Natalie McKnightSeptember 16, 2020
Topics: Customer Stories

Building a Strong Talent Community with MGM [Video]

Many companies are looking to save time and money during the pandemic—while still hiring top talent. But how?

The answer is building and nurturing a talent community. By creating this digital network of job seekers, recruiters gain a way to nurture key relationships, regardless of their company’s hiring status.

During last week’s episode of Talent Experience Live, Randy Goldberg, VP of Talent Acquisition Strategy for MGM Resorts International shared insights on how MGM is building a thriving talent community of targeted candidates and alumni employees.

How has the pandemic affected your team, and how has your talent community been helpful?

When the pandemic essentially halted travel and tourism, MGM’s recruitment efforts went “from full speed to a sudden stop,” Goldberg said. Many properties completely closed down, staff members were furloughed, and his own recruiting team dropped from dozens of employees to six.

MGM also had roughly 18,000 job seekers in the application or interview process—many of whom immediately turned to MGM’s career site to check the status of applications and open roles. His team was challenged with the need to quickly update candidates on hiring status.

Having a strong talent community in place made it possible for his team to efficiently reach out with this information, as well as other relevant communications to help maintain relationships with ideal candidates.

Why is a talent community important?

A talent community provides a way for interested candidates to stay connected with a company—whether they’ve applied to an open job or they’re waiting for the right role to open up. They also serve as a rich repository of information to guide recruitment outreach and efforts.

“These are people that have made an effort to show interest,” Goldberg said. “For any recruiter, knowing that someone has an interest in the company...that should be the first place we go.”

A talent experience platform that includes tools to manage talent community activities makes it easy for recruiters to identify engaged candidates, and quickly provide relevant content such as new open jobs and helpful resources during the interview process.

Talent communities can help:

  • Improve the candidate experience
  • Drive efficiency in the recruiting process
  • Save on recruitment costs
  • Elevate the employer brand

What are best practices for engaging a talent community?

Goldberg’s advice for engaging talent community members boils down to two key takeaways: Provide varied, helpful content, and personalize it as much as possible.

In the absence of new job roles to share, think about what might resonate with candidates under the current circumstances. Goldberg’s team shares regular updates on how MGM is helping communities cope during the pandemic, and how people can get assistance if they need it. Keep in mind that information doesn’t have to be company-specific – for example, share tips on virtual interviewing.

Hosting virtual events is another key way to engage with talent community members. (Tip: Select a talent experience platform that includes tools to make it easy to manage these events, from promotion to registration. The MGM team uses the Phenom TMX platform.)

Related: How to Create a Successful Virtual Recruiting Event

And always keep your audience in mind. Whether you’re promoting a virtual event, sending updated job information, or sharing job search tips, make sure it’s personalized and relevant to that segment of candidates.

Channel selection also comes into play. Because younger job candidates are less likely to open emails, Goldberg’s team is exploring using SMS functionality for targeted communications.

“For a lot of our groups, we’re going to have to include SMS messaging,” Goldberg added. “Applying it to these campaigns and talent community is going to be a huge benefit to us.”

What types of content resonate best with candidates right now?

The MGM talent community list has a strong open rate and a small opt-out rate. (Reading between the lines: the TA team must be on to something with content!)

With that in mind, here is Goldberg’s advice on content that makes an impact:

  • Employee testimonials. For candidates, employees sharing stories that describe a “day in the life” really resonate.
  • New Jobs. MGM has created new positions in response to Covid-19, such as roles to manage social distancing. They send this information to alumni members of the talent community, positioned as “If you can’t return in your former role, here’s a new opportunity you might be interested in.”
  • Messages from executives. Messaging from top leadership can be very powerful, Goldberg points out. People love to hear how leaders are creating company culture.

Goldberg also reinforced the importance of providing a way for candidates to reply back. Ensure timely responses to questions about applications and hiring status. This requires an investment of time, but it’s well worth the effort. MGM recruiters have noted how appreciative candidates are to get responses, Goldberg said. Stay away from the “do not reply” format, and always offer a way for people get in touch with questions.

How do you measure success for your talent community?

Goldberg’s team relies on the Phenom TXM platform to track multiple email metrics, including:

  • Number of email recipients
  • Click-through rate for calls-to-action
  • Job applies compared to job views

Using these and other measures of success, MGM’s TA team can identify emails that resonate (and those that didn’t). This insight then helps to guide future content creation, and whether they need to more narrowly target audience segments.

What will define the success of the talent community in the future?

To help your talent community grow and thrive, Goldberg shared the following recommendations:

Provide plenty of opportunities for job seekers to sign up and become part of the community. In addition to having a place to sign up on your career site, be sure to promote your community on social channels and at events!

Tailor communication to candidates based on their level of engagement (e.g., partial applicants, candidates who have fully applied). Remind them about the community and ways to stay connected.

Keep evolving personalization. Seek to understand the individual candidate—where else they’ve applied, where they left off in the apply process. (Tip: Having the right tools is indispensable to this effort.)

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give someone just starting a talent community?

It all comes down to just getting started. Goldberg also recommended embracing opening up two-way communication with candidates—don’t be a “do not respond” person, and figure out what resonates.

TA professionals get busy day to day, which adds to the tendency to design processes that make things easy for the recruitment team. But it’s the candidate’s experience that really matters.

“Constantly be putting yourself in the candidate’s shoes,” he said. As you think about their needs in terms of content and channel, and continue to keep communication flowing, you’ll be well on your way to success.

Need a tool to help you establish and engage your talent community? Get a demo of Phenom Campaigns!

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