How To Identify And Retain Fantastic Talent with Michelle Murphy of Ingersoll Rand & Kage Spatz

HR Strategy Series, Real Human Resources

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Ingersoll Rand Human Resources

I believe my purpose is to help people be their best self. We know that education plays an integral role in success. However, too often people overlook the role that solid nutrition plays in receiving that education.

It’s not an exaggeration when someone says that hundreds of millions of people worldwide can benefit from learning how those involved in the hiring process think and operate. Of course, HR professionals can learn a lot from one another as well.

As a part of my HR Strategy Series, I’m talking to top experts in the field about their five ways to identify and retain fantastic talent. Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Michelle Murphy.

Michelle leads Ingersoll Rand’s efforts to create a Progressive, Diverse, and Inclusive (PDI) work environment. Michelle began leading Ingersoll Rand’s Talent Acquisition team in 2018 and is also a founding member of the Women’s Employee Network. Most recently, Michelle was vice president of human resources for the HVAC Parts and Supply Solutions SBU, where she led HR efforts and served as a strategic partner to drive diversity, inclusion and people development. In addition, Michelle brings experience from various business and HR leadership roles including sales and marketing operations, strategic sourcing, learning, organization development, and change management while at Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Kohler Company and John Deere.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

A common theme throughout my career has been ensuring equality. As an example, I was a founding member of Ingersoll Rand’s Women Employee Network — an Employee Resource Group that helps foster the talent of women and creates an environment that values, attracts and cultivates their diverse talent within the company. I saw it as an opportunity to help other women use their voice.

Ultimately, my commitment to fair treatment and moving the cultural needle within the organization is how I landed in this role where I lead Ingersoll Rand’s Progressive, Diverse and Inclusive (PDI) initiatives. To date, it’s been my favorite. It’s proof that while I may not have chosen this role for myself, sometimes the right role finds you.

Can you share the most interesting or funny story that happened to you since you started this career? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

This role certainly has been interesting. I’ve received tremendous support for allowing “many ways to right”. As a company, we pride ourselves on being open and listening to different perspectives. Even if we don’t agree on the topic, we must agree to listen. I think that’s how you cultivate a truly inclusive culture. When people feel heard and understood, it does wonders for the overall work environment. That knowledge led us to begin our ‘Bridging Connections’ series, where we give employees the chance to share their views and feelings on various topics in a safe, supportive environment. The series has grown tremendously over the years and has covered topics like managing change and mental health. The steady growth of the series is an indication of how important it is for our employees to be heard and of how much we value their personal perspective.

Are you working on any exciting new projects at your company? How is this helping people?

Overall, we’re focused on ensuring our organization is at the leading edge of innovation, global and social sustainability. With that comes a steadfast commitment to creating healthy and livable communities that are safe, diverse and connected. Creating that type of community starts within our organization by ensuring our people feel respected, have a balanced work-life integration, can think creatively, and can grow in their careers.

At Ingersoll Rand, that looks like investing in our people in formal and informal ways. One example is specialized programming and engaged Employee Resource Groups. Great examples include our Women’s Employee Network which — among other programs — includes three Women’s Leadership Development Programs which provide our women leaders with the necessary skills and abilities to grow their careers here. This May, we launched the first Black Leader Forum which fosters career development, networking, and engagement among this high performing group of leaders within our company. Beyond these specialized programs, there are 18 ERG’s and Inclusion networks globally.

Fantastic. Now let’s jump into the main focus of our series. 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 for each idea.

It’s no secret that companies are fighting for top talent today. We also know that potential employees spend as much time researching and interviewing companies to determine an appropriate match just like companies do. Because of that, it’s important to garner a well-rounded view of the employee, and them of you, during the interview process.

  1. Be clear on the actual requirements of the job. Sometimes job requirements are a wish list that no one will meet. Be clear about the true requirements — which usually boil down to the three or four top priorities that are truly required to be successful in any given role.
  2. Look beyond qualifications. Be open and flexible and not so focused on the exact degree or precise previous experience. Rather, focus on the capabilities and competencies that can transfer to the role they are applying for and will allow them to be successful.
  3. Look for talent who is curious and adaptable. This ensures they can grow into another role in your organization once they’ve successfully fulfilled the one they’ve been hired for.
  4. Ask thoughtful questions to assess character, leadership, and potential. Ask candidates to talk about situations that show character and explain how they solved a problem or led a team.
  5. Understand how they connect with people. One thing I like to do is have candidates interview with someone that’s not directly connected to their role or team they’ll be joining. It offers additional insight on the candidate and allows candidates to form a more well-rounded view of the organization.

With so much noise and competition out there, what are the top 3 ways to attract and engage the best talent in an industry when they haven’t already reached out to you?

Recruitment is about ensuring we’re placing ourselves in the path of top talent. That also means using any opportunity to be visible such as speaking engagements, community events, and other good citizenship efforts.

Of course, we also take advantage of digital recruiting and leverage diverse sites such as Fairy GodBoss — a women’s career community and HirePurpose — a career site for veterans, in addition to the Ingersoll Rand careers site.

Nothing beats personal interaction though, so we partner with and recruit from diverse organizations such as the Society of Women Engineers, National Society of Black Engineers, Historically Black Colleges and Universities and more.

What are the 3 most effective strategies used to retain employees?

One thing I’m proud of is that we live out our values daily. We respect and value the worth of all people, cultures, viewpoints, and backgrounds and leverage our diverse workforce to drive innovative and imaginative solutions. Retention is important because our success directly correlates to the commitment and dedication of our employees around the world. To retain employees, leaders should know the ‘why’ of their employees. What drives them? What matters most personally and professionally? Leaders should know and try to honor that.

In addition, in this constantly connected universe, work should better fit into overall life. At Ingersoll Rand, we value and celebrate that our employees live and enjoy full lives.

Also, today’s workforce wants to feel valued and invested in. Providing ongoing development and growth opportunities is one way we do that. Whether it be formal classroom training, informal peer-to-peer conversation, or creating opportunities that bring people together to share, learn and connect.

Companies who recognize and act on these things go a lot further in attracting, retaining and cultivating top-tier talent in the long run.

In your experience, is it important for HR to keep up with the latest trends? Can you give some examples of what this looks like?

We know that by 2030, it is estimated that less than 10% of the workforce will be permanently employed by a company. Therefore, we need to be flexible and think about how people want to work, where people work and why the way people work is changing. Just like we adapt and innovate our products, we should adapt how we engage with our employees so we consistently attract and retain top-tier talent.

As an example, in 2017, we launched the Flexible Professional Workforce, a suite of programs and resources that helps us navigate flexible work arrangements. These programs help us meet business and employee needs and better leverage the skill sets of part-time workers, retirees and external networks of talent.

Can you give an example of a creative way to increase the value provided to employees without breaking the bank?

We often think it takes a sophisticated and expensive solution to address or “fix” issues. I find it’s usually the little things — the simple, low-cost things like taking the time to listen and engage in meaningful discussions with people that really matters. When people feel heard, they feel valued and like they belong. When employees feel like they belong, they perform optimally.

Employee Resource Groups and Inclusion Networks are an excellent way to offer valuable connection and networking opportunities that can be done reasonably. Through ERG’s, employees can connect with their peers, volunteer in their communities, have a valuable discussion and contribute to an organization’s overall culture.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Again, I’m proud to belong to a great company that is committed to equality and inclusion. The work we’re doing is inspiring, exciting and rewarding. However, another issue I am passionate about is ending hunger. I believe my purpose is to help people be their best self. We know that education plays an integral role in success. However, too often people overlook the role that solid nutrition plays in receiving that education. It saddens me that there are people, especially children, who go to school each day with the desire to learn and become their best self — and learning becomes second to the hunger that serves as a huge distraction to that learning.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

It’s all about perspective. We are all products of our own experiences and I have great respect for others’ perspectives. One of the most impactful perspectives was shared with me by my Dad. I was in college and had worked really hard in a particular class to earn an “A”. After my final, I thought I might not earn it. My Dad said to me, “I know this feels like a big deal today and it still might tomorrow. A year from now it will have no impact on your life.” He was absolutely right. I use that daily to help me keep perspective on what really matters.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private lunch with, and why?

Adam Silver, the NBA Commissioner. I love sports. With all of the opportunities to give back that exist with a platform as large and far-reaching as the NBA, I’d like to offer ideas on how to leverage that power to improve educational environments and access to food in our communities.

Thank you for sharing all of these fantastic insights with us!

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