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Employment Today, HR Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Employment Today, HR Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Employment Today Magazine

Rethinking recruitment

How do you attract and keep great people when everyone else wants them too? Sue Turk has some suggestions.

New Zealand is in the middle of a jobs boom. We have an unemployment rate of 3.9 percent, the lowest in the developed world. In 2018, job vacancies were up 9.4 percent year-on-year and the workforce participation rate was around 70 percent.

What does all this mean to you? Well, if you’re trying to attract candidates with the right skills and experience and want to develop an environment with development and career paths that will keep great people for longer, you’re facing an uphill battle. Which poses the question—how do you attract and find the right people when everyone else is looking for them at the same time?

In a candidate-led market, companies need to rethink the way they recruit and the manner in which they conduct interviews to fill vacant positions. While the traditional interview is not dead, technology continues to enable and disrupt this function at many businesses.


If your organisation is like the majority of firms, you are now experiencing digital disruption and digital transformation. Technology is changing the nature of your business, and fundamentally changing the skill set requirements of your employees.

Despite digital transformation making big changes to your business structure and operations, for many organisations recruitment has been left behind. This can cause you serious problems in a candidate-led market. Technology needs to be at the heart of your recruitment process—both internally and externally.

A poor hiring process can not only mean you miss out on great candidates—it can affect your brand as a whole. Gone are the days that your organisation controlled your brand from the top down. Today, brands have been democratised. Your customers and your employees now control your brand—which is why a focus on the recruitment experience is so important. The way candidates share their experience with your brand on social media and peer-to-peer review sites can have a big impact on brand perception, even revenue.


Before you implement recruitment technologies, however, you need to look at your procedures and processes. You can automate a bad process—but why would you want to?

A process that companies can get wrong is finding budget for the candidate search before figuring out what the business impact of not making the hire is. You need to ask why you’re looking for a candidate, and then by breaking down your journey step by step and focusing on the candidate experience, you’ll know where you are headed. Once you’ve set a clear direction, you can properly evaluate and implement the technology that will optimise your process, best utilise your resources, and maximise the candidate experience.


At Cornerstone, we believe continual learning is critical to the success of the employee, and the organisations they work within. Today, career paths are much more fluid, technology is fundamentally changing skill requirements, and employees are much more mobile.

That’s why a continual learning and development framework needs to be a central pillar in your workplace of tomorrow. Today, every employee needs the ability to reskill within their current roles, and navigate the career lattice. It’s critical that employers foster an environment where staff are able to learn and keep up to date with the latest technological developments by driving learning as a key component of the workplace, rather than being a one-time thing.

What does this mean for you as a HR professional? Critically, you need to re-evaluate and reinvent the way you create and conduct training programmes. Traditionally, training programmes were made up of complex structures, designed and developed in an ad hoc manner.

Our research shows that 46 percent of employees favour on-the-job training, which is why training programmes should not be developed with a focus on theory alone, but include practical training that allows employees to step outside the classroom and learn on the job.


Creating a learning culture should be a communal effort—and one that starts at the top. The actions and values of company leaders shape how everyone in an organisation operates, and the attitudes of leaders can make or break a learning programme and culture.

What sometimes gets in the way is that there’s a lot of training content out there. From Google searches to YouTube videos and webinars, training material is everywhere.

The critical value an HR and training organisation offers is in the identification of the best possible content for their business and their people. This means ensuring that the content we, as HR professionals, invest in is high quality, up-to-date, engaging, relevant and easy to use.

Creating this modern content requires that our learning organisations have an outward looking and agile approach to training. Think about your upcoming training and development programme as an example—do I really need another complex training programme, or would a “microlearning” focus better suit the needs of my employees?

The ultimate goal is to identify a suitable training product, implement it and build a feedback loop to improve the programme in a fast, iterative manner. The reality is that our employees are asking for an opportunity to learn, and it’s our duty to help them grow.

At Cornerstone, we follow our own advice. Not so long ago we realised we needed a fresh way to inspire our staff to learn new skills, even if they weren’t directly tied to their day-to-day jobs. So, we created “Development Day”, where employees give and get training on subjects as far flung as enhancing PowerPoint skills to developing a personal brand, once per quarter. The results speak for themselves. Our staff have stronger relationships, increased engagement, and new doors open for career movement.

By embracing technology, creating an agile organisation and building an ongoing learning environment, you give your organisation the best chance to hire, grow and develop employees in a very tight and competitive jobs market.

The jobs market doesn’t look as though it is going to cool anytime soon. Using innovative practice, you can find the candidates you need, and help your organisation to grow to its full potential.

SUE TURK is managing director ANZ of Cornerstone OnDemand.

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