Lynda Zugec is the Managing Director at The Workforce Consultants. The Workforce Consultants is a network of specialized consultants within the area of Human Resources. The consultants that comprise the network are at the forefront of practice and research. Industry professionals collaborate with professors and graduate students at universities worldwide to deliver organizational human resource solutions.
Prior to creating her own Company, Lynda Zugec was a Human Capital Advisory Services Consultant with Mercer Human Resources Consulting Ltd., one of the world’s premier human resources consulting firms. Lynda holds an Honours Degree in Psychology along with a specialization in Human Resources Management from the University of Waterloo and a Master’s Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of Guelph.
MO: What influenced your decision to leave one of the world’s premier human resource consulting firms to start your own?
Lynda: The way in which organizations and individuals complete work is changing rapidly. The major element that has made us possible is the introduction of various modes of communicating via technology. With the increased ability for work to be conducted remotely through the use of webinars, teleconferencing and the like, there is less of a need for human resource consultants to complete assignments and projects at the office. Much of my time as a consultant in the past was actually spent at the site of the client, rather than my downtown office. Our business model presupposes that much of the work will be done differently than the traditional structured approach, thus allowing us to pass cost savings to clients and support our consultants in developing flexible schedules that suit their needs.
I was on a trip from Singapore to Malaysia in 2007 when I was reflecting on how, as a collective group of Human Resource consultants, we could share our expertise at the right level with the right clients to fully satisfy needs and deliver value. This is where I began to formulate what The Workforce Consultants might look like and how we would function most effectively.
MO: Why is it advantageous to combine industrial/organizational and work psychology academics with human resource practitioners?
Lynda: This has been a long-standing debate among academics as well as practitioners for decades. The academic realm can contribute substantially to the practitioner arena and vice versa. Although intuitively it is recognized that academics and practitioners who work collaboratively will yield the best results for organizations, the practicality of such efforts pose some challenges. Essentially, at the core of thought here are those who believe academics and practitioners should conduct their work in isolation and those who believe a melding of the two will yield the most successful results. It is a tough struggle to definitively determine which may be best, but at The Workforce Consultants we have adopted the latter frame of thinking, namely, that melding the two produces results above and beyond what either can contribute alone. Translating research into practice is our fundamental objective. We also hope our approach will help bridge the gap in the educational system, where students are often armed with a theory based understanding but are viewed as lacking in practical on-the-job application.
MO: What are the four factors that are connected to a uniform operating strategy?
Lynda: Although the terminology may differ across organizations and theorists for that matter, the basic tenets remain largely the same. We view human resources as the primary source of sustainable competitive advantage and feel that (1) Leadership, (2) Personnel Selection, (3) Training, and (4) Performance Management can be among the best solutions in leveraging the full spectrum of human resources capabilities. When these four factors are connected to a uniform operating strategy, the result is an efficient organization delivering desired financial results through the performance of engaged and committed employees.
MO: Are there any easy ways to implement positive change within the work environment? What are some long term suggestions?
Lynda: Aside from skillful hiring practices the difficulty lies not within generating ideas to implement positive change, but in the follow-through and subsequent maintenance of initiatives. All too often great ideas are either not implemented or are discussed at length to no end. The easiest way to implement positive change is to focus on one or two ideas and make them happen. It is not unlike other areas of life.
When taking a long term perspective, it is necessary to develop an evaluation system and conduct a cost benefit analysis of any additional changes that may be introduced. Is the positive change working? Does it have the intended consequences? What do others think of it? Taking a pulse will help revise and realign strategies moving forward.
MO: How have you managed to put together a specialized international consultancy force of over 300 people? What have been the greatest challenges in putting together such a large network of consultants?
Lynda: We have put together a number of initiatives to reach out to industry professionals and academics, but the main reason we feel our consultants gravitate toward us is our new way of doing business. It’s fresh, collaborative, interesting, and more social.
The greatest challenge is in describing what we do and who we are. Once we clearly communicate who we are and where we are going, they are excited to jump on board!
MO: What personal or professional achievement are you most proud of so far?
Lynda: Helping individuals in realizing their full potential.
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