A 'One-Woman Show'

This article accompanies Great Reports.

Tegan Trovato was essentially on her own when she was hand-picked to lead the launch of an internal training and development program for hundreds of recruiters. But she wasn't alone for long.

Monday, June 9, 2014
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When Brookfield, Wis.-based Cielo, then known as Pinstripe & Ochre House, reached out to Tegan Trovato with an opening for a senior recruiter in 2010, something about the role -- and her suitors -- intrigued her enough to contemplate relocating to Wisconsin from her lifelong home in North Carolina.

"As I interviewed with them over the phone -- and I've since shared this with every new hire I've made here -- I could feel their energy. I'm very excitable and energetic. So I really felt like I [would] fit into the culture. And, when I met with some senior leaders [in person], their energy and presence even surpassed what I heard on the phone. I was really attracted to that."

Trovato ultimately joined the recruitment-process-outsourcing and talent-management provider as a senior recruiter in September 2010, assuming responsibility for conducting niche searches for tough-to-fill jobs in the engineering and technology industries.

Within the next two years, she was promoted to talent-acquisition manager and then to recruiting-excellence manager. Then, last year's move to her current position, director of excellence initiatives, presented Trovato with what she considers her greatest professional challenge to date.

Taking over the newly created role in October 2013, Trovato was charged with initiating Recruiting Excellence, a training-and-development program the company envisioned would provide recruiters with learning opportunities and insight into industry trends, as well as a way to share best practices, tools and techniques.

Recruiting Excellence would also house RecruitU, a six-month program designed to "develop entry-level talent and career changers into stellar recruiters," says Trovato.

"It's a rigorous program to say the least," she says. "The selection process ensures we are only teaching the best and brightest, and the milestone exams ensure they are developing at the speed we expect them to."

Indeed, RecruitU students undergo 134 total hours of learning, participating in classroom training, group work and role-playing exercises, and passing two exams before graduating to a recruiter role.

"When off-the-shelf recruiter training became too standard for our elite recruiters, we decided to do things differently and invest in a training-and-development program that would be by recruiters, for recruiters," says Erin Lange, executive vice president of operations excellence and innovation at Cielo, and Trovato's supervisor. "Tegan was our clear choice to develop, execute and deliver Recruiting Excellence."

Trovato had the organization's full support, of course, and she is quick to credit colleagues such as Lange and Director of Human Resources Ellen Chiesa for their roles as mentors and sounding boards in the program's rollout.

Still, "when I first started this department, I was responsible for writing the content, teaching the classes and scheduling employees for training," she says. "I did my own internal PR work to get the word out about the classes, and ran contests to get employees interested in attending the modules.

"I felt like a one-woman show for a while, simply because our executives had a big-picture vision, and our employee population had given clear feedback that they wanted more learning opportunities," says Trovato. "But it was my job to figure out how we were going to get there."

Trovato quickly set out on doing just that, and rallied the team that would ultimately help build the program.

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She identified and recruited 27 subject-matter experts to lead the company's global resourcing centers, 20 senior recruiters to volunteer to serve as coaches, 12 internal experts to aid in the development of content for the recruiter-training program, 10 senior leaders to serve as guest speakers for lunch-and-learn meetings, and eight members of the Pinstripe leadership team to lead continuous improvement initiatives.

"The organization really rose to this challenge, with people wanting to be a part of it," says Trovato. "Our recruiters, for example, tend to be more competitive with themselves than they are with others, and they want their peers to succeed along with them. There's where a lot of the volunteerism came from, I think. I know I couldn't have done this myself."

Today, "I consider the outcome my greatest success," she says.

"This program is the platform we use to deliver ongoing training for our recruiter job family," she says. "I'm proud of how often our leaders use the curriculum to up-skill employees, but I'm most proud of how often I have recruiters who have come from other companies in our industry and tell us they've never seen anything like our learning program."

It's safe to say that Lange is pleased with the results as well.

"Under Tegan's leadership, we were able to deliver more than 30 customized training opportunities globally to nearly 900 employees located in our offices -- at home offices or on-site with our clients," according to Lange.

"In just two short years," she explains, "the program has evolved from a desire by our people for specialized training into the way we work."

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Tegan Trovato


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