Employment Solutions: Jason Averbook, Chief Business Innovation Officer, Appirio, and Mark Concannon, President, Concannon Business Consulting, LLC

Hosted by Chris Dyer, the CEO of PeopleG2 – Talent Talk Radio features engaging conversation with CEOs, thought leaders and HR executives.  Talent Talk connects professionals who care about talent-related issues and employment solutions. 


Today’s guests are Jason Averbook, Chief Business Innovation Officer, Appirio; and Mark Concannon, President, Concannon Business Consulting, LLC.  To hear the entire show, click here

Representing HR and business consulting sectors, they both strongly advocate for employment solution that surround yourself with people who are better and more experienced than you to succeed, especially as a growing small business.

JASON AVERBOOK employment solutions

As Chief Business Innovation Officer at Appirio, Averbook helps organizations reimagine talent issues. Prior to this, he started Knowledge Infusion, which Appirio acquired. Averbook’s experience spans “20 years at the intersection of people, process and technology.” Recently, he also completed writing his first book.

More than anything, Averbook believes businesses today are in dire need of re-imagination and coming up with creative employment solutions. “HR has been doing the same thing for the last five decades when it comes to technology,” observes Averbook. He asserts that the world is begging the HR function to shift focus to bigger talent issues beyond “getting people paid,” and companies need a change agent internally to drive this momentum. “Going forward, the thing that will differentiate companies from one another is the ability to kill inertia, especially when it comes to talent.”

Appirio’s success has been driven by:

  1. Making sure client organizations start with strategy instead of the technology.
  2. Helping organizations think in terms of processes and not modules. Much like in a retail environment, if you don’t connect the dots for employees and talent, they will lose interest and go elsewhere.
  3. Embracing cloud and SaaS solutions to free up time to focus on talent.

In terms of best practices, Averbook challenges companies to use one-size-fits-all tips with caution. “You need to understand what the dials are that drive the business before you can create a formula for HR and talent success.”

To vet talent at Appirio and come up with the best employment solutions, the team considers:

  • The match of the candidate’s core values to their own,
  • A thorough interview process where more than one person meets with candidates, and
  • A candidate’s “fun factor,” as Appirio’s CEO calls it, ensuring they enjoy their work.

Overall, a critical talent approach at Appirio stems from Steve Farber’s “Greater Than Yourself,” because “you need people that are greater than you around you at all times.” Appirio’s employee base is largely remote and relies on collaborative technology and regular meetings to keep them connected. Despite this, they go out of their way to engage employees.

What are You Reading?

Averbook is reading The Everything Store by Brad Stone about Amazon.com, revealing how they kept “banging their heads against a wall and yet came back swinging.”

How Can I Connect with You? On Twitter @JasonAverbook; on LinkedIn or online at www.appirio.com.

MARK CONCANNON employment solutions

Concannon has built his career around helping organizations solve for key business processes. He has worked at major consulting firms serving Fortune 100 companies, where he had developed a strong reputation for finding the right people to work on the right projects, and was able to bring past relationships in when forming his own consulting practice, Concannon Business Consulting.

Concannon believes one of the biggest business challenges today is a long-term commitment to change. “The process is hard,” acknowledges Concannon, who likens it to dedicating oneself to a workout program in the long term.

People First

“My people are first for me.”  Concannon works hard to understand each individual’s goals. “In turn, what I ask from them is that our clients come first.” Many of his team members come from the large consulting firms seeking more engagement in the bigger picture. The luxury of Concannon Business Consulting’s size is that they can craft custom candidate approaches to attract top talent. Above all, his employment solutions include finding people who are better or more experienced than he is and surrounds himself with those people.

When it comes to developing talent, Concannon suggests:

  • First and foremost, make sure you are investing in the people you should be,
  • Understand what motivates the person beyond work, and
  • Don’t just provide lip service to review process. “Do it.”

In his own talent development, Concannon’s father was a strong influence on his leadership. “No matter what your role, staying focused on the details, caring about the people and making sure you keep your promises are so much of what he focused on.”

Firefighting Mode Puts Out Creative Flame

As a consulting practice, Concannon Business Consulting of course relies on key methodologies in solving client challenges. “But that is not the whole answer,” he says, given that every company is different. To get creative, he and his team:

  • Evaluate each idea,
  • Tap into perspectives based on experiences in different industries and settings, and
  • Create a safe environment to think out loud.

Due to a lack of proper resources, staffing and creative employment solutions, he has seen many companies that are constantly in what he calls firefighting mode. “The longer you’re stressed, the longer you’re not thinking creatively.”

What are You Reading?

Concannon is readingEvening Chats in Beijing,” capturing one professor’s discussions with Chinese natives on a range of topics.

How Can I Connect with You?  Via www.concannonbc.com or on LinkedIn.

Tune into the show next week, and remember, do what you love….and show the world how talented you can be, today.

Air Date: April 8, 2014