Interview with Belinda Morris
Founder & CEO @ Peoplescape Search

As CEO and Founder of Peoplescape, I simplify HR Leadership Search for Leaders of Creative companies in particular in advertising, marketing, design, creative tech, entertainment by finding their perfect People Leaders for them. I've been privileged to work in high end consulting firms, with Fortune 500 companies, and in, in-house Human Resources executive roles with leading companies. I have advised companies starting-up; needing to scale rapidly and those seeking to find, attract and successfully on-board and retain great talent. I simplify talent challenges allowing clients to focus on their own creative businesses. I particularly enjoy working with leaders who strive for cultures of innovative, healthy, high- performing, bias free cultures with inspiring leadership. My thought leadership in workplace cultures and gender dynamics in Sexual Harassment, informs our cutting-edge, experiential program “Respecting Lines”, a workshop equipping participants with understanding, tips and tools to handle the subtle gender dynamics involved in sexual harassment more effortlessly. The program ignites the growth of processes and strategies to build diverse, inclusive, innovative, and human-centered workplaces.
Hi Belinda! Could you please introduce Peoplescape Search and what initially led to your founding the company back in 2010? Why did you decide to start your own people search company?
Let me put it to you this way. Have you ever wished for an expert who would head up the people side of your firm and be a real strategic value add to the business? Rather than just be worried about preventing risks for you? And when you needed that leader did you ever get frustrated because the recruiters seemed to take way too long to really understand your creative business? And did you hope for better quality candidates faster? Well, I say that because I did. When I was hiring different types of leaders for creative companies I experienced using search firms and it drove me crazy because I didn't understand why something that did not have to be that difficult seemed to be executed so poorly so often. So I understand the agony of searching for candidates to take your business to the next level and not being able to find them. So at Peoplescape Search we find, filter and match the right progressive H.R. leaders to creative companies and because as creatives you understand how mission critical the right talent is to your success and you know that a great head of people is key to skyrocketing your business. That's why we do this. For us, it all begins here.
How has Peoplescape Search collaborated with organizations and individuals combatting sexual harassment in the workplace? What are some of the main tenants of your curriculum when it comes to avoiding workplace sexual harassment?
I love that you ask this question. It's definitely a passion topic for me. As part of that, we created an initiative called Respecting Lines which is a unique interactive 21st-century sensitivity workshop to equip people, men and women, to navigate the rocky waters, so to speak, of the modern workplace and most of the companies that we see are interested in a number of things. One, improving their ability to hire diverse talent, ensuring that there is more gender equity especially in leadership, and protecting employees from harassment, and navigating the postmodern workplace waters but without choking on political correctness. So our programs build awareness of our own behaviours and how they impact others but they also equip people with tools to apply in the workplace to nurture great environments. So, for me, people really need to be able to still be human at work without fear, and that applies to both men and women. So that's definitely a priority for me. And for clients, being able to cut through the barriers to hiring the best talent and getting those on board is something that we focus on and something that we consult on and advise to leadership teams.
What's next for your work with Peoplescape Search? What are the main sectors, partnerships, and organizational structures you'll be focusing on in 2019?
It's funny that you say what's next when although we've been making quite a bit of noise lost several years in Los Angeles with all that we're doing it feels like we're only just getting started. So, I've told you about our measures of success, which are to make an impact and bring lasting cultural value to the companies that we serve. We're going to continue doing that through the three areas of focus for us at the Peoplescape Group. So the first with Peoplescape Search is hiring the best progressive H.R. leaders for creative companies. The second with Peoplescape Consulting is delivering your H.R. team, so outsourced H.R. support for companies that don't need quite yet that dedicated H.R. leader but would like the services and guidance that that person would provide. We deliver that on a monthly basis. And thirdly, respecting lines for organizations that would like to nurture healthy workplaces and equip their people with tools and skills, behaviours to navigate the workplace. Post Me too, we will continue to deliver and expand our Respecting Lines programs to build healthy workplace cultures where creativity can thrive.
What have been some of the biggest innovations and trends to influence your work in the last years? How have companies like LinkedIn, Monster and other job-finding websites influenced your work?
We see multiple influences rapidly changing the talent landscape in companies, for example, internal communications through platforms like Slack, the reputation sites like Glassdoor and creative companies developing their own apps such as those like micro-investments in different startups. For us, it's technologies such as A.I., mobile-centric, social and video interviewing and because we work in creative companies we're constantly racing to stay ahead. We have an extensive tech stack particularly in the search work that we do and we're always looking at simplification and integration to do what we do better.
What have been some of the main benchmarks and milestones you've reached with the company since it was first founded? Who have been some of your biggest clients?
We see benchmarks and milestones perhaps slightly differently than others. Me, as the founder not having grown up in the US, being a South African who has worked across the world, I see things from perhaps a more global perspective and how I measure success is really by the degree to which we make an impact and create long-lasting cultural value for our clients. So we measure success by one becoming known, for not only being really good at what we do but being innovative in doing that, such as using video, using AI, mobile technology all to enhance the quality of our product and to make our clients lives easier. The second measure of success is the degree to which we're being sought out and referred, which is the highest compliment one can make. And we're really proud of our metrics on that. And lastly having one of the most extensive networks of H.R. leaders in our space in Los Angeles and this is something that I'm proud of and humbled by, not having attended a U.S. university and having those highly valuable networks. We nevertheless have one of the most extensive networks in L.A. of H.R. people. The space that we work in the largest group of clients are in the advertising and marketing space but our client tell extends across creative industries, entertainment, design, fashion, music and creative technologies always creative and innovative.