A #truLondon Overview

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After hanging out with a few familiar faces and meeting some new ones, another #truLondon came to a close for me. The attendee crowd was a mix of international technology providers and consultants, in-house and agency recruiters and HR professionals. The venue’s rough and ready exterior, The Kings Head Private Member’s Club, Hoxton, was nothing short of surprising on the inside. Decorated with a collection of colourful and eclectic taxidermy and possessing a touch of the ‘bourgeois’, it was edgy, dark (in places – namely the basement nightclub with it’s caretaker, a stuffed chimpanzee sporting a rifle??) and set the scene for a kind of HR event. Rough on the outside, bizarre on the inside. Bill Boorman, the founder and organiser of the #trumunity events certainly outdid himself finding this little gem.

Anyway, enough about the venue and onto the content. What were the big issues discussed in the 40 odd tracks happening on four floors? Outside of the very practical social recruiting strategy sessions and the sourcing ‘Ninja’ tactics as well as the black hat hacks (my favourite), there were also deep thought issues discussed surrounding bias, diversity, inclusion, positive discrimination, process engineering… most of these themes well open for scrutiny.  But one discussion meandered onto a topic (as they so regularly do at #tru events) that really grabbed my attention.

The discussion concentrated on how Talent Acquisition cements a stronger identity inside the organisational structure. It seemed like a fundamental issue and a strategic one that many felt they’d not succeeded in solving yet. In a previous blog, I’d discussed the evident under resourcing of a lot of teams and the need for investment, so it was no surprise to hear it from the practitioners in the room. Most agreed that the in-house recruitment function is still quite a new phenomenon, and this might be part of the reason why it hasn’t attracted the investment for growth yet; investment in the form of technology and people. The larger enterprise companies are progressing faster in this journey but many are still finding their way.

KingsHeadMonkeyBasementProgress may too be stunted by the perception that recruitment, in a past sense, has been a transactional function within HR and in many cases, a job that originally had been executed by line managers, and this is where mind-sets need to change to give it more weighting. Now as more move to a centralised recruitment function (which I think is great by the way) the next challenge lies in creating a strategy on how Talent Acquisition’s performance can be measured and optimised according to the business needs, which let’s face it, are very different from one company to the next. Measuring productivity and financial performance is hard when the incentives are not financial, and more traditional KPIs like time to hire and retention were seen as not enough for most to drive the business case to invest, because of the complexities surrounding the recruitment process and role types.

Taking their agency counterparts in direct comparison, it’s fairly straightforward to measure productivity and financial output because traditional financial KPIs like cost per head sit nicely as a measure against fee generation to work out productivity fairly quickly. You can prove by numbers whether a staff member is worth their pound of flesh!

I enjoyed my time at #truLondon as it was a lot of fun. But on a more serious note, I’m keen to see my fellow recruiters progress. My closing remarks are that by the sounds of it, Talent Acquisition is moving in the right direction but change in human resources tends to happen at it’s own pace which can be sometimes frustratingly slow for the impatient ones of us out there. I’d be interested to hear from other Talent Acquisition professionals about what’s happening in your respective businesses and whether the same applies to you. What activities you are undergoing to cement your place in your organisation?

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