Jess ElmquistSeptember 6, 2023
Topics: Customer Stories

There Are Career Sites, and Then There’s Regions Bank’s Career Site

Recent research by EY on attracting talent to the banking sector is worth a deep dive to every CHRO in the industry.

The report asks all the right questions: Are we thinking creatively about how to source tech and data talent? Are we exploring a broad range of talent pools to identify candidates?

If there’s one financial institution that can definitively say “yes” to those questions, it’s Regions Bank, headquartered in Alabama and home to a workforce of 20,000 strong. Nearly 90% of associates say it’s a great place to work, compared to 57% of employees at a similar company.

What is it that makes Regions so admired by its people? Is it the brand or the culture? Ryan King, Executive Vice President and Head of Talent Acquisition, sat down with me on “Smarter” to share insights into his organization’s success. With a team of almost 60 recruiters across the company, King oversees strategic recruiting initiatives related to the sourcing and acquisition of external diverse talent, as well as managing all internal mobility transactions.

[Watch the full episode, listen to it on Apple and Spotify, or continue reading for the big takeaways]

From 5,000 to 7,500 Hiring Transactions a Year

Banks can’t compete for talent based on compensation alone. They must build teams, a top-notch culture, an effective learning environment, and help their employees grow technically and financially — according to separate research by Crowe, the global consulting firm.

The banking industry has long struggled to attract younger employees. Usually, retail banker wages and job requirements have been low, technical expectations are limited, and experienced individuals were prioritized over college graduates.

Crowe’s research showed a distinct shift in mindset, where companies now seek younger generations to increase technical proficiency and bring more diversity. In fact, two job areas in high demand at Regions are bankers (typically mortgage originators, corporate and commercial bankers, and wealth advisors) and professionals with technology and digital expertise.

Digital innovation is a distinct competitive advantage for Regions, which
comes in handy when there is more demand for talent than supply, as customers increasingly bank from anywhere.

Adopting an AI-powered intelligent talent experience platform in 2021 proved to be rocket fuel.

The company hired 15,000 people over two years (that’s both internal and external hires) after averaging about 5,000 annual hires previously. Time to fill has decreased by 10 days, completely transforming everything Regions does from a talent acquisition (TA) perspective.

This is a remarkably quick transformation for an organization that had, only a few years earlier, centralized the HR function. HR generalists were doing everything from benefits to compensation to talent acquisition. “As you start to prioritize those activities, recruiting was down at the bottom of the totem pole,” King said.

Elevating Recruiting

As Regions went through the discovery process for improving the candidate experience, King recalled questions he was asked about the existing environment, which consisted of a static career site with little to no dynamic functionality.

“What happens to all of the candidates who come to your career site? How do you keep in touch with them?”

King didn’t have an answer.

“Now we have a talent community,” he said. “We have ways to capture leads. We have talent marketing campaign capability so that we can continue to keep in touch with these candidates in hopes that they become applicants.”

Take a look at Regions’s career site and you’ll see what he means. Awesome graphics and plenty of photos. No mile-long list of open roles in sight. A chatbot pops up on the screen and says “Hi! Are you looking for a job?” There are 13 categories to choose from, including accounting and corporate banking, as well as the number of open jobs in each category. There’s something for everyone.

The five pillars of Regions’s corporate culture is spelled out right there on the career site as well.

Feedback is vital to an outstanding experience, so Regions actually asks visitors, “Please tell us about your experience exploring our career site.”

Why would a company go to such lengths?

Packaging an Employee Value Prop

“There are companies that spend millions upon millions of dollars trying to come up with employee value prop,” King explained. “We already had one. Now it's just a matter of taking that employee value prop and packaging it up into the right campaign to deliver to the candidate.”

Within the career site are four micro sites. So if someone is a branch banker and wants to know what a day in the life of Regions is like, there are videos of actual Regions branch bankers doing their jobs.

The ROI?

Regions used to average about 6,000 applicants a month. After going live with the Phenom platform, that figure has now increased to about 14,000 per month. In fact, since the start of 2023, the company is averaging about 25,000 applicants. “That’s insane,” King said.

So is eclipsing 400,000 people in Regions’s talent CRM. I mean, that’s flat-out amazing when you consider that Regions is in a lower requisition environment. Then add career site visits going from 70,000 a month to more than 100,000 — more than 70% of whom are brand new visitors.

Sixty-six percent of visitors rate the site positively. Regions wants to raise that number to 85%.

Certainly there’s always room for improvement, but I think that 66% indicates the moves that Regions has made.

Compared to other organizations, I’d say the company is doing pretty well, which is why I felt compelled to bring it up in the first place. It’s not for nothing that job seekers, whether they did or didn't have the outcome they wanted, still rated the site as a positive, so they joined the talent community and still want to hear from Regions.

Connecting Talent to the Broader Strategy

One other important takeaway from my conversation with King is the quality of conversations he’s now having with other senior decision-makers in the company. He explained that TA professionals and HR partners at Regions are having more strategic and meaningful discussions around revenue growth because the data allow them to articulate a stronger human capital story.

Talent conversations around the boardroom table would usually get relegated to the back of the PowerPoint deck, King said. But now, “we're bringing that up to the first or second page because if you don't have a people acquisition strategy to achieve those revenue numbers, you're wasting your time. My team has been great. They've adopted the mindset that we're all talent marketers.”

Can you say the same in your organization? Are you “just” a TA partner, or are you a talent marketer too?

I’d like to hear how you made that transition, or if it’s still an aspiration. Maybe I’ll invite you to come on an episode of “Smarter” to talk about that journey. Let’s connect on LinkedIn.

Note to readers: Since this interview was recorded, Regions Bank reported sharply higher applicants and career site visits, which is why some of the figures in this blog are higher than the numbers disclosed in the video interview.

About Smarter

“Smarter” is a podcast where I engage with top experts and senior leaders to uncover the big people trends, unlock the insights, and listen for new ideas related to purpose, people, and the processes that work the best. Let’s get smarter together.

Jess Elmquist

Jess Elmquist is the Chief Human Resources Officer and Chief Evangelist at Phenom. In a previous career as the Chief Learning Officer at Life Time, the healthy way of life company, Jess hired more than 200,000 people and spoke to hundreds of his executive peers about talent trends.

Get the latest talent experience insights delivered to your inbox.

Sign up to the Phenom email list for weekly updates!


© 2024 Phenom People, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

  • TRUSTe
  • CSA logo
  • IAF
  • ISO
  • ISO
  • ISO
  • ISO
  • ANAB