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Leadership Interviews

CareerBuilder Leadership Series: Spotlight on Manpower North America’s Jorge Perez Izquierdo

“You have to give your talent the opportunity to be part of the decisions that are being made, because that’s truly when you get the benefit of working with an A player.”

In the following interview, Jorge Perez Izquierdo, Senior Vice President, Manpower North America, discusses why recruiting and retaining the best talent isn’t simply an HR initiative, but a key leadership role.

Who has had the single biggest impact on the way you approach leadership?
My father. He gave me the opportunity to have the benefit of perspective in life. Having different perspectives helps me weigh decisions and gives me the opportunity to step back before making a decision or embarking on a journey that may not be the best. When I talk about perspective, what I mean is just looking at the different sides of every situation.

How do you keep perspective?
I think it’s a journey. It’s giving yourself time and opportunity to reflect on others’ position and where they’re coming from. Something that’s been key in my career is just giving myself the time to keep that balance between reacting and being proactive in a very purposeful way.

Do you have a leadership philosophy?
You have to attract, retain and develop the best talent possible. Once you have that talent, you have to give them the opportunity to be part of the collaboration and the decisions that are being made, because that’s truly when you get the benefit of working with an A player.

How does collaboration happen at Manpower?
Collaboration, for me, is about creating the rules of engagement for how we’re going to work together. For example, how do you define who’s responsible for what? Who has to be informed of the actions? Who has to authorize actions, and who just needs to know about it? Then you strive to have those conversations. I have weekly calls with the team to share information, monthly updates with the business, and quarterly meetings where we spend a couple of days reviewing our strategy, thinking about the models we have to work around, where are we with that, where we are making progress and what we need to adjust in order to keep moving forward. That helps us a lot in trying to keep alignment.

How do you define Manpower’s company culture?
The culture is very value-driven. We have defined three values: people, knowledge and innovation. At end of the day, our asset is talent. We work with talent within, and it’s a service we provide to our clients – providing the best talent for the job they need to get done. We not only talk about talent as an asset, but we really treat people with respect, and we’re inclusive: we ‘walk the walk’ in that regard. What I mean by knowledge is, we really need to understand what our clients are trying to achieve so we can provide the best talent possible and drive better solutions. And innovation comes from the workplace solutions we provide for clients.

What are some of the ways Manpower keeps employees engaged?
First and foremost, we listen to them and understand their expectations and their needs. In today’s environment, investing in recruitment, retaining people and developing them is critical to the business. And that’s not an HR role; it’s a leadership role. The leader of the organization has to be very engaged in that process. We have a global people survey we run every year, based on areas that are very important for our business. We want to learn more about our employees, what they need, and what they expect to have. Based on the survey’s scores, we create action plans to work on the things we need to improve.

What is one piece of advice you have received that has stuck with you?
Always look at the bigger picture, and always put your principles and beliefs as a platform for where you base your decisions. The decisions you make might not always feel comfortable, but at the end of the day, if you keep the bigger picture in sight, you will always make the best decisions.

What is something you know about leading a company that you wish you had known when you first took over in your current role?
Understanding differences of culture is critical. That drives a lot of behavior and you can understand yourself and why things are the way they are. You have to attract, retain and develop the best talent possible. Once you have that talent, you have to give them the opportunity to be part of the collaboration.

What kind of leader do you strive to be?
Someone who always challenges people. Someone who has high expectations, but at the end of the day, those high expectations always come with recognition and reward. You have to have high standards and you have to have high expectations, but you can’t lose sight of celebrating the wins you have today.

ABOUT JORGE PEREZ IZQUIERDO: Jorge Perez Izquierdo is senior vice president for Manpower North America. Manpower is the global leader in contingent and permanent recruitment workforce solutions and is part of ManpowerGroup. Under his leadership, market share has grown 20 percent, with a network of more than 700 locations across North America. Prior to joining the North American organization, he spent seven years as the director general of Manpower Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic Region. Perez Izquierdo is also the founder and first president of the AMECH – the Mexican Association of the Staffing Industry in Mexico, representing the country’s top employment services companies. Perez Izquierdo earned a degree in Electromechanical Engineering from La Salle University, Mexico, and an associate’s degree in the Executive Direction Program from the IPADE Institute in Mexico. He also has completed advanced studies in Finance and Quality Management. Active in the community, Perez Izquierdo is a board member of Milwaukee’s La Casa de Esperanza Foundation and United Community Center. He is also a member of the Executive Forum of the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility.

ABOUT MANPOWER: Manpower is the global leader in contingent and permanent recruitment workforce solutions, providing the personal flexibility and agility businesses need with a continuum of staffing solutions. Manpower is part of the ManpowerGroup family of companies, which creates and delivers high-impact solutions that cover an entire range of talent-driven needs from recruitment and assessment, training and development, and career management, to outsourcing and workforce consulting. Recently, Manpower was named to Inavero’s 2011 Best of Staffing™ Talent list, the nation’s only satisfaction award that recognizes staffing and recruiting firms who provide an exceptional experience for the talent they help find jobs. More information is available at http://www.us.manpower.com.

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.
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