SINGLE SOURCE, MANY RESOURCES QUICKLY BUILD EXECUTIVE TEAM
Spansion is the largest company exclusively focused on NOR Flash memory solutions. Flash memory can be found in nearly every electronic device- in cell phones, cars, printers, networking equipment, set-top boxes, high-definition TVs, games and other consumer electronics.
With a primary focus on the integrated Flash memory market, Spansion solutions are incorporated into electronic products from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), including the top ten handset, consumer electronics and automotive OEMs around the world.
Spansion aspires to be a different kind of Flash memory company. While the memory industry has operated primarily as a commodity industry with little differentiation among products and competition based mostly on supply and demand, Spansion has the vision to completely redefine what it means to be a Flash memory company. The organization intends to deliver more genuine value in all aspects of its business – from technology, products and solutions to the way it does business and interacts with customers to bring them complete customer satisfaction. Spansion’s focus on operational excellence and efficient manufacturing capabilities means it can deliver greater efficiency to customers.
Spansion’s patented MirrorBit® technology forms the foundation for enabling costeffective and added-value Flash memory solutions optimized for both code execution and data storage. And Spansion offers total Flash memory solutions that incorporate software, hardware, and packaging and are fully verified and compatible with thirdparty silicon. Spansion also delivers innovative new solutions that combine logic and MirrorBit Flash memory on a single-chip. By redefining the NOR Flash memory industry through value-added solutions, the company’s goal is to truly impact customers’ ability to innovate, and thereby accelerate the proliferation and accessibility of rich digital content throughout the world.
INSTANT EXECUTIVE TEAM WANTED
When Spansion transitioned from a joint venture between AMD and Fujitsu to become a publicly-traded company in December of 2005, the organization faced a unique challenge. It is an established worldwide corporation with more than 9,400 employees, regional offices in eight countries and manufacturing fabs in Japan and Austin, TX along with four final assembly facilities. Yet it had executive staffing needs similar to those of a start-up company.
“We suddenly had to perform many functions that were handled by our parent companies,” Lisa Guadagna, Vice President of Human Resources explains. “We needed executives to function at high levels immediately.” The human resources team had to fill crucial director through vice president positions in departments such as finance, compensation and benefits, product development and marketing.”
It was a tall order. Successfully recruiting executive-caliber leadership demands hours of advanced research and networking. “Our internal resources that already had a full requisition load were strained by the extensive process and dedicated time required to fill these new specialized positions,” Staffing Manager Eric Bodtker says.
TRADITIONAL SOLUTIONS FALL SHORT
The Spansion team recognized that hiring multiple search firms, typically one for each position, was not an ideal service model for handling a large number of executive hires from diverse fields, particularly in such a tight timeframe. “Engaging multiple search firms can be expensive and there is no guarantee that there will be hires,” states Bodtker. The urgent nature of Spansion’s hiring needs meant there was little room for uncertainty. An unfilled position or a position filled with the wrong candidate could impact Spansion’s competitive position in its lightening fast market space.
Another difficulty with the traditional approach of hiring multiple search firms is the complicity of managing many different firms. The human resources team would have to negotiate terms and draw up contracts for each vendor, oversee reporting from multiple sources, manage different competency levels, and keep up with staggered progress. In addition to complex coordination and logistics, ensuring each firm is held accountable for results could pose an issue. This inefficient process could take a tremendous amount of effort and ultimately result in lost time and money.
MORE THAN A FLASH MEMORY SUPPLIER MEETS MORE THAN AN EXECUTIVE RECRUITMENT FIRM
Just as Spansion collaborates with its customers to offer valueadded solutions, The Adkins Group does more than place talent in positions. The firm consults with clients to help identify and reach strategic goals that hinge on the right people in the right roles. The Adkins Group continually adjusts the way it approaches searches and recruiting to match the changing needs of organizations. The Adkins team makes it a priority to understand their clients’ business environment and industry, not just best hiring practices.
“Business moves quickly so organizations require more involvement, accountability and performance from search firms. They need a business partner that can help define the scope of the job in relation to their objectives, provide current information on competitive salary and benefits, find the right talent that fits within the organization’s culture, and help assimilate that talent into the environment,” Jeff Adkins, president of The Adkins Group explains.
When Spansion was faced with tremendous hiring objectives, The Adkins Group had the necessary experience to serve as their one resource. “The Adkins Group is customer service driven and customer success driven,” Bodtker says. “Failure is not an option for them.”
Spansion and The Adkins Group wasted no time in tackling the project. Within a week, The Adkins Group pulled together a project-based solution. The human resources team and The Adkins Group presented the plan to Spansion executives together. Bodtker describes, “It is unusual to put a recruitment and search firm in front of an entire group of hiring executives, but we wanted to communicate that this was not just ABC agency. We were partnering with The Adkins Group and they would serve as our dedicated resource to fill the positions.”
EXECUTING A TAILORED, RESULTS-ORIENTED EXECUTIVE SEARCH SOLUTION
The solution’s hallmark is an onsite executive search consultant and a coordinator who work closely with Spansion’s human resources team, the hiring executives and the candidates. In order to ensure results, the consultant has access to a wide range of resources. The Adkins Group’s staff supports the consultant combining an internal presence with external services. What’s more, the consultant has the option of using other search firms to find the ideal talent if it becomes necessary. However, Spansion and The Adkins Group team has not had to use other firms for the project. “The Adkins Group gets the job done. They have a highly-trained research team devoted to sourcing. They know how to recognize top talent in the marketplace and will use multiple avenues to obtain results,” Bodtker says.
Another benefit of having a consultant working from within the company is the opportunity to understand the culture. This facilitates finding leaders that will work well in Spansion’s environment. It also helps the consultant identify important intangible qualities that will enhance effectiveness in the position. Additionally, the hiring executives know that the consultant is available to discuss their requirements at any point during the recruiting process. “The consultant’s presence eliminates much of the back and forth that can happen between executives, human resources and multiple search firms,” Bodtker says.
“I can not say enough about how pleased we are with The Adkins Group and the internal interface the onsite consultant provides. The process has been seamless from my perspective,” adds Guadagna.
UNDERSTANDING THE POWER OF COMMUNICATION
Consistent, clear communication is a critical piece of the solution. The Adkins Group established tracking and reporting protocol to share information with Spansion’s human resources team. Data on job requirements, search efforts, interviews and candidates was constantly provided. Bodtker describes, “We are able to monitor progress from project initiation, sourcing, and interviewing to the final hire. We can track the searches’ progress and know exactly what a hiring executive has decided about a particular candidate at any time.”
The reporting strategy includes communication with the hiring executives in addition to human resources. “Recruiting is a hurry-andwait business. If you are not communicating with the hiring managers during the search, the managers experience a silent period which elevates stress levels. Providing regular and constant information about the process also enables the search consultant to gain an understanding of whether or not they are meeting the managers’ needs,” Guadagna says.
The partnership between Spansion and The Adkins Group has been beneficial from a cost standpoint too. Utilizing multiple search firms can be expensive. In addition to retainer fees, fluctuating expenses such as phone calls, copies and travel can add significant cost to the final bill and make it hard to plan a budget. The Adkins Group has a flat rate that covers the many aspects of the large executive recruitment initiative.
Furthermore, the pricing plan features an incentive component to help drive momentum from the first hire to the last. “Because this project is so critical to the company’s operations, it is important to make sure accountability is built in. The pay-for-performance aspect makes sure motivation remains high,” Adkins explains.
PROGRAM RESULTS IN MULTIPLE EXECUTIVE HIRES OVER A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME
The partnership approach executed by Spansion and The Adkins Group has successfully resulted in 12 new executives joining the company within six months. The project’s success has furthered human resources’ position as a pivotal player in Spansion’s strategy. “Talented people are our most valuable asset,” Guadagna says. “With the right people we are able to meet our strategic objectives.”Multiple facets of the solution have contributed to the positive results. The onsite executive search consultant and coordinator have encouraged ongoing collaboration with human resources and the hiring executives. Additionally, the solution’s tracking and reporting component has helped alleviate the stress on the staffing managers as well as the pressure on the human resources team. “I have been able to focus on other areas that require my attention because this issue has been addressed,” Guadagna shares. What’s more, the project’s cost structure allows Spansion to accomplish a large number of key hires while maintaining a reasonable budget.
Now Spansion has the leadership team that it needs to continue advancing in the market. “The Flash memory industry moves quickly. It is important to have a service model that is nimble so that you can adapt to changes in direction and strategy. The Adkins Group gives me the means to do that,” Guadagna says.