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Whether it’s developing data-enabled DEI services or building bespoke platforms and solutions, how do recruitment leaders get buy-in from their teams to drive transformation?

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TALiNT Partners’ brought together 30 Staffing and Talent Solution leader.
The staffing industry has issues with tech because they buy off the shelf solutions.
Recruiters embracing talent insight and DEI are having more strategic conversations earlier.

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People and data are the greatest assets in recruitment – but only if both are used effectively. AI, Automation and Analytics are enabling Staffing and Talent Solutions providers to deliver more value, differentiate services, and justify higher premiums as strategic advisors – but who is leading this transformation and how can recruiters see the quickest ROI from solutions?

TALiNT Partners’ first Lunch & Learn in 2024 brought together 30 Staffing and Talent Solution leaders to hear insights and advice from a panel of industry experts and advisors alongside partners Integrella and Access Recruitment.

Leah Boxell, CEO of PMO consultancy Enablists, drew upon her experience as former Director of Transformation at NHS Professionals to explain the barriers to transformation and how to overcome them. “Resistance to change is always the biggest barrier and the fear of AI is now a factor,” she said. “When we talk about tech, the first thing people ask is how it’s going to affect their jobs, so it’s important to be open about it.

“The other barriers are a lack of unifying vision and leadership, and transformation not being aligned to the business strategy. NHSP had a clear goal during the pandemic to get more healthcare professionals to the frontline as quickly as possible, which meant having to take the compliance process from a number of weeks to 24 hours because everyone had a clear vision and strong leadership that gave people permission to find a solution and support change aligned to our strategy.”

But how can leaders in recruitment create this sense of urgency without a global crisis? “Identify one big challenge and goal, be clear about why it’s important and urgent with everyone, and explain why a change of technology or process will support it.”

Shahriar Haque, COO of tech integration specialist Integrella, observed that it’s the people at the bottom of the pyramid who are driving the use of AI. Integrella is partnering with Robert Walters on the development and delivery of its Digital Innovation Platform (DIP), enabling RWG’s data sharing strategy.

“What has changed from a transformation perspective is a lower price of entry for enterprise-grade technologies that we help source, which makes it easier for senior leaders to build a business case. What hasn’t changed is that you have to know what to do with these tech solutions and we work closely with those who’ll be using them.”

This point was echoed by Tim Jacob, founder of Squadrato and a Board Advisor to firms including Futureheads, Evolution and Rullion on how to transform around RPO, MSP and SoW.

“The staffing industry has issues with tech because they buy off the shelf solutions without knowing what to do with them,” he said. “Leaders need to understand what they need to change or improve, and why, before launching into any transformation or buying technology; because if they don’t, their people won’t either. That’s where resistance to change comes from. It should be about delivering what clients want, so start by actively listening and capturing the right data to make decisions.”

DATA-LED DIFFERENTIATORS

Our second panel, on Data & DEI strategies for higher value services, looked at how recruiters can better leverage data and analytics to differentiate, deliver higher value services and empower consultants to be better strategic advisors and thought leaders.

Khyati Pal recently became Director Transformation & Change Management at Keystream after leading a major initiative to improve data flow and implement a new CRM as marketing director. She observed that the first step to improving their data strategy was setting a clear vision for what it would enable the business to do and how she would remove barriers to optimising tech.

“Telling the board what your customer wants and being able to demonstrate it is important, so we needed to be able to capture the data to do that,” Khyati explained. “I spent a month just speaking to people, documenting their responses, using them in a matrix, and identifying what was going well and what wasn’t. Most of the issues were linked to systems, so once we fixed the system there was nothing left to blame. We could just focus on delivering what the customer really wants.”

Diversity and inclusion related services are a key differentiator for recruiters, but employers expect their staffing partners to have their own house in order.

This was explained by Helen McGuire, Co-founder of TIARA-winning DEI solution Diversely, who shared the findings of new SIA research commissioned by Access Recruitment. “This survey of 300 agency executives found that 47% of employers cite lack of candidate diversity information from agencies as a barrier to implementing DE&I, more than any other factor. It also found that DE&I First Movers are 2.7x more likely than Late Adopters to have a high win rate for RFPs; and 89% of agency executives would seriously consider, or have already implemented, systems to compliantly collect diversity data.”

“If you can’t articulate your DEI plan & progress, in numbers and clear metrics, you’re less likely to be shortlisted by clients,” Helen added. “Data is super important, from diversity of talent pipeline and knowing where the gaps are to understanding representation and the impact this has across the business. Recruiters should be using inclusion and retention as a measure of their success, and this supports long-term partnerships.”

Recruiters embracing talent insight and DEI analytics are having more strategic conversations earlier. Consultant buy-in is easier to achieve if they understand why capturing the right data drives higher value business.

“It’s important to have data to hand when talking to clients about what looks good to them, and they expect to see evidence of your own commitment to DEI,” said Jasmine Alexander, Lead Career Outreach Consultant for Programme One, the campaign launched by Goodman Masson in June 2021 to remove the barriers that black talent face trying to enter the recruitment sector.

“For Goodman Masson, the aim is to get black talent to match the demographic of London, which is 13%, and for Programme One it’s to recruit 500 black recruiters into our sector annually. Understanding the barriers is the first step to over-coming them. Research has helped us to understand that reverse mentoring supports retention of black talent and progression into more senior roles.”

Any transformation must start with a clear vision to change or improve something, whether it’s for your business or the whole industry. Knowing what to measure and how to listen will provide the data needed to make the right decisions and demonstrate impact.

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