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Human Resources: Resourcing Transformation in 2014
Earlier this month, Page Executive’s Human Resources practice hosted an event focused on resourcing transformation. The event, hosted by Rossana Dawson and Lucy Martin, was an opportunity for industry professionals to share experiences and insights with key speaker Heather Andrews, the head of recruitment transformation for KPMG, leading the discussions around transforming a recruitment function. Heather shared her experiences and views on the market and a number of key themes emerged.
Talent attraction has changed significantly over the past couple of years
Considering your external voice is critical to attracting the best candidate. Building a strong employer brand and joining forces with your communications and marketing teams to create an integrated and leveraged talent engagement strategy is proving to be successful. Candidates are looking to build a clear picture of an organisation’s values and direction and are looking for consistent messaging through multiple engagement channels.
Heather Andrews noted, “93% of organisations have been recruiting more specialist skills over the past 10 years. Our recruitment strategies have become more complex as we all fight for the same talent. Whilst cost saving solutions are still a key element of any recruitment solution, firms are starting to focus on value creation and recognising that considered investment is critical. In securing specialist talent from very small talent pools, these candidates know their worth, so companies need to take different approaches to attract them.”
Heather also addresses the fact that companies need to understand how to engage with “Generation Y” of workers and to ask questions such as; how do they want to work and what do they want to do? Many organisations have over a third of their workforce from this generational segment and they’re driving the culture change, so the face of the organisation and the way it attracts talent needs to change too.
Lloyd Stephenson, resourcing director, Personal and Corporate Banking at Barclays, supports the need to be creative with their talent attraction programme. He suggests that most banks have received negative press during the last few years which has deterred candidates from different industries. With the need to attract new skills, such as digital and social media experts, Barclays have had to address this perception and shift the traditional “banking” culture to enable them to attract a new generation of workers.
Branding, values and social media all play a large part in ensuring organisations are targeting the right people and positioning themselves as an employer of choice in the current market. Simon Hallett from Lloyds Banking Group led the development of the employer brand promise of ‘a role that matters’ to appeal in different ways to a broad audience including the attraction of "Generation Y" candidates. In line with Lloyds Banking Group purpose to 'help Britain prosper' its a promise that reflects the groups purpose and vision; can be used in the context of the individual, job or at group level and builds on the theme of making a difference. Simon noticed that their competitors branding has an individualistic focus on what candidates could personally get from working within the organisations, so in line with Lloyds strategy it has developed branding that is societal.
Strategy and planning is essential
Without strategic development around talent retention, workforce planning and creative talent attraction, many businesses will fail to meet their commercial agendas.
Kelly Anderson from Balfour Beatty said that more people are expected to leave the construction industry over the next few years, due to retirement, than are coming into it. Attracting a diverse candidate pool and more young people into the sector presents a real challenge. As a result, their attraction strategy focuses on early engagement with young people and diversity, particularly gender.
Generating an interest in the sector from children of school age is crucial. And while only ten percent of university attendees on industry-relevant courses are women, they have a target of 25% for Graduate 2015 intake. They have a number of approaches to tackling this including the popular ‘STEM Ambassador Programme’. Kelly explained that Balfour Beatty are spearheading an industry-wide approach to partner with organisations such as the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and The Prince’s Trust to steer them to the right educational paths from the age of just 13 years. Over the next two years, two hundred of their emerging talent population will be involved and attend schools, universities and colleges as ambassadors to educate and share their experiences in the hopes of encouraging people to follow in their footsteps.
Eunice Clements-Tweedie, who heads up brand and digital at BP, commented that they too have to do a lot of work with that age group, including sponsorship. It’s about engaging with children, and their parents, early enough to influence educational decisions such as choosing GCSEs. These attraction and engagement sponsorships include innovative, interactive projects with awards and prizes and a creative approach to social media and branding.
Influencing skills for internal recruiters have never been more important
Being able to influence your business to change mindsets around resourcing has clearly never been more important than it is now. Ensuring that companies address diversity and inclusion issues such as attracting more women into male-dominated environments or more senior roles, younger people into more traditional environments and focusing on high potential rather than years of experience is part and parcel of successful recruiting. Many organisations are not used to using a creative approach and don’t understand the benefits or the need for this kind of engagement. Partnership between resourcing and business owners is therefore essential to the success of strategic hires.
While working on resourcing for the Olympics, Heather Andrews had to work hard to convince stakeholders to make decisions with recruitment in mind. Workforce planning sat at the centre of the people solutions at LOCOG, this enabled the recruitment team to start the recruitment activity for the 5000 strong Games time workforce 18 months in advance. It became a year-long recruitment drive that was all about the communications and engagement, as early as eight months in advance. Heather needed to guide and influence LOCOG and their recruitment partners to get it right and in the end, it was a success. She reiterated the need to influence the business early enough to ensure things are being done in the right order from the outset.
Katharine Rooney, who previously worked at Direct Line Group, discussed her experience of convincing marketing, communications and the CEO to work together to ensure the values of the new organisation at Direct Line were clear across the business and owned collaboratively. Katharine notes, “The real battle was around ownership, so it was important to demonstrate their joint interest in the different aspects and it took a long time to get them all working together.” By addressing company-wide communications, she encouraged deeper conversations around what the purpose of the organisation was and how the recruitment process can support it.
Given the continually evolving market, the need for specialist and additional skills and the ongoing pressures on bottom line, we, as resourcing specialists, look forward to further shaping the market to meet our business’s agendas.
If you would like to hear more about Page Executive’s HR Practice, receive invitations to future networking opportunities and/or would like more information on the Resourcing Transformation event, please contact Ross Dawson at [email protected].