In order to do something, you have to do more than decide to do it — you actually have to follow through and do it.
As a part of my HR Strategy Series, I’m talking to top experts in the field to teach prospects what hiring managers are actually looking for, while also supporting business leaders in their hiring and retention strategies. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Lori Reiner.
Lori Reiner is Chief People Officer at EisnerAmper. Lori has over 30 years of experience providing accounting, audit and advisory services and was inducted into the 2018 Junior Achievement Philadelphia Business Hall of Fame. Lori also received both 2017 Take the Lead Award from Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania and Temple University’s Fox School of Business Accounting Inaugural Achievement Award in Public Accounting. In the community, Lori serves as a board member of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Philadelphia Israel Chamber of Commerce, Committee of Seventy, and the Alliance for Women Entrepreneurs. In addition, Lori is a frequent presenter, writer and media source for various business and leadership topics.
Thank you for joining us! What brought you to this specific career path?
I’ve spent my entire career, more than 30 years, in public accounting and have had the opportunity to work with some amazing companies and people. Being on EisnerAmper’s Executive Committee and the Philadelphia office Partner-in-Charge gave me a wonderful opportunity to grow my leadership skills and obtain a holistic understanding of our firm’s business strategy. In 2018, I was offered the newly created position of Chief People Officer (“CPO”), and I felt that all of my experiences and accomplishments had led me to this role. I’ve always prided myself on cultivating and maintaining great relationships with colleagues, clients and the community, so CPO seemed like the next logical role for me.
Can you share the most interesting or funny story that happened to you since you started this career and what lesson you learned from that?
I always remind myself that this newly created CPO role spans all 1,900-plus people at our firm. That’s what I think about when I wake up every morning. Each employee has a voice that can help propel our firm forward. In fact, the only way a firm can evolve and grow is by having people provide their input. I also really enjoy learning about staff members and their families. And from all of this, the most important thing I’ve learned is that EisnerAmper isn’t just nurturing good employees, we’re helping cultivate great people. That’s what it’s all about.
Hiring can be very time consuming and difficult. Can you share 5 techniques that you use to identify the talent that would be best suited for the job you want to fill? Please share an example of each idea.
We’re always looking for great talent. We can teach technical skills, but what we can’t teach is the passion, drive and entrepreneurial spirit that EisnerAmper covets. So, first, we outline what we’re looking for. Second, we determine three or four key competencies a candidate must possess. Third, we assess the candidate against several criteria: Does he/she have the technical skills to do the job, the passion to do the job, possess a diversity of thought, and represent a good fit for the organization’s culture. It’s really important to go beyond the initial gut feeling of a resume. Fourth, we measure each candidate against the aforementioned competencies and as a team selects the most outstanding candidate. And fifth, during the candidacy interview experience, we keep the team involved so that new hires have a smooth landing when they onboard.
With so much noise and competition out there, what are your top 3 ways to attract and engage the best talent in an industry when they haven’t already reached out to you?
We’re extremely cognizant of our employee branding — that our stellar reputation precedes us. We fully leverage technology such as our website, social media, and dedicated employment sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor. It’s also important to visibly celebrate our accomplishments so that people understand what our culture is like, our milestones, what our strategy is and where we’re headed.
We’ve developed excellent working relationships on college campuses all across the country with both their career services offices and campus chapters of organizations such as Beta Alpha Psi and the National Association of Black Accountants to engage potential next-gen employees. We also have a robust internship program from which we hire many of our Staff 1s. We provide all of these core constituents with valuable information, networking opportunities and resources, such as CPA Exam support and rewards, to help attract the best and brightest talent. We also leverage internal and external referrals. And we feel all of our employees are career ambassadors for the firm through speaking, networking and media opportunities. Technology is wonderful, but to fully attract, engage and retain talent, it’s critical that we have boots on the ground and be in the places where the potential pool of candidates — from Staff 1 through partner — will see us in action.
If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I’m a big believer in people and companies giving back to the communities in which they do business. EisnerAmper, and many other firms, touches many community organizations through time, money and leadership. It’s amazing to see the impact people and companies can have. I’d also like to see every company go all in and adopt one organization, adopt a concept in order to make a huge, singular impact.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” and how that was relevant to you in your life?
Every other year, EisnerAmper holds a three-day partner advance to gather our partners together and focus on key strategic themes. One year, the keynote speaker, Lisa Bodell, author of Kill the Company, told a story that resonated with me so much I think about it every day. She told a story about the frogs, which goes: “There were two frogs on a log in the middle of a lake, and one decided to jump off. How many frogs are now on the log? Two. One frog decided to jump off, but didn’t.” That’s powerful because in order to do something, you have to do more than decide to do it — you actually have to follow through and do it. To remind myself of this fact, I keep a little plastic orange frog on my desk.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have a private lunch with, and why?
Michelle Obama. Her life story is so amazing, and I’ve always admired her. She’s smart, seems like a genuinely nice person, had an impressive career, and actively embraced the First Lady role and made her own impact. And she’s young enough that she, and the love of her life, can hopefully enjoy many years to come and find new ways to make a positive difference for others.
Thank you so much for these fantastic insights!