Whether a financial or human resources problem is large or small, short term or long term, Salo LLC has the solution, says Lisa Brezonik.
Salo, which provides interim and project staffing, consulting and permanent search for finance and accounting and human resources, has just named Brezonik as its new president.
Brezonik, who previously served as Salo’s chief operating officer, has held various leadership roles at what is now RBC Wealth Management and led her own executive coaching and consulting firm.
In the last year, the 625-person firm has expanded its clients outside of the Minneapolis and Chicago markets where it has offices. Brezonik discusses how she wants to continue the firm’s growth and how the hunt for talent and the use of technology change.
Q: What have been some of the changes you have seen over the last few years in terms of the availability of talent?
A: It’s not like we had some really big shift. It’s been turning the volume up higher and higher on we don’t have enough people and people are demanding something different from [what] they were before. It feels like the decibel gets louder every year. … People are looking to be connected with what they are doing. They are looking to be connected with the people they work with, with the purpose and with the impact that they are having. When they don’t have that, they start looking elsewhere and they go.
Q: How have advancements in automation and artificial intelligence (AI) affected the scope of what services Salo provides?
A: Automation and AI are pushing many forward-looking companies to re-examine their traditional business practices and to find talent that can embrace the new opportunities that technology brings. At Salo, we believe businesses can unlock real value when their people are able to effectively use new technology and the tools that help us work more efficiently and improve our communications. These new tools, when applied to business forecasting, give us more information and valuable insights than we’ve ever had before. Salo consultants tap these analytics to help organizations learn about past patterns, predict new trends and make better decisions for the future. The advancement of automation and AI is pushing organizations to rethink strategy as well as products and services. This has led to a realization that the skills needed to do the job are changing. Couple that with a workforce that is looking for more autonomy, purpose and meaning in their work, and it adds up to a talent quandary that every organization must solve.
Q: With so many people working as consultants and contractors, has Salo seen more demand for their small business financial services?
A: Yes, Salo’s small- to midsize clients are increasingly turning to us for a range of business support services such as finance and accounting services, talent acquisition and help finding interim CFOs or controllers as the organizations evolve and grow. We’re also finding more need for help with finding and placing highly experienced people to lead large scale projects or lead key initiatives.
Q: What are some positions that are hard to find job candidates for?
A: In finance, there is a great need for fractional CFOs and technical accountants, experts in revenue recognition, lease standard changes and SEC reporting skill sets, and M&A integration experts. In HR, most companies need help in human capital management systems, compensation and recruitment and talent management strategy.
Q: Where are most of your clients based and how has that begun to change?
A: Traditionally we have a brick-and-mortar office here in Minneapolis as well as in Chicago. Traditionally, we have served clients in these cities. Over the course of the last year, we have started to reach out and have a lot more opportunities that are in different parts of the country. If we continue to see a lot of work in any certain metropolitan area, that’s where we will open our next office.
Q: What are some goals you had for the company moving forward?
A: Organizations and people are looking at doing work differently. We really feel like we are in a spot to take advantage of that and to really leverage the consultants that we have. As I talk about doing work outside of our geographies that we are in right now with brick and mortar, that’s one. Continuing to do more work at that senior level … interim CFOs and CHROs [chief human resources officer] getting more involved with work like that. That’s a place where we have a real opportunity to continue to grow the company.