5 Employers That Are Getting Talent Experience Right

Devin Foster

The Great Resignation. The Turnover Tsunami.
 

Sounds like a promo for an HR thriller movie (based on a true story). How can organizations quickly adapt to the newest talent requirements to ensure they're delivering on what matters most to attract, develop, and retain today's workers?
 

Last week on Talent Experience Live, we shared highlights from IAMHR, our virtual event packed with expert insight on how to redesign the talent experience to overcome today’s biggest hiring and retention challenges. 
 

Watch how five top employers — Newell Brands, Southwest Airlines, KinderCare Education, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and MITRE — are writing their own scripts to survive and thrive amid today’s tumultuous labor market.
 


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Newell Brands: Using AI to supercharge internal mobility 
 

When Newell Brands' Ashley Blackmore, Director, North America Talent Acquisition & Operations, and her team wanted to level up the employee experience related to skill development and internal opportunities, they had a few overarching goals in mind:
 

  • Provide visibility to all internal openings
  • Empower people to take control of their future career paths
  • Provide internal job alerts that match employees’ preferences


“Consistent feedback we’d gotten from our internals is that they don’t have visibility to all of the openings,” Blackmore noted. “It also wasn’t a great view or experience, especially with referring friends.”
 

In the past year, Newell Brands stepped up their internal mobility efforts by launching a fully global program, which handed employees more control over their long-term career goals. The team chose to implement Phenom’s Employee Experience (EX) platform, recognizing that its AI-supported job search, skills matching, and interest-based job alerts capabilities would empower employees to take control of their careers. 


Case Study: How Newell Brands Boosted Applies 69%


After winning buy-in from key stakeholders including TA, HR, HRIT, and business unit leaders with a product demo, Blackmore and her team hit the gas pedal on a global launch designed to generate buzz. They improved on multichannel communications — flyers, swag, TV monitor banners, in-office presentations and email communications — and let employees know that exciting changes were coming to internal mobility.
 

In just two days post-launch, Blackmore and her team saw amazing results, including:
 

  • 646 employees logins
  • 880 employee visits
  • 1,026 internal posted jobs
  • 26 apply clicks
  • 21 referrals


The new platform represents a big win for Newell employees, who now have the same phenomenal experience as external candidates.
 

Southwest Airlines: The sky’s the limit for employee referrals 
 

When COVID-19 shook up the labor market, Southwest Airlines' Kelby Tansey, Team Lead, Recruitment Marketing, and Tyler Hagood, Team Lead, Sourcing and SWA Staffers, knew that incentivizing one of Southwest’s most valuable candidate pools — employee referrals — was critical.
 

In fact, data shows that 45% of employees sourced from referrals stay for more than 4 years, while 25% sourced through job boards stay only 2 years. With this information in mind, Southwest's TA team decided to inject fresh life into their referral program with a points-based reward system. But they knew that incentivizing employee referrals like this would require efficiency, organization, and scaling — and the right tech to keep it all on track. 
 

Luckily, the team already had Phenom’s Employee Experience (EX) platform in place to support critical functions of the new referrals program. “We were able to do several company-wide communication touch points and then lead [referring employees] back into the internal mobility platform to learn more or refer somebody,” Tansey said. 
 

At the same time, referring employees were prompted to complete their employee profiles, enabling more personalized internal mobility opportunities for a better experience. Using the platform’s automation capabilities drew candidates to engage further with Southwest, prompting them to create a profile and receive relevant communications.


Related: The Value of 1M Chatbot Interactions: Southwest Airlines Tells All


And as those referral numbers increased, Hagood worked to balance delivering a great experience with meeting administrative demands to scale the program. To do so, they implemented virtual referral information sessions. Hosted through the platform, they set up multiple touch points during which recruiters could provide interviewing tips, insights on Southwest's culture, and answers to FAQs.  
 

Hagood’s team has been able to stay ahead of hiring demands by proactively reaching out to referred candidates when they identify a hard-to-find role. With direct call campaigns, recruiters can personally contact referral candidates who would be a good fit. “When we know a position is going to post, we are calling into that market weeks ahead of time, letting the referrals know, ‘Hey get your resume dusted off, get ready, this position is going to post.’” 
 

According to Hagood, the results speak for themselves: In just a few weeks, Southwest's referrals jumped from 125 per week to 1,000 referrals per week. And at least 50% of referrals completed their profiles, which better equips recruiters to convert them into applicants later. 
 

Thermo Fisher Scientific: Booking interviews faster with automation
 

When the pandemic caused open requisitions at Thermo Fisher Scientific to skyrocket, Amy Ritter, Senior Director, TA Operations & Enabling Solutions, saw that streamlining the interview and hiring process was essential. (Thermo Fisher develops COVID vaccines, tests, and therapies.)
 

“Engaging experiences, recruiter productivity, and speed are critical for us now like never before,” she said. Thermo Fisher’s TA team turned to Phenom’s scheduling assistant, which functions right within the platform’s CRM – and easily integrates with the company’s email system – to create a seamless, AI-powered interview experience. 
 

The interview scheduling tool gives candidates the same level of ease they’re used to with online consumer experiences – such as making a restaurant reservation or booking a salon appointment. It frees recruiters from the back-and-forth time drain, too. “It allows us to provide an efficient, frictionless experience to handle the administrative aspects of the process, while conserving energy to focus on preparing for the interview itself,” Ritter noted.
 

With automated communications throughout the process, from reminders to thank you notes, Thermo Fisher stays top-of-mind with interviewees — which is critical when you consider that many candidates are entertaining multiple job offers, as Ritter has observed in today’s market. 
 

Phenom’s scheduling tool netted Thermo Fisher some eye-opening results:
 

  • 1,000+ interviews scheduled in one month (more than 78% of all interviews)
  • 24 hour reduction in time spent on interview scheduling


KinderCare Education: Hiring for hourly positions in one day


When KinderCare Education began reopening locations after pandemic-related shutdowns, Derek Murphy-Johnson, Senior Manager, Talent Attraction, and his team faced a big hurdle: the company’s hiring needs outstripped their capacity to keep up. 
 

But by hosting virtual hiring events with Phenom Events, KinderCare was able to hire hourly workers at scale overnight. Consider these results from just one event:
 

  • 160+ applicants registered 
  • 79 interviews held
  • 40+ critical hires made


Efficient hiring creates a better experience across the board — for hiring managers, current staff, and parents as well, Murphy-Johnson noted. 


Related: Connecting with Care: How Employers Can Better Support Working Parents


Consider these top 4 lessons from KinderCare’s hiring events:
 

1. Use technology to stay organized. Phenom Events helped the team by facilitating event requests from hiring managers. On the back end, Murphy-Johnson and his teammate used the CRM to build out candidate profiles and maintain event communications.
 

2. Leverage paid advertising. Create paid Google and Facebook ads to increase visibility among external applicants. Allocating a small budget for this was worth well the ROI, Murphy-Johnson noted.
 

3. Automate email communication. Using Phenom’s automated email campaigns, Murphy-Johnson was able to create a great experience and reduce the workload for his team. Through both timed reminders and automated drip messages, KinderCare maintained frequent, personalized contact. “We know that in today’s world, time to engage and time to connect with your candidates is critical,” he said.  
 

4. Get proactive. Share event leads 24-48 hours before the event with interview team so they can engage with attendees in advance. Hiring managers should also receive candidate details, including interests and experience, so they can better engage with attendees. 
 

Murphy-Johnson shared a few additional pro tips:
 

  • Send registered candidates a message 24 hours before the event with participation details. 
     
  • Encourage hiring managers to reach out personally with a text message or email the day before the event to build excitement. 
     
  • Email campaigns are better for longer messages. Save text campaigns for quick reminders and finer details.
     
  • Conduct follow-up surveys with both participants and hiring managers to see how events could be improved. (Phenom’s platform automates this, btw!


MITRE: Proactively fill the pipeline and engage hiring managers 


Crystal Stanfield, Director, Talent Planning and Acquisition at MITRE has a secret weapon for hiring for critical roles: Collaborating with hiring managers on skills, sourcing, and engagement. 
 

“We collaborate together on these three areas, helping us to really arm the talent advisor with the right info to go after the right candidate,” she said. It’s clearly an effective method: MITRE just wrapped their fiscal year with 1,335 external hires — 39% of which were directly sourced.
 

Driving the results? Tech that enables hiring manager and recruiter collaboration. “When we look at the AI in Phenom, and the collaboration with our hiring managers, it really is a perfect recipe for success.”
 

Stanfield shared these best practices for optimizing collaborative sourcing between TA and hiring managers — and ultimately filling the pipeline with best-fit candidates:
 

  • Conduct screen-share meetings
  • Search your own database first
  • Ask hiring managers for ideal profiles
  • Create a shared project to work from
  • Create Boolean strings for sourcing tools
  • Agree in advance to bi-weekly sourcing syncs
  • Review analytics and market insights
  • Encourage an iterative process


She also provided tips on leveraging AI tech to fill challenging roles:
 

1. Refine requisition skills criteria. Working with hiring managers, the team pays close attention to the search algorithm within the Phenom platform, scrutinizing which skills its pulling out of job descriptions. Are they the right ones? Are there redundancies? Hiring managers also provide ideal candidates, which the team then loads into the system to ensure no skills are left out. 


2. Review leads together. Knowing that AI needs human input to produce the best results, TA and hiring managers reviewed leads gained from AI together. “We really help train the algorithm to know that they are accurate — that this is a good candidate for this role,” Stanfield said. 


3. Optimize your own database. When MITRE launched Phenom, the team loaded data on thousands of candidates from their current system. This allowed them to tap into existing pools of past applicants already engaged with the employer brand. “From there, we really gained the power of owning our talent community in a way that we didn’t have before. So knowing that we can search on really anything to help pull the right candidates out of our talent community is really powerful.”


4. Share data as much as possible. The more hiring managers know, the more they can help the TA team. “Hiring managers really like to know what we do — they like to see a source and they like to see the data because it helps them understand how they can help us. And really, it’s a win-win.”
 


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