After his first promotion to a management position, Jim Gillece recalled his father saying: "Congratulations, you are now the topic of dinnertime conversation."
Those dinnertime conversations - in which people talk about their bosses, good or bad - are still top of mind for Gillece, as chief people officer and senior vice president of human capital management for AlliedBarton Security Services, a privately held firm with headquarters in King of Prussia.
Gillece, 40, was AlliedBarton's vice president of learning and organizational effectiveness for about six months before he was promoted to his current position effective Jan. 1. He previously worked for 17 years at the pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc., most recently as director, leadership education and development.
Gillece said his new title of chief people officer represents AlliedBarton's "renewed focus on people."
"This points to direct accountability," Gillece said. "There's just a clear connection between the human capital process and improved customer service."
AlliedBarton is one of the largest contract security services companies in the United States, reporting 2006 revenue of $1.26 billion. The company was acquired by MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc., controlled by billionaire Ronald O. Perelman, in 2003 for about $264 million. Thanks to a series of acquisitions, the company that began as SpectaGuard in 1980 has expanded its employee roster to about 48,800 security officers as of Feb. 22.
Training magazine named AlliedBarton one of the top 125 training companies in 2007, but Gillece said AlliedBarton's goal is a "coordinated approach to managing the whole people pipeline" - from the initial interview, the job offer, on-boarding, training, promotions and exit interviews.
In addition, he said, AlliedBarton is putting "lots of energy" into the quality of its managers, and doing a better job of "looking out for the future of our employees in our people pipeline."
Gillece contends managers in effect serve the employees who directly report to them, and should care about what they say in those dinnertime conversations.
"How would they answer the following questions: Does your boss care about you? Does your boss look out for your best interest? Are you being challenged? Do you know what your next job is? Do you know how to get to that next job?" he said. "If the answer to some of these questions is 'no,' you potentially have to make a 'leadership adjustment' or begin to have some courageous conversation with people."
A native of Cherry Hill, Gillece is a graduate of La Salle University and earned an M.B.A. in pharmaceutical marketing at St. Joseph's University.
He also is a Kentucky colonel, having been accorded the title in 2000 for his community service work there. Gillece lives in Wayne, while his wife, Patti, and three children (ages 6, 4 and 1) split their time between homes in Carmel, N.Y., and Ocean City, N.J. The family plans to relocate to the Main Line after the end of the school year. - Janet Pinkerton
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