How to Put Culture at the Centre of Your Hiring Strategy

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.

How Events can Attract Talent to your Business

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.

How To Attract Neurodivergent Talent To Your Business

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. 

The science of a good comp plan 

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.

What are the values of Gen Z and how can businesses attract them? 

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.

How can the recruiters of today be successful?  

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.

Does an emphasis on culture create a high-performing team? 

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.

What new skills do Talent Acquisition professionals need to succeed in a world where retention is a priority?

In a recent episode of Talent & Growth, we sat down with Tim Sackett, who is the President of HRU Technical Resources. 

We spoke about everything TA related – retention, how TA impacts HR, and additionally what skills TA professionals need in their toolbox to make an impact on recruitment beyond just standard hiring.  

We’ve picked out our top three highlights for you below – we hope you enjoy them. 

What skills do TA professionals need when looking at retention?  

“I think they have to be better at the data side. We have so much data disposal at our hands, and we don’t pay attention to it.  

Obviously, the technology you use can help you. So, if you get in and start using some machine learning technology, and bring talent pools into one data set, it’s going to help you to be better. I think part of this is just to be a fan of data and be willing to dig into it.  

We see more and more, especially on the enterprise side, where talent leaders are hiring business analysts, data analysts, they’re really starting to figure out “hey, we actually have really dynamic data that we should be paying attention to”. I think the other piece is that you have to start thinking like a marketer!” 

What top-line advice do you have to get people started? 

“I think one is to sit down and have a conversation about retention with HR and hiring managers. If TA is leading that conversation, or, you know, inviting people to the table, that’s the best thing to do.  

Also, measuring your progress. I’m a big believer in that – things that are more specific to accountability and outcomes of individuals. I think we do too many soft measures around compensation for our leaders, that when they build them at the beginning of the year, they almost always already know that they’re going to get the bonus.  

A great example for TA is hiring manager satisfaction or days to filing a role, when both of those measures have almost no impact on the success of TA. Just because you hire someone faster or slower, doesn’t mean that person will be better. It has no correlation to success.” 

Do you feel like right now is a real opportunity to become a strategic partner to a business working in TA?  

“Yeah, I constantly tell people that I believe talent acquisition has actually stepped over HR in terms of respect and responsibility within the organisation. If I sit down with most CEOs, all they want to talk to me about is talent. And not because that’s my background, it’s because if I talk to them just one on one, they say “hey, we need more talent, we need to increase our talent, we need to do all this stuff” – they don’t consider that to be HR to them. HR is benefits, and it’s learning.  

Recruitment to them is also like marketing; it’s strategic, and they want to be very close to that. I definitely believe we see more and more of these organisations hiring a chief people officer, we’re going to have someone that takes care of all the people and our employees.  

But, we also need someone who is super strategic and can be good at actually attracting talent -  and that’s talent acquisition.” 

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.

What are companies doing wrong when it comes to recruiting their talent?

In episode 36 of Talent & Growth, we sat down with Beckie Taylor, who is the Co-Founder of Tech Returners.

They look to provide skilled tech professionals returning to the industry with accessible opportunities to refresh their skills and reignite their career.

We talked about a range of topics, and we’ve highlighted our favourite three areas for you today!

What are the challenges for companies when it comes to recruiting diversely?  

“I think we’ve always started with the word diversity, and then inclusion. But I think we almost need to reframe it the other way around. So, I think any organisation that wants to increase diversity needs to ensure that they’ve got an inclusive culture, because you could do all the work in terms of partnering with initiatives, but if you haven’t got that inclusive culture infrastructure, then they’re not going to stay with you.  

So, I think in terms of any organisation, look at areas in terms of how you can improve your inclusive culture. And, I don’t mean just writing a policy and having a tick box exercise. Think about the real purpose of why you want to do this.  

My frustration is when I speak to organisations all the time, they ask “how can I get more women in the business” and I say tell me why you’re doing that; is that because every other company is saying it? Is it because you read it over social media? Because that won’t work. You need to make sure it all matches up. So, I do believe, inclusion first, and then focus on diversity.” 

What can businesses do internally? 

“I think there are quite a few tools and techniques. I think one of the main ones is making sure people have voices. You might have one idea about what inclusion and diversity mean to you, but the two people sitting next to you might not.  

So again, creating that psychological safe space around people putting forward ideas and suggestions. And I’ve always been a massive advocate of the feedback loop.  

So, a lot of companies do ask for feedback, but then don’t take any action. So I obviously urge people who are going to create that inclusive culture and ask for feedback about what people want, even if you’re not going to take that idea forward, you still need to say why and get them to understand it. 

How do we then tailor our approach to attract more females into our tech teams? 

“Content is key, and having managed talent acquisition teams for many years, I think it’s always been, a difficult one, because you’ve got teams wanting to produce content, but there are barriers – not having time to write a blog, or not wanting their face on social media. You have to bridge those two teams together.  

If you share the why, and what you’re trying to do in terms of the bigger overall picture, the actual reason and purpose and the benefit of doing it, people can be more receptive.  

 
So, I think definitely content. Also, look at all the initiatives that are out there, and not every initiative will be right for your organisation. Do a market analysis of all the initiatives are going out there, and find what’s right for your organisation.” 

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.

Talent acquisition in 2022: What does it really look like?

We were thrilled to host Hung Lee on our latest podcast episode. For those of you who don’t know who Hung Lee is, he’s incredibly influential in the recruitment space, and we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to pick his brains on a number of topics!

We’ve picked out some of our favourite moments – we hope you enjoy them!

So what does the world of talent acquisition look like to you in 2022?

“Yeah, it’s exciting space. I think all of us are very conscious of the fact that it’s such a fluid moment for the industry. I don’t think I can’t remember a time when it’s been more exciting, because you don’t know which direction it’s going to go. The only thing that we’re confident on is that it will not look anything like it was five years ago. That includes the jobs we’re doing. All of that then has a cascade effect on the type of work that recruiters will do. I think we’ve all turned into quasi futurists, as a result of this moment that we’re all in.”

What is the future of the old-fashioned recruiter?

“I think those two things will merge. I mean, previously, the embedded recruiter was essentially a way for suppliers to really establish trust with buying customers. Because customers, when you were just faxing CVs or whatever it was, it was very distant.

You weren’t sure how much work this agency was doing for you. You weren’t sure whether this agency was actually representing other companies, competitors, etc. The embedded model was basically there to establish trust.

Now, I think that COVID accelerates that situation. But, it also changes the difference between an agency supplier and an embedded recruiter, because what is the difference these days, if all of us are distributed, in any case, an embedded recruiter is very much a metaphorical term.

I think what will happen is a lot more agencies will move into the space, I’d be very surprised if agencies don’t offer it as a default service to customers. The bottom line is customers will end up getting much greater variety, and much more choice and hopefully, you know, that competition will improve the service level that they get.”

But for more in house talent acquisition teams, and talent acquisition as a whole, what significant trends in 2022 are you seeing?

“I think one of the big critical issues is basically the lack of recruiters. The inability to recruit recruiters is actually changing how recruiting is done. So, in other words, companies are confronting the reality that they’re simply not going to, they’re going to be understaffed, which means that they have to automate more, it means that they have to really re-examine the way in which they’re processing candidates.

They need to double down on process efficiency, because you’ve got less hands on deck doing more work. I think maybe in a six-month period, there was some effort to try and recruit more recruiters.

I wouldn’t say we’ve given up on doing that. But it’s still very clear to companies that they’re approaching it thing with a view, we may actually not be able to increase our capacity in our existing recruiting team. Therefore, we need to increase our efficiency. So, lots of interesting things are happening in terms of process and in terms of automation in the internal recruiter space for sure.”

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.