In our new world of virtual everything, I’ve heard people complain about webinar fatigue. That wasn’t the case when I recently participated in Talent Acquisition Transformed, an event sponsored by our partner, the Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association (RPOA). It brought together a diverse group of industry thought leaders to examine the disruption in the recruitment space caused by the pandemic.
The keynote speaker was Ben Eubanks of Lighthouse Research & Advisory. You know how this pandemic has left us all with a feeling of anticipation for what’s next? Ben reminded us that we shouldn’t be waiting around for change to happen. We need to be the ones making it happen. It is up to us to transform, to drive results, to improve activities, etc. According to Ben, “What we believe drives our actions.” For example, if we believe there’s an opportunity to transform relationships with hiring managers and candidates, that belief alone will drive action. In a year that has done its best to make us all feel powerless, it’s pretty empowering when you think about.
Beyond Ben, we had a great lineup of speakers and topics, but let me share a few highlights from the two sessions in which I was most involved.
Talent Acquisition in the Hybrid Workplace
Do you remember the days when we used to talk about the seemingly never-ending struggle to achieve work/life balance? Well, coronavirus upended everyone’s home life and work life. Now employers are taking stock of this new workplace. I had a wonderful opportunity to get some ideas from Joe Marino, EVP, Hueman People Solutions, and Patty Silbert, President, Newton Talent. Here are a few nuggets from our discussion.
How do companies get their EVP back on track as they go back to the office or switch to working virtually for the long haul?
Patty: Employee value propositions (EVPs) are being tested; employers are asking themselves, “How much purpose are people getting from their work today?” It’s all about the experience. Individuals want an integration of life into work. People got a chance to step back from the idea of wearing a badge of honor for working 60-80 hours a week.
Joe: We’re a big proponent of surveying to identify tradeoffs. You have to pressure-test your EVP. Maybe you don’t have the right people on the bus with the new model.
With so many people working remotely and not receiving traditional perks and incentives, how can companies create meaningful differentiation?
Patty: Those things can be taken away at any time. EVP is about meaningful work. It is really important that hiring managers talk about that. Illustrate those stories and think about building communities so people feel connected to others.
Joe: Culture by design is so important. We all know engagement drives productivity in the workforce, so you need to be focused and disciplined about your culture. Ensure leadership support. People are on teams, but we also have committees that help drive our efforts at connection. For example, two times every month, we have events for remote folks, and every Friday, HR leads trivia games, giving away gift cards. It is an investment that every company should make.
Me: I couldn’t help interjecting that ClearEdge Marketing has been remote since it was founded 14 years ago… long before anyone else thought it was cool. One of the most critical contributors to our success has been the focus and commitment we have made to ensure members of our team feel connected. Being remote doesn’t need to feel remote.
We can’t have a conversation about culture without talking about diversity and inclusion. How should companies think about D&I through this new lens?
Patty: Build a human-centric approach where people can feel open to bring their whole self to work. Support employee resource groups. Ask! Explicitly assess belonging in surveys. Then look at the data. Are people being held back? Create an environment where everyone’s background and skills are important. If you’re not where you need to be, talk about it. Be transparent and invest in getting where you want to be.
Joe: We didn’t know exactly what we wanted to change, so the first thing we did was put someone extremely qualified into a leading D&I role. Look at where you are right now. Is it lip service or checking the boxes? And remember, getting it right is not a sprint, but an ultra-marathon.
I am very appreciative of the excellent insights from Patty and Joe. They made this a great session!
Happy Hour (It’s not what you think!)
I ended the day with a happy hour, but this one came without a glass of wine. My partner in this was Brazen VP of Marketing Joe Matar. The session featured Laughter Yoga Ambassador Slash Coleman, who took us through a series of exercises to improve our health, energy and attitudes through the power of laughter. I loved it! It was an incredible experience! Check it out on RPOA’s conference site or learn more about Slash and laughter yoga at ILaughForLife.com.
The global economy has significantly been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, and this disruption has trickled down into all aspects of business, including talent acquisition. Many organizations had to pivot and become fairly agile in response to this disruption. Almost all hiring functions and processes transitioned rapidly into a virtual environment. Technology solutions empowered and inspired the transformation of many recruiting and hiring practices. In other words, while the pandemic disrupted our lives and work, it also accelerated transformation. If you missed the live conference, check out the replays. You’ll be glad you did. And remember that the RPOA is a great resource to tap for recruitment best practices and trends (and now happy hour laughs too).