can change their life. You might be saving lives as a doctor would, but we impact people’s lives too. During an interview, I often ask: when you’re driving home and you had a really great day, what happened? I want that person to know they are making the right choice because once they’re in the door, I’m going to be relentlessly focused on training and developing them assuming that they’re the right person.
Has the line been permanently blurred between personal and professional? How do you approach leadership?
People are looking for more transparency. I’m very conscious of developing relationships with our team and make it a personal experience for the individual. I recognize them and do attempt to get to know them on a personal level. For example, we created a voluntary book group and now over 100 people are participating as a way to engage outside of “work” topics. I also connect on social media and follow a lot of my team on Twitter. I chat frequently on our internal platform, too. And I’m always trying to contribute to an atmosphere where people have fun at work. If you can introduce some levity, that can help people relax and build trust. They are less afraid about making mistakes. Sometimes you have to take risks to get the reward. Going back to the question of internal retention, if you take care of your internal employees, they will take care of clients and candidates.
You’ve held many roles, from staffing to MSP to operations to executive leadership. What has this diverse path taught you? Any advice to share with others in staffing debating their own paths?
Be curious about the work and don’t get hung up on some prescriptive career path or what you’re going to get out of the next role. I’ve always been curious and excited to try something new. I would seize the opportunity afforded to me and wasn’t as worried as to what was in it for me. For example, I decided to take of the VP of Operations role and it was a great experience that expanded my skill set and ultimately made me a better leader. When the scope of that role changed, I made a lateral move into a different role. Half the people congratulated me, and half thought it was a demotion. Don’t get so caught up that your career has to be linear. Try different areas and be willing to apply those experiences to your next role, regardless of what it is.
What’s next for the staffing industry from your perspective? What keeps you excited?
Candidate, candidate, candidate for the near future. You’ve got to figure out how you’re going to attract candidates. At Adecco, we’re very focused on what’s going to appeal to Millennials. On top of that when you overlay digital, social and technology advancements and it’s a complex environment. With this context, our team creates unique opportunities to engage. For example, one innovative thing that we’ve done at Adecco is launch the “CEO for a Month” competition where a young adult is selected to act as our CEO for a month. They go to a boot camp to advance their skills, travel to different markets and spend time with our leaders. Last year, the global winner went to the World Economic Forum with our CEO. This was only one person but it opens people’s eyes to the need to engage the next generation of talent, especially considering the high unemployment rates for teens and young adults in Europe.
On the client side, they are so much more data driven than even 3 years ago and that will only continue. Many clients are also starting to look at contingent labor as a critical part of their overall talent management strategy, which has created a seat at the table that didn’t exist historically. I’m still excited about what’s next!
Are you an industry veteran that’s excited to share your lessons with the next generation of staffing leaders? Share your insights as part of this #womenINstaffing Wednesday series. Contact me to learn more.
Confused on the hashtag (#) in the title of this series? Let me know if you’d like to join a virtual roundtable with a few other female staffing execs to discuss the power of Twitter to build your personal brand.