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HR Technology Conference : Lehman Brothers Leverages Recruiting Beyond Talent Acquisition

Heather Redderson, VP, Global Talent Technologies, Lehman Brothers
Derek Mercer, CEO, Vurv Technologies

When I saw this description I knew I had to attend this session…

The HR systems at Lehman Brothers, the fourth-largest investment bank in the world, have traditionally been siloed, probably just like yours. But, competing with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, VP Heather Redderson knew she had to integrate them all so her 27,000 employees could collaborate around their careers and new opportunities for internal mobility. She’ll tell you how she aligns and compensates them and tries to leverage best practices, and fill you in on the internal community she’s created for employees with new tools and competitive intelligence on those other, bigger guys.

When Heather arrived, Lehman Brothers systems appeared disorganized. How disorganized? A Summer intern gets to give a presentation to a C-level team during the first month she is there. The intern’s presentation? Two slides. One basically system mapped out the systems Lehman has. The second with all demonstrating how many don’t talk to each other. The intern stated that “this was a problem that needed to be fixed” and then sat down.

I don’t know if the intern got a full time job at Lehman upon graduation. If they didn’t I’d love to hire this person at the next company I work at. Why? People who can point out the root cause of problems and say this is what needs to be fixed are all too rare. The intern likely created the vital executive sponsorship for the magnitude of the changes that Heather is now making.

In reference to internal mobility, internal employees were frustrated as they were applying and never got hired. Hiring managers were frustrated with volumes of people applying for roles at the wrong level. Employees were frustrated with lack of execution.

Using Vurv and Congos there is now rule driven reports and drivers. They now focus on the relevancy of resumes and are trying to add other data elements to the mix.

$12 million dollar savings in just four months by reducing outside contingency recruiter fees! Put all new initiatives for 2008 on hold and reallocated budget money. Focused on utilizing what we have better.

Discovered that there were many people in roles with job descriptions that didn’t match. Fixing that through transparent conversations is occurring at a rapid rate.

Lehman HR mantra:
To recruit talent
To protect our employees
To gage our landscape

They are also creating an alumni site. (I wish that BlackRock would create an Alumni site, it would bring me joy in so many ways.

It’s clear that Heather’s efforts are not only transforming HR, they are transforming the process and way the whole organization operates. That’s what it’s all about effective execution with what you have. Develop a data strategy and process then iterate and improvement. I’ve always loved Lehman Brothers scrappy style when I worked on Wall Street, it’s good to see them laying a foundation for future transformation and differentiation.

More on this when I have time to elaborate on an element I saw that fascinates me. Soon.

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