Creating Teams That Reflect Your Customer Base

“Decades of filling senior roles with executives from inside the industry have dulled the skills necessary to attract, assess and successfully assimilate talent from wide-ranging industries and experiences.”  Robert Voth and Jane Bird, Co-Authors

As an executive recruiter, my role is to put the most qualified set of candidates in front of my clients.  Clients need people who will fit into their culture and perform at a high level in a fairly short period of time.  Those are understandable goals, and not unique to the banking industry.

However, as I read this article, it forced me to reflect on how well we are doing as an industry on the bigger picture of creating teams internally that are more reflective of the communities we serve.  As noted in the article, there is data to support the idea that companies whose leadership teams reflect their customer base significantly outperform peer companies.

A question to consider:  Is a focus on short-term results and immediate productivity overriding your ability to hire more strategically for the future?  

I understand that there is not a lot of ‘cushion’ at smaller banks for long ramp times, and we need to hire people who have the skills to hit the ground running in a given position.  However, I’d challenge ALL OF US to work together and look for those situations where the company can flex, bring in someone who might not check all the boxes on required skills, but can bring an important perspective by way of experience, race, and/or gender.

As an industry, we need to think more broadly for the future of our organizations as we continue to work day-to-day to meet our current objectives.