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Client Chronicles with Randy Philipson

Read Time
3 minutes
Winter 2024
Randy Philipson

Client Chronicles with Randy Philipson

This month's Chronicle features Randy Philipson, Vice President for Facilities, Campus Development, and Real Estate at Tulane University.

Headshot of a man in a gray suit and blue tie

What are one or two things you look for when hiring executives?
Generally, I look for someone that has some personality as well as some “battle scars”.  While education is important, I don’t get caught up on where people went to school. I am more interested in people that have experience and have had to work to get where they are.  They may have experienced failure or some challenges to ultimately achieve success and that it what I believe makes them better executives/leaders. I think its important that you hire people that want careers and not jobs.

For the last two years, it has been a candidate’s market. What have you seen recently and have things changed?
Honestly, in our market we struggle to see decent candidates.  The ones that may be qualified have unrealistic salary expectations. If anything, it is harder to find people now than ever before.

What are the most effective (one or two) initiatives for retaining employees?
I am a big believer in employee recognition.  It does not have to be financial.  People want to be appreciated, whether its individually or as a group.  Towards that end, we try to do a few gatherings a year where everyone has a meal together and maybe some fun activities.  Creating a sense of community and togetherness helps with that recognition/appreciation

The other initiative that is critical in today’s work place is having and showing employees their growth/career path.  This may mean leadership training, supervisor training, certifications, licensure, or continuing education classes.  Making it clear that there are opportunities for advancement and then honoring your word by promoting when appropriate is extremely important.

How are you using AI tools to optimize your organizational performance?
We are still evaluating the best tools to optimize our organizational performance but in broad strokes we are looking at the use of technology in everything we do from maintenance to cleaning to construction.  We are attempting to implement where we can but financial concerns are often barriers to complete implementation

What do you most value in a partnership with a search firm?
I don’t want to feel like a number or a box that is being checked.  I want to know that the person assigned to our account understands our culture, the job that they are recruiting for, the compensation package being offered, and what we are looking for in the successful candidate.  They should do more listening than talking.  They should communicate if not over-communicate.  I don’t want to chase someone that I am paying to get updates, they should be coming to me on a regular pre-determined cadence.  I want someone that thinks radically and doesn’t just recruit every job the same way on the same job sites.  I want them to feel connected to our organization and to be just as invested as we are in finding the right candidate.  It should be a partnership. Anyone can have a transactional relationship.  I want transformational.