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Based on Leo’s mainstage session on SCE’s employer brand journey at Transform Live 2019. Access the session recording here.

Changing the world is hard work.

Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that stopping it from changing is hard work, because right now the earth is having no problem changing on its own: Sea levels are rising steadily due to global warming, heat waves are blazing longer and for more frequent periods, and air quality issues are affecting many communities.

At Southern California Edison (SCE), these are the realities we face, and the obstacles we stare down as we look to build a clean energy future: a future that we hope includes 80% carbon-free energy and seven million electric vehicles on the road by 2030.

It’s a really aggressive goal that will take changing our own world of work to achieve. 

Here’s a look into SCE’s employer brand journey: how we’re refreshing and refining our talent acquisition strategy in order to become a next generation company that provides superior value to our customers — and changes the world for the better.  

REIMAGINING OUR TALENT EXPERIENCE

Every employer brand journey starts with a first step. Ours was to pinpoint the pivotal roles we need to hire that align with our overall corporate strategy, and altering our approach to better identify, attract and nurture key candidates through intentional talent acquisition. To put it simply, it took a lot of reimagining.

Reimagining talent personas. Acquiring better talent doesn’t happen by accident. It takes a thorough and thoughtful approach from beginning to end. We started by seeking answers to fundamental questions in order to better understand the people who would be filling our pivotal roles. How do they think? How do they feel? What do they want? The result was creating a detailed persona for each of our pivotal roles, which helped us develop a personal, emotional connection with each of our candidates before they even applied.

Reimagining EVP. In today’s hyper-competitive job market, candidates are like consumers, and they expect to be marketed to in a relevant, personal way. So we decided to personalize our messaging per role; instead of one standard employee value proposition, we crafted tailored EVPs with a distinct personality and voice that resonated with each specific persona in a way that would make them proud and excited to come work for us. For example, for Data Scientists, it’s the opportunity to power the future through data and solve big problems; work with advanced, cutting-edge technologies and tools; and collaborate with forward-thinking change agents who aren’t afraid to push boundaries or color outside the lines.

Reimagining talent attraction. With all the great, new content we developed from these first two steps, we needed to bring it to life and truly connect with our audience. We executed drip marketing campaigns per role, and we segmented critical talent pipelines by creating talent networks for each of our target audiences. We incorporated targeted calls-to-actions on different landing pages and cross-channel marketing campaigns, then nurtured each pipeline with relevant brand messaging, values, stories and jobs. 

Reimagining the candidate journey. We made huge strides in developing a more authentic, intimate experience for candidates. But we knew we could do more, like leveraging new opportunities and tactics to reach people we hadn’t ever gotten in front of yet. One opportunity was candid employee videos: We used these videos as a new touchpoint between our brand and potential candidates to illustrate our people’s impact in accomplishing SCE’s mission.

EMPOWERING OUR EMPLOYEES

The other part of our talent acquisition reimagination? Focusing on empowering our employees. We began this process with 25 recruiters. We ended with over 12,000. And it was easier than you think.

Every employee has the potential to help us attract talent into the company. In fact, the average employee is often viewed as one of the most credible sources of information by candidates. In a world where people are getting bombarded with emails and calls from recruiters, being able to cut through the clutter and receive first-hand experiences from people like themselves is extremely impactful.

At SCE, we started enabling our employees to help identify and engage prospective talent. We’re activating social media, encouraging our employees to tell their stories, not ours.

  1. To start, we had a LinkedIn “Rock Your Profile” initiative across the company that encouraged employees to update, spruce up and rock out their profiles.
  2. We next introduced a social amplification tool that made it easier for our employees to become thought leaders by sharing industry and company content on social media. We recognized our top influencers every month across the company, which generated a little competition and more investment.
  3. Then, through our #BrighterFuture campaign via email and social, we encouraged employees to share how they contribute to and build a more inspiring and successful future. This year, we reached approximately 14.2 million impressions, with 40,000 engagements and $93,000 earned media value.

Not only does this broaden our reach and appeal to candidates, but it inspires employees to share their experiences and get excited about being a part of our organization. It takes a village to influence change, and we’re making sure to utilize ours.

SEEING THE CHANGE

The best part of all of these incremental changes, both big and small? We’ve already begun to see some clear improvements in the hiring process for our new roles. 

Better efficiency. More candidates have applied, and we’ve filled roles more quickly and efficiently than ever before. Recently, we were able to fill 10 key roles within a 20-day period — roughly half the time as normal.

Better partnership with hiring team. Spearheaded by our Talent Acquisition team, we hold consistent, cross-functional calls with important stakeholders – from Compensation to Recruiting Managers to Hiring Managers – that help us review progress, work through potential challenges and get buy-in early.

Higher quality of candidates. We’ve received higher quality candidates who are more aligned with our values and vision. We did AB testing to compare how specific job descriptions drove interest and conversion with different candidate pools. For example, for our Data Scientist roles, shorter, bold language in job descriptions that included keywords likes modeling, big data, and data warehousing generated more of the PhD candidates we were looking for. On social, enhanced messaging and vivid imagery tied to job opportunities increase traffic to our Data Scientist job pages by 25x.

When it comes to seeking talent to deliver on the goals your company has set in place, it comes down to expanding on three core pillars: finding your why, personalizing your message, and activating your enterprise.

Changing the world is most certainly hard work. But with the right employees, it becomes a lot easier (and honestly, more rewarding).

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