Director of PR, Spherion Corporation
Kip Havel, 29, is honest about his first impression of Spherion, the staffing and recruiting firm he joined in 2001.
"When I first joined, I wasn't sure how exciting a staffing company would be," Havel admits.
But after stints at Edelman and Hill & Knowlton, Havel was keen for a corporate job, and knew the switch would only help his career.
"I loved the agency side and really got to learn the ropes there. But the best way to get a broad view of PP is to get a broad base of experience," Havel says. "I've always been interested in corporate PR and workforce issues."
Havel soon learned that Spherion was a fast-paced environment, providing opportunities to develop comprehensive media strategies. One reason for that is the media's ongoing interesting in economic developments and how they relate to employment.
Spherion is working to position itself as a thought leader in the employment space, and Havel's work has meant that media outlets are increasingly seeking the company out for its views on current trends. "The way we positioned ourselves has gotten us great deal of media coverage," Havel says. "It's also about the availability of our spokespeople."
Richard Lamond, Spherion SVP and chief HR officer, says Havel has played a big role in expanding Spherion's workforce research and sales initiatives.
"He's been expanding the tools we have and the information journalists have about us," Lamond says.
The company's major product is a yearly report, done in conjunction with the Harris Group, called the Emerging Workforce Survey.
"Kip has been instrumental in expanding the depth of that information," Lamond says.
"Our surveys cover issues that don't necessary follow our business [operations]," Havel says. "But we want Spherion to be known as the expert regarding all workforce issues. Our Emerging Workplace Survey is forward-thinking and thought-provoking, and we're looking at deep organizational issues."
Lamond also praised Havel's media relations skills.
"He thinks through not only who needs to be contacted, but what we're trying to get across quickly," Lamond says.
Lamond says his recollection of Havel's first major challenge was when the company's CEO fell ill and eventually left the firm. Lamond says Kip managed the difficult communications about the transitional process very smoothly.
"In the last nine to 12 months, I have had a number of interviews and Kip has handled them very well," Lamond says. "When we set up goals, he's very much at ease with them."
Today Havel oversees all of the external communications duties, and reports directly to CEO Roy Krause.
"He has the earned the confidence of the senior team," Lamond says.
"I see having a great future here," Havel says. "If you're not learning, you're not in the right place."
Every day provides a new opportunity. The company is currently occupied with media inquires into how the aftermath of the hurricane season will affect the overall employment industry.