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ToTalent Live Recap: three essential days for talent leaders of the future

As audiences around the world tuned in on Tuesday afternoon, it marked the start of ToTalent Live. Our first-ever three-day, recruitment leadership event. As we look back, we couldn’t be prouder. For those who missed it: a quick recap.

Jasper Spanjaart on March 26, 2021 Average reading time: 3 min
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ToTalent Live Recap: three essential days for talent leaders of the future

Each day, from March 23rd through March 25th, renowned recruitment expert and host Hung Lee kicked off ToTalent Live. Known as the curator for Recruiting Brainfood, Lee was responsible for opening each day with a few general notes and ensuring everything worked swimmingly. Each day had a primary strategic topic within the world of recruiting and TA, respectively: Diversity Recruitment, Quality-of-Hire and Boosting Teams.

DEI leader Vessy Tasheva of Vessy.com started the day with an inspiring talk about the incredible power TA leaders harness — and the remarkable shift that has occurred on the employee side. “People are more stressed than ever, so they will struggle to undergo any type of change”, Tasheva said. “That becomes problematic for recruitment purposes. It is up to the inclusive leader to ensure you help and support people in growing autonomy maintain a sense of identity outside of work.”

When life gets unpredictable, that’s when anxiety goes through the roof.”

Tasheva even went one step further — and sees an opportunity for talent and HR leaders to be counsellors of sorts moving forward. “Isolation and loneliness can be severe. Working remotely, you need enough space to be free, to be able to create and explore, without it being chaotic. When life gets unpredictable, that’s when anxiety goes through the roof. Even if it’s just once a week, you need to create some type of predictability for your employees.”

Combatting unconscious bias

Indeed’s Recruitment Evangelist Danny Stacy then took to the virtual floor. Stacy is an expert in something everyone in recruitment will have to combat: unconscious bias. “With every recruitment step, we eliminate a big pool of diverse talent”, he said. “I ask that you recognise that we all do it. We all have unconscious bias. If I ask you to picture a genius in your head, do you think of a woman?”

“Being aware of those split-second, ever-lasting decisions is the first step towards combatting it.”

Future leaders must ensure Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) are rooted within all levels of decision-making”, he said. “And we need to make sure that our diversity efforts are truly diverse. When only 8% think of age as part of their diversity efforts, we have something we need to think about. Instinctive first impressions are usually wrong. But being aware of those split-second, ever-lasting decisions is the first step towards combatting it.”

Adding the ‘e’ from empathy

Finally, Cornerstone’s Alicia Roy and Sarah Drever Spence energised the virtual crowd with an inspiring talk about actionable points any TA leader can do to ensure companies are truly about DEIB. “It starts with learning at the leadership level”, Drever Spence said. “But diversity training has essentially been marginalised. It’s ‘say this, don’t say that’. 75% are not including DEI in leadership development, so that says a lot.”

75% are not including DEI in leadership development, so that says a lot.”

As part of the solution for talent leaders, Roy and Drever Spence see the solution as fivefold. “It’s about adding the ‘e’ from empathy”, they said. Firstly, it’s about reflecting the external diversity of the workforce internally. Secondly, they advise to build that DEIB muscle with a bodybuilding approach: never stop training. Thirdly, with reoccurring training, they see a need to digitalise and revisit as much of the process as possible, for which a feedback loop is also required. Finally, Roy and Drever Spence emphasised the need for a diverse hiring team.

Why recruitment has changed — forever

With an emphasis on the data-driven approach and the usage of metrics in recruitment — Bas van de Haterd opened the second day of ToTalent Live with a talk about the future of hiring. “Both the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matters movement will change the face of recruitment forever”, he said. “With an increased focus on gig workers, that will be a very big part of any talent acquisition strategy moving forward.”

There is no correlation between a quality-of-hire, quality-of-performance and anything that’s on a resume.”

Meanwhile, Van de Haterd emphasised the necessity for a change in the metrics recruitment uses. “I would have won the Tour de France last year if we just counted the amount of kilometers I cycled last year”, he jokingly said. “Years of experience don’t matter. The resume doesn’t matter. There is no correlation between a quality-of-hire, quality-of-performance and anything that’s on a resume. Just realise what you’re hiring for — skills or potential — and measure on that!”

The need for transparency

Then Andreas Eisemann, VP of Sales for German software provider Softgarden, took to the floor for a talk in which he urged talent leaders to be transparent in their hiring process. “How often do you buy a product without looking at reviews?”, he asked. “So why wouldn’t organisations integrate that on their hiring site? From our point-of-view: value added communications is providing as much information as you can.”

No one is perfect, but at least the candidate will know what to expect from your company.”

“In order to win the very best candidates for your company you need to treat your candidates like customers”, he continued. “It’s about using KPI’s for external purposes. No one is perfect, but at least the candidate will know what to expect from your company. Based on the information you gave them, he or she decides to apply or not apply. That’s the right point in time to make that decision — rather than hiring the wrong person, and 3 or 4 months later they want to leave.”

‘Stop using metrics that don’t say anything’

SmartRecruitersHiring Success Director Tony de Graaf ended the day on an unforgettable note. “We are seemingly finally moving away from the definition that being good is being fast and cheap”, he said. “You want a perfect score for Time-to-Hire and Cost-per-Hire? Hire the first guy or girl that walks through the door. Those numbers will be satisfied — but it obviously won’t say anything about the person you just hired, and the quality of that person.”

“You want a perfect score for Time-to-Hire and Cost-per-Hire? Hire the first guy or girl that walks through the door.”

De Graaf’s argument revolves around the simple notion that although no metric is completely useless — there is a better, and easier approach right for the taking. “It’s about asking yourself the question: what is your purpose as a TA person?”, he said. “Are you managing a cost center or are you a difference maker? We all have complex dashboards giving us a bunch of information — but it actually doesn’t help me decide anything.

De Graaf helps organisations implement what they have dubbed the Hiring Success Method. Rather than focusing on numbers that don’t say anything about the quality of those that are hired, they provide three, simple-to-measure metric opportunities that do. “With the Hiring Budget, you reframe the recruiting costs as an investment. With Hiring Velocity, you empower execs to accurately forecast with real data on hiring speed and the ability to meet targets. Finally, with the Net Hiring Score, you objectively measure your team’s ability to hire employees that fit well within the organisation.”

‘What you do matters’

The third and final day revolved around leadership — and what it takes to build a culture that can be deemed both successful and inclusive. Julie Sowash, the executive director for US-based Disability Solutions, spoke at length about what it takes to be a better and stronger talent leader. “If I can change one of your minds about our community of the disabled, then you can go on and potentially change the lives of thousands”, she said.

Around 50% of Europeans with disabilities are currently unemployed. We need more soldiers, allies, that are willing to take action for them.”

“We’re all biased, but when we can recognise it, we can get rid of it”, she continued. “And people with disabilities aren’t who you think we are. Around 50% of Europeans with disabilities are currently unemployed. We need more soldiers, allies, that are willing to take action for them. And during a time of remote-first work, you are going to find a lot more talent that otherwise wouldn’t be able to get into the office. This can be the stepping stone for those to get into work.”

‘Being a data-driven leader is not about data’

Geert-Jan Waasdorp, CEO of European data pioneers Intelligence Group, followed Sowash with a talk about data-driven leadership. “The more data-driven a leader is, the more he should be on a hangmat on the beaches of Jamaica”, Waasdorp said jokingly. “This will be controversial, but data driven recruitment is overrated and hyped”, he said. “It’s not about data and it will never be about data in recruitment. It’s about people, hires, quality, speed and fun.”

Data driven recruitment leadership is not about data or analytics, it’s about asking the right question and setting the right ambitions.”

Waasdorp sees a mistake in the definition of data-driven when recruitment tries to influence the data-side of things. “And data can help you realise that, but you need to think of data as IT. As a TA leader, you don’t know anything about IT. Data is the oil in the motor you don’t want to see or smell. It just needs to be there, and the less data you see and need, the better the process is optimised and data is integrated. Data driven recruitment leadership is not about data or analytics, it’s about asking the right question and setting the right ambitions.”

Remote leadership

Finally, Ginger Maseda, Bullhorn’s Director of Global TA ended the three-day leadership event by sharing simple, practical opportunities for better remote leadership. “It’s important to remember that we’re all going through the storm, but we’re all in different boats”, Maseda said. “The first pillar for leaders is empathy towards your teams. Seek to understand and make sure you’re opening up your mind, and really putting yourself in their shoes.”

You don’t have any water cooler conversations while working remotely, so you need to take on that humanity factor from afar.”

“Demonstrate to them that you’re listening and supporting them”, she continued. “And that you trust them. Make it personal through things like celebrating wins, setting big team goals, organising trivia games or creating relay races — where a project is based on true collaboration. Just make it more personal. You don’t have any water cooler conversations while working remotely, so you need to take on that humanity factor from afar. Part of that is putting your heart on your sleeve and sharing your own stories.”

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Jasper Spanjaart

Jasper Spanjaart

Writer and editor at ToTalent

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