The world of work is always changing and that has never been more true than today. The global events are creating a new landscape that is often stretching resources and leading businesses to exercise unexpected measures. Having qualified leaders ready to take charge has never been more important. Sarah Peiker, Senior Vice President of Recruitment Process Outsourcing NA, and Global Practice Leader at Talent Solutions, has been on the front lines for the past 20 years advising clients on their workforce strategies. She notes the ability to ask thoughtful questions and offer new and even unproven solutions is essential when it comes to leading teams through times of transition. “Often, the most rewarding outcome is a result of venturing down unknown paths. New ideas come from asking if there is a better way to do something – not just waiting for something to break to fix it.” Sarah’s expertise and knowledge of the recruiting industry enable her to listen to her clients so together they can develop comprehensive workforce strategies to achieve their business goals.
From Beginner to Proficient Leader
Sarah began her career in the HR industry in operations, delivery, solutions and sales. In 2000, she joined ManpowerGroup Solutions (now Talent Solutions) where she has held many roles with increasing responsibility. Six years ago, she relocated from the United States to Europe, where she led the European team, and was later promoted to Global Practice Leader, Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO). During her five-year tenure there she established a strong and consistently growing RPO business and built a highquality operating team that led to the expansion of the organization’s global footprint. Sarah notes that one of her proudest accomplishments was the 200% growth rate of the European/Africa RPO practice over the five years.
Throughout her career, Sarah has honed her leadership skills in talent solution design, HR technology, market intelligence and workforce consulting for clients in a range of industries from manufacturing to retail to technology. She is also proud that the teams she has led have enabled Talent Solutions to be named the global leader in RPO for eight consecutive years.
Listening to Clients to Serve Them Better
Many clients are struggling with similar workforce challenges such as finding the qualified talent they need in competitive markets. Talent Solutions recognizes that each client has specific business goals and a unique culture that can impact the types of candidates or solutions they are looking for. Companies increasingly need not just new hires but a strategy to achieve better outcomes through their workforce. As a leader, Sarah stresses the importance of listening and asking questions to uncover the root cause of the problem others are trying to solve so you can figure out how to be most helpful to them. “It is not always about giving someone the answer but also helping them to discover the solutions on their own so they can replicate this thought process in the future.” ManpowerGroup, Talent Solutions’ parent company, has multiple connected brands that enable Sarah’s team to develop workforce strategies that may include a combination of full-time, contingent and even gig workers across all industries. Sarah also shares with clients Talent Solutions’ capabilities to assess their company’s current workforce, provide upskilling and career development services, in addition to sourcing and hiring exceptional talent. Talent Solutions strives to be a true partner with its clients. Sarah notes that “while we do want to fulfill their immediate needs – we also want to help them better plan for growth in the future and provide the market and business intelligence they need to make more informed workforce decisions.”
Early in Sarah’s career she was focused on learning all aspects of the recruiting business and the challenge was to keep pushing herself to explore new opportunities while not taking the safest or easiest route. Her willingness to try new things is what ultimately led her to find her right path. Another challenge Sarah faced as she started growing into leadership positions was learning to delegate and lean on others for support. “As women we often feel we need to do everything ourselves to prove our worth. While that also allows us to acquire more experience, it is only when we learn to delegate and trust in the teams we built that we can then take on new challenges and solve larger organizational issues. I had to stop always working in the business to be able to work on the business.”
Focus on the Future
According to Sarah, the speed at which technology is advancing will continue to have a major impact on every business – not only are new jobs being created every day that never existed – but all workers will need to keep upskilling to advance with their current jobs. Sarah notes that she sees buyers’ appetites only increasing for new and creative workforce solutions. She believes her role is to continue to listen to what clients are asking for and to translate what she is seeing in the market for them. “I want to remain focused on being agile and proactive in order to lead my clients and teams in new directions to stay ahead of the curve.”
Advice for the Next Generation of Women Leaders
Sarah’s message for up-and-coming businesswomen is “Stay curious and be prepared to constantly change. Know that probably only 20% of any strategy will go according to plan. Keep looking up on your journey – don’t just look down, and do not be afraid to ask for help and advice along the way. And as you blaze your own trail – make sure you are leading others along with you.”