Tunheim: A Different Approach to Building a Talented Team

Written by Lauren Meckstroth, consultant

“We don’t need to own all our talent, but we do want access to the right talent when their expertise is essential,” states Kathy Tunheim, principal and CEO of Tunheim, a strategic communications consulting firm with a global reach based in Minneapolis.

This talent philosophy, which has remained constant since Tunheim’s inception 25 years ago, is our company’s mantra for recruiting and retaining talent. Internally branded “Collective Best,” it gives Tunheim employees the opportunity to work on various accounts and industries that interest them. “Collective Best” believes that the right talent will perform better when they are passionate about an area or subject — never more true than now, as millennials move into the mainstream of the workforce.

At Tunheim, we customize teams, unifying intrigued individuals to solve a client’s challenge. This is yet another innovative approach to client work, as many communication consultancies silo employees to one account or sector for their tenure.

To lead our book of business, we have a bench of 20 full-time staff members. When recruiting and retaining talent, our consultancy aims to employ individuals with unique backgrounds who can help clients rethink what is possible and solve business or communication issues.

However, now that more than a third of the U.S. workforce freelances or chooses to work as independent contractors, Tunheim also employs ACEs – affiliated consultants and experts – who bring a unique skill, like graphic design, or subject-matter expertise, like health care, to a specific client challenge.

“We augment our team with subject-matter experts to deliver the best results for clients, every time,” says Lindsay Treichel, Tunheim’s chief talent officer, in reference to our ACE model.

For example, when deep sports marketing knowledge was vital to attracting the 2018 Super Bowl and 2019 NCAA Men’s Final Four to Minneapolis’s new U.S. Bank Stadium, an ACE with extensive events experience was brought on to manage the clients and the projects. Both efforts were successful in securing the events for Minnesota.

The benefit: Outside talent allows Tunheim to adapt as the work of strategic communications consulting continues to transform.

To give this model scale and offer employees global access to assignments, more talent and their own growth opportunities, our company has led efforts since 2007 to create a seamless global service delivery model within the IPREX network of independent communication firms. Recently named one of the fastest growing global networks by the World PR Report, IPREX has a talent pool of more than 1,800 communication professionals in 74 offices across 31 countries.

Think of it as “Collective Best” on a global scale.

Agencies from across the IPREX network come together to bid on business, exchange best practices and discuss where the industry is headed, and better yet, how they’re going to get in front of it. Kathy Tunheim was president of IPREX for four years, guiding the network toward this approach. Employees of IPREX agencies greatly benefit as well.

Consultant Danielle Pierce, who had a noted interest in building her experience in multicultural consumer communications, completed an IPREX exchange – spending three-months working with a multi-cultural partner agency in Chicago. Learning best practices there, Danielle then brought her knowledge back to Tunheim, energized by the experience and the chance to explore other workplaces.

We are proud to continually shift our staffing dynamic as the business world changes, both to Tunheim’s and our employees’ benefit. How is your company adapting as the job marketplace evolves? Have you adopted similar philosophies or new working styles?

Share your thoughts in the comments below or on social media.

Comments