Future-proofing talent

Future-proofing talent


At a packed Recruitment Society event hosted by the Financial Times on the evening of Wednesday 21st January, Alison Hodgson of the Royal Mail gave a fascinating insight into ‘future-proofing talent in times of change'.

Setting the organisational context for what is essentially a work in progress, she noted that things continue to change very fast - recently, almost by the hour - at what's probably still the UK's largest single-entity employer.

Royal Mail's focus is currently on ‘ensuring the quality assurance of leadership' at all levels, which covers everything from revisiting resourcing approaches to defining key organisation- and role-specific requirements, managing talent, and undertaking effective leadership audits (to identify any critical gaps etc).

From the recruitment communications perspective, there's still something of a difficulty in turning round entrenched perceptions of the Royal Mail brand, not least in terms of the graduate market.  While previous recruitment marketing initiatives tended to underline (or, perhaps, overstate) the toughness of the proposition, a much more engaging approach is now being adopted to try to open people's minds about life at the Royal Mail (which, as Alison noted, has a unique culture that really gets under people's skin once they're on board).

It was also noteworthy that all the evening's speakers - FT host Steve Playford, Recruitment Society chair Steve Huxham and Alison - agreed on the importance of advertising, especially in national newspapers and their related websites, to attract good ‘passive' candidates in these difficult times.  In many ways recruitment is getting even tougher during the downturn, with candidates becoming more wary about switching employers and the state of the property market making it extremely difficult for people to change location.

Thanking her for her excellent presentation, Steve Huxham closed with a fulsome tribute to Alison - "one of the foremost thought-leaders in recruitment and talent in the corporate world in the UK" - and suggested to the audience that they should "put in a word" on her behalf when the time came to nominate candidates for this year's various HR awards.

The Recruitment Society's February presentation will be given by Grant Weinberg, associate director - international talent acquisition for Gilead Sciences.  (The date of this event, yet to be finalised, will be posted on Ri5 shortly.)

Thursday, 22 January 2009

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