Top 10 takeaways from Ciett 2012
London called and the world arrived to attend the biggest and most important recruitment conference the Recruitment and Employment Confederation has ever hosted. This year our Annual Convention also incorporated the Ciett World Employment Conference and we welcomed delegations from 34 countries representing five continents.
The theme of the event was “Transforming our global brand”. We wanted to ask and answer the following questions: how should recruiters respond to the challenges from technology, more employee choice and growing unemployment? What should our messages be, as an industry, to our clients, candidates and governments across the world? And how do we up our game as our market matures and enters its next phase?
For those who attended we really put on a spectacle! Music was present throughout adding energy and a vibrancy to each day’s proceedings. If I mention tribal drumming, sing-a-longs with a gospel choir, the Jersey Boys, and a marching band that will give you some idea!
But if you weren’t able to join us (where were you?!) I want to share some of the key lessons and “moments” that I took away from the event. Because the sign of a really valuable conference isn’t the experience, but what you take home and the action you take.
So, in no particular order, here the top 10 insights I took away. Some of it is big vision stuff, some are little nuggets of wisdom about how we can all do things better on a day to day basis:
1. Now is our time
Jobs and growth are currently the number one issue for governments, businesses and the media around the world. As recruiters we need to be recognised as being a central provider of solutions. However we must be bolder and more confident in promoting ourselves as addressing this concern. We get people back to work, we help people advance their careers and we support organisations in securing the talent they need to succeed.
2. Technology is changing our world – we have to change with it
Lynda Gratton from the London Business School told us how the interface between workers and technology is making the world a much smaller place, and skills more transferable. Younger generations are looking for personal development and learning from their careers, not just financial reward. Flexible working is only going to increase as keeping people in offices will simply be too expensive in the future. Are you ready for Gen Y and a world of home workers?
3. We must play to win
PR expert Richard Cox said that it looked to him like recruiters, collectively as an industry, had been playing for the draw. To positively reposition ourselves in the ongoing debate with governments and trade unions he urged us to play to win – using more engaging and emotional messages to make an impact.
4. Lay the “comeback sauce” on every customer
One of my favourite sessions of the whole 3 days was the presentation by American recruiter Mary B Lucas. Using tales of her father’s homespun wisdom she shared some really sharp insights into improving the customer experience and putting relationships at the heart of your business. Everyone you do business with is different – what can you do in each interaction is to make every customer feel recognised and special, if you do this they will “comeback” time and again.
5. Don’t write sales emails more than 4 lines long
Another couple of really practical tips came from Mike Southon, the Beermat Entrepreneur. He warned against succumbing to the temptation to send lots of sales emails. His advice was to concentrate on fewer shorter, carefully crafted and partially bespoke emails that will improve your return. He has the years of experience to back up the advice! He also said, give something (small) away to hook a customer into a bigger sale later - another tip that lodged in my brain.
6. The UK labour market has been resilient
There was (perhaps surprisingly?) agreement from three heavyweights on our panel – Brendan Barber of the TUC, David Frost formerly of the BCC and John Philpot from CIPD – about the real resilience that the UK labour market has shown in the face of the worst recession in living memory. Something positive to remember when the headlines some mornings seem to be all doom and gloom. They also agreed that we need to improve the work readiness of our young people and become a more development focused economy.
7. We need to know more than our customers about social media
Sometimes social media is seen as a threat to our industry. Bill Boorman set out how it can be another tool in the kit of every successful recruiter. Recruiters should develop real, in depth expertise on how social media can improve their businesses and also add value to client relationships. Being able to advise clients on how to make best use of social media is one way of adding value and differentiating yourself from competitors.
8. To know us is to like us!
Recruitment is often undervalued as a profession. But a poll of the general public conducted by our Director of Research Roger Tweedy found that people generally have a good view of recruiter’s professionalism. And most interestingly, that good opinion increases when people actually work with a recruiter: 51 percent of those polled felt recruiters project a professional image, which increased to 72 percent among people who have used the services of a recruitment agency. This is a really great foundation on which to continue to build our reputation as an industry, and a testament to the hard work and quality service provided by the majority of recruiters.
9. Young people will demand much more from employers
Richard Scase, a “futurologist”, delivering his last ever public presentation at our conference had stark message to the older folks in the room about the demands of Generation Y. Employers with top-down work environments will not attract the best young talent, he warned. Because of their experiences with technology, young people entering the workforce for the first time now want to work in teams, work in collaboration and they will not be told what to do. They are creative and want to have the freedom to be creative, explore their own ideas and grow at work. A useful insight for recruiters looking to grow their own businesses as well as a powerful message to take to your clients.
10. A global vision we must deliver on together
Denis Pennel, MD of Ciett unveiled the new vision for the global recruitment industry - “the way to work: a job for every person, a person for every job”. This won a ringing endorsement from communications guru Alastair Campbell, another Ciett speaker, as “a brilliant encapsulation of what we should all be aiming for”. As a statement of our commitment to our work and to supporting job seekers and employers alike it really struck a chord with everyone in attendance. Leaving the conference buoyed up with new ideas, new energy and a shared commitment to build our global brand. This new confident message was the biggest buzz I got from the whole event, and I know I wasn’t alone.
That’s just 10 of the literally hundreds of great ideas, tips and insights contributed by delegates and speakers at the World Employment Conference. If you attended did I miss any of your favourites? If you were following on Twitter what did you take away as the key messages? If you’re only hearing about it now – what do you think? Get in touch via @kevingreenrec or @RECPress and let me know.
And if you’d like to see video and pictures taken live at the event go to www.ciett2012.com