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Transform 2020 Recruitment Marketing Conference Recap

Reading Time: 11 minutes

For over five years now, Transform has brought together the brightest in talent acquisition and recruitment marketing with the goal of transforming an industry. The 2020 event was the first Transform since SmashFly was acquired by Symphony Talent and was completely virtual due to COVID-19. Read on for Stories Inc.’s complete Transform 2020 Recruitment Marketing Conference recap.

For Transformers, there has never been a more important time to embrace change. The June 3rd virtual event took place as the country has begun to reopen post-COVID-19, facing an unemployment rate of 14.7 percent. Transform 2020 was also held in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, the resulting protests, and demands to end racial injustice. These dual crises and their repercussions in the workplace mean a great deal of uncertainty lay ahead for talent leaders.

In a jam-packed day of learning, attendees were challenged to embrace this change and Transform.

The choice and will to Transform

Diversity and Inclusion leader Torin Ellis began his keynote address with a question: What does diversity, inclusion, and belonging look like in your organizations after a catastrophe like the COVID-19 pandemic?

The virus, Torin says, has shown how we can all work together and move quickly. In a matter of days and weeks, huge companies have made widespread changes to their organization. Production has pivoted to support the needs of frontline workers. Entire workforces have successfully transitioned to working remotely. Competitors have put their bottom lines aside to work together towards the greater good. 

Gain wisdom from this chaos. If companies can pivot so quickly for a virus, why can’t we do the same for diversity, inclusion, and belonging? To Torin, it is no longer a question of, “Can you make the change?”

Will you? 

“COVID-19 has forever changed the world of work.”

Symphony Talent CEO Roopesh Nair spoke boldly to 2020 Transformers regarding the world of work: There is no going back post Covid-19. We must instead build anew. 

Talent Acquisition Leaders will be the rebuilders, says Roopesh. He shared his blueprint for success from years of executing digital transformations: Smart people plus smart technology is the key. And he shared that talent leaders, as keepers of talent and culture of their organizations, have the ability to create positive change.

The slate of speakers, it seems, couldn’t agree more. In a day of jam-packed learning, talent leaders shared how they are embracing this time of crisis as an opportunity to Transform. 

Automate for empathy at scale

Laura Schmidt and her team at Hilton Grand Vacations (HGV) have spent the past 15 years building a well-oiled, highly automated recruitment marketing machine. Crafted specifically for their needs, Laura’s pipeline was built for seasonable scalability, without ever completely shutting off. 

Then COVID-19 happened. HGV furloughed nearly 70 percent of their workforce, and all hiring was frozen. As her team began to bring team members back to work and turn hiring back on, Laura realized they needed to completely re-engineer their process. Candidates had different questions and priorities, and her automated process didn’t deliver the empathy and answers they needed. 

One key addition, says Laura, was a chatbot. Her team worked hard to load the bot with situation-specific questions and answers to ensure high levels of empathy. Then, they leaned on the chatbot technology to communicate with talent on a larger scale. 

From an empathy standpoint, Laura and her team regularly review talent network messaging and update as needed. Segmenting lists, such as furloughed team members, enable the HGV team to further personalize their communications. 

Enable your workforce to make change possible

A key aspect of transformation, says Roopesh, is enabling our people to grow and evolve. 

Elaine Orler, CEO and Founder of Talent Function, shared statistics from a recent study: 20 percent of CEOs reported that they believed internal mobility was extremely important. But, only six percent feel their organization is excellent at internal mobility. How can we make internal mobility easier?

A Total Talent Assignment mindset, says Elaine. Total Talent Assignment (TTA) takes the external approach to recruiting and applies it internally. Re-recruiting current team members deepens their relationship with the organization, and enables you to help them reach their full potential.

Elaine shared a few action tips to implement a TTA strategy: 

  1. Respond to those who raise their hand.
  2. Tap them on the shoulder to create interest.
  3. Envision new career paths and options. 

Another way to enable your workforce is to add tools and technology to make their jobs better. Anthony Jones, Head of Global Talent Brand at Rockwell Automation, shared how he created an employer brand content library to better equip his recruiting team. 

Featuring Rockwell Automation team members was a no-brainer. Anthony immediately ditched stock photos in favor of real employees. And employee stories, like this #LifeatRok story from intern Javion, are at the core of every piece of video content. With this content at their fingertips, recruiters now have the tools to do what they do best: build relationships with candidates.

Empower your team to drive change

As Torin reminded us in his keynote, change is a choice. To create change, we need people brave enough to make that choice and embrace the sacrifice and consequences that come with it. We must empower our people so they have the courage and strength to drive change. 

Mark Smith, Senior Director of Global Talent Acquisition at SC Johnson, shared the six principles he kept in mind as he set out to shape a TA team prepared to innovate. 

When it came to his recruiters, Mark had to shift their attitude to one of partnership. He challenged them: when a hiring manager asks you to do something, don’t say, ‘Yes.’ Ask, ‘Why?’ When they embraced this mindset, ‘recruiters’ became ‘consultants,’ key drivers of change in the businesses they serve. 

CVS Health’s Kerry Noone demonstrated the incredible impact of an empowered team to make decisions quickly and confidently amidst the COVID-19 crisis. 

On March 19th, CVS Health leadership had their first meeting to discuss increasing hiring goals in the face of the pandemic. Three days later, they launched an accelerated hiring program for 50,000 new team members.

Kerry and her team moved with incredible agility. They quickly partnered with hospitality brands who had suffered layoffs; they built an online portal to expedite the candidate experience; and created content and messaging to support candidates through the ‘new normal.’ Oh, and they replied to every. single. email. 

The results speak for themselves: CVS Health has hired 20,000 new team members in the nine weeks since the program launched. 

Can you afford not to change?

To wrap up a great day of learning, Symphony Talent’s Elyse Mayer interviewed Sarah Hurwitz, Chief Speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama, about her career and experiences in the White House. 

Beyond the many inspirational stories Sarah shared from her career, one stood out. During her final year of law school, Sarah and one of her law school friends were offered a position as speech writers on an out-of-state campaign. Sarah shared her thought process. In her mind, she had so much to lose if she accepted this job. She would miss a huge chunk of her final year of law school and risk flunking out, wasting money, and losing momentum. 

That’s when she had a realization that changed the course of her career. When we think about risks, we often think about what we have to lose by taking the risk. What we also need to consider — what do we have to lose if we don’t take this risk? 

Sarah had no desire to be a lawyer. If she didn’t take this opportunity, she’d be losing a great opportunity in her dream career, speechwriting. She couldn’t afford to not take this risk. 

Are you willing to Transform?

The world is going through an incredible time of change right now. Talent Leaders, there is no one more equipped to lead organizations through this time of change and transformation. It’s not a question of can you do it. 

Will you?

We can help.

In order to meet Talent Leaders’ transforming needs, we at Stories Inc. developed the Virtual Story Sessions service to capture compelling culture stories from employees, no matter where work happens. Virtual Story Sessions allow you create high quality story content from diverse, distributed team members.

Learn more about Virtual Story Sessions.