Talent Acquisition

Taking The Lead On Talent

We honor three of the best in their field who are winning the war for talent.

By the Editors

Talent has always been a critical factor for organizations, but in recent years, the pressure has increased substantially for the leaders responsible for finding, attracting, and retaining high performers. According to LinkedIn Talent Solution’s Global Talent Trends 2016 report, 46 percent of talent acquisition professionals ranked “finding candidates in high demand talent pools” as their greatest obstacle to attracting top talent -this was ranked above both compensation and competition.

“Given the changing nature of work and workers, never has a focus on attracting, engaging, retaining and developing high performers been more important,” says Sue Marks, CEO of talent solutions provider Cielo. “In our faster-paced world, when we recruit we’ll need to focus on behavioral competencies, but even more on complex thinking abilities and mindsets, learning agility, self awareness, comfort with ambiguity, and strategic thinking. Our organizations will need to reward innovation, agile behavior, and calculated risk-taking.”

In today’s climate, HRO Today saw the need to recognize the efforts of talent acquisition leaders. These professionals have executed business results through innovative and effective recruiting initiatives. Finalists in the three categories -for profit, non-profit and innovation -were honored at an awards luncheon hosted by Cielo at the 2016 HRO Today Forum North America in Chicago.

Learn more about this year’s winners.


Naomi Cramer
Vice President of Talent Acquisition
Banner Health

Sometimes a fresh set of eyes can make a world of difference. Such is the case for Banner Health, a nonprofit healthcare provider. Naomi Cramer, vice president of talent acquisition, joined the company less than year ago without a healthcare background, but has instituted positive change by leaps and bounds. The numbers don’t lie: She has led a 125 percent increase in external hires and a 1.7 percent improvement in vacancy rate.

“Prior to coming to Banner Health, I spent 20-plus years at Target Corporation, both in operations and HR,” Cramer explains. “The advantage of coming from a non-healthcare environment was two-fold. First, because of the number of employees at Target (350,000), we had to move swiftly. I was able to bring a stronger sense of urgency to hire the best candidates. Secondly, I was able to bring routines and structure to our processes.”

Cramer spearheaded multiple internal process improvements and saved the organization millions by streamlining processes. To ensure transparency, a weekly recruiter scorecard highlighting the number of hires and candidates in the offer stage was implemented. This tool allows HR to recognize top performers and provide assistance to others that may be struggling. Similarly, a talent acquisition scorecard measures and compares turnover, time to fill, vacancy rate, open leadership positions, and engagement to the other facilities and departments. “Competition is never a bad thing!” says Cramer.

Another challenge facing Banner Health was the number of weekly replacement positions. Cramer reduced the transfer process from 33 steps to four and gave leaders accountability to post and process transfers within the department without talent acquisition’s involvement. “This gave my team more time to hire externally and close jobs more quickly,” she says.


Chris Brabec
Vice President of Talent Acquisition
Western Union

Chris Brabec has made waves in Western Union’s (WU) talent acquisition process and transformed its recruiting function with a globally scalable, centralized staffing model. The previous model had limited alignment among stakeholders, which resulted in ineffective global processes. Recruiting and candidate experience often varied drastically between countries.

“The service that was being provided was sub-par,” says Brabec. “Process was highly inconsistent from region to region and there was almost no programs in place.

For instance, there was not a global employee referral program. This led to a poor candidate experience, high agency use/costs, and no metrics.”

In response, Brabec created a model that allows flexibility while focusing on tool optimization for the efficient delivery of clear recruitment strategies to the business.

Brabec’s model reorganized WU recruiters to report to regionally based leadership, centralized the coordinators into a new operations team, and created new reporting lines that led to clear partnerships between coordinators and recruiters. Consistent processes meant an increased focus on reportable data, clearly defined metrics, and the creation of recurring dashboards to share with HR and business leadership.

Under Brabec’s guidance, WU saw more than 4 percent growth in hiring volume over the last year, yet talent acquisition was able to reduce average time-to-fill rates by 6 percent. “There have been many positives including cost reduction, improved service levels, and global employment branding strategy,” Brabec says. “The most important outcome, however, and what should be the key outcome for any talent acquisition team, was an overall improvement in quality of hire.”

He also built a social media and recruitment branding team within talent acquisition. This allowed the team to leverage best practices and marketing tactics globally, and provide a more consistent candidate experience. His full transparency in all recruiting-related costs has helped WU drive down its global percentage of agency use by over 6 percent -a figure that shows the power of Brabec’s centralized model.

For Profit

Ms. Yvette Stortz
Global Vice President of Talent Acquisition and Mobility
Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric has more than 185,000 employees across more than 100 countries -Yvette Stortz oversees the talent acquisition function for all of them. No pressure. Her leadership not only cut headhunter reliance for executive recruitment in half, but also brought recruitment agency use down to less than 2 percent for North America -the largest volume region in the organization.

For executive roles that are recruited by headhunters, Stortz negotiated cost-saving global contracts that contributed to her total annual cost savings of 3 to 8 percent. She also oversaw the implementation of Schneider Electric’s first global applicant tracking system (ATS), which has increased internal mobility across the organization and made more positions visible to candidates.

“Recruiting technology plays a big part in our day-to-day operations,” Stortz says. “Schneider Electric is a large, global company, and having a global ATS in place, along with common recruiting processes, ensures that we not only offer a consistent experience, but also provide our employees with a complete view of all available opportunities internally.”

Prior her current role at Schneider Electric, Stortz was the organization’s director of talent acquisition for North America. In that role, she helped bring together the talent acquisition function across 23 internal brands within North America alone. Under her leadership, the North America talent acquisition team grew in size and success, and the job prepared her to become Schneider Electric’s first global leader of talent acquisition and mobility.

Over the past three years, Stortz has transformed the talent acquisition space and elevated its function within the organization. She has also created global alignment within talent acquisition for Schneider Electric, organized an executive recruiting team, driven efficiency, and built a comprehensive employee value proposition.

“We are at times a complex organization, and therefore intimacy with a select group of the right partners is very important to ensure they understand our strategy, our employer value proposition, our critical business needs, our profiles, and how to best position Schneider Electric as an employer of choice,” Stortz says.

Tags: Talent Acquisition

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