An interview with Patricia Carl, CEO and Founder of Highland Performance Solutions.
Q: Describe your business.
A: We are a woman-owned organizational consulting firm that provides solutions that solve a variety of challenges across the talent lifecycle to accelerate organizational performance.
As a former CHRO, I recognized that organizations needed something different from business partners. They needed partners who move with the pace of business and who are fast, bold and efficient. As a former practicing therapist, I am also inspired by human-centered leadership and its impact in the workplace – and the intersection of individual growth, purpose, and performance.
Highland Performance Solutions is built on the principle that when people feel valued and are inspired to do their best, organizations thrive. We work with our clients to develop strategies to leverage their most important asset: their people.
We serve organizations across all industries in the areas of strategy and transformation, assessment and succession, leadership development, executive search and workforce transition.
Q: Do you plan to hire additional staff or make any significant investments in your business over the next year?
A: We just reached an important milestone in the company’s three-year history by hiring Lisa Tintner as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Development in May. Lisa has over 25 years of experience in sales leadership and business development roles for organizations such as Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning and Right Management. She provides valuable leadership, direction and vision for the company’s growth trajectory and business development strategies. Since Lisa joined in May, she has led the team in launching our new website, refreshing our brand and bringing in an expanded team of world-class consultants to deliver solutions to our valued client partners.
As we seek to meet the exponential demand for organizational and leadership development, we will continue to grow our talent pool and solution offerings to help clients succeed in this challenging talent market.
We continue to make additional investments in our staff by adding senior level consultants, coaches as well as adding to our client services team. We recently hired a Director of Customer Services to lead the Customer Services team and ensure that we continue to deliver high quality customer experiences with HPS.
Q: What will be the main challenges for your business next year?
A: Given the war for talent, as with all organizations, our biggest challenge will be having enough resources to meet customer demands. We see a huge need for our services. Given the work we do, we see this as an opportunity rather than a challenge. We help organizations address these types of workforce challenges and help them develop strategies to improve their employer brand, design efficient and effective talent structures, hire the right people and retain key talent for mitigate the business challenges we all face next year.
Q: What is the hottest trend in your industry?
A: Over the past two years, the employer/employee contract has changed. The workplace has undergone a huge transformation; people want their work to fit their life rather than the other way around. This translates into the current trend of “silent renunciation,” where people demand flexibility, autonomy, inclusiveness, and a more holistic view of work and life.
People who are unsupported at work vote with their feet and/or with their heart: either quit to find opportunities with organizations that can meet their personal and professional needs, or stay and become disengaged and unproductive. These trends have already been underway for the past two years – they have accelerated recently due to the rise of remote work and the competitive talent market.
Q: Is climate change affecting the way your business does business?
A: Many of our corporate clients make significant commitments to ESG, a stakeholder-centric approach that measures the environmental and societal impact of companies. This has implications for organizational effectiveness and the talent work we do with clients as they evolve their businesses to align with ESG standards – whether to help design the organization and roles, identify talent needs or do diversity and inclusion work.
Q: What is your company doing to reduce the effects of climate change?
A: Professional services are an intellectual activity; we do a significant amount of our work with our clients remotely, which mirrors how the clients themselves work. This means less travel for everyone involved. And we help companies successfully adapt to the hybrid/virtual working world. While we know the effects of remote work on climate change are complex, we’re excited to explore ways for organizations to integrate more sustainable practices into their overall operations.
Q: Is your business minority owned? Belonging to a woman? If so, what are the challenges of being a minority or woman-owned business?
A: Yes, we are proud to be a woman-owned business. We encounter all of the challenges shared by our fellow small business owners – but our size can be an advantage – and organizations seek to do business with women- and minority-owned businesses. The world, our work and our talents are constantly changing, and we can be agile and offer tailor-made solutions.
Larger-scale competitors have higher fixed overheads and established ways of working that can prevent them from thinking differently and acting quickly to solve customer problems. We see this as an opportunity to open the door to more diversity and inclusion within the C-suite. This is personally important to us as well as to the wider business community.
Q: What is your company doing about DE&I (diversity, equity and inclusion)?
A: We know that diversity and inclusion drive innovation and growth, and that broader perspectives improve the collective. We put this belief into practice in our internal and external work. It’s not just about hiring a diverse workforce, it’s about being inclusive in all aspects of your business.
Organizations must create cultures that embrace diversity and demonstrate inclusive behavior: it’s not one or the other, it’s both. HPS was founded on the principle that organizations will thrive when people feel empowered and inspired to do their best. That’s what inclusion is really about – making sure people feel accepted, valued for their unique experiences, qualities and traits and that those differences are celebrated and leveraged in the workplace.
Q: Does your company donate time or money to philanthropic causes? If so, what are the causes?
A: Yes, I am incredibly passionate about philanthropy and volunteerism. The HPS team dedicates time and resources to worthy causes, whether it’s donating to charity or working for non-profit organizations at reduced rates or free of charge. Personally, I also devote time to charities, including serving as chair of the board of SamaraCare, an organization that provides affordable mental health care, and working with the Executive Women’s Mentorship Initiative, a collaboration between ‘Executive’s Club of Chicago and the Chicago Network.
Q: Does your company do anything else to improve your community?
A: We offer an immersive, hands-on internship program to develop and support the HR leaders of tomorrow. The program provides an incredible opportunity for graduate students to gain real-world experience and mentorship as they launch their careers. At HPS, we truly value empowerment – we encourage each member of our team to take on new challenges and reach their full potential. Providing this experience for those just starting out is especially important – and hopefully preparing them to do impactful work in the human capital space.
Q: What are you doing to make your company a great place to work for your employees?
A: I would reinforce the empowerment that we emphasize at HPS. We appreciate everyone’s strengths and give our employees and consultants the opportunity to double down on their “zone of genius”. Create an environment where people can do more of the work they love and have the autonomy to do their best. Purpose is a big part of why we do what we do – and empowering people to do purpose-driven work is powerful.
We are also keen to support the whole person at work, and this is reflected in the way we operate and collaborate with each other. We all want others to have enough time to rest and rest outside of work. Many of us have a family life that requires flexible working hours. We try to build an organization that embraces these different ways of working while delivering invaluable results to our clients.
Q: Do you have a business mantra?
A: One of the things I regularly say to the team is, “If you don’t like a situation, wait five minutes, it might change.” It helps to take a step back and reflects how quickly our world is changing – no need to overreact to something that will likely be different tomorrow.
Q: What’s an interesting fact about your company that most people might not know?
A: Our company name is inspired by the Scottish Highlands, one of my favorite places in the world, and I love the reference to ‘higher ground’. At HPS, our goal is to help our customers continue to evolve and take their businesses – and their people – to new heights.
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