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Part 2, Meet Susan Burns, Industry Thought Leader at Talent Synchronicity

Posted on September 11, 2008
Filed Under Interviews | 1 Comment

Thought Leadership Profile

Part 2 of 2 Part Interview – Part 1, Originally Published,

Six Degrees: Tell us about your solution-based offerings as a consultant

Susan: Today I am managing my own consultancy – Talent Synchronicity. My approach to consulting is rooted in offering talent strategy solutions through an integrated alignment with core business functions and processes. While this type of approach is at the heart of my front-line business experience I’ve found it to be consistently effective in every aspect of developing a differentiated and sustainable talent strategy. The basic idea behind Talent Synchronicity is to bring together talent leaders, recruiters/sourcers and business leaders to identify and exploit shared values, vision and objectives that result in unified thinking. Taking this type of approach maps out a clearer picture from which to operate, establishes a web of champions and ultimately leads to enhanced momentum to deliver greater results, differentiation and a sustainable competitive advantage. I leverage technology, branding, customer service, and operations experience to create intrinsic value for the recruitment function and related talent initiatives. My approach is typically creative, resourceful, and collaborative to guide clients through assessment, planning, development, and implementation of strategies. My areas of expertise include:

• Integrated Recruitment and Talent Management Strategy Development
• Employment Brand Differentiation
• Social Media Strategy
• Recruitment Leader Development
• Workforce/Talent Planning
• University Recruitment and Relations Strategy
• Recruitment Team Structure and Processes

In addition to Talent Synchronicity, I’m also executive director for The Future of Talent – a community of talent leaders working together to define what the future of talent will consist of by exploring emerging trends and influencers across technology, societal shifts, and geography. The Future of Talent is grounded in the work of Kevin Wheeler and techniques developed at the Institute for the Future, where Kevin was a researcher
for more than a decade. The cornerstone event for The Future of Talent is an annual retreat where practitioners come together to design strategies through differentiated view points, share best practices and ideas, and engage informally with leading thinkers in the areas of talent acquisition, branding, knowledge management, employee development, and leadership.

Six Degrees: What are the most common themes of strategic and/or tactical mishaps involving past or present HR/Staffing org?

Susan: The most common themes I’ve seen leading to mishaps in staffing functions is a fragmented approach that doesn’t bring recruiting leaders to the table to engage in and influence thinking. Often, staffing leaders are dependent on others for information. While this works some of the time, too many times it leads to a reactive approach that adds cost, stress, frustration and attrition to the team. The recruiting function thinks differently and asks different questions than an HR generalist – they have to as they operate in a much different and much more competitive environment. Building an open line of communication, working closely with business partners and assuming a certain degree of risk leads to a more planful approach that adds incremental value to the organization…..and the recruiting team.

Six Degrees: Considering all of the frustrations you have experienced in your career as a recruiter, — what inspires you as you continue in your career?

Susan: What inspires me to continue in my career is the passion and belief that talent is the critical lifeblood of the organization. I also believe that we are living in a time of tremendous change and that we will see the relationship between the organization and talent evolve. This will mean that talent management must play a key role and focus very strategically on the talent lifecycle to deliver a competitive advantage to the company but equally important to the community of talent that arrives each day to make stuff happen and ensure the business is there tomorrow!

Six Degrees: List/detail speaking events, awards, publications, where you have you represented your company:

Susan: I write part-time for Joel Cheesman on Cheezhead Xtra and host Talent Talk Café every Tuesday at 3pm ET on

I’ve enjoyed the opportunities the recruiting industry has given me to publish articles and present at many events. ERE has been a source of continuous learning for me and I’m always honored to give back through content – both written and via their events. I’ve published:
• The Strategy of Talent Acquisition with Jeff Hunter through the ERE Journal;
• What’s Next? The Emergence of Hiring Management Systems with Gary Alpert, founder and CEO of WetFeet, through ERE; and,
• Delivering a Balanced Employment Brand Experience through ERE.

I’ve had the opportunity to speak at a number of conferences hosted by ERE, Kennedy, IQPC and SourceCon. Additionally, I serve as a subject matter expert/panelist for HCI. Presentation topics have included social media strategies, integrated recruitment strategy, corporate website development, employment branding, workforce planning, metrics and college relations.

There have been a number of awards during my career that I am proud of including:
• Electronic Recruiting Exchange. 2005 ER Excellence Award for Best Corporate Careers Website. Honorable mentions received for Most Strategic Use of Recruiting Technology and Recruiter of the Year.
• Federated Department Stores. Newness 2000 Award. Recognized for development and deployment of Retailology recruitment site as brand differentiator.
• NACE. Employer Contribution in Technical Innovation. Awarded for development of the recruitment site as an employment outreach platform.

Six Degrees: Anything you want to plug?

Susan: I’ll be leading a day long workshop on developing an integrated talent strategy at the Kennedy Conference in the Fall. This will be a hands-on workshop that incorporates many of the principles used through Talent Synchronicity and will provide a foundation for developing a strategy or enhancing aspects of an existing strategy – I hope you’ll join me!

I also invite readers of Six Degrees who have an interest in the Future of Talent to visit us online at and contact me directly if you are interested in joining our community. We look for members who are helping to influence the future of their organization, have an insatiable curiosity for the world, and are passionate about shaping the future of talent!


One Response to “Part 2, Meet Susan Burns, Industry Thought Leader at Talent Synchronicity”

  1. Tammy Mathias on September 16th, 2008 2:22 am

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