Brand and Candidate Experience

Talking Talent with Gemma Parker: Enabling and Promoting Technology for Successful Adoption

It seems like it would be an easy sell– the promise of new technology.

This post is the first in a series of contributions from talent acquisition professionals titled "Talking Talent". This month's guest is Gemma Parker, a Candidate Engagement Specialist at Balfour Beatty.

The demos are enticing; the product appears-user friendly and the statistics show a return on investment. Everyone appears to be enthused at the potential new capabilities, transforming recruitment from reactive to proactive. Not only that– it’s so exciting! What’s not to like about it?

Implementation happens on a spectrum

For those already heavily immersed in any technology implementation projects, buy-in already exists. Engagement levels are always high; the project team have been through an often lengthy journey to finally reach the point of acquiring the product. For those not involved though, the buzz of the USPs discussed many meetings ago, you can often be lost when it comes to the physical adoption of that technology.

For most teams, and especially in recruitment, there will always be a heavy reliance on tech– whether it’s LinkedIn, the ATS or even job board utilisation. In that sense, it would seem that you’re already a step ahead as a Talent Acquisition team. But every recruiter has their own unique way of utilising the technology available to them, and it’s likely taken them a long time to find a system that works best for their own individual needs, with each minute of their time carefully allocated to whichever technology has previously proven most helpful, and rightly so.

When you ask recruiters to invest in your new product, you quickly realise that it is the chicken and egg scenario of tech adoption– you need the team to use it to show its effectiveness, but you don’t have any success to show them why they should do so. It’s a difficult situation to overcome and certainly not one that happens overnight. While a blanket rollout is the norm for any new technology, it often doesn’t take into account individual learning styles, so a one-size-fits-all approach will only have an impact on a very small percentage of the team – usually those who are already quite tech savvy or enjoy a good process.

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When implementing Beamery at Balfour Beatty, we initially did large group workshops however we quickly found that tech adoption levels were not where we hoped they would be. Understandably, as we were introducing a whole new concept to recruitment within the business and the industry, it was going to take more than a step-by-step guide or “toolkits” to help the team achieve super-user status. So we decided to try a new tact in rolling out this new software.

Firstly, we spent time working on a one-to-one basis with the team, running screen-share sessions to showcase the technology and its capabilities, without focusing on any back-end system jargon which wouldn’t be relevant to their day to day usage of Beamery. We understood that, while infographics are a great way to support the team once the software is embedded, the basics have to be there initially – this was our approach. We’re also now in the process of creating a ‘quick reference’ desk flipchart for the team as a back-up to their existing knowledge.

We also helped the team to personalise their own “view” of the system so that it worked for them. We removed fields from view that were irrelevant to them depending on the roles they recruited for, and worked with them to create saved filters which removed some of the inaccuracy around searching – essentially providing them with a go-to talent pool based on criteria they stipulated themselves. By getting them involved in the creation of these pools, we saw a generalised increase in usage and engagement levels.

Even more recently we added all team members to their respective talent pools so they would receive any communications being sent out to their online communities. This had a dual purpose: firstly, it showed the proactive work being done to nurture these communities and provided a potential conversation starter for candidate discussions, but more than that, it allowed the team to provide specific content that they could share and then see the engagement levels increase in the responses from those receiving their messages; we found these positive affirmations are a great motivator to adopting a new technology.

Every week, we would update the team on how the pools were growing in order to show them the generated momentum. This weekly update has been slowly evolving into a more comprehensive format, and a weekly bulletin is now in the works.

Why even positive change is hard

Through this implementation, we were essentially asking people to change not just the way they work, but the way they think about their roles within the recruitment process. I recently heard someone speak at an event and they said that the transactional part of any role within talent would become automated – it was therefore our job not to step aside and let the robots replace us, but to do what they cannot, and that is to make the process, for the candidate, beautiful.

Making the candidate experience “beautiful” requires passion. It is about treating candidates like customers and ensuring that every step is a positive one, even if they don’t receive an offer. Our new technology supports this mission, and that was the message we are keen to get across.

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We had a number of job offers extended and accepted by candidates from our talent communities since implementing Beamery, so we took the opportunity to create a video to demonstrate to our internal team how different the journey to becoming a part of Balfour Beatty had been compared to a candidate simply applying through the ATS. Changing jobs is a major life event – what we wanted to show was that by implementing this technology, utilising it to its maximum potential and integrating it into our daily routines, we would make that whole decision making process easier for our candidates having already had the opportunity to engage with us. This new technology would result in a talent pool that was highly engaged, familiar with our brand, and had a good idea of what their future at Balfour Beatty could look like if they decided to join our business, as a result of the newly improved, personal and beautiful process Beamery allows for in recruiting.

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The human story behind process changes

Our video highlighted two journeys from two very different candidates and their routes into our talent communities. It shows how they came to be a part of the team and how this platform allowed us to hire them in a way that we couldn’t have previously. The video was about the emotions behind these candidates’ stories – capturing the journey we’re on as a team and the challenges around this change, but also how those challenges were worth overcoming in order to have that kind of impact.

Since we shared this video, not only have we seen increased engagement from the team in utilising the system, but we’ve also seen the wider business get excited about what we’re doing as a resourcing function. Senior leadership groups want visibility of these talent communities, and we now find ourselves working in partnership with them to create content to share with their own teams about recent recruitment experiences, which is exactly what we were hoping to achieve.

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Ultimately, our aim as a Resourcing team was to make change management around this new technology not only about improved process and ROI, but also about the real impact we make on people’s lives. It’s amazing to see the results of this new way of working, and the impact it’s having on the candidate journey. It’s an exciting time and we’re definitely on the right track.

Selecting the Right Recruitment Marketing Technology for your Business

According to Aptitude Research, over 70% of enterprise organizations are investing in recruitment marketing capabilities this year. In order to help with this process, Kelly Cartwright, head of Talent Acquisition Technology Strategy at Amazon Web Services, and Madeline Laurano, founder of Aptitude Research, joined us to discuss some of the latest trends in recruitment marketing and key recommendations for evaluating providers.

[view on-demand webinar here.] [image-caption-end]


Gemma Parker

Gemma is a mum, has a dog, once broke her wrist pulling on a cracker, and played the bagpipe (badly) for 7 years. At her day job at Balfour Beatty, she is all about improving the recruitment experience from start to finish. She wants to understand what makes people tick, what their lives are like now, what they'd like to change them, and how an opportunity at Balfour Beatty might just be the life changer they're looking for.

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