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Yuri Kruman Shares How To Identify And Retain Top Talent with Kage Spatz

HR Strategy Series, Real Human Resources

Yuri Kruman Human Resources

I learned that youth with brains, energy and great cultural fit often trumps long experience and accomplishment without alignment on mission, vision and culture.

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 a very talented friend, Yuri Kruman.

Yuri Kruman is a corporate HR Strategy/Organization Design Consultant and expert on the Employee Experience (EX), board member, startup advisor, Forbes Coaches Council member, as well as a contributor to Forbes, among other top platforms. Yuri is the author of the just-published book, “What Millennials Really Want From Work and Life” and has spoken at Google, UPenn, Columbia, NYU and 2020 Startups, among many others. In his corporate work, Yuri trains client teams on ways to maximize their EX, especially talent retention, learning and development using storytelling, branding and proprietary personal development strategies.


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

After many so-so, bad and awful experiences as an employee in 4 different industries (neuroscience, law, finance and tech), I started my own executive coaching and HR strategy consulting business to help employees and business owners alike to discover and own the power of their story, create and convert opportunity and help align everyone involved on mission, vision and values, creating tremendous new bottom-line value in the enterprise through improved communication, productivity and leadership.

In short, I saw how bad managers and leaders alienated the best talent and killed or stunted companies before they could become truly great. As such, I discovered that my own mission was to right the wrongs and save great businesses from poor human capital management, with the best approach being a potent combination of HR strategy consulting and executive coaching for all stakeholders involved.

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?

On a consulting project starting and standing up a workforce development initiative in unique, low-income Brooklyn Jewish communities for an established non-profit in NYC, I learned that youth with brains, energy and great cultural fit often trumps long experience and accomplishment without alignment on mission, vision and culture. We hired a young guy of 23 without any experience, but brains as the Job Developer over a guy with 20+ years experience that was a bad cultural fit. The result, far from assured, is that with the right mentorship, practical help and constant coaching, plus a great onboarding process, the young guy has blossomed into a great producer who is always learning, always contributing and keeps getting every single day. While this hardly means this outcome is typical, it does show that the right energy and cultural fit are more important than pure talent without fit.

Seems you are always working on exciting new projects. What are you working on right now and how is this helping people?

At Master The Talk Consulting, we’re currently working with several top fast-growth startups to transform their HR practices, align their brand with their “special sauce,” open up their best talent through coaching and create more effective communication between individuals and teams, as well as improve the bottom line through improved financial management, personal and professional development plans for each employee, as well as vastly improved practices around innovation, productivity and enterprise HR data and analytics. This helps unlock executives to become much better leaders, rather than managers, and unlocks employees to more fully invest themselves in the business firstly through the personal, rather than professional prism.

On a more personal note, I’m finishing up my next book, “Mastering The Talk To Master Your Life,” a detailed guide to leveraging language and psychology to improve health, focus, productivity, as well as career, business and personal growth. This book distills the many hard and expensive lessons I’ve learned in life about maintaining physical and mental health, communicating effectively with other people, building a successful career and business, as well as about living a full, meaningful and rewarding life despite massive challenges.

Congratulations on the book! Let’s shift to the main focus of our series. Can you share 5 techniques that you use to identify the talent that would be best suited for the job you want to fill?

1) Check alignment between candidate’s life mission and company mission

2) Assess alignment between candidate’s values and company values

3) Evaluate alignment between candidate’s vision and team/company vision

4) Test communication skills over video and in person

5) Assess reaction to the unexpected — ask a question that tries to throw them off balance

With so much noise and competition out there, what are your top ways to attract and engage the best talent?

1) Clearly communicate your brand’s mission, values and vision

2) Cultivate enthusiastic brand ambassadors among employees and clients and get them to share authentic content telling their stories with their networks and over social media

3) Do the right thing. Every time. With every employee and client. Have integrity in every part of your business.

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

1) Communicate early and often

2) Recognize small wins and thank regularly

3) Give them benefits they’ll actually use, not useless gimmicks

In your experience, is it important for HR to keep up with the latest trends?

In my experience, it’s precisely the lack of HR keeping up with the latest trends that often leads to a culture of stasis and backsliding. For example, when HR continues to use old applications tracking systems (ATS’s), it misses out on a massive number of incredibly talented, motivated people solely due to a faulty algorithm. When an HR department fails to collect and/or interpret correctly data about employees, it fails to pro-actively establish best practices for talent development, alent strategy to “hope and pray,”.

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

The simplest things sometimes go the furthest. This includes saying thank you and getting everyone in the company to thank colleagues for helping them, by acknowledging employee birthdays and childbirths, dedicating weekly office hours to employee development and coaching, listening twice as much as speaking and getting vulnerable with employees by telling your own story regularly and acknowledging you don’t have all the answers.

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?

The movement I would inspire is to help 10 million people in the next 10 years to find, pursue and realize their life mission while doing their life’s best work.

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

“If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.” This approach helped me to learn how to negotiate anything and everything, to stop stunting my growth through extreme self-reliance, always look for win-wins and create and convert opportunity in business and career for both myself and my clients.

Big fan of win-wins! Great quote too, it reminds me of the famous Gretzky quote “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have a private lunch with, and why?

Laszlo Bock, CEO of Humu and former SVP of People Operations at Google. He’s not only a huge professional role model for me, but also someone whose story is quite similar to mine, in certain ways.

Thank you for sharing so much value with us today!

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