In the following interview, Reed Flesher, President of Thrive discusses why his team developed Thrive TRM and why accountability is so critical in managing the search process.
What is a talent relationship management (TRM) platform and when did it enter the search market?
In 2014, we coined ‘TRM platform’ to address the gap that had existed between commercially viable software offerings and the talent relationship management process. Essentially, our TRM platform folds the best elements of applicant tracking and relationship management into a single system. It goes further than simply tracking the hiring process, however. Thrive TRM enables recruiters and team builders to deeply connect candidates with search teams and other stakeholders. We do this with first-ever, real-time search industry collaboration tools such as activity tracking, candidate prioritization, and live communication.
Search firms have used software products prior to Thrive TRM entering the market. From your perspective, what has been missing?
Historically, firms have developed their own platforms, which are expensive and limiting, or they’ve used a variety of ATS/CRM systems, which are dated, difficult to use, and inefficient. We think the market is ready for a new approach that upgrades user experience and improves the way hiring teams and others manage talent networks. What’s been missing is a completely automated, collaborative client reporting process that brings recruiters, and frankly anyone who has a need to manage groups of people, or for better intelligence.
What was the impetus behind the development of Thrive TRM?
Having been around the recruitment business, executive talent, and product development my entire career, it became clear that the search industry is ripe for disruption. For example, look at the typical client update process – weekly conversations around static, manual reports that cover old ground. We see an opportunity to advance the weekly call to collaborative, consultative discussions about how to move a search to closure. By sharing information, and using customer-facing systems, the industry can benefit from the consumerization trend emerging in enterprise software.
As far as we can discern, your product creates a greater interface between the search firm and the client. Please explain this.
It’s our experience that the buyers of search services are starting to demand transparency and access to candidate intelligence, which is why we built Thrive TRM. Further, given the competitive landscape of executive search, firms need to add more value to their clients and close searches faster. Our TRM platform helps remove the constant need for search firms to be in defense mode regarding the previous week’s activity and strategy for the next. We want to remove trust barriers and elevate relationships with an efficient process at their core. Successful firms that intend to be around for a while understand this.
Your background is not in search so why did you feel you could successfully build a platform for recruiters?
My whole career I’ve been building software to help manage and train top talent. These platforms helped managers and executives lead high performing teams and manage across cultures, specifically navigating complexities related to geography, gender, job function, and ethnicity. Not only do I bring that cultural lens, but my expertise in user experience oriented platforms enabled me to see weaknesses throughout the broader recruiting industry. This was the perfect time to marry those experiences to help disrupt a market. It used to be that software was a supplemental tool in search. Now it’s essential and I’m excited to be a part of driving this change.
How many search firms today use TRM technology and is its usage more designed for larger or smaller firms?
Well today, Thrive has the only TRM platform on the market so the only firms using TRM technology are our customers. Initially, we launched with two mid-sized firms and those first customers helped us refine the product. Demand has since grown so we have been adding customers and the response has been incredibly positive. Thrive TRM is a cloud-based system so firm size is not an issue. Clients of boutique firms and global, publicly traded companies all have access to the same collaborative, efficient, and transparent experience.
Why is accountability so critical in the search process today, especially between clients and their search partners?
Accountability is critical for two primary reasons: First, it is necessary in order to identify any issues such as a misalignment within the search committee or unrealistic expectations. Second, search firms and clients need to work together to make good hiring decisions. An open search process sheds light on everyone’s effectiveness. Both of these issues need to be addressed as early as possible, which is much more likely to happen through an open, accountability-focused process.
Do the “real time” aspects of managing a search accelerate the time a search is performed from inception to completion?
Yes, in fact the efficacy of the platform is quantifiable. So far we have found that, on average, our customers close their searches 10 to 15 percent faster than those who don’t use our platform. This percentage is likely to increase as firms and clients become more adept at using the system.
With so many companies by-passing the search process today and recruiting in-house, can your product be tailored for strictly that type of usage?
Absolutely. While most of our customers are in the executive search and VC/PE spaces, our platform can be configured for the enterprise as well. Our collaborative tools are multi-purposed and work very well for hiring managers and other stakeholders with internal needs