Show & Tell: How Life Time is Winning at Video Testimonials

Show & Tell: How Life Time is Winning at Video Testimonials

This recap covers the July 15 episode of Talent Experience Live, where we explored the benefits of user-generated video content. Life Time’s Mick Joneja, Senior Director of Talent Acquisition, and Andrew Renschen, Talent Acquisition Lead of Sourcing shared tips and tools to produce high-quality videos that not only attract job seekers, but drive a more engaging employee experience to retain talent.

Who can tell your company’s story better than the people building it?

As the talent acquisition team at Life Time experienced, user-generated video content is on the rise for a reason. It’s cheaper, faster, and increases candidate engagement with a more authentic representation of your employer brand — all invaluable benefits for TA leaders pressed to hire top-notch talent now. 

But how do you streamline the process of making your employees content-generating rockstars?

Leveraging video capture technology within their talent experience platform, Life Time put employees in front of the camera to tell their stories about working for the fitness club, which included videos on inclusion, career advancement, and more. Rather than working from a script, employees were given the freedom — and just a few basic guidelines — to share their own experiences and communicate their company’s EVP and culture.

Watch the full episode below for more on Life Time’s user-generated video content strategies, or read on for highlights! 

Why Is User-Generated Video Content Important in Recruiting?

User-generated content (UGC) is just what it sounds like. In the work world, it’s content generated by real employees themselves who explain what they love about a specific organization and what it’s like to work there. And with the right strategy, these videos can help TA teams attract and engage top talent.

As Life Time discovered, these videos can create excitement about your employer brand and culture, increase employee engagement, save production time, and more. 

Plus, user-generated video content is key for standing out from other companies in today’s highly competitive job market, when qualified candidates are hard to come by. 

RELATED: Video Everywhere: Crafting User-Generated Content to Connect with Talent

Candidates get an authentic look at company culture. 
“[User-generated] video really helps bring to life both the positions and the business groups that you’re hiring for,” Renschen noted. “A job description is super-important to give you specific details and requirements, but getting that day-in-the-life or testimonial about why your company is a great place to work really resonates with people.”

User-generated content is a hit with employees, too. 
Giving employees the opportunity to contribute their own videos also drives a more engaging employee experience. 

“I don’t know of anyone who’s ever turned us down,” Renschen said. “It’s a great recognition piece for them too — it gets them out there. They get to tell their stories, and most people are pretty excited to take part in it.”

TA teams can save a ton of time. 
From eliminating scripts to shedding the constraints of production logistics, enabling employees to create their own videos is a huge time-saver. Getting content back from a studio typically took two to four weeks, Renschen said. 

“Nowadays, you send a link out with guidelines for what you want them to talk about, and you’re getting it back in one, two or three days even. Part of it is [employees] being in a comfortable environment where they can make sure they have the right take when they submit it.”

How Life Time Creates Authentic Videos at Scale

After spending a lot of time and too many resources on traditional video production, Life Time sought out to find a simpler, faster solution to creating this content at scale — especially after pandemic-related shutdowns wiped out the ability to record in the studio or on location. Instead, they made use of Phenom’s video capabilities to allow employees to record right from their own homes. 

Phenom’s Video Capture transforms the process. 
With video capture tools included in the Phenom Talent Experience Management platform, the process has gotten much easier, Joneja and Renschen said, giving them the ability to make video at scale. 

READ MORE: How Phenom Uses Phenom Video Capture 

By simply sending out a link to employees, Life Time was able to quickly collect natural, engaging content that resonates with candidates.

“In the past, you’d have to book studio time and the right people to help you film and edit videos. And the way it’s changed for us with this platform is how easy it is, once you know the system, to create a shareable link and get it out to team members. We’ve been implementing that a lot here lately,” Renschen said.

Success Freeze Frame: Life Time’s DE&I Page 

Recognizing that user-generated videos were ideal for bringing authenticity to the company’s DE&I page, the talent acquisition team forged ahead on an overhaul mid-pandemic.  

“We wanted to have stories from our inclusion council members, leaders, and ambassadors, and we wanted them to be authentic,” Joneja said. Without being able to fly team members in to record, the team again used Phenom’s video capture tool – and got better-than-expected results. 

“The output – the quality of the content – was exactly what we wanted,” Joneja said. “Our team members really felt in control of the whole process. We just provided some basic, foundational logistics for it, and they kind of scripted it and made it their own. The authentic piece of it carried over very well.” 

He estimated that their new video strategy saved them months in re-launching the page. 

Page performance metrics show video’s value. 
Outside of its two largest career site pages — corporate jobs and club jobs — Life Time’s revamped DE&I page has received a ton of traffic — more than 13,000 visits this year, according to Joneja and Renschen.

And first-hand candidate feedback tells a story beyond numbers. 

“[Candidates] have said, ‘I really wanted to understand why it’s important to work at Life Time, and what does inclusion mean,’” Joneja said. “They’ve loved the quality of what they’ve heard, and it’s really helped us lock in a lot of candidates.”

Making the Most of Video Content

Because of their value in communicating company culture, employee videos have the power to enrich recruitment activities across the spectrum. And the Phenom content management system (CMS) makes it easy to store video content and embed it in other recruitment marketing efforts, Renschen said. 

Life Time, for example, is refreshing its career site with videos featuring employees from its Inclusion Council. On the page, candidates — and employees — can watch four members of the Council as they share personal stories of women in leadership, LGBTQIA+ support, women of color, and BIPOC support. 

“We opened Pandora’s Box … as soon as other leaders in corporate and the field saw these great testimonials and how engaging they are, they’ve been peppering us with requests,” Joneja said.

Exciting (Life) Times

It’s full speed ahead for Life Time as they continue to welcome members back to the in-person experience and prepare to open new clubs. 

As for HR, the team is rolling out a new position – virtual personal trainer – based on the success of the remote fitness classes offered during quarantine. The ideal candidates will be able to train anyone, anywhere, according to Renschen.

“We’re hiring like crazy,” he said. “We’re ramping back up to normal new club openings over the next year so we’re looking for facility engineers, and people in technology, construction, architecture, and athletic events.”

Interested in enabling employees to create their own video content?

Request a demo to see Phenom Video Capture in action! 

Sign up to get notified about future episodes of Talent Experience Live! Catch us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook every Thursday at noon ET to get the latest in recruiting, talent acquisition, talent management, and HR tech.

Thu, 07/22/2021 – 04:30

2021 Labor Markets & Their Impact on the Future of Work [Video]

2021 Labor Markets & Their Impact on the Future of Work [Video]

Tight labor markets have talent acquisition teams and hiring managers working overtime to fill open roles in a timely manner. But is putting in extra hours enough to get talent in the door faster — and keep them there?

The statistics paint a sobering picture. The U.S. unemployment rate in May fell by 0.3 percentage points and stopped at 5.8 percent, just over one percentage point since Dec. 2020’s 6.7 percent. 

With fewer people than expected starting back to work, there are more job openings than unemployed workers. And while some companies are trying to entice employees with substantial pay increases, it’s not enough. Instead, many employers are being challenged to re-evaluate the entire experience of how they attract and retain talent to meet demand. 

Phenom CEO and co-founder Mahe Bayireddi teamed up with Fred Goff, CEO and founder of Jobcase, and Joe Fuller, Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School to discuss the current labor market and their impact on the future of work. 

Watch the full panel discussion in the video below, or read on for highlights! 

Understanding How We Got Here

The global Covid-19 pandemic took organizations to places they’ve never been before. Many employees began working from home for the first time ever — and communication, collaboration, and project execution went from in-person activities to fully digital exchanges. While many workplaces started to shrink — causing fear and uncertainty to peak — others experienced hiring spikes that forced them to get creative and embrace new strategies to meet demands.

Now, employers are facing new challenges as they reopen their doors. Many people are choosing not to return to work, due to a variety of factors like stimulus handouts, childcare needs, and uncertainty about kids returning to school.

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

“All of us have been intrigued, perplexed, alarmed by some of the trends we’re seeing in the labor market recently,” Fuller said. “There’s been a significant ramp up in postings and employers beginning the reopening process — trying to rehire workers or fill spots that were vacated when they had to suspend operations.” 

HR and business leaders should direct their focus to what a candidate has done — and can do, based on their work experience and skills — as well as make educated hiring decisions that are based on complete data, he said. 

State of the Economy: Inflation, Wages, and Consumer Behavior 

Companies have seats to fill, but can’t get talent in the door. Meanwhile, banks like the San Francisco Federal Reserve have said once inflation increases and the labor market loosens, they can start scaling the amount by which they support the economy. 

Ultimately, inflation needs to reach a certain goal before banks can decrease the amount of financial help they’re giving to the economy  — and the U.S. Federal Reserve wants to reach an inflation of 2 percent.

As hiring continues to be a letdown, especially in food services and construction, wages and benefits are on the rise as tactics to attract potential employees. While companies like McDonald’s have raised compensation on average by 10 percent an hour, others like Chipotle are offering mental health care plans and debt-free degrees for workers.

“The wages are going up,” Bayireddi said, spotlighting the recent changes in supply and demand. “But most importantly, the primary driver of what we’re seeing is consumer behavior has changed, and that is really what is creating different kinds of dynamics across talent markets, because the talent pools that used to be there don’t exist anymore.”

“Maybe we’ll call it the great shuffle.” 

According to Goff’s observations, there’s an emerging appreciation of the imbalance between the number of jobs available and the number of candidates companies are attracting. So why is it difficult to find talent that’s open to work? 

“That’s where both the data and the anecdotal evidence get really interesting,” Goff said. “First, I reject the notion that this whole conversation of the extraordinary unemployment — let’s change that — it’s not a conversation on giving someone an extra couple meals at The Cheesecake Factory. It’s about what’s the right job to entice people to be interested.” 

BLOG: $15/Hr Isn’t Enough — What Candidates Really Want

In the industries that maintained operation and employment during the pandemic, like transportation, warehousing, logistics and delivery, pay got progressive, Goff said. And now, organizations have a new level of pay to offer in order to compete.

Demand for jobs from industry to industry — and workplace shifts — shakes things up for business and HR leaders alike. “There’s a shuffling as people consider what is the company that I’d like to have our labor apply to,” Goff said.

“Underneath that, you have a shuffle for different cultural issues. With knowledge workers, some companies are having to make choices — is it full-time or remote — an employee base may choose different employers based on how the management decides that.” 

More than ever, workers are considering company culture and safety when making employment decisions. For instance, being required to wear a mask could attract, or deter, different people. Goff said for now, people will continue to move around for work while job market details, like those of compensation, benefits, safety and wellbeing, and more eventually become available.

The Importance of Agility, Learning, and Making an Impact

When it comes to helping candidates find the right role, their ability to make an impact and support the organization’s purpose are most important.

The job seeker has to consider the experience, knowledge, and skills they’re able to present to a potential employer, as well as the professional actions they took that made the biggest impact at their previous organizations, according to Bayireddi.

“That’s a very important aspect to manifest in your resume,” he said, and added that every skill can be connected to one of those actions. “If people can really connect that in their resume in an effective format, they have a high degree and high likelihood of getting hired,” Bayireddi said. “Even in the interview, that’s what people are expecting.”

From there, employers and candidates must both look at the company’s purpose and align it with the job seeker’s experience and values. If the candidate really wants to learn, grow, and help drive the company’s purpose, then they’ll have a more meaningful, satisfying career at that particular organization.

“Don’t just learn for a particular wage group, but learn for an impact and the wage will follow,” Bayireddi said. 

AI’s Impact on the Workforce & Wages 

AI, Bayireddi said, is key in determining what type of candidate a company wants to hire, as well as what work and responsibilities will be the most meaningful. 

“That needs extreme personalization.”

Right now, a mix of automated and manual work is best. For example, automating sourcing, screening, and scheduling helps recruiters hire best-fit talent faster, and it helps indicate where certain talent is most needed within the organization.

Automation within your CRM helps recruiters find top talent more quickly, as well. And as organizations automate these time-consuming tasks, it gives recruiters more time to focus on more meaningful work — like building relationships with candidates and advising hiring managers.

VIDEO: Preparing for the Great Rehire: Essential HR Tech Upgrades

“Personalization and automation are complementary skills,” Bayireddi said. 

As automation takes on more tasks and opens up new opportunities for employers, companies should start to understand how this all plays into wages — a trend that’s starting to surface now. 

“The talent pools are constantly changing, irrespective of the industry we belong to,” he said. “On top of it automation is going to play a humongous role.”

As employers consider tasks that can either be automated or require a human element, wages must be taken into account. In some cases, Bayireddi added, it might be more cost effective to have a person handling a job rather than an automated bot — and vice versa. The challenge, he said, is that organizations need to embrace constant learning and restructure the workforce in terms of training, compensation, and showcasing their purpose. 

Workers have a lot of power — individually and collectively, according to Goff. It means companies have new opportunities while navigating today’s labor market. As they watch labor costs rise, he said the acceleration of AI could likely increase — all within the next 18 months. 

“This is where we really want to call the leadership to walk the walk,” Goff said. 

Words of Wisdom: Job Descriptions, Retention, and D&I

Don’t recycle job descriptions

An old, reused job description is a barrier to getting the qualified candidates you want; and therefore, the outcomes you want, Fuller said. Even though it’s often as easy as adding a few new skills to the listing, companies frequently let descriptions become outdated.

Plus, as college degrees become less critical, job descriptions must reflect what the organization wants in skills and competencies as soon as the role opens up, Bayireddi said. 

As organizations grow and roles change, hiring managers and recruiters must work together to align on the critical competencies best-fit candidates must possess to be successful. If not, both parties lose out and increased turnover is inevitable.

But we don’t all speak the same language when it comes to skills. 

“We’re in this period when there’s no dominant design emerging,” Goff said. “So everyone has a different word for ‘self- proficiency.’ They have a different word for ‘customer proficiency’ in a retail organization.”

He believes employers will eventually land on the same language, but employees must come together and establish what that looks like. “There were hundreds of keyboards, [and] we all ended up with qwerty in the turn of the 1900’s — we’re going to end up with a dominant design and an ontology that we settle on,” Goff said. 

For now, he said companies can focus on the meanings of words used in job descriptions, and use machine learning to match them with roles within the organization and with candidates.  

“Even though it’s really messy, for companies and for platforms like Phenom or Jobcase that are proficient in even the most basic kind of machine learning, that can really untangle it for you.”

Retention: An evolution in the hiring market

The days of static infrastructure are long over. Retention of hard working employees couldn’t be more important, for one, because it’s so much more costly to hire new, external people than it is to mobilize and promote your current team members. 

“It should really be about retention hiring,” Goff said. “It should be about who’s in the seat ‘x’ days later — 90, 120, things like that.” 

Employers are examining whether there are jobs, candidates, or employees for which retention hiring becomes a realistic goal, according to Goff. Some talent cares about long-term work, while others are interested in earning the income they need now, just to get by, as well as those who like freedom and movement. 

Organizations can better retain employees who prefer freedom and movement by offering work arrangements that allow for as much flexibility as possible. 

The employee experience is very important for retaining employees, according to Bayireddi, and employers should empower their people based on their individual values, work preferences, and goals. Career pathing is one solution that creates multiple ways to move within a company. 

“Management and leadership have to evolve,” he said. “We’re not stuck in our old primitive of where we used to live.” 

They also have to clearly communicate what employees will need for opportunities and promotions as they become available. Are there unique skills or required learning courses? How can employees be certain about their ability to be productive when wearing a new hat at work? 

Too often, according to Fuller, employees aren’t told how to take charge of their careers and meet requirements and expectations needed to be considered for advancement. And they don’t have a lot of time, either, because they’re also balancing their personal demands. 

“The workers are saying, ‘I don’t know what to do, no one’s told me what I need to do differently or need to learn,'” he said. 

“Historically isolated pockets of talent”

The social injustice movements of 2020 drove diversity and inclusion (D&I) to a level of priority never seen before. Companies miss hiring opportunities because they only talk about filling recruiting gaps, according to Fuller. He said they should more strongly contribute to more diverse hiring. 

“When you challenge them, and say, ‘you’re trying to respond to a systemic problem, why do you think the systemic problem only manifests itself in the way you source talent,’ it’s going to take more than that to overcome those systemic effects,” Fuller said. “And they tend to get quiet at that point.” 

Jobcase found in 2020 that although organizations had become flexible with job requirements (criminal records, education, etc.), it wasn’t enough for constructive impact on D&I. Goff said companies have yet to implement and sustain change. 

Results take “purposeful action,” and inequalities are still the biggest concern, he said. The intentions are there, but the follow-through is not. D&I is a lead-by-example practice that starts at the top. 

“Visibilities are important,” Bayireddi said. Companies should ensure D&I actions are being taken throughout every experience, from hiring to retention and the evolution of employees. “The most important thing that can work here is the AI in the background,” he said. “AI itself can’t work, but as people take actions, you can really look at where the biases are so that people can address [them].”

READ MORE: Diversity and Inclusion: The Definitive Guide for HR

What it comes down to, according to Goff, is that lack of diversity and inclusion in the workforce is directly related to the tight labor market. He said people have been left out of work, and that everyone can solve the problems organizations are facing in today’s labor market. 

Disruption, Digitization, and Inflation: Impacting the Future of Work

Looking for solutions to help companies now and in the future really gets leaders, legislators, and political executives thinking, according to Fuller. And they must do so in terms of wages and market trends, no matter how difficult they are to navigate.  

They’ve got to determine what makes a good job … a good job. 

He considered concerns of trends like digitalization of work and the current demand in wages, and whether they would reach people from outside the labor market because they lack the skills and competencies required for productivity; and therefore, wouldn’t merit higher pay. 

“They don’t have the digital literacy and background coming out of their education years to handle the type of hybrid jobs that seem to be emerging across a lot of industries, Fuller said.

The shift in demand for certain jobs will also shift how they’re disrupted, and where AI will be most helpful, he added. “What’s going to be more disrupted are the paralegals, financial advisors, radiologists … by AI. The trades people — plumbers, electricians, construction workers, etc. — that’s a wildly productive career path that’s really strong, that I don’t see going away,” Fuller said.

HR, over the last 30 years, has designed extremely strong processes to understand what their organization’s brand means, according to Bayireddi. “But the problem is the processes — what they built — have to be changed dynamically,” he said. “Everybody has to reevaluate every process they have built in the last 30 years.”

Then, they should reexamine where the output is lowest in order to reconfigure their recruiting services, deliver individual experiences through personalization, and be more effective.

Bayireddi also mentioned that within the talent journey, an employer, a job seeker, a manager, and a recruiter should work together to ensure the best-fit candidate fills a particular role. It takes powerful team collaboration to make a successful hire — today and for the future of work. 

“We’re really looking at the overall scenarios [like writing the job description and deciding what skills and competencies the role will require] as a single-unit point,” Bayireddi said. “But you have to look at what employees are growing and which employees are really making a difference, and then combine that, and eliminate biases.” 

He sees the future of work calling for a meaningful experience for all stakeholders in the talent lifecycle, as well as for leaders to step up and dynamically change processes so that the business — and HR — can be successful.

Learn more about navigating the tight labor market by putting candidates first! 

Watch our on-demand webinar, “Help Wanted: How to Hire Thousands of Hourly Workers Now”


Thu, 07/15/2021 – 04:05

Gender Equality: How to Advocate for Women in the Workplace [Video]

Gender Equality: How to Advocate for Women in the Workplace [Video]

Supporting women in the workplace is a big piece of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) puzzle. But how can organizations make a genuine commitment to promoting gender equality and equity? This recap covers the July 8 episode of Talent Experience Live with Gemma Lloyd, CEO and co-founder of WORK180, who shared insights and success stories about how to make it happen. 

These stats from Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021 may surprise you: 

The U.S. ranked 30th out of 156 countries in gender equality
The U.S. won’t close the gender gap for another 65 years
It will take 135.6 years to close the worldwide gender gap
To turn these numbers around, employers need to expand the focus beyond simply increasing their number of female employees, according to Lloyd. What matters most is the experience women have after they get in the door. Plus, research shows that when diverse teams include women, they see higher productivity, creativity, and innovation. 

Watch the full episode below for Gemma’s take on better supporting women at work, or read on for highlights!  

Matching Women with Supportive Employers  

WORK180 is a global technology platform that mentors employers on ways to continuously improve benefits for and treatment of women. Through the WORK180 job board, women can find career opportunities with employers that are known for providing policies that support women and cultures that value diversity, inclusion, and flexibility.

“I wanted to create a place where women go and find employers that genuinely wanted them there; that were committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Lloyd said. “And more importantly, weren’t just trying to attract more women in, but are serious about driving change and an inclusive place to work.”

Examples of organizations that are endorsed for supporting women include major players like Microsoft, Atlassian, and JP Morgan. 

RELATED: Job Empowerment & Growth: Ways to Support Women at Work

Global knowledge sharing leads to positive change.

Lloyd has noticed that some geographic regions are stronger than others when it comes to supporting female employees. Australian employers, for example, tend to excel at domestic violence awareness, she said. They provide benefits and other resources to help female employees affected by domestic violence. 

“Every time we learn about a benefit or initiative employers are doing in one region, we share that with the rest of the world,” Lloyd said.

Want to Attract and Retain Female Employees? Be Transparent.

Encouraging transparency is a critical initiative for HR leaders at companies aiming to improve their treatment of women in the workplace, Lloyd pointed out. Even if there’s a lot of room for improvement, honest communication regarding the current state of gender equality and intentions for change can make all the difference.

And employers don’t need to be perfect along the way, according to Lloyd. 

“What it’s about is being really transparent. It’s about being authentic, and it’s about being honest in terms of where you’re at in the journey.” she said. “And if you can do that, and you can showcase those things that employers tend to want to keep behind the curtain … if you can actually bring those to the forefront, it builds trust with the audience.”

BLOG: Total Transparency: Transforming Your Candidate Experience in a Tight Labor Market

Employer Success Story: BHP 

Lloyd shared the example of BHP, an Australia-based global mining company endorsed by WORK180. 

“Within the first 18 months of partnering with us, they increased the number of women applying to their jobs from 10% of their total applications to 45% of applications,” she said. Strong support from the BHP executive team —  plus authentic communication about efforts — drove their success.

“They openly came out and said, ‘we’re not perfect, but we are committed on this journey, and these are all the steps that we’re taking.’ And every time that they improved something internally, they spoke about it,” Lloyd said.

See Where You Stand on the Gender Equity Index

With the recently released WORK180 Gender Equity Index, employers can track, measure, and demonstrate progress in their efforts to improve not only gender equity, but equality for all underrepresented groups. Lloyd pointed out that the index addresses parental leave and work flexibility for men as well.

“It’s not just about women,” Lloyd said. “It’s about all underrepresented segments.” 

READ MORE: Diversity Isn’t a Problem to Solve. It’s an Initiative to Support.

Hear Executives Talk Transparency at the EDGE Event 

Transparency is critical to advancing real change. For that reason, it’s the focus of WORK180’s virtual event, Executives Driving Gender Equity (EDGE), scheduled for July 27. 

“We’ve got a great lineup of executives and speakers for the event who are really going to be sharing how that transparency piece — while some might find it a bit scary — has actually driven great results in terms of their DE&I,” Lloyd said. 

Speakers will include Tremayne Bess, VP of HR at Gap Inc., Deirdre Tully, Global Head of TA & Executive Recruiting at GE Corporate, and Brielle Valle, Owner of BV Consulting. Anyone interested in the event is encouraged to sign up here!


Sign up to get notified about future episodes of Talent Experience Live! Catch us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook every Thursday at noon ET to get the latest in recruiting, talent acquisition, talent management, and HR tech.

Wed, 07/14/2021 – 19:49

How to Set Up a Successful Internal Gig Marketplace At Your Organization

How to Set Up a Successful Internal Gig Marketplace At Your Organization

You’ve heard the alarming news: employees are at risk of leaving their current employers in pursuit of new job opportunities — and it’s going to take more than salary increases to keep them. 

So what are today’s employees looking for? In addition to feeling valued, they want opportunities to learn and grow, bringing them closer to the next stage in their careers.

As organizations look to revamp their employee experience, launching an internal gig program is one key way to ensure employees get real-life experiences to discover and refine new skills. Not only is it easier and less expensive to develop your talented employees, you also create a competitive advantage by honing your best assets. 

By encouraging managers to create short-term tasks and projects — or internal gigs — that can be completed by other employees in the company, gig programs help employees further develop, while managers fill critical skill gaps among their teams. (And don’t worry, it’s not rocket science, it’s actually easier than you think! If NASA can do it, so can you—and yes, they also rolled out their very own gig program!) 

Let’s dive deeper into internal gig programs, the long-term benefits they provide to employees, and how organizations can get started.

What’s an internal gig?

I know what you’re thinking, but no — a gig doesn’t mean it’s time to get your high school rock band back together for a reunion. 

Gigs are short-term engagements within an organization that typically don’t involve a change in pay or job code.  

They may also be called projects or cross-functional team assignments (if you’re not into the whole brevity thing). These engagements can be as little as a few hours worth of work or as long as a few months. Some gigs might even require one or more employees to complete the project. In most cases, employees can expect to allocate 10-20% of their time to a gig, while still managing tasks from their primary role. 

While there are many opportunities for upskilling talent — online courses, local universities, on-premise classes, mentoring — gigs allow employees to get hands-on experience. They also enable employers to reallocate talent to in-demand or critical areas of the business. All of these opportunities can be posted on the organizations internal talent marketplace for easy access and transparency.

What’s an internal gig program?

An internal gig program is a formalized initiative that matches an organization’s short term projects and tasks with internal employees seeking to develop relevant skills. Gig programs enable employers to better engage and retain their people, while encouraging professional development at scale across the organization. 

An organization’s gig program should be highly tailored to its workforce strategy and culture — as a result, implementing one requires continuous transformation and flexibility.

What challenges and goals can internal gigs address?

An internal gig program strengthens your company’s ability to educate and develop its employees, enabling you to also uncover and leverage hidden skills and expertise among employees. This can save time and money otherwise spent using outside freelancers or independent contractors to fulfill temporary needs.

For example, gigs in the workplace might take the form of employees with strong writing skills contributing marketing content, such as blogs and training materials. Similarly, companies undertaking rapid technology advancements can tap employees to test products and provide feedback, he continues.

Gigs can propel employee engagement and strengthen career paths. They can help employees learn about other areas of the company, promoting a sense of belonging, and enable skill development. Meanwhile, managers gain a deeper understanding and easier access to talent available in-house.

Before rolling out a gig program, HR leaders must secure top-down support and address cultural barriers. A key message for all levels of staff? Communicate that one of the overarching goals of a gig approach is to fulfill crucial business needs by looking internally first. Here’s how:

Secure executive buy-in. If you’re in the position of having to drum up executive support, present the benefits mentioned above and clearly articulate how you’ll measure success.
Get managers on board. Managers may fear losing productivity or valuable team members. Help overcome this barrier by communicating the benefits to managers. A program like this gives them a chance to learn about the talent and skills available internally, potentially saving them time and allowing them to complete projects more quickly.
Get the message in front of employees. Likewise, keep in mind that some employees may be hesitant to jump on board at first. A common barrier here is the fear that managers will perceive participation as an indication that they’re not busy enough. Educate employees that participating in gigs offered by the organization can help them grow skill sets, promote long-term growth with the company, and nurture career development.
Evaluate what’s worked for other companies. Gather insights from other companies that have implemented a gig program. Then, consider adapting their approaches to fit your organization.
How do you get started with a gig program?

The best place to start is right at the top. Talent management leaders and CHRO must weave gigs into the company culture, outline expectations of managers, and address any objections. 

They should also have a clear governance plan in place. At a detailed level, this includes:

Defining the difference between gigs and jobs
Identifying who can create or post gigs
Outlining the approval processes
Do gigs need to be approved to be posted?
Do employees need to be approved to participate in gigs?
Is employee approval on a gig-by-gig basis or a defined number of hours?
Are there specific roles or performance levels that would be automatically excluded from gigs?

Describing the benefits of a gig culture as a driver of development and engagement to combat the fear of talent poaching
Communicating that feedback will be an integral part of the gig process to help give guidance to the organization and other managers on talent
Related: Get the playbook on creating an internal talent marketplace

This last point is an important one — a good gig program will be in the hands of managers. There will be no intermediary in the form of recruiters to help move the process along or add notes about candidates to find better fits in the future. This means managers will be in charge of providing meaningful feedback.

There are also aspects of facilitating gigs that managers may need assistance with, such as crafting engaging job titles and descriptions. Training managers on this new skill is imperative. Does the description have enough of the right information? And does it garner interest without overloading the project requirements? 

In order to increase adoption, comfort, and consistency, provide talent managers with the opportunity to have their first few gigs reviewed. 

Companies that invest in employee experience tools and technologies are already on the path to improving employee engagement and growth. By achieving executive alignment, establishing strong communication channels and manager training programs, and empowering employees to expand their skillsets, companies can ensure that their gig program pays off. 

After developing a governance plan, talent management teams should follow these key steps to officially launch their gig program:

Outline basic parameters. Take time to plan necessary roles and systems for employees. For example, delineate who can participate, who can create gigs, who can post gigs, and how requests can be made.

Conduct training. Make sure you bring managers up to speed on using the marketplace. This may include training on a technology platform on writing a gig description, or shortlisting internal talent. 

How should you promote the gig program to employees? 

After management is aligned, the next step is to introduce gigs to the rest of the company so they can start using it. 

What’s more important, however, is how to keep it top of mind and drive adoption. Outlining a communication strategy for the next two to three months will ensure your team never misses a beat. Many Phenom customers take a “walk/run” approach, which involves rolling out to a few departments to start, then expanding across the organization.

This includes an introductory email and training video that guides employees through finding and applying for gigs, and outlines the approval process. You need to set as many expectations as possible to prevent confusion.   

Employees should also understand the communications they will receive if they are accepted for a gig, if a gig is closed because another applicant has been accepted, or if the gig is no longer needed. 

The diagram below outlines a basic communication flow from gig creation to completion:

Talent marketers should also queue up campaigns to notify employees of new, critical, or hard-to-fill gigs. These regular communications to the company will ensure your gigs take root with consistent touchpoints and constant visibility. 

Your long-term communication plan may differ depending on your organization’s goals, but we encourage teams to share frequent updates through internal emails, messaging apps, and during company-wide meetings to encourage participation in the gig program. Highlighting success stories from employees and managers who are leveraging the internal gig program is a great way to inspire others to get involved. 

How do you measure the success of your gig program?

Once your gig program has launched, it’s important to track adoption so you can measure success (because who doesn’t love a nice sticky number to prove ROI?). 

Data is the key to understanding what is and isn’t working. It will also encourage adoption and agility among your talent management teams. Keep in mind that the KPIs you measure in the beginning will be different from what you measure on an ongoing basis.

So, what are the metrics you should be looking at? Here are a few:

How many employees logged in during the first week?
How many employees engaged (applied, shared, saved) with a gig?
How many managers are creating gigs?
How many hours are being spent on gigs?
Which departments are posting the most gigs?
What percentage of gigs are being completed?
Track these data points and review them regularly to make sure your managers and employees are getting the most out of your gig program. We recommend looking at your metrics after the first week, after 30 days, after 60 days, and beyond 90 days to inform your continued strategy.

What’s the future of workplace gigs?

The workplace is being reinvented in real time. Currently, the emphasis is on adapting to changing markets and employee experience to retain our best people. As we embrace gigs as a way to support other learning and development opportunities (such as mentoring and career pathing, we can maximize the talent potential within our organizations. 

Organizations that can strengthen stagnant areas of the business will be the ones to effectively transform into unexpected powerhouses. As you lead your team through change, remember to communicate your vision for transformation, and reward behaviors that indicate adoption.

The success of every employer during this time ultimately comes down to its people. And the teams that adapt the fastest will be the ones that boost productivity, meet their objectives, and keep the company moving forward.

Want to reskill employees and mobilize your workforce? Check out Phenom Gigs to amp up your employee experience!

Mon, 07/12/2021 – 04:25

Talent Transformation Trifecta: How Mercy Improved Quality, Quantity & Speed of Hire

Talent Transformation Trifecta: How Mercy Improved Quality, Quantity & Speed of Hire

Need talent? Get in line. Today’s tight labor markets compounded by hard-to-fill recruiting positions have many organizations simply treading water with the employees they’ve already got. 

Some companies, however, are ideally positioned to perform high-volume recruiting while simultaneously improving three vital TA metrics: quality, volume, and speed of hire. 

This is the case for Mercy — one of the largest multi-state healthcare systems in the U.S. —  whose critical hiring needs for nurses preceded the pandemic and precipitated their investment in a unified talent experience solution.

When COVID hit, Mercy was more prepared than most, according to their Director of Talent Acquisition Strategy and Operations, Kayla Drady. Using Phenom’s AI-powered Talent Experience Management (TXM) platform — and creative expertise from recruitment marketing agency Bayard — their TA team was able to combine strong brand messaging and targeted advertising to best-fit candidates to drive the results they needed.

Flexibility First

The initial pre-COVID revamp of Mercy’s career site played a vital role in attracting and communicating to job seekers during the ups and downs of the pandemic. “When COVID hit, I felt like we were in a really good spot and set up for success,” said Drady. 

Previous challenges Mercy already overcame included lack of: 

AI for personalization and lead capture
On-the-fly career site customization for visual appeal and engagement 
Email and SMS capabilities to streamline and optimize campaigns, events, and university recruiting
Analytics to test, track, and optimize performance

Learn how Mercy converted 69% of job seekers

The flexibility afforded by Phenom’s cohesive solution enabled Drady and her team to seamlessly make changes to the site in real-time, allowing it to become a dependable source of truth and engagement for candidates. For example, Mercy added a banner at the top of the site with specific COVID updates; enhanced their chatbot FAQs with updated information about virtual protocols; featured upcoming recruitment events front and center; and ensured their unique employee value proposition was conveyed authentically with video and employee testimonials. 

Quality of Hire

Despite Mercy’s challenge to fill so many positions at once at the height of the pandemic, “We never wanted to compromise the quality of hires, because these are the people that are taking care of our patients and our community,” shared Drady.

While Bayard helped Mercy with the right employer brand messaging for candidates, the TXM platform contributed to Drady’s goals in another way. In addition to helping her team find ideal external candidates based on skills, experience, location, and more, Drady was also able to focus on best-fit internal candidates using Phenom Employee Experience.

Internal mobility. Leveraging the platform for internal mobility quickly became a key element for Mercy’s TA team as they started expanding their volume of hire and sought agility among staff members. Visibility into open opportunities and career growth became a great motivator for internal movement, and is currently part of their larger retention strategy. 

Referrals. Another feature that’s instrumental to driving quality of hire includes referrals from existing employees. “Talent knows talent,” said Drady, and with Phenom, the referral process is quick, easy, and transparent. As an incentive, Mercy issued referral bonuses to employees whose contacts were later hired. 

Volume of Hire

Faced with the challenge of a national nursing shortage and increased demand for hires, Drady and her team needed a way to balance both quality and quantity of hire. “We wanted to open up the funnel as wide as we could to then be able to narrow it down to the quality candidates,” she shared.

To deliver, Drady used the following tactics: 

Omnichannel marketing campaigns. Sending CRM-enabled emails and SMS campaigns was a primary driver to attracting a larger candidate pool. The setup for a campaign took a matter of minutes — and with a single click, Mercy could reach thousands of candidates with personalized content based on their application status, interests, and other profile information. Drady’s top tips for success? 

Optimize talent marketing strategies leveraging analytics that measure engagement and identify trends

Nurture and follow up with candidates who are 
interacting with your content
Send engaging content with a compelling CTA 
that goes beyond “Apply Now”
Rotate who is sending out content so candidates don’t get bored hearing from the same recruiters over and over again

Related: How Land O’Lakes filled 75% of open positions with one campaign

Events. With in-person career fairs and university recruiting events on pause, Mercy quickly adapted to hosting virtual events — including career fairs, webinars, and informational sessions — which they were able to quickly promote on their career site, as well as through email and SMS campaigns. 

All events were prominently displayed on their career site, and communications featured convenient 
text codes to send resumes for available positions. 

Paid Advertising. In order to drive more traffic to their career site, Mercy partnered with advertisers like Google, YoutTube, Spotify and Pandora to help increase their brand recognition. Drady’s advice to maximize paid ads? Change up your media mix to engage different audiences.

Social Media. Crafting and maintaining a strong social presence enabled Mercy to keep up with real-time reputation management with direct audiences  and passive candidates. Mercy channelled their efforts toward Facebook, where they posted engaging content regularly and followed a dynamic content calendar to avoid spamming their audience with continuous job postings. 

Speed of Hire

Simultaneously, Mercy needed to speed up the hiring process to fill the growing number of empty nursing roles with quality candidates. Drady’s go-to strategies included: 

Virtual interview days. Mercy’s team chose select days to conduct as many back-to-back virtual interviews as possible to increase the likelihood of offering positions to more candidates. Using social media, CRM and SMS campaigns, and cold calls, Mercy quickly attracted a high volume of potential hires in a market that was extremely competitive.

1:1 texts. Communicating with candidates in a fast and personalized way through SMS campaigns quickly became invaluable to Drady and her team. “Everyone is checking their text messages,” noted Drady. “They might not be checking their email, but they’re checking their texts throughout the day constantly.” By leveraging one-on-one communication, Mercy was able to alleviate more time-consuming back-and-forth emails and calls.

Conversational chatbot. When the pandemic began, everyone turned to the healthcare industry for answers. Having a place on their career site that offered FAQs on COVID procedures and updated protocols was the best way to keep Mercy connected with their community. Their conversational chatbot became a 24/7 workhorse that not only enables candidates and employees to ask questions, but also saves recruiters valuable time answering them while capturing passive leads. 

Additional measures Mercy implemented to speed up hiring included standardizing their interview process, and providing more flexible onboarding for 
both clinical and non-clinical support roles

Mercy’s Phenomenal Results

In just 6 months, Mercy’s team transformed their talent acquisition strategy and met their hiring goals — all while combating the unpredictability of the COVID pandemic. 

Check out just a few of the amazing results they experienced as a result of their efforts:

26% increase in hires from last fiscal year to this year
11 day decrease in time to fill for nursing positions
576 referrals

By leaning into a robust talent experience solution that unifies and simplifies the way talent is attracted, hired, and retained, Mercy was not only able to overcome one of the most challenging times across the healthcare and HR industries — they were able to thrive.

Watch the full on-demand webinar “Top Talent Marketing Hacks to Fill Roles Faster” with Mercy!


Fri, 07/09/2021 – 13:49