Like so many CEOs across the country, I’ve been presented with challenges and opportunities I never could have imagined as 2020 began. One of the most monumental challenges—the abrupt upheaval in the way we work—has meant that talent acquisition professionals are grappling with not only how to work remotely themselves but how best to interact with candidates in an environment that requires social distancing for the foreseeable future.
As related to working remotely, we at GR8 People consider ourselves fortunate in that the transition to 100% virtual workforce was seamless. Of course, being a software company meant that we had the technology, processes and practices in place to adapt more quickly than employers in other industries. But I also attribute much of our success to a fair share of our team members already working from home offices, which meant strong employee collaborations and customer partnerships were in existence regardless of the team’s physical location.
A Call to #BeSupportive
However, while our experience may have been smooth, we were fully aware that far too many teams were scrambling to figure out how they would now manage their talent acquisition and retention efforts, whether that meant the need to fill current openings as soon as possible, shift the focus to candidate nurturing and engagement strategies, or redeploy current employees to meet critical hiring needs. In some instances, teams were tasked to do all of this and even more.
Immediately, we knew that we wanted to help the industry, especially given that Be Supportive is among the GR8 People values that comprise the framework against which we evaluate all business decisions. We also knew that whatever we chose to do, it was essential that our offering be both relevant to talent acquisition’s biggest barriers and incredibly easy for teams to implement and use. Within a matter of days, our leaders determined that making our virtual recruiting event marketing and management tools available for free aligned perfectly with this criteria.
When we initially announced our offer of support to the market in late March, people were just beginning to wrap their heads around the severity of the pandemic and how, together, we might make sense of and even begin to move beyond the extraordinary hurdles confronting our industry. In all honesty, we had no idea how many organizations would take advantage of the offer. Now, as I look back at the diverse mix of companies that have used our Virtual Recruiting Event Solution to great success, the reasons are clear:
• It’s easy to implement and to use. From intuitive tools to pre-built templates, the ability to get up and running within 48 hours addressed the urgency associated with having to restructure how organizations recruit overnight. More specifically, I love the way Greystone Health’s Megan Dean describes it: “My role requires that I continually review many types of HR software solutions, and all too often I come away thinking, How would my team even get started with this? There are solutions out there that combine powerful features with ease of use, so don’t settle for something that isn’t the right fit.”
• The solution includes essential features and functionality without being over-engineered. Well before the pandemic, it was widely recognized within the industry that talent acquisition was struggling with too many tools and solutions that failed to speak to one another and deliver the value that had been promised. After the pandemic, we uncovered through our conversations with enterprise organizations that the large majority already had, or were in the process of implementing, a company-wide web conferencing platform. As such, they were looking for the tools to support end-to-end virtual recruiting event marketing and management without requiring them to purchase something they already had—a built-in video platform.
• There is no obligation. Period. It was extremely important to GR8 People that our offer of free support came without any obligation whatsoever. Knowing that what lies ahead for the workforce remains uncertain and that talent needs will evolve further in the coming months, we made sure that recruiting data gathered and stored in our solution is easy to export and that all users have ownership of their data and candidate records, whether or not they continue to use the tools.
Another important strength to acknowledge is the sheer versatility associated with virtual recruiting events. Based on the experiences of our customers, there’s really no limit on how these events can be used to tackle a number of complex talent acquisition needs. For example, some customers are hosting information sessions to establish and maintain their employer brand among target candidate segments while others are using internal mobility events to keep current employees informed of opportunities as a means of supporting both engagement and retention. Then there are those who are using virtual events to provide furloughed and laid-off employees with tools and resources to see them through a difficult transition.
Virtual Recruiting Events: Not Just a Band-Aid
It’s become evident as organizations use our solution’s reporting capabilities to evaluate their efforts and measure success that virtual recruiting events aren’t merely a quick fix during a time of crisis. Rather, the large-scale adoption of this tactic has revealed a number of long-term talent acquisition benefits, including:
• Access to in-demand talent. Employers are seeing firsthand how virtual recruiting events make it possible to capture the attention of talent that used to be extremely difficult to connect with, such as out-of-market tech professionals for either relocation or a remote opportunity. Healthcare recruiters are finding they’re finally able to capture the attention of clinical managers and directors who didn’t previously have time to attend an onsite event at a hospital but can now easily fit a virtual event into their busy schedules.
• Meaningful candidate nurturing and engagement programs. We work with countless talent acquisition teams who want to ensure that the high-potential candidates that were already in their recruiting pipelines remain engaged with the organization until hiring activity resumes. Virtual recruiting events allow them to host programs that feature current team members, compelling employee stories and essential updates on their hiring outlook. This delivers a more engaging and richer experience while ensuring attendees get the interaction they crave by allowing them to ask on-the-spot questions.
• Hiring process efficiencies. Certainly, the elimination of staff travel and logistics associated with onsite recruiting events benefits an organization’s hiring process efficiency and budget. Yet, the switch to virtual recruiting events is also leading to streamlined hiring processes because hard-to-fill roles that often went unfilled for months are now being filled in less than a week simply because barriers on the candidate side are removed while employers can use automated features and functions like knock-out questions and self-scheduling to fast-track qualified candidates.
Delivering Even GR8er Value in Response to Market Needs
Along the way, as the GR8 People team listened and learned, we saw that many of our customers were connecting with exceptional talent through their virtual recruiting events and needed a way to stay in touch because there were often more candidates than available openings or because the candidates weren’t quite ready to make a job change.
In response, we decided to enhance the value of our Virtual Recruiting Event Solution by offering the option of a dedicated Talent CRM component. Customers that build on the success of their free 60-day program by adding a dedicated candidate relationship management community and flexible sourcing workflow benefit from the ability to create an event talent funnel engine that makes it simple to both engage high-potential talent through nurture campaigns and source attendees for future events. This brings the solution full circle and ensures that talent acquisition teams get even more out of what for most of them has become their primary vehicle for attracting and retaining talent.
Always Grateful for the Conversations
If I had to say what the best aspect of this journey has been, hands down it’s the tremendously insightful conversations our team has had with employers of all size and across all industries. Each and every conversation—whether or not the organization determines the solution is right for them—allows us to better understand today’s talent acquisition challenges and what we all hope to accomplish as we keep moving forward together.