/ 11.12.19 /

“I’m not just working to work, I’m working to make a difference”: W4W Member Spotlight on Rose Chan Siow of SCOUT

What do you really want to do? What gets you going in the morning?

These are the questions Rose Chan Siow, founder of SCOUT, asked herself when she realized she was at a professional crossroads. It was 2016, and after more than 15 years working in talent acquisition, organizational design, and human resources, she was ready to move on from the corporate position she held at the time. The prospect of simply moving to another company didn’t feel like the answer.

Nonprofit work had become important to Siow, through donations and pro bono engagement with organizations like the Taproot Foundation. Siow remembers: “I was always thinking, what happens the day after I do that one thing as a volunteer? If I give money, where is it going? How can I truly make an impact?”

This crossroads, Siow realized, was her chance to start her own firm, building on the innovative approach she’d always taken to her work…and in a way that sustained her commitment to giving back. The result: SCOUT, which has now evolved beyond recruitment to provide end-to-end talent acquisition solutions.

Over the course of three years since founding SCOUT, Siow noticed that companies of all sizes, budgets, and industries were seeking talent acquisition expertise — even if they didn’t know it, because the concept is so often confused with recruiting. In a nutshell, talent acquisition aims to design and execute a company’s strategy and process for hiring, looking at factors such as turnover, retention, organization, and company growth.

“When we do talent acquisition at SCOUT,” Siow explains, “we look at the company holistically, we look at the structure, and we go behind the scenes at the work you do as a team. If we do this first, you get a more effective recruiting and hiring process. For us, it’s all about a sound strategy and following through on execution.” Another part of Siow’s approach with SCOUT is to set up recruitment projects for success by investing extensive time with the client and candidates to ensure it’s a match. Where other recruitment firms might spend fifteen minutes with a candidate, SCOUT spends up to an hour and a half.

Describing what makes SCOUT unique, Siow says: “We bring our collective knowledge, then we listen and ask questions – the two most important pieces – and in the end we drive our work all the way through to make sure clients get the results they’re looking for. We have really great systems and filters to find great candidates, and we invest our time in relationships.”

Siow sought to integrate corporate social responsibility into SCOUT’s mission from the very beginning…and she knew she wanted to focus on investment in women. As a college economics major, she’d spent a lot of time learning about impoverished countries and recognized that the biggest game changer for development is women. “When a community invests in women,” Siow says, “you see everything lift. When women have additional income, it has a positive compounding impact on her town or village. I thought, that’s where I want to make my impact, to help women gain opportunities to support their families and empower them to make better decisions for themselves.”

With the growing momentum of the Invest in Women movement, Siow sees a bigger picture for business as well. Investing in women, she says, is good for business because the more women we have in our companies, the louder women’s voices become, and the bigger the understanding of how we need to shape our workplaces to meet the demands of modern life – especially for families. “When a company is able to give employees more flexibility,” Siow adds, “they give back 1000 percent more.”

Siow got involved with the nonprofit New Women New Yorkers, but balancing that commitment with the time and energy required to grow a new business was challenging. She had to reconsider how she could develop SCOUT as a social impact company. That’s when, through New Women New Yorkers, Siow was introduced to Beth Bengtson of Working for Women. She joined W4W and made a standing pledge as a member: 1% of SCOUT’s time – which will probably increase as the size of her staff increases — and 1% of SCOUT’s revenue.

“Now there’s this inspiring feeling among W4W members that, wow, there’s a team of us and we’re all working together,” says Siow. “This is how I’m going to do what I always intended to do when I started my company.”

Dovetailing SCOUT’s work with W4W’s mission at this early stage, essentially “baking” it into the company recipe, has helped Siow’s business grow. It’s become part of how Siow engages with her clients; when she speaks about Working for Women to clients and potential clients, she says they love the idea that the search company they’re working with is purpose-driven. As SCOUT expands and hires people, Siow wants to know if they’re authentically passionate about nonprofit work, so she can ensure a strong and connected team going forward.

Perhaps the most powerful benefit of Siow’s W4W membership, however, is how it’s changed her mindset about being an entrepreneur. “Figuring out the social impact piece with Working for Women — that’s when I understood why I was struggling to make my own business thrive. I’m not just working to work. I’m working to make a difference.”

Read more about Rose’s experiences setting up a purpose-driven company and her interview with Working for Women’s Beth Bengtson.