Welcome to the latest post in Robert Half’s Thought Leader Q&A series, which features insights from those who have helped make our company a premier provider of talent solutions and great place to work.
In this article, we feature Angela Lurie, Executive Director of Robert Half’s Full-Time Engagement Professionals practice group.
Early on, Angela knew she wanted a place in the world of business, and her ability to use numbers in an analytical way was her passport. Soon after graduating from the University of Wisconsin, she earned her CPA and then an MBA with a focus on business strategy. After several years working for KPMG, followed by another position in the industry as a divisional controller, she started searching for a new opportunity. She reached out to Robert Half for recruiting help. Instead, she landed a role within the organization itself. Twenty-three years later, she leads the firm’s Full-Time Engagement Professionals practice group.
What makes the Full-Time Engagement Professionals solution unique?
In a nutshell, we provide our clients with highly skilled consultants to handle projects or augment their staff needs. The difference is, our consultants are dedicated, salaried Robert Half employees. It’s a phenomenal business solution for our clients.
Our full-time engagement professionals can ensure project continuity — because the last thing a critical project needs is staff turnover. And because these professionals are Robert Half employees, our clients have the option to call on the same person repeatedly for recurring work.
I’m proud to say that our growing team of highly skilled professionals have deep, diverse experience across a range of industries and practices. Over the course of their careers, they’ve tackled complex engagements for companies of all sizes, in a wide range of industries. They thrive on the change that project work provides. And they’re able to immediately mesh with our clients’ teams and get right to work.
What are the advantages of this business model?
Well, it’s really a very unique solution offering. We’re able to provide our clients with highly skilled, hard-to-find talent they may not otherwise have access to but for our ability to retain these professionals as full-time employees of Robert Half — and we’ve been doing it since 1999.
If you think about it, if we were only able to access hourly contract talent, that’s just 3% of the employment market, and these individuals tend to be in transition between full-time jobs. But the Full-Time Engagement Professionals solution allows us to access 100% of the employment market — contract employees, active job seekers and passive candidates who are currently employed. When clients need continuity of talent, our Full-Time Engagement Professionals solution minimizes the risk of turnover on mission-critical projects and interim staffing needs. I think the need for this type of solution is unlimited.
Our employees have specific skill sets and expertise, and because we know them so well, we can accurately match them to client needs with a high degree of confidence that they will perform well.
On the employee side of the equation, we can offer a very interesting and unique career opportunity for professionals who like aspects of consulting — like moving from client to client and gaining exposure to different industries, software, processes, business structures and transactions. Yet they have the stability of a full-time job with a competitive base salary, comprehensive benefits and an uncapped discretionary bonus program. We also give them ongoing training and professional development opportunities.
The professionals in our national practice can even earn unlimited discretionary bonuses by referring potential talent to our Full-Time Engagement Professionals practice and sharing leads for new project work.
What business areas do you cover?
Our national practice has four distinct specializations: finance & accounting, technology, legal, and marketing & creative.
Clients come to us most often for:
- Staff augmentation. They may have lost a key resource due to a leave of absence or unexpected staff turnover, so they need an interim resource.
- Project work. Our clients always have a variety of mission-critical, deadline-driven projects, but may not have the right resources at the right time, so they come to us. We tap into our large national database of professionals to find talent with the specific skill sets to match their needs — in software, systems, functional expertise, industry knowledge — whatever it may be.
- Deliverable-based needs. When clients are looking for an end-to-end solution, we engage Robert Half’s global consulting subsidiary Protiviti to provide the deliverable, and at times they augment their project team with our highly skilled Full-Time Engagement Professionals as the “arms and legs.” This helps reduce the total cost of the engagement.
How has the rise of remote work changed the practice?
There’s probably not an industry or geographic area we haven’t worked in today, and this is possible because of remote work.
Historically, we used to hire professionals into our Full-Time Engagement Professionals practice based on local geography and consider them for deployment on local client engagements. That began to change over the past several years and then really accelerated during the pandemic. We repositioned as one national practice, so when new employees are hired, they are joining one team with a multitude of career-accelerating deployment opportunities.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I start my day early, with a couple of mind puzzles, like the New York Times’ Wordle and Quordle, to warm up my brain. Then I do a quick scan of the Wall Street Journal to see what’s going on in the labor and financial markets, looking for trends and opportunities.
I usually meet with my internal team first thing in the morning to discuss our priorities for the day. From there the day launches pretty quickly, and by 8:30 am I’m into a variety of tasks helping the senior field management team execute their business development strategies, meet recruiting goals and roll out new training for our Full-Time Engagement Professionals.
We also create a lot of content for the practice, not just to position it for rapid growth, but to make sure we are promoting competitive employment opportunities to attract new people to the Full-Time Engagement Professionals “bench.”
What advice do you have for young people who aspire to a high-level executive career?
I’ve always believed you create your own luck — through your work ethic, your attitude and your hustle. Keep a positive mindset, push yourself out of your comfort zone, be naturally curious and a "student of the game," be an advocate for yourself, keep doing the right thing and you will succeed.
Most importantly, network. It is essential for professionals. All contacts are good contacts! And remember that networking is a two-way street, so look for ways to help others. When you are a connector of people, it puts you in a place where opportunities open up. And it can be very gratifying. Being a connector gives me energy.
What else do you do to destress and recharge away from work?
I live in Minnesota, which has a wonderful quality of life, and I love it here. In the summer, my family and I spend a lot of time on Lake Minnetonka, wake surfing on our boat. I also love traveling in the western U.S. and Europe. The next stop we hope will be Dubrovnik and the Adriatic.
Follow Angela Lurie on LinkedIn.