The REC’s recent Talent, Recruitment & Employment Conference (TREC) was an opportunity for leading voices within recruitment and HR to bring together cutting-edge thinking, share expertise and collaborate in the name of good recruitment.
Offering a structure of interactive panels and small roundtable discussions, the event allowed for direct input from all those attending. Laced throughout the conference was a clear structure of three themes: attract, recruit, retain.
The host for the day was Neil Morrison, HR Director at Penguin Random House, who captured the attention of the audience with his passion for creating a diverse and flexible work environment. Neil stated that the key to any organisation’s success is the people it is able to attract, setting the tone for the first panel session.
Talent attraction: authenticity of employer brand
The key message to come out of this debate was that the employer brand and corporate brand must share the same vision. Organisations must recognise that all employees are also recruiters. Online platforms such as Glassdoor have only increased the importance of measuring and improving employee engagement so that they become advocates of your employer brand.
This session also included participation from the audience, and Garry Clarke, Strategic Resourcing Manager, Virgin Care noted the significance of one poll result: "interesting poll in the room - majority of people with employer brand responsibility have no marketing experience".
With employer brand being a key tool for HRs to use to attract talent, an understanding of marketing strategies and techniques is becoming increasingly important.
Recruiting diverse talent
Delegates could choose from eight different topics and sit at one of 16 tables - double the number we had at the conference last year. What followed was productive yet intimate debates, each led by a talent and recruitment leader, allowing everyone to share their thoughts on best practice.
Thank you for having a keynote at a talent event who talked diversity interwoven with business sense - Charu Malhotra, Ferrero
Dan Richards, Recruiting Leader at EY provided immediate feedback via Twitter: "great session on attracting diverse talent. Outstanding round table facilitated perfectly by Adam Rawlings Smith, AECOM".
After lunch came a powerful and moving speech on diversity and inclusion from Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith CBE, preparing delegates for the next panel session on candidate experience.
Candidate experience: getting it right every time
The panel underlined the importance of the human touch in recruitment, and provided key pieces of evidence that showed how HRs and recruiters should aim to put themselves in the candidate’s shoes. The panel was particularly candid when sharing their recruitment ‘horror stories’, even going as far as to reveal precise revenue losses resulting from poor recruitment practice.
Graeme Johnson explained how Virgin Media effectively attributed a cost value to bad candidate experience, getting the attention of internal stakeholders to help drive the necessary investment and improvements.
Retain: how to get line managers to play their role
The final panel session of the day discussed probably the most prevalent recruitment process issue across all business sectors. A question from the audience about whether hiring managers use KPIs for their recruiting received a resounding “no”, which brought forth a sobering question: how can hiring managers ensure recruitment is on the same playing field as other responsibilities, which involve strict performance metrics?
Jon Howcroft-Stemp of Lloyds Banking group expressed his concern from the listening audience: "we need to give hiring managers the capability and infrastructure to enable them to take their role in recruitment seriously".
TREC 2016 was about defining the standard of good recruitment. It is about having the ability to efficiently deliver your employer brand, understand your candidate journey, and successfully push the importance of recruitment across the rest of your organisation.
For organisations... it is about the willingness and tenacity to investigate the lessons that often exist when we fail, but which we rarely exploit. It is about creating systems and cultures that enable organizations to learn from errors, rather than being threatened by them. ― Matthew Syed, Black Box Thinking
According to Matthew Syed, the last step may prove the most challenging. Many people interpret failure in a way that prevents them from seeing mistakes as precious learning opportunities. Taking recruitment errors into consideration, this mind-set can be the culprit of ineffective growth across all areas of business. However, changing this flawed attitude can help shape a corporate environment that can open up to the evolving standards of good recruitment.
With overwhelmingly positive feedback, and a plethora of information to take away, TREC16 was a resounding success. But if you missed the event, you can still take advantage Good Recruitment Campaign resources, which aim to help you achieve excellence when it comes to attracting, recruiting and retaining talent.