Maintaining a healthy team is the key to a positive retention rate. On Episode 142 of Talent & Growth I had the pleasure of sitting down with Uri Gneezy, who is the Author of Mixed Signals, which is about how incentives really work in the workplace. When he’s not writing, Uri is the Professor of Economics and Strategy at the University of California in San Diego, where he studies people’s rationales and motivations. He talked me through how to make the most out of incentives, how people get them wrong and what we need to consider when we’re setting them up. Read on for the highlights of our conversation.

How do businesses send out mixed messages with their incentives?

Incentives work. There is no question about that. Instead of thinking, ‘that’s how people should react to incentives’, companies need to find out how incentives work and make sure that they design their incentives to send a clear signal, because whether we like it or not, when we design incentives, we send signals. When we send a signal, we have to make sure that it’s in line with what we actually want to get. Very often companies don’t do that, and then the results are not what they expected.

How can we really ensure that long term success is the goal of our incentives?

If the coach or manager knows that if the team fails they’re going to be fired, they’re not going to give chances to young players. They wouldn’t try new strategies. Leaders want to be remembered as a success, so the solution is to tell them that we care about the long run. For example, if I’m hiring a new CEO, I would tell them ‘We are not going to look at quarterly earnings and judge you based on that. We’re going to give you a couple of years to do whatever you want with the company, and we’re going to let you manage it for a long period of time before we decide whether we want to fire you or not.’ That way, if they looked at the company computer system and realised that the network needs an upgrade, they can invest in it without worrying about the next quarterly earnings being low. If you’re interested in long term growth you can’t micromanage quarterly performance, because these things take time. 

How can businesses use incentives to get the most out of their people?

An example that I talk about in my book is when I worked with a company that did some seminars that lasted for a week, and people were promised free parking. Every day, if you had a parking ticket, you could validate it and get free parking. If you didn’t park, you got $5, which incentivised people to not drive. We contrasted this with another case, which is the regret lottery. We entered the name of everybody who attended every day, then at the end of the week, we pulled one name out. If you’d brought the car that day we’d put it aside and pull another name until we found someone who didn’t use the parking, and then gave this person $2,000. That’s an example of motivation, because using the car that day could cost them $2,000. That’s something people would regret. That was useful for getting more people to use public transportation or carpooling. 

Do you think that we underestimate the value of public praise?

Praise is a relatively small fraction of incentives. It gives people social status and makes them feel good about the job they’re doing. Those are extremely important things to most people. If I want to be a good faculty member at UCSD, I’d be trying to pick up signals about what’s good. Everything I see raising other people’s status would be an incentive for me. Teaching evaluations are not going to influence my promotions, but I feel much better if the students like my class because that impacts my social standing. As employers, we need to make sure that those incentives are used in the right way.

How can businesses use incentives to help their people generate good habits?

Habits are some of the hardest things to change. If I want my kid to do well on the SATs I need to find an incentive that will make them invest in learning. That could be getting a new computer for reaching a certain grade. When you talk with educators though, what they try to do is to make people enjoy learning. How can I get someone to enjoy reading books? That’s very hard with incentives. Something that my mother did was let me read these trashy Western books. People would ask me ‘Why did she allow you to read them?’ The answer was ‘As long as he enjoys reading it, I don’t care. He will grow out of it, but he’ll still enjoy reading.’ She was right, I don’t read those trashy Western anymore, but I still read. That’s how companies need to approach incentives – they should be used to get people over the initial hurdle and into doing something productive. 

To learn more about using incentives in your team, tune in to Episode 142 of Talent & Growth here

During a cost of living crisis, financial wellbeing is a significant concern for employers and employees alike. On episode 131 of Talent & Growth, I spoke to Anita Lettink, a veteran of the HR and Payroll industry and author of How to Select Your Next Payroll, about how we can promote financial wellbeing in our employees. We covered topics from salary transparency to financial literacy, so read on to find out how you can improve the financial wellbeing of your team. 

Why do you think financial wellbeing is not talked about enough? 

I think the pandemic normalised talking about mental health, so we started to delve into that. We found that there were four problems that people were having – one of which was financial issues. That is completely understandable, because if you are worried about paying your invoices you are not bringing your best self to work. Instead you’re constantly trying to figure out how to pay the next bill or how to avoid the debt collectors. 

Last year, after the war in Ukraine started, we were also faced with inflation, so you can see why the financial aspects of the employer-employee relationship suddenly became much more important in the first half of last year. What I noticed last year as I tracked a lot of investments in the HR tech startup space was a shift from funding talent and mental health solutions to funding HR and Payroll solutions and compensation and financial education tools. There is some progress being made, but it’s coming after the problems emerged. 

How does supporting the financial health of employees contribute to that overall mental well being job satisfaction, and what can companies do to prioritise this aspect of care? 

Before the pandemic it was unheard of that you would talk about your financial situation with employees.You could know that they are not managing their financial situation very well, but you could not really bring it up because it was considered their private business. I think after the pandemic, we started to realise that, first of all, mental health and financial health are sometimes very closely related. We also realised that not everyone gets a good financial education at home, and when you do not get it at home, you don’t get it anywhere else. 

The first environment where you are faced with this situation is your job. Thankfully the pandemic has normalised the employer-employee relationship in the sense that we now find it easier to talk about private issues. One of those everyday conversations is slowly but surely also taking a financial turn. That means that when people find it really hard to manage their money, that can be a conversation at work. Employers are also making tools available, because they now understand that sometimes that is an issue where people can be taught how to be more aware of their income versus their outflow, but also manage it in such a way that it is beneficial to them. 

A number of tools can tie into your Payroll solution or to tie into your bank account which give you a more accurate picture of your financial situation. All of these things coming together has created the perfect opportunity for employers to start having these conversations with employees, but also employees asking for solutions and help with their finances from employers.

The interesting thing is that these money issues happen at all levels. It is not just that employees with lower salaries suffer from these issues more often than employees with very high salaries. The reason is that when people earn a certain amount of money, they start to adjust their spending patterns, and before you know it, even people that we would consider rich have trouble managing their income.

What ways can companies effectively educate and empower their employees to make informed decisions about their financial health?

Make the right information available. Don’t just send people a payslip, but give them insight on compensation. A lot of companies provide benefits which have a monetary value, such as pension support, which is building wealth in a certain way. People assume that they understand their own financial situation, but there are cases where people switched companies thinking that they would get a higher salary, but their compensation amount did not change or was lower than before because of a change in additional benefits.Giving people access to an overview of their total rewards packages is really helpful, because it shows what you as a company invest in them. That’s when they can make much more informed decisions about their financial planning.

To learn more about financial wellbeing, tune into Episode 131 of the Talent & Growth podcast here. 

As we headed into the new year we spoke to Neil Carberry on the Talent & Growth podcast about what to expect in 2023. Neil is somebody who’s got his finger on the pulse as the CEO at the REC, and he provided us with fantastic advice for getting ahead in the next year. Read on to find out his best advice, straight from Talent & Growth Episode 98. 

How can recruitment companies keep their voices strong in the next year? 

Retention strategies are one of the main things that we need to focus on. Sensible companies are listening to their staff about the pressures that they are under. They’re not taking ownership of all of those pressures, because they can’t, but they are understanding what they can do to make a difference. Things like one-off bonuses to help with the energy bill rise will keep faith in the company. We also need to acknowledge that work is a transaction. Ask yourself what you need from your people, and what do they need? How can we mesh those needs together? People in TA should be talking to their colleagues in HR and leadership about how they can move our offers forward and make them distinctive. 

Is the climate changing for recruitment?

Candidates have got spooked by the changing market quicker than clients have. It’s more difficult to move people early in the year. Some people are saying ‘I need a 10% pay rise to keep up with inflation. These guys are only offering me 5%, so I’m looking at moving.’ Other people are seeing it differently. We’re getting feedback like ‘I like my boss, I know how to do my job and they’ll give me a 5% raise, so I’ll stay because of the security I have here.’ As recruiters we need to find the right people who are open to moving. 

Companies are never going to be able to offer everything that candidates want, but they can offer the most relevant things for their market, so it’s all about priorities. An example is hybrid working. Staff love it, as long as the company is clear about its expectations. It doesn’t matter if it’s two days at home or fully remote, they want clear guidelines. We can’t avoid our responsibility as employers, we have to make some decisions about what we need and articulate those decisions.

Are there any other challenges companies are going to be faced with in 2023?

The biggest challenge remains a shortage of people. The domestic labour force is getting smaller, because the baby boomers are a big generation, and they’re leaving the labour market. Brexit has tightened the market too, so labour being a scarce resource is going to stick with us now. Companies should be planning their business model for that environment. Productivity performance in Britain for the last decade has been a horror show. Companies need to put people first. If you do that, you’ll have a huge commercial impact. After a decent finance director, the next thing you need is a decent HR director. Companies need to be thinking strategically about how to lead and manage our companies to create opportunity. 

What advice would you give to recruiters preparing for 2023?

Talk to your clients. Understand where their pain points are, understand what things are shaping the company that you’re in. One of the tendencies in our industry is to throw as many hooks into the sea as you can to try and catch some fish, but a well-baited hook is always going to catch a fish better than an un-baited hook. Invest in a niche or client with some foreknowledge. The more you know about your sector, the better you’ll perform in it. 

Know where the business is going. Ask yourself, ‘Is everything I’m doing this week aligned with where I want my business to go?’ Do I know where this business is going and what skills it needs to get there? Do I know who the decision makers are? Am I hearing from them about their pain points? Am I reshaping what we’re doing to meet those needs?’ That’s the behaviour pattern that I see from the best people in the business. This is a people business, so focus on where you can make a difference and who you can make it to. 

To hear more about Neil’s work with the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, tune into the full episode of the Talent & Growth podcast here

On Talent & Growth we speak to talent leaders about the challenges they face and their solutions for attraction and retention. If you’re interested in hearing about how companies are building a more diverse talent pool, how you can attract top people from the big players, ways to create a more inclusive interview process or learn about the latest and greatest automation software to make your life easier, then this is the podcast for you.

On Episode 92 of The Talent & Growth Podcast we were joined by Isabel McParland, the People and Talent Acquisition Partner at BVNK, who have been on a real growth journey during the last couple of years to the last four months. We were fascinated to hear about how they have managed to maintain their integrity around putting culture at the centre of their hiring process. Isabel shared her insights on how culture-centred hiring can develop your business and grow it in the right way. Read on for the highlights of that conversation. 

What do you mean by putting culture at the centre of hiring?

Throughout the entire process, it’s been very apparent from day one, that having the right skills is important. There’s no two ways about that; you have to have the right skills to do a job, but having the right attitude is also essential. That’s something that we prioritise over everything else. We’ve managed to grow a culture that’s very fast paced and allows the people who work for us to really thrive. In order for that to happen, we have to have the right people come into the business in the first place. 

At every interview stage, culture is assessed by every single individual who does the interviewing. In order to be a successful candidate, you have to pass all of those cultural things that go on throughout the interviews. We either have like absolute yeses, where we cannot wait for individuals to start, or unfortunately they don’t come and work for us. We explain that we don’t just want culture fits, we want culture ads. Those are people whose first question is, ‘What is the culture?’ That automatically tells us that culture is important to them. In order to build a healthy culture, you have to have people who see culture as equally important to them. 

How are you implementing culture in the hiring process?

Our hiring process is structured towards culture. Candidates will always speak to a member of the talent team first. I never like to use the word interview, I always just call it a chat. It’s just so we can understand them a bit more, and they can equally get to know us a bit more.  Then they will speak to hiring managers, and then they’ll speak to me as a member of our executive team. But they always speak to a diverse range of employees, whether that’s people from all around the world, a mix between males and females, etc, we make sure that we are giving a whole view of the business. 

They will always speak to an executive at the end, that’s always the last stage. That’s something that we implemented about six months ago and we’ve seen great results. I think it’s really nice for candidates have buy-in from the executives, and it shows the importance that BVNK places on our talent and the people coming into the business. The flip side of that is that our executives have an opportunity to meet people before they come into the business. The executives also get a say in whether they think they’re going to fit into our culture correctly or not. It really shows that we have buy-in from every stage of the business.

How do you maintain solid and understandable boundaries around our culture, yet still make sure your hiring process and environment inclusive?

We put in good processes that allow us to do things quite quickly. For example, when a hiring manager says they like who they just interviewed, we know what the next step is, without even having to think about it. That does speed things up. I think the next thing is bringing on the right hiring managers who are inclusive, who have the right vision, who know the type of person they want to bring into the team. Outside of a culture-based system we do reference checks. All of our offers will be subject to reference checks, which is to make sure that their previous companies have also seen the traits that we’re looking for as well. We try to be efficient and make sure we haven’t missed anything while being quick.

To hear more about putting culture at the centre of your hiring process, tune into the full episode of The Talent & Growth Podcast here

On Talent & Growth we speak to talent leaders about the challenges they face and their solutions for attraction and retention. If you’re interested in hearing about how companies are building a more diverse talent pool, how you can attract top people from the big players, ways to create a more inclusive interview process or learn about the latest and greatest automation software to make your life easier, then this is the podcast for you.

On Episode 80 of The Talent & Growth Podcast we were joined by Michael Carter, the Talent Acquisition Manager at Warner Brothers Discovery. We talked specifically about how to use events for sourcing talent. Running events can be a great way to attract new talent and get new eyes on your business and your product, if done correctly. We asked Michael for his insights into the process ahead of our own live event, which is happening at the Warner Brothers Discovery offices where Michael works. 

Read on to learn more about how you can utilise events to attract talent to your business or recruitment pool. 

How effective do you find events are when it comes to attracting new talent to your brand?

I think it’s very effective. To be completely honest, for the talent acquisition team it’s a really fun and engaging way for your teams to grow as well. I think there’s three main points where its effectiveness can be measured. One element of events is that you can really bring in a really diverse range of talent, not just from a geography standpoint, or a coach perspective, but from a neurodiversity perspective. You can get people who are working on different products and in different pockets of the world with different goals in mind and bring them together. You can target separate areas and really work across that. 

The second point of effectiveness is you can test a lot of the stuff that you’re doing within the events. So for example, there’s three ways in which you can source these events. One, you can run a recruitment event where the goal is to hire people at the end of it. Two, you can just host a meet up that gives you a sourcing map afterwards. Three, you attend events yourself, and try to spread like oil in those and network as much as you can. In the second one, if you’re doing an event specific to recruitment and hiring, you can A-B test a lot of strategy, you can change things up, try different interview teams or panels, test structures – it’s pretty cool. The third way is useful if you’re trying to scale up a specific team very quickly and you need to reach more talent. Those are the three main effective ways to utilise events to find or attract talent. 

How can teams use events to leverage engagement with potential new candidates? 

There are a couple ways. One is when the marketing of the event is purely down to recruitment. Obviously, you lean on a comms team and a marketing team and a branding team to create the assets and the content that you’re pushing out, like you do with any recruitment project. The actual marketing and the gathering of an audience is done by recruitment though, because we have the LinkedIn licences, we have the reach, so that’s a predominant reason why you’re involved. We all do LinkedIn messaging, multi messenger threads, the follow up, and this can really build out a different strategy. 

If you have two sources in one region, one sourcer has tapped out engineers in Budapest for example, you can lean on the other’s LinkedIn to send messages to a similar group about an event for a change. It gives you a rejuvenated avenue of search and conversation so you can talk about this event. You want to market it as an engineering focused event with a recruitment advantage, that is the whole point of these things generally. It just gives you a different discussion point, and more importantly, it gives you something to provide these engineers and these people that you’re speaking with. You’re not just knocking on the door going, ‘Hey, look, come work for us’, again. You’re offering them value and saying ‘Hey, this is what we do. What do you reckon if we have a chat after you’ve been to the event?’ A lot of the time, people who are already looking for work will shortcut it and just ask you straight away, but they like having that asset and some reflection of what the work is actually like. 

The other way that you can leverage engagement is with attendees for generic meetups. You can search their companies and that gives you a whole market map to see where they’ve come from and where they’ve gone without that much interaction. It gives you a whole matrix of sourcing materials. We’ve found that from one person who comes to an event, there’s four companies that they will have worked for or interacted with who then become part of our wider market matrix, so you can just tap into that as you go.

Follow up is key, so how do we make that work?

That depends on your tools. If you’re using Eventbrite, for example, you have a signup page, which asks people to tell you their first name, last name, job title and current company, which you can set up to give you an excel sheet of at the end. That gives you all your people or your companies with emails or contact details or whatever they want to add in. That gives you a list for messaging and networking afterwards. One note I would say on this is when you do the sign up, make sure the sheet reflects who attends, because I have done it before where I’ve run an event, then you’ve messaged everyone and said ‘Hey, thanks for coming’ and I got replies saying ‘I didn’t come, what are we talking about?’ Otherwise, the follow up is pretty simple. From a recruitment perspective, that follow up message is really just about giving people the access to knowledge about what’s going on and access to you. As long as it’s fast (within 48 hours), it’s relevant. Follow up actions in terms of whoever spoke on this topic, you can find their LinkedIn here, or you can contact them on their email. You can give them follow up resources and then just reiterate at the end ‘Hey, obviously, as you heard, we’re recruiting. Give me a shout if you can’.

What advice would you give to somebody who’s looking to start using events for sourcing talent?

Just have fun with it. We all have ideas and stuff that we want to try. Doing it in one project that has bookends on either side and a goal can sound quite restrictive, but there’s so much freedom within that. There’s so much interconnection with the group that you’re recruiting for that you really need to dig deep to give you an idea of the culture that you’re bringing people into. It gives you access to employer branding, marketing, columns, relocation… It’s really fun. I think as long as you have the support of the leadership, it can’t really go wrong. My other bit of advice is, even if you think you know something, ask and check it anyway. Just double triple check. At the end of the day, the company will realise it’s at least a good bit of employer branding or product, so even if you don’t make hires out of it, there’s so many intangible benefits that you can do for these things.

To hear more of Michael’s insights on how to create great events and tips for running successful recruitment campaigns at them, listen to the full episode of The Talent & Growth Podcast here!

On Talent & Growth we speak to talent leaders about the challenges they face and their solutions for attraction and retention. If you’re interested in hearing about how companies are building a more diverse talent pool, how you can attract top people from the big players, ways to create a more inclusive interview process or learn about the latest and greatest automation software to make your life easier, then this is the podcast for you.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Parul° Singh, the Senior Talent Acquisition Partner at the company xDesign. She is quite an exceptional human being, and we had a fantastic conversation.

We dove into her views on how businesses can open their hiring processes to neurodivergent talent and create an inclusive culture. This is the recapped highlights in blog form, so read on for valuable insights on how you can be a better employer and recruiter.

How can we make our businesses available to neurodivergent talent during hiring?

I just want to preface that this does not just benefit neurodivergent talent. If you make some of these tweaks, you’re probably going to cater to a wider audience as well. One of the key pointers that I would give is presenting a variety of media. For example, using videos in your recruitment process, and I don’t see a lot of companies doing this. Pretty much all job adverts are just text, right? It’s very difficult to get a feel for and an actual understanding of the company from that. There tends to be a lot of underlying language and reading between the lines, which can be quite difficult for somebody who has ASD and needs literal explanations. If you have a video which is explaining certain elements of the job, presented by different people who are in that role as well, it just gives variety, it’s a little bit nicer, and it’s quite uncommon. You’re standing out against other people that are not offering these things. 

 Another big one is to reduce your list of required skills. In one of the inclusivity guides, there was an example of where a company talked about a requirement for client-facing communication skills, but it turns out that this was actually not a part of the job. I’m not saying people actively do that, but when you’re putting things on there, and you kind of like, oh, yes, this is a nice skill to have, put that in the required skills, and that’s wrong. There should be literally a few bullet points, be specific about it as well. What do you mean by goals? Communication? Why is it needed? What kinds of communication? Having an easy application format is so helpful because people who have ADHD have procrastination barriers. It’s ridiculous because, working in talent, you’ll see this all the time; there are so many companies out there who ask you to upload your CV, and then it asks you to fill in all the fields of all the stuff they’ve got on your CV. It makes absolutely no sense. That is just going to put people off. Make it easy and straightforward; just a CV, phone number and email address. That’s all you need. 

 One of the other key parts is to actually explain the flexibility in this role. Are you expected to work certain hours? What’s the flexibility for taking your lunchtime? How long is lunchtime? What happens if you have to do this? Again, it benefits everybody who wants to know the specifics about flexibility in a role. This isn’t the norm at the moment, but it’s something that I would also really like to see. 

My final point would be to always include a line at the bottom about your commitment to an inclusive hiring process as well. Do not make this a performative statement because we can tell whether you actually care about it, if you will make adjustments, or whether you just care from an illegality perspective. When I send candidates an invite to schedule the first interview with myself, I also add it again at the bottom of that email, ‘please let me know if you would like any reasonable adjustments during the interview process. It’s a few minor changes, all the way from start to finish. 

Another thing which has come to mind is you can highlight the interview process to reduce the element of surprise. Tell people what to expect and what your timeline is, such as ‘when you apply, you’ll hear back in 48 hours, ‘we’ll let you know even if you’re not successful, ‘we’ll give you feedback, ‘the next stage is this’, ‘this is how quickly we’ll turn it around again’ – people actually really appreciate seeing those things. It helps everybody out. 

How do we proactively tap into neurodivergent talent pools?

I thought this was a really interesting question because I think you can apply it to other kinds of minority groups as well. There are no job boards that I’ve ever found that have a filter for neurodivergent talent, for example, that will be a thing in the future. If people want to say, ‘Hi, I’m neurodivergent, I’ve got ADHD, I’ve got these great skills, you should hire me because of this, that might be the thing for the future. 

 Being somebody who recruits who is neurodivergent has actually enabled me to grow a community around me that is also neurodivergent. I’m personally quite active on Twitter, and Twitter’s got a great neurodivergent community. You also have to be seen as a neurodivergent-friendly employer. When we talk about your employee brand and your employer brand, it might be quite controversial, but I think the employee brand is much more valuable than the employer brand. People are always a little bit sceptical. For example, I post on LinkedIn, and I talk a lot about how my employer has made reasonable adjustments and how I’ve been supported at work in terms of my ADHD, and that will just naturally end up on people’s feeds who actually want to see that. I added a guy on LinkedIn, and he accepted, and then he sent me a message, and he said, ‘I see you posted that you know about ADHD and stuff like that; I would love to learn more about it. I didn’t expect him to be looking for a role when he messaged me, but a few weeks later, we hired him. He’s been with the business for the last few months. That little bit of advocacy will naturally attract people. You have to make it organic; you want it to come across as genuine. It’s quite difficult to do, but I am a neurodiversity advocate, so people know that you know what we’re actually doing internally as well. You can’t ask somebody to do that. You can’t be like, ‘Hey, you are autistic; would you like to be our neurodiversity advocate?’ That comes from the individual, but if they feel comfortable doing that, you might have advocated for different things in the company. 

 Another thing that we are in the process of doing is the disability confidence scheme. It’s basically an assessment to say that you are a friendly workplace for disabled folks. These can obviously be physical disabilities or hidden ones, and they can also tap into candidate pools who class themselves as disabled. Again, it’s a rigorous criterion that you have to pass, but when you’ve gone through it, you can say, ‘Hey, this is a great place to work!’

How do we build an inclusive environment internally that is right for neurodivergent people?

I think the first thing that you need to have is a fixed and comprehensive process for when somebody discloses a neurodivergent condition. I put this on my onboarding forms. This helps HR process and discuss any support or reasonable adjustments a new employee may need. I was told to think about what sort of support I need because everyone’s an individual. With my ADHD, what I need is different from somebody else with ADHD and what they need. I submitted my reasonable adjustments request to my people partner and my line manager, and within less than two working days, I had a formal letter sent digitally confirming that they have approval for reasonable adjustments and also set a date to like review them. If you don’t already have this process, you need to get one in place. 

 A lot of people who are neurodiverse class themselves as disabled, so if somebody submits a reasonable adjustment request and you do not follow due process, you’re liable for legal ramifications. I’ll tell you now, the disability discrimination awards in tribunals are hefty, I think they’re uncapped, actually, so from a legal perspective, you definitely need to do that. From my perspective as being human, I feel like I’ve thrived because I’ve been given the tools and support and the flexibility to work the way that I like, and that increases my loyalty to the company because they’ve given me everything I could have ever asked for. As long as that continues, as long as I’m happy here, I’m gonna stay, because I’ve got no reason to go elsewhere. Don’t make assumptions about what somebody else needs. If somebody has a visual impairment, a yellow screen filter or a screen reader might not actually do what it needs to do. Actually, ask the individual what they need. 

 Another thing is that advocacy from the individuals actually really helps. Make sure that they have the ability to make an impact. There’s no point in me running internal sessions and writing stuff on LinkedIn if, when I make suggestions to internal processes and policies, that doesn’t get approved because I’m not in an HR or leadership role. If somebody is an advocate or even they’re coming to you with some improvement, actually listen to the people who are in those shoes. Keep on improving on it. 

 Flexible and remote working is the way forward too. I really struggled when I was in an office because I felt like I had to be on it all the time, especially working in recruitment, you cannot be seen to putting your feet up for like two minutes. I cannot work like that. I need to work in short, intense sprints. It’s like a HIIT workout where I have 25 minutes where I am going and then I might have like 10 minutes off, but that can be frowned upon in an office. Create an environment which is flexible, and give people the option to work remotely to choose their hours. Some days, if I feel like I’m on a roll, I’m in the zone, I can work a bit more. Can I take that off the next day? That kind of stuff is really not that hard to do. A lot of it actually doesn’t cost employers any money as, well.

What advice would you give to talent teams and businesses who want to start appealing to this talent pool?

 Start with some training and consultancy. There are neurodiversity consultants who are specialists in their fields, who can come in and do an assessment of your hiring process, your internal policies, literally everything from the ground up. They can run awareness workshops as well, which is a brilliant place to start. Get your interviewer some training, and make sure that you move away from this fake interview style and practice hiring based on specific competencies. Once you can truly embrace neurodiversity, the benefits are literally tenfold. As a person with ADHD, I am highly capable of taking calculated risks. I am great at communicating with people and building relationships, which has brought me the success that I’ve had in the last four years. Sometimes I struggle with task management and priorities, but these are really easy things to fix. When you compare it to the positives, your business is just going to do great. Don’t tolerate, embrace. That’s my advice.

To hear more about how you can attract neurodiverse talent to your business, listen to the full episode of The Talent & Growth Podcast here. 

Jessie Zwaan is the COO at Whereby and believes that how your team works together is your most significant advantage. Jessie joined us on episode 63 of Talent & Growth to talk about how to put together a comp plan, in this episode we covered where do you start with your comp plan, where do businesses go wrong with their plans and what level of salary transparency in a business is optimal. 

Jessie also breaks down the science to putting together a comp plan, which we’ve detailed for you below. 

Is there a science to putting a comp plan together? 

There is a science in really understanding what the levers you have to pull when it comes to figuring out compensation and then figuring out the sliders you want to set. If you’ve ever played Dungeons and Dragons you’ll know that your character gets a certain amount of points which you then need to allocate to different skill sets. To some degree, I think you need to think about compensation in a similar way. You can’t do everything. You need to think about what kind of person you are trying to attract. There are a few questions that you need to think about in detail: ‘What level of skill do my team need to have?’ and ‘How much leverage are those people going to have?’ 

If you’re working in a company that has a very high leverage and high skill set, such a Google Deep Mind, you have some very serious sliders to consider. You’ll want to be paying at the top 90th percentile in the regions you’re working in. You probably won’t be looking at regions that have a high cost of living because those individuals are going to be targeted by companies that are paying New York or San Francisco wages, or which are remote. However, if you’re looking for relatively low skilled employees, such as graduates or people from a coding boot camp and you have fairly low leverage (for example building an econ tool or sending out a subscription Geek On product) then it’s probably ok for you to drop some of your sliders down. Instead focus on volume and by having more people that have a lower rate of pay than others, you can focus on training them up and investing the money elsewhere.  

There’s lots of modelling that you can carry out behind the scenes that can mimic pricing tests. Once you’ve got an idea of what your constructor might look like, you can create a blind Excel spreadsheet or Google Docs sheet and play around with what that would do to your current levels and roles. Would it bankrupt you? Well then that gives you your answer – you shouldn’t price it that way.  

Where else do businesses get it wrong with comp plans? 

The one that comes to mind is the general philosophy that there’s a winner takes all approach to com plans or some kinds of zero sum game that you can play. I also think that negotiation is generally a bad idea- from an academic point of view we know that this predominantly disenfranchises minorities. That itself is a problem and is going to cause your business pain later on. 

The second thing is that people like transparency when it comes to compensation. There have been studies done into various different recruitment data that says that people are more likely to apply for a job with open compensation, even if the compensation is perceived to be lower than another companies. People aren’t statistically going out there and fighting for compensation higher than the market rate just because they think they can get away with it. They want what is fair procedurally and for themselves as individuals. Therefore going into this working relationship ‘cloak and dagger’, let by negotiation and not being fully upfront with how you’ve come up with the compensation, just ends up damaging relationships, team culture and the kind of applicants you’re getting in.  

To listen to more insights from Jessie click here. 

On Talent & Growth we speak to talent leaders about the challenges they face and their solutions for attraction and retention. If you’re interested in hearing about how companies are building a more diverse talent pool, how you can attract top people from the big players, ways to create a more inclusive interview process or learn about the latest and greatest automation software to make your life easier, then this is the podcast for you.

Joining us on episode 58 of Talent & Growth is Milimo Banji the Founder of TapIn a social-first creative agency, in this episode we dig into some of the characteristics between Gen Z and Gen Y, the types of content Gen Z respond well to and where businesses go wrong when it comes to trying to attract Gen Z.  

We’ve pulled out some highlights from this episode to give businesses some advice when it comes to attracting Gen Z, and help them get the best talent – we hope it helps your business. 

First, what are some of the differences in the characteristics of Gen Z compared to Gen Y? 

I think one of the most obvious differences is the years that Gen Z were actually born. We are digital natives and grew up in an era of social media and iPhones. What we’re seeing with Gen Z is that a lot of young people are interested in entrepreneurship and want to be their own bosses. Research tells us that over the pandemic, 65% of Gen Z’s actually started their own businesses. We’ve been brought up in a different era with technology at the forefront of how we operate business, participate in communities and engage.  

Mental health is also really important to us. When is speak to employers or our clients and ask them about what they care about, they talk about mental health and the importance of support being provided to young people as they develop through their career. It’s a massive thing for young people. 

There is then flexibility and being able to have some leadership or management. When we go into a company we want there to be structure, a clear progression and reward. Reward isn’t ping pong tables, having a slide or allowing pets. These things are great but they are all additional things. What we really care about is when companies or businesses pay real attention to us, our development and understanding our characteristics. They should have development plans in place which allow us to further ourselves. 

Over the pandemic, things that Gen Z care about have been spoken about more. Pre-pandemic a lot of organisations, if they’re being honest, might not have thought much about mental health. There was the attitude that it was ‘part of the job’ or ‘it is stressful’ and you were just expected to get on with it. But now we’ve seen a shift. People feel they have a choice and have had time to think about this and what they want from an employer. They have decided that if a company does not provide them with certain things, they will go elsewhere. We saw the ‘great resignation’ where people were moving to find businesses who pushed the mental health agenda and now some of these characteristics of Gen Z are now merging with older generations.  

How can businesses stand out and try to attract Gen Z? What advice can you give? 

We often talk about diversity and inclusion and why that is important. I think early talent, or early careers is the key to building longer term diverse businesses and organisations. I feel like any change that has longevity and long term value, always starts at grassroots level, and that’s in early careers. These are the people that come in as interns, apprentices or grads and then within two or three years they’re moving up the ranks. Off the back of that, the business starts to become diverse right from the get go.  

In terms of how you attract them, you first need to understand what platforms they use and spending the most time on? We’ve seen that the top four platforms at the moment are Instagram, TikToc, YouTube and Snapchat. Start to build strategies on how to engage them on these platforms. The biggest mistake employers make is that they think their strategy on YouTube is going to be the same as Instagram. But there are so many nuances that make each platform unique, so understand these and develop targeted strategies.  

If you want more from this episode just click here. 

On Talent & Growth we speak to talent leaders about the challenges they face and their solutions for attraction and retention. If you’re interested in hearing about how companies are building a more diverse talent pool, how you can attract top people from the big players, ways to create a more inclusive interview process or learn about the latest and greatest automation software to make your life easier, then this is the podcast for you.

Episode 62 of Talent & Growth saw Rassam Yaghmaei, Talent Acquisition Director at Doctolib join us. Rassam is the creator of the live talk show Recruiters InDa House and he emphasises creating and building brands to be the most effective talent acquisition method. 

In this episode we go through, employer branding, team branding and job branding and Rassam gives some invaluable advice. 

In this blog we’ve highlights some of the key points to help recruiters today to be successful – we hope you find them useful. 

The recruiter in 2022 is entirely different to how they were 5, 10 years ago. So for you, what are the most significant evolutions in how the recruiter of today has to be successful? 

In my experience over the past six years and seeing that evolution, was that it was mostly in house. Maybe I’m biased here, but I think that the learning growth you can have today is a bit higher in house than maybe in an agency. There are some elements that are universal for anyone. Something that I feel is universal is candidates. What the market and candidate needs or expects have evolved. There is the need for asking for transparency, authenticity and efficiency in the process. For example, getting feedback quickly or diversity and inclusion being at the top of people’s minds- this has impacted everyone for sure. Other elements include data fuel decisions, better tooling, ATS automation. These have all evolved prompting recruiters to adapt, learn new skills and become either more specialised or poly talented.  

I really feel that what has pushed the market to challenge us is the fact that there has been more and more highly skilled in house recruitment teams. I feel that that’s where the collaboration with the hiring manager started to become much more dense, complex and granular. This is where we start to consider and pair peers and we’re not just a relationship or service on demand where we are just there to provide profiles, CVs or leads.  

I feel that asking your recruiter to challenge and to influence businesses is what you heard often 15 or 20 years ago. But it is something that is very actionable. If after six weeks or even six months of working on an open position that is not filled, what do you want to say to your hiring manager? What kind of approach do you have? How can you influence things to change? Can you change the process? Can you change different ways of assessing the bias? We have so much content to learn from. The ATS that I mentioned earlier, the tooling, and applicant tracking systems have evolved into something much more either business or recruitment oriented centric.  

But even the free and open source ones that we have today can be really handy for project management, nurturing, automation, completing competency based scorecards and getting reports data out of your funnel. All of this has evolved. We often compare growth marketing skills to storytelling skills adapted to recruitment and that’s been something that’s been quite common for the last five or ten years. I think it’s at the top of everyone’s mind that you need to be good at that to do a good sourcing job. 

But then there’s the go to market (GTM) approach and a lot of companies, including us, have been applying this approach to how we build our TA strategy. Do we consider what’s our audience? What’s our target? And we think about how we work with the talent marketing team. I’m working with EVPs by clusters, we have different clusters, different teams, different profiles and you can have EVPs for all of those.  

You need to build and nurture communities. It’s not going to be a one shot or a six week sprint, you need to build a long-term relationship with the market.  

If you like this you can listen to the full episode here. 

On Talent & Growth we speak to talent leaders about the challenges they face and their solutions for attraction and retention. If you’re interested in hearing about how companies are building a more diverse talent pool, how you can attract top people from the big players, ways to create a more inclusive interview process or learn about the latest and greatest automation software to make your life easier, then this is the podcast for you.

Episode 55 of Talent & Growth brought us the dynamic duo of Dr Richard Claydon, Chief Cognitive Officer @ EQ Lab and Geoff Marlow, Executive Director, Aligned Agility.  

With so much emphasis being placed on building a business culture and making sure people align with the values we spend some time challenging some of the common beliefs around whether this is time well spent. In this episode we covered the impact of business culture on innovation, what motivated and inspires the workforce and does an emphasis on culture create a high-performing team. For more on this, read on. 

Is this culture, or the emphasis on culture that’s being pushed, conductive to a high performing and happy workforce in the manner that many companies believe? 

Dr Richard Claydon: I think the research generally shows it’s the opposite. Most of the research that I’ve seen around the world at the moment show that people are nor missing the organisational culture and in fact feel freed up by working from home. 

 Pre-existing research before COVID was very clear that if you’re a start-up, high commitment cultures predicted getting to IPO successfully. You could hire younger people who would come and join you and they would stay there for lower wages because they genuinely believe they are there to change the world. However, when you’ve got mature, complex organisations (across many countries, environments and many product lines) the research showed clearly that a high commitment culture predicted low growth and lot profitability. You need a much more diverse understanding of behaviours in order to create value. 

I think what we’ve seen over that last few years is that there needs to be a behavioural shift. Organisations have been left stripped of the skills that were behaviourally excellent in a COVID, networked environment and they turned back to something that was already not working. That’s the big challenge. When people respond to these espoused values on the walls with cynicism or apathy, this predicts depression and all kinds of low performing work endeavours. Cynicism is perhaps a little more protective- but you remain cynical while you’re looking for another job. Great for recruiters, but not necessarily what the company thinks it’s doing. I think you’ve got a lot a pre-existing evidence and it doesn’t do what it says on the tin.  

Let’s talk about values then Geoff. Businesses spend a lot of time working on these – is this time well spent? 

Geoff Marlow: The one word answer is, yes. However the more complex answer is that this idea of values is extremely seductive. We all know if we look inside ourselves we feel that the things that really motivate us are our values. So are we able to align with the things that we deeply believe? Are we able to self- actualise? Are we able to bring the best of ourselves into the things that we’re doing in our day to day work?  We know that even if the experience has been fleeting, if the answer has been yes then we feel more motivated and engaged.  

It’s a logical leap to suggest that if we could get everybody to be like that all the time then it would be wonderful. There is a genuine desire to create a workplace where people really would love to be there.  Senior management may have their eye on profitability and performance, but no one really sets out to create a horrible, unpleasant, self-destructive work environment.  

The problem is that people don’t understand what cultures is- every organisation has a culture but it’s almost never what they intended it to be. Culture is emergent, when you’ve been in an organisation for a few weeks or months, you pick up on the way things are done and pick up subtle clues, signals and signs- you’re tapped into the ‘vibe’ of the place. People see conflicting messages in how the values are carried out by staff. So organisations use their values to try to triangulate ‘the way we do things around here’. Organisations assume you define the culture and that dictates behaviour, whereas actually you create the conditions in which behaviour emerges. That behaviour, the way we do things around here, is the culture.  

To listen to the full episode click here. 

On Talent & Growth we speak to talent leaders about the challenges they face and their solutions for attraction and retention. If you’re interested in hearing about how companies are building a more diverse talent pool, how you can attract top people from the big players, ways to create a more inclusive interview process or learn about the latest and greatest automation software to make your life easier, then this is the podcast for you.