I’m Natalie Ryan, a Partner at SPMB and Head of our Los Angeles office. Our firm is ranked as one of America’s top 5 retained executive firms and #1 firm focused on growth-oriented companies in consumer, technology, and sustainability industries.
I spend every day partnering with companies to help them scale, innovate, and achieve successful liquidity events through executive talent acquisition. Because of this, I have gained the trust of and access to some of the most impressive executives/entrepreneurs in both Silicon Valley and Silicon Beach — and have had the pleasure of adding strategic members to the leadership teams of unicorn companies based in Southern California.
In a post-Covid world, masses of companies have taken a remote-first approach to hiring, including at the executive level. As a result, SoCal based businesses are not only competing with local companies, but also deep-pocketed VC-backed and public organizations across the globe. So how do you compete in recruiting and retaining your leaders?
Here are my 4 top tips for attracting/retaining executive talent in Southern California:
Refresh your executive compensation packages:
- With so many companies leaning into more lenient work-from-home policies, both public and growth stage companies alike are recruiting Southern California executives more heavily. This has led to more competition for talent and rising market compensation requirements.
- Technology compensation industry wide—across all functional areas and levels—increased 6.9% year over year from 2020 to 2021 according to Dice’s 2022 Tech Salary Report. Taking a comprehensive view of all sectors of the economy, executive compensation increased 3% in 2021 and is projected to increase another 3-5% in 2022, according to Compensation Consulting (“NFPCC”).
- To get ahead of this, utilize your investors and executive search partners to help you better understand the ever-changing details of competitive compensation packages for different roles. With that knowledge you’ll be able to make adjustments as needed to your open roles and to your executive team’s current compensation packages. Replacing an executive is costly and time consuming, so it’s critical to make the necessary comp adjustment before you risk losing a star performer.
Be intentional about office time:
- Long commute times can be a driving factor for an executive to change roles. No one wants to spend three hours in traffic to then be struck in an office on Zoom meetings all day.
- Although, getting face time with the team and being in the room when strategic decisions are made is critical to a leader’s and company’s success. However, that does not mean a fully in-office approach is the most effective for your business.
- Instead, allow your leaders to be intentional with their time by loading up on in-person meetings and 1-1s, and hosting company social events on days that they are in the office.
Explore relocating talent from other markets:
- Now more than ever, executives with families and/or a significant other are more open to relocation for a new role. There is a large portion of the talent market that is able to work-from-home or commute as needed to their headquarters, allowing some spouses/partners of executives to have more flexible working conditions, conducive to relocation.
- With my Southern California clients, I always perform a deep dive into the talent pool in the local and adjacent areas as well as lead a competitive market analysis for talent across North America for executives who are open to relocation or commuting.
- There are no shortage of compelling reasons to live in sunny Southern California, but to ease a candidate’s transition, offer a relocation allowance to cover moving costs and be flexible on the timing of the official relo date. For example, if a candidate has children, offer a commuting and/or temporary housing option until the school year ends.
Focus on the candidate experience:
- In one of my prior blog posts, How to Create the Best Candidate Interview Experience for Executive Hires, I discuss how executing an executive search is a two-way street of buying/vetting and selling.
- Leaning into a “candidate-experience-first” approach leads to a more successful and shorter search process and a happier placement/executive hire. Creating a positive interview experience for candidates is especially important in a competitive talent market like Southern California.
- Creating a candidate-friendly experience, one that welcomes questions throughout the process and prioritizes getting to know people on a personal level, will also enable your hire to foster essential business relationships early on and to ramp much faster.
If you’re looking to add to your leadership team in Southern California or seeking general advice on hiring, please contact me directly or visit SPMB.com. You’re also welcome to make an appointment to come meet us at our SPMB LA office at 9255 Sunset Blvd Suite 1100, West Hollywood, CA 90069.
Here are some of SPMB’s Southern California clients we have the privilege of partnering with…