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In The Know
A Human Resources Industry Newsletter

Valerie Frederickson & Company 

A Letter from Valerie

Top 10 Prognostications for 2012

  1. Forced Economic Darwinism. Boards won't let companies languish or have even the agreed-upon amount of time to hit goals, but will force CEOs to regroup and change direction fast.
  2. Head-spinning churn. As some companies do huge ramp ups and literally hire 3,000 people a month, others are going to continue to do massive layoffs and become shells of their former selves, at least temporarily.
  3. Executive coaching back on the rise. Since managers are generally inexperienced or ineffective and budgets are flush, you'll see executive coaches and executive coaching programs flourish like weeds. If you don't get your arms around it, you'll see lots of money wasted with little tie-in to performance. It'll be the last great unregulated, unsupervised HR sink hole.
  4. Migration toward centralization and shared services organizations again, with improved Business Partner functions. This is after two years of decimation.
  5. Masses of companies will sign up for corporate packages at LinkedIn causing sophisticated recruiters to find other venues, like sourcing on Quora. When even the government uses LinkedIn for recruiting, you know it's time to move on.
  6. Trend toward big VPHRs at tiny companies. Startups with even 50 employees want to take HR seriously and will bring in the heavy hitters. The rule that you need one HR person for every 100 employees and don't need a VPHR before 250 is out the window.
  7. HR consulting will continue to be so hot that it becomes very difficult to find anyone good with availability.
  8. Asian corporate groups will set up more design centers in Silicon Valley so that they can have a piece of the rock even if they're not based here.
  9. The Blackberry will die, right when I finally get really good at it, and will be buried in my garage with all the hard copy brochures and pocket folders.
  10. My au pair and all her friends will marry Facebook millionaires.

P.S. Check out our brand new website at!

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Ask Valerie

This month, Valerie taps into the wisdom of business partner, James Holland.

To submit your most daunting HR questions, email us at or visit us on Quora.

QWhich day of week is best to fire someone?

Obviously, there is never a good day to fire someone but I've found that after the decision is finalized, the sooner you notify the individual the better. Employees have a way of dealing with the information whether they find out on a Monday or on a Friday. However, the longer notification gets delayed, the potential that information gets leaked increases exponentially, which could prove costly to the company both in terms of embarrassment to the employee (hello lawyers), and in terms of the impact on morale to the remaining employees (hello recruiters).

QWhat criteria, thoughts and processes should be followed before making the decision to fire someone?

Clearly, the "business case" needs to be made prior to the decision to terminate any employee. If it is performance, there should be documented actions to try to address and improve the performance. If it is related to the financial stability of the company, then management should be able to articulate why the action is taking place and why it is impacting each of the individuals (LIFO, job elimination, labor agreement stipulations, etc.). The impact of the termination(s) on overall morale and productivity should also be considered upfront, e.g. how to keep the remaining employees motivated, how to communicate the rationale behind the termination(s) to the entire company, etc.

QShould circumstances in that person's life play a role in the decision-making process

A good manager is usually aware of any major personal issues their employees are facing and has usually worked with them to address these issues prior to considering termination. Although consideration should always be given for special circumstances, it should not influence the decision one way or the other. However, if you can find a good solution that is both fair to the employee and to the company (e.g. continuation of medical benefits, unpaid time off, etc.), it can help lift the morale of the remaining employees.

QIf a client has interviewed more than 5 potential candidates for one job, should they be fired?

Firing a client may be a bit harsh, but clearly the client needs help defining what they really want and finding a successful method to measure each candidate's background in relation to his or her requirements. Failure to immediately step back and re-scope the search may result in additional costs to the company in terms of both time and money, and should be viewed as a performance issue on the part of the internal hiring manager.

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Current Executive Searches

HR Executive Searches

Private, Taiwan-based industrial automation company is growing quickly and needs a strategic HRM to closely partner with the executive team in Taiwan and the United States on developing and implementing the HR strategy. This role will lead the HR function in the Americas and the ideal candidate is hands-on, collaborative, and has a strong background in recruiting top talent. Candidates also must have strong communication skills, be able to interface smoothly between executives and line managers, utilize a business partner approach, and possess a diversified international experience. Submit Your Profile

Pre-IPO tech company is growing quickly and needs a strategic VPHR to closely partner with the executive team on developing and implementing the people strategy. The ideal candidate is smart, sophisticated, emotionally present, and hands-on and leads in a rapidly changing environment. Submit Your Profile

Two large, multi-national consumer-oriented employers seek Training, Learning, and OD executives to transform and lead the functions for their entire organizations. These executives will work closely with the HR leadership teams and senior business executives to design and deploy best-in-class leadership development, learning, and training programs for employees in the corporate offices and around the world, including high potential programs and executive coaching. The ideal candidates will be well-educated, visionary, analytics-driven and hands-on with a huge customer-oriented approach. Experience in retail or consumer products is preferred. Submit Your Profile

Pre-IPO, entertainment company, with 500 employees and growing fast, needs a Director of Talent Acquisition to handle huge growth and embrace and promote the culture throughout all talent acquisition activities. This role requires someone who can implement a creative recruiting strategy to find and successfully compete for extremely bright, results-driven employees. The right person for the job has previous experience building an aggressive and creative recruitment function in a start-up environment. Submit Your Profile

Large, nationwide food and beverage manufacturer needs an HR Manager. This role will directly oversee all aspects of HR for a distribution location. The ideal candidate is flexible and collaborative, with strong analytical skills. Submit Your Profile


World renown high end skin care direct distribution company with plans for dramatic expansion in 2012, seeks a strategic yet hands-on VPHR to partner with the CEO and CFO to develop and implement a whole host of valuable HR programs and processes. Submit Your Profile

One of the world's largest tech companies just acquired a major player and needs a very experienced HR executive on an interim basis to handle employee relations, communications, and integrations. Approximately a six-month assignment with travel that can convert to full-time. Submit Your Profile

Nation-wide retailer with 14,000 employees is in need of a Training Manager capable of managing the development and rollout of e-learning programs to stores across the nation. This role will be based in the Pleasanton, CA corporate office. The person in the role will closely work with the Director of Training and OD, another training manager and an E-Learning specialist and will last approximately six months. The ideal candidate will be smart, driven, hands-on and flexible with a customer-oriented approach. Experience in retail is preferred. Contract to RFT. Submit Your Profile

Super hot, rapidly growing video technology start-up needs an interim human resources Director from mid-January to mid-August. This person will lead a small team of HR professionals and serve as a business partner to senior management. The ideal candidate is well-rounded, hands-on generalist with extensive experience in the high-tech industry, plus preferably the ability to help out with projects in an HR specialty, such as Training or Compensation. Submit Your Profile

Multimedia tech start-up is expanding quickly and needs a compensation expert to revamp the compensation plans, including bonus and equity programs. The person in this role will work closely with the executive team and help define and set the long-term total rewards strategy. Submit Your Profile

Rapid growth global consumer products company needs a variety of compensation and total rewards programs evaluated and developed, plus the ensuing communications. Submit Your Profile

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HR Consultant & Contractor's Corner

Current HR Projects

Our hottest global HR contracting and consulting assignments include:

  • Interim VPHR for venture funded telecommunications software startup
  • Job families, structures, leveling for same
  • Outsourcing all executive compensation for major public technology company
  • Interim VPHR for biotech startup
  • Outsourced VPHR for green tech company
  • Outsourced VPHR for heavy equipment company
  • Various HR projects for architectural firm working for Google "babies"
  • HR audits (various)
  • HR payroll compliance project
  • Employment branding projects
  • Job leveling project for cloud hosting
  • Labor relations and labor compliance consulting for high end hotel group

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HR Events

GO2012 Employment Law and Leadership Conference
January 11, 2012 – Monterey, CA

GOManaging the Human Asset
January 30, 2012 – February 1, 2012 – Muscat, Oman

GO4th Annual Employee Engagement Seminar
February 1-2, 2012 – Barcelona, Spain

GO17th Leadership Succession Management
February 6-8, 2012 – Toronto, Canada

GOHR Star Los Angeles
February 29, 2012 – Los Angeles, CA

GOInternational Conference on Human
Resource Management

March 29-30, 2012 – Hyderabad, India

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Spotlight on Career Transition

Since 1995, Valerie Frederickson & Company has provided career transition and outplacement services to companies and individuals across the globe. In fact, VF&Co was originally founded as an outplacement firm, with the goal of creating a better alternative to the one-size-fits-all approach of the large, impersonal firms that once dominated the industry.

Why VF&Co?
  • The right thing to do. We treat your employees as individuals, not numbers, addressing the human side of career transition with a caring, personal touch.
  • The right way to do it. Customized, results-oriented services from knowledgeable, experienced counselors. We're the only firm in the world with a staff entirely comprised of ICCI-certified consultants.
  • Tailored to your needs. Select from a comprehensive, a la carte list of career transition services or ask us to design a package for you.

For more information, visit

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About VF&Co

Valerie Frederickson & Company (VF&Co) is a human resource executive search, HR consulting and corporate outplacement firm known for helping clients build and sustain winning teams in today´s rapidly changing marketplace. Since 1995, VF&Co specializes in creating customized solutions to meet an organization´s human resource needs at every stage and size from start–up to Global 500.

Outplacement Practice

Re–evaluating your outplacement vendors? Require a higher utilization rate for your outplacement dollar? Need higher touch services and consistency across all markets? Since 1995, VF&Co is the outplacement firm of choice for sophisticated corporate buyers. Join the numerous Fortune 500 employers and small firms who have selected us over their previous vendor and are now enjoying the best of both worlds: each employee well taken care of, and consistency in every city.

Price shopping or need to customize a program? Contact our Corporate Outplacement Team at 650-614-0220 or email them at for more information on our outplacement services.

Executive Search Practice

Why clients choose VF&Co as their executive search firm:

  • Prompt results. The average time from start of search to presentation of the winning candidate is 21 days. 87% of searches are completed in less than 45 days.
  • Superior results. More than 95% of executives placed by VF&Co are still with their companies five years following placement.
  • High client satisfaction. More than 90% of the firm's work is either repeat business or from referrals. A number of clients have been with VF&Co for more than a decade.

You get:

  • Access to the best talent available through extensive networks built upon long–term relationships with U.S. and global executives
  • Customized search solutions that fit your goals, budget and timeline
  • Interim HR management during the search process, followed by an assimilation period to ensure a smooth transition

Contact our Executive Search Team at 650.614.0220 or email them at to learn how your organization can reap the benefits VF&Co can deliver: Improved performance and greater success through your most valuable asset—your people.

Diversity Statement

VF&Co welcomes and encourages all diversity candidates to contact us directly. We highly value the diversity of our VF&Co team, placement of diverse executives into our client companies and our diverse clients, candidates, and supplier partnerships. We want to help swing the pendulum the other way.

About Our Newsletter

The VF&Co newsletter, "VF&Co In the Know," and VF&Co Executive Search Update are the intellectual property of Valerie Frederickson & Company. They are a free resource to business professionals. To subscribe to this newsletter, email

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