The Fight for Talent – A Discussion

  • Thought Leadership

FWB PB were delighted to host a very topical discussion around ‘Time to Hire’.

In an increasingly talent short market, we brought together a highly experienced and diverse panel including Graeme Knox-Cowan (Barclays), Marie Clare Pearse (Aegon), Marnie Westwood (NHS 24) and Paul Miller (William Grant & Sons) who led our interactive discussion. This saw a variety of HR and Talent Attraction experts plus other business leaders come together to hear from our speakers around the current recruitment challenges including time to hire, counter offers, candidate experience, branding, and fairness and inclusivity in the hiring process.

The session commenced with Graeme Knox-Cowan from Barclays talking openly about the ‘fight for talent’ and its volatility, something we can all sympathise with. Being more proactive in sourcing strategies by using social sourcing, programmatic advertising and keeping a strong pipeline has been working well for AMS onsite at Barclays, but they are continuously looking at working to candidate demands to reduce the time to hire.

We then heard from Marie Clare at Aegon who continued the discussion around candidate behaviour and how this has evolved. The emphasis was on the need to focus on forward planning and encouraging stakeholders to think about the future, flight risks and succession planning. Having a strong understanding of the USP of the organisation is essential and looking at what can be offered to candidates, that is different to other organisations, is top of the agenda.

Marnie from NHS 24 did not hide the fact that they’ve had an extremely tough time throughout the pandemic. It was clear that there needs to be a balance with recruitment and retention as it can often start to feel like a ‘hamster wheel’. NHS 24 are big on workforce planning, reporting, international recruitment, targeting students and reducing fixed term contracts. These were some of the areas that Marnie found has helped them with their recent challenges.

Our final speaker was Paul from William Grant & Sons who spoke passionately about the ‘quality of hire’ being more important than the time to hire for their business. Getting it right from the start increases retention and being transparent with individuals from the get-go and making sure you are adding value at each stage of the process is key. By understanding your businesses attrition and demographics around where vacancies are coming from, you should be able to forward plan, build a semi engaged pool of talent and attempt, where possible, to reduce bottlenecks in your process. Investing in better technology, reducing approvals, and having better screening methods were some suggestions.

Our panel were then asked a variety of questions which included the following topics of virtual vs. in person, biggest learnings from covid, how to run assessment / open days and whether raising the profile of hiring managers would help the process. It became apparent that there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to the new virtual world we are living in. Virtual still clearly serves a purpose with aid for speed, however, getting a candidates buy in to your company culture and offering it is far easier to do in person. The pandemic taught us we need to be able to act fast and work flexibly, adapting when we need to.

Using more innovative ways to hire appears to be ever evolving. Running events and assessment days seem to work for many businesses as you can hire en masse and offer on the same day. Speeding up processes seems to be a common theme for all, with a focus on not allowing this to affect quality. Lastly, where appropriate, raising the profile of the hiring managers and job profiles through social media seemed prevalent, whilst being mindful of how inclusivity is being represented. Videos are much more engaging than text-based job posts to attract individuals and the use of #’s will help spread the word!

For more detail on this insightful event, feel free to listen to the recording below:

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For more information on our events programme, attending our events or working with us, please contact Sophie Moteau, our Programme & Events Lead.

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