Interview with Sean Strachan, The Global University Talent & Programs Manager at Envista


GradLeaders interviewed Sean Strachan, The Global University Talent and Programs Manager at Envista. We wanted to check in with one of our partner employers to better understand those who drive the early talent hiring, career development, and industry trends. Sean Strachan graciously shared his educational and professional background, gave his advice to other companies in the industry, and shared how Envista has remained successful during these times.

Emily: So how long have you been working with Envista?   

Sean: I’ve been with them for a little over a year now previously coming from the pharmaceutical industry.  

Emily: Can you explain a little about Envista?   

Sean: Envista started in September of 2019 when we IPO’d from Danaher. Basically, we were the dental platform of Danaher that spun off. So, we’re a global company with three main operating companies under the Envista umbrella, so that’s KaVo Kerr, Nobel Biocare Systems, and Ormco. And essentially what that is, is dental imaging equipment, treatment, dental implants, items of that nature. So essentially everything you would see in a dental office when you go in. Our mission is to partner with professionals to improve lives.  

Emily: Okay awesome. So, what is your role with Envista can you tell a little about your position?   

Sean: Yeah so, I have a hybrid role. When I first started out, I was head of university recruitment and then talent management as well. So, with university recruitment I’m looking at individuals for our internship program as well as our general management development program. And then once inside that which is about six years in length, I help with their professional career, so making sure they rotate in the different areas of operations, the Envista business system, commercial and the product focus, and see them throughout their six year program.  

Emily: Well that’s interesting. So how did you get to this point can you explain a little bit about your educational background and previous work experiences and how that led you to here? 

Sean: Definitely, so I went to JMU, James Madison University, and I got a Bachelor of Science in business management with a concentration in HR and then I minored in human resource development. I really didn’t know what I wanted to do I figured at least with management it’s more broad and you can figure it out. I just knew something within HR. Luckily the semester before I graduated, so I graduated in December so I had the summer before and I had an extra half semester, I interned at Hilton and I then went back to them following graduation. I went back to them in more of a generalist role so I was an HR coordinator but luckily for me it got to touch on learning of development, compensation, benefits, recruitment, so I got to understand the inner-workings of each one in a broad sense, and not too deep into it. I found a love for recruitment and our global VP of Recruitment was building out his teams for campus, for military, and for executive, so I went into the campus atmosphere. I was with that for about four years and a year before I left, my global VP also left and went to Bristol-Myers Squibb. When he was building out his team there he asked if I could be interested so I just wanted to find out more about the position. I loved working at Hilton and was content on staying there but it was a great opportunity I really couldn’t pass up. It really helped me expand professionally from recruiting MBA’s and PHD’s which I didn’t really have a handle on as well as getting exposed to a different industry. So I was there for about two and a half years and I knew in the back of my mind that it was a great opportunity and it allowed me to grow but it wasn’t the right fit for me. Different colleagues knew I was looking for a role and someone I had met was Nicole Wormley who’s Danaher, and she heads up their UR diversity and recruitment efforts and she mentioned that they were spinning off the dental platform and that I could be interested in this role. So I had informational meetings and came to love the team as well as the mission and I thought it was really cool to be able to build it from scratch and then get global exposure which I hadn’t had before as well.  

Emily: That’s super interesting. I think it’s always fun to hear about where some people started and how it can lead to totally different places that you never expected.  

Sean: Definitely, I think one theme in the career is just having your network and those relationships are huge just to find out about other professional opportunities and if they know you’re looking they can help recommend you to other things that could be out there.  

Emily: Exactly yeah that’s so helpful. What is it about your job that you love most today?  

Sean: I think this has been with every job that I’ve had since my job basically has been in university recruitment, I really just love recruiting individuals into programs at any company and then seeing them grow. So, getting to see the fruits of your labor after all of the effort you gave recruiting them at school whether it’s undergrad, MBA, etc. and seeing them rotate within a rotational program or just get to that next level in the company. It’s kind of like a testament to your own efforts seeing them excel in their careers.  

Emily: Yeah that’s very rewarding and I’m sure with an early on company you get to see the growth of the company too so that’s cool.  

SeanYeah, I’ve already seen it with Envista only being there a little over a year now seeing people grow that are within our programs is definitely very rewarding.  

Emily: That’s awesome. What are some of the biggest problems you’re tackling today?  

Sean: I think with everything that’s going on it’s just the virtual atmosphere. This was the first year we did a virtual internship program so it was kind of figuring out the nuts and bolts to make sure we were providing the best experience possible to the individuals going through, as well as making sure that the individuals from Envista that were hosting these interns were also getting the ROI as well. So, having that balance and knowing that there were probably certain things that were going to be harder to transform, being a virtual internship, like the interpersonal relationships. You can definitely provide those networks and those connections to individuals but I think it’s different being with individuals around the office all day, rather than having a 30 minute or hour long call with someone. I think it’s harder because you’re not going to be like “how are your kids, what’d you do this weekend,” whereas if you saw them in the office everyday those relationships get built. That was the hardest thing and then I think going into the fall with everything being virtual it’s making sure we balance our branding and our recruiting and again just creating those relationships is the biggest thing we need to be aware of and try to put extra effort in around it.  

Emily: Absolutely I can so see that. So, is everybody at Envista working from home now?  

Sean: The majority of people are. I think internationally a few of our offices have opened back up, obviously with safety precautions in place and the same thing with our manufacturing plants. Some offices in the US are closed right now just because of spikes of things going up. With our global headquarters being in California they’re still trying to get things under control there. So just thinking about the safety of our employees and then as things are changing from the educational atmosphere, individuals have kids so worrying about taking care of them as well since it’s going to be virtual. We’re really looking to see how we can be flexible with the working environment not only now but in the future.  

Emily: Yeah that’s very important. So it there any other unique things happening at your office right now?  

Sean: During when COVID-19 was happening and black lives matter, I’ve really just been impressed with the communication and transparency of our leadership. We have weekly forms with our CEO where all our employees are invited just to ask any questions they have for our CEO or any of our senior leadership team. And then our head of HR hosts a weekly/bi-weekly call for all of our HR team as well, just keeping us engaged and knowing what’s going on with the situation and how things will change working remotely versus working in the office, and the safety precautions. So just keeping us abreast all of the changing atmosphere and I’ve just been very impressed with that.  

Emily: I agree during a time when everybody feels like they’re so in the dark and it’s hard to plan for the future, transparency and good communication is the most that you can do right now.  

So, switching over to your relationship with GradLeaders have there been any industry challenges were you able to solve by using GradLeaders 

Sean: Yeah so I think just from the day to day obviously you use GradLeaders to find new talent in many areas but it’s also been able to help individuals within our corporate recruitment team to find candidates that might fit their roles. So, above my entry level campus recruit initiatives, more mid-level as well being able to target specific talent like if they’re looking for so many years of experience, industry preference, maybe looking for people only located in the west coast. Really being able to target the ideal background we’re looking for has been really helpful with GradLeaders. And then sitting in on some of the webinars that have happened so far in the late spring and early summer has been helpful for my educational sense.  

Emily: Yeah that’s awesome. How has GradLeaders helped Envista spread brand awareness?   

Sean: I think for brand awareness, the profile piece, the company page that the students see is good, also just things like this where you’re filming tips or advice, that has helped as well. Just getting the students exposed to the company on a different level. Yes, they can see the company page, which is great, but getting to film something like this or getting them to see a video that you filmed is huge and it provides a different level. And then just making other connections along the way.  

Emily: Yeah, I think it’s so valuable, I mean I’m a college student now so hearing directly from an employer goes so much further than just seeing their name on a page. 

Sean: Exactly, and I think for me when I’m doing recruitment it’s like yes the students like to see the recruitment people there but really they want to talk to the individuals that are going through these programs that are in the business, so I like to bring obviously those subject matter experts with me so they can have a more fruitful conversation with those candidates and really tell them what it’s like to be a part of Envista or what it’s like to be in the program that they’re actually applying for.  

Emily: Yeah absolutely. So would you suggest GradLeaders to any newer companies who want to get their name out to job seekers?  

Sean: Definitely, you know I think we’ve had a great relationship so far me being with Envista, again I mean we’re only about a year old now, but it’s been a great partnership so far. Obviously, we have many colleagues in the industry and they all recommended that I get into GradLeaders once we created Envista and we did. They’re all happy with their partnerships as well. It’s definitely a useful platform, it really has come a long way and really doing new innovative things for the future as well.  

Emily: Yeah absolutely that’s awesome. Have you used any other software companies before or worked with any? 

Sean: I have I’m actually drawing a blank on the name. I think really what I’ve noticed about GradLeaders is they actually have a relationship aspect. So yes, I’ve used other software companies but there wasn’t really that customer relationship management team that GradLeaders has. They really know who you are as an individual but also as the company and they’ve just been really helpful along the way. So, I’ve been really impressed by that.  

Emily: Yeah that’s awesome. Yeah, I think building relationships can go so much further than just a partnership where you’re given a platform and do the work on your own.  

-So that’s all the questions that I have for you. Was there anything else you would like to say about Envista or GradLeaders?   

Sean: I think I just look forward to continuing the partnership and I think everything that GradLeaders is doing by investing in new things like the webinar on the internship platform that they’re developing, I think is just huge. It’s been helpful for us as a partner and I’m looking forward to possibly utilizing that as well.