The world of technology has not only changed the way we bank, it has revolutionised the way that potential employees view an organisation. Brand awareness and individual perceptions of a financial institution’s have combined with the instant communications ability of the Internet to make recruitment as much a marketing exercise as an interview process.
So says Narisha Singh, Global Head of Resourcing, Personal and Business Banking at Standard Bank who recently addressed the sixth annual LinkedIn Talent Connect conference in London and described how the digital revolution has changed the previously administratively-driven recruitment process at her own organisation, Standard Bank, from a traditional ‘order taking’ system to a proactive market-driven approach.
“Traditional recruitment based on the use of outsourced agencies required little of HR managers. Initial tracking of candidates was done by an agency, candidates were selected and CV’s sent on to the client for vetting. Agencies were the specialists and we, like many corporate organisations, did not really play in the recruitment space,” she says.
“As a result, the HR manager referring potential recruits to departments within the bank really knew very little about the candidate. The need for transformation and pressure on budgets because of the economic situation required out of the box thinking regarding the entire process. Adding to the need for a reassessment was the fact that individuals were looking to new digital media for job opportunities rather than the traditional ‘want ads’ placed in the print media or on job boards.”
Fast-tracking to the future, says Singh, requires that HR should fully align itself with the corporate strategy. This means matching the corporate drive towards increased use of digital platforms and apps and new ways of interacting with consumers through digital solutions and social media designed to increase contact with customers.
“As much as customer behaviour had changed, so has that of our candidates. Candidates now use digital platforms to vet potential employers. They want to know about the bank, what kind of organisation we are, what our culture is, what our values are, whether we encourage personal development and what the bank will be doing in the future.
“We realised that we had to do things differently. We began by looking at resourcing, how we were playing in the digital space, how we could tailor content for candidates and how we could market ourselves as an employer of choice. We had to do so by differentiating ourselves from the rest of the financial sector so we could effectively compete for talent.”
The answer to how this could be achieved led to Ms Singh opening discussions with the marketing division to change the recruitment model from reliance on outside sourcing of talent to direct sourcing-something that held major implications for all staff involved in staff placement at the bank. It was a change that also placed challenges at the door of marketing.
Marketing had to help HR leverage off the Standard Bank brand and assist with messaging to ensure that touch points with customers and potential employees was aligned. This required using what was already in place, but also putting new media and messages in place. A mutual learning process between both the HR and marketing disciplines got underway-with creating an easy, integrated digital experience for candidates being the ultimate goal.
“We needed to give candidates a very clear view of what Standard Bank is. We needed to convey that we are a global bank which offers opportunities across the African continent. We needed to build a dedicated careers website that included these and other key elements.”
The result was a site where graphics and messaging coincided with information about the bank, key personalities and culture. A personal touch using videos of employees was embedded in the site providing an authentic view of the bank. Over time, the interpretation of available data regarding site-use led to material being configured in a mobile-friendly way.
“Our initial assumptions over the type of candidates who would use the site proved to be wrong. Where we thought it would predominantly attract younger people, the reality was that respondents were drawn from across the spectrum. There were also high levels of interest from people with managerial through to executive-level experience,” says Singh.
Although the careers site has proved its efficacy, Standard Bank does not solely rely on this channel for its resource needs. Other channels, selected on the basis of user preferences, spread the recruitment net even wider-even though the ultimate landing site is the careers web site.
The common differentiator across all sites is the information provided.
The next move, says Singh, is into the world of ‘gamification’ and the creative use of gaming technology and principles to create increased user involvement on sites used by ‘millennials’ looking to the possibilities of banking as a career.
Although the concept is still fairly new and results are being constantly evaluated, it is expected that there will be significant savings accruing on the recruitment budget in 2016.
“We have a strong brand and we also have a good story to tell. Together, with a strong digital presence, we believe that we are building new recruitment possibilities,” says Singh.