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Orange Silicon Valley is a research and innovation laboratory of Orange Group, a French Telecom Operator, which is a leading network operator for mobile, broadband internet, and fixed line telecommunications in 30 countries and territories. We are a global community of 161,000 people, reflecting the wonderfully varied markets we serve.

The importance of Orange Silicon Valley is to be Orange’s Bay Area presence and to understand technology trends and solutions. Through research, development, and strategic analysis, we actively participate in the disruptive innovations that are changing the way we work.

Our capacity to contribute and engage with the Silicon Valley ecosystem is a way to foster innovation and seek out disruption within our organization. We cross disciplines in our different verticals such as Virtual Reality and Human Resources. We believe that innovation comes from people who don’t know what they can’t do.

Technology can dramatically improve employees experience. Employees’ workflows and workplaces are constantly being reshaped. Emergency evacuation is a part of this experience. Being aware of and learning procedures is not always easy and efficient.

Since Orange Silicon Valley’s fire emergency training happens once a year, new employees or employees who are not in the office on that specific day miss the training. For employees who do attend training, instructions can be hard to remember due to a lack of immersion and focus.

Virtual Reality can help organizations increase both user engagement and focus through better efficiency and flexibility. The core function of our case study is to assess the way virtual reality enhances employees experiences when they have to learn the emergency procedure.

Virtual reality training also gives employees an alternative to the physical drill that happens once a year. As portability is the next new capability, using VR is a way to verify the state of the technology and understand how we can change the way we communicate and collaborate, and redefine the future of digital workplace.

Why did we consider VR as a solution for a fire emergency training?

  • Some employees miss the emergency training or don’t have the opportunity to do it during onboarding

  • Few people read our 22-page fire emergency procedure, which explains where they have to go and what they should and should not do

  • Emergency staff (volunteers) have difficulties remembering exactly what they have to do

  • Not everyone is aware of both the east and west building exit routes, or where the meeting point is on the street

Why from a Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Standpoint?

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are two different assets. While Augmented Reality (AR) is an overlay of content on the real world, Computer-Generated Virtual Reality (CG VR) is an immersive experience created entirely from computer-generated content.

Virtual Reality is part of the 4th Wave of Computing Platform after PC, Internet & Mobile. AR and VR enable new experience and change the way we can communicate and collaborate. AR and VR are great tools in transforming workplace learning and lead to higher retention rate of learning.

Applying these new technologies throughout different use cases, such as the emergency training, can help to anticipate the future of digital workplace. With VR comes an active learning thanks to the immersive environment provided into it. It can helps workforce to be more flexible, resulting in greater autonomy and productivity.

We identified key parts of employee onboarding training related to our emergency procedure.

  • Thanks to Virtual Reality training, employees can know exactly how to get to the company gathering point outside of the building.

  • Orange Silicon Valley’s legacy HR procedure is a 22-pages document that explains the evacuation procedure and duties related to it. This is long, and not all employees read it.

We tried to solve these problems by building an expansive virtual reality environment to help our employees learn the exit route to get to our emergency gathering point outside of the building by themselves.

We created a VR environment consisting of our building’s 11th floor (open to the public), 10th floor (open space), and street level by iterating with Uinnova Technology, a startup we are working with.

We chose to implement our project by working with Uinnova Technology. Uinnova solution is a 3D visualization platform that helps users build 3D simulation scenes, develop applications and integrate their IoT data and system. By bringing advanced interactive 3D capabilities to current and legacy User Interaction, Uinnova seeks to improve user experience by working on specific use cases with companies.

We chose to implement our project through an agile framework. The goal is to build, try, and correct the virtual reality environment until we deliver a version compliant with HR needs.

# Step 1: Building the virtual reality environment

Establishing a common language and framework between Orange Silicon Valley and the startup we are working with was the first step. The technical vocabulary related to VR and HR came very quickly. For instance, we had to redefine what we consider points of interest and navigation points.

Here are the technical steps we took to design our office:

  1. Figure out what part of the building/street level we needed to provide in order to let the employee walk (or run) to our company gathering point

  2. Provide the floor plan and pictures to build the environment virtually (navigation points)

  3. Provide pictures of the fire emergency path’s points of interest, such as exit signs, fire extinguishers, and stairwells

  4. Provide the exact location of our points of interest and furniture on the floor plan

  5. Use a 360° camera to implement a video for the fire emergency route

From a Human Resources perspective, part of the fire emergency procedure had to be designed at each point of interest and some of the navigation points. For example, a popup appears when an employee sees a fire extinguisher or moves to a specific location where unique instructions are needed.

We divided our work in three parts, floor by floor, to provide a fully immersive environment that complies with our Human Resources needs. To do so, we reviewed the fire procedure with our HR department to figure out which parts of the exit path are the most important during the process.

To help our HR department save time during the onboarding process, we needed to replicate the possibility of walking freely in the space to get familiar with the floor as well as provide a quick, automatic, and safe VR training. For each floor, we provided two different demonstrations.

  1. We implemented a demo point where the system will take employees to the meeting point automatically. For this procedure, employees just have to put on the VR headset and sit down. For this model, we tried to be as close to the onboarding process as possible in order to deliver the right exit path.

  2. We implemented a self-navigation model that requires employees to navigate themselves and see the exit sign and fire extinguisher. In this navigation model, employees have to use the remotes and stand up while virtually moving through the space. This second mode enables us to provide a quiz mode later on that requires employees to figure out where to go on their own and demonstrate their knowledge of the procedure.

11th floor section

On our 11th floor,  which is open to the public, we highlighted the kitchen, the lunch area, and the data center first, since these zone are more risky than conference rooms for instance, due to electricity, servers, etc. We designed a starting point by default in the bistro since this point is far away from stairs.

Also, we prioritized the most populated zones on the 11th floor. If a fire happens, the probability of having employees in the “bistro” or in the west lobby is higher than somewhere else. We also focused on the front desk space, since it is close to our four elevators. One of the rules we emphasize during the onboarding process is taking the stairs instead of using the elevators.

11th floor starting point

On the picture herein above, the red fire pop-up enables a virtual fire and triggers a recorded fire drill to increase the immersive experience. The white arrow pop-up next to the fire pop-up allows the user to switch between different demo modes. The white menu on the right enables the HR department to record user actions into the immersive environment. Such records can be shown to the trainee.

11th floor elevators

On the picture herein above, the white pop-up “Do not use elevators. Move in an orderly fashion toward the stairs” is a copy past of the emergency procedure. Every employee can read this guideline through the legacy procedure. Our purpose is to use the virtual environment to improve the learning experience.

10th floor section

On our 10th floor, we designed our open space and our lobby by paying close attention to the “default starting point”, right in the center of the open space. The two different modes also work for this floor, and we added a virtual fire on one side to see how employees react to it.

10th floor starting point

On the picture herein above, the demo mode enables user to play an automated recorded path from the demo list. Such a mode enables the user to have an overview of the exit path without using actively the remote and the VR headset. The drill mode adds virtual fires and an audio fire alarm in the self-navigation model in order to emphasize the sense of urgency.

Stairs section

The stairs on both sides are important to emphasize since everyone in the building has to use them in emergency situations. The automatic mode teleports employees directly to the first floor (instead of doing 9 flights of stairs in VR mode);

Stairs on 10th floor

On the picture herein above, we added all the building floors so that the user can click to be teleported at specific locations. The other floors are empty, but we designed this feature since our building manager is interested in sharing our demo with the HR departments of the other companies in the building.

Street level section

The first floor and the street level are an important part of the piece since employees have to go to the gathering point. We had a specific request from our HR coordinator who is in charge of taking attendance at the gathering point. She brought our attention to the difficulties in showing people exactly where they need to go once they are on the street, so we used additional resources to design arrows and signs to show people exactly where to go.

Street level close to the company gathering point

On the picture herein above, the green arrow indicates the path to follow to get to the company gathering point. The yellow arrow indicates the exact location of the gathering point. Those features have been added to help our users to visualize clearly where to go.

Gathering point

The trainee’s goal is to reach the point where employees meet in the VR environment in order to get used to taking the right path and be more efficient on the day of an emergency.

#Step 2: Collecting qualitative feedback to adjust the environment

Inspection: We tried to have regular meetings during our project because some technical aspects had to be improved. For example, we were wondering what kind of experience the user considers “the best” when they are in the VR environment. Moving through the VR space can be done through a flying mode or a jumping mode (from one point to another). We chose the flying mode since it gives employees the impression that they are walking through the space.

Our first sample group had not participated in the emergency procedure during the  annual physical training. Testing this group first allowed us to assess the way they recognize the space and the exit routes to see how they reacted. This helped us understand the way they handle this technology and how they use it more accurately.

We chose a second sample of qualified people, mainly consisting of our HR head and other employees in charge of office logistics to get a sense of what should be emphasized and corrected first. This helped us identify the potential next steps in providing a full and effective emergency training process.

To comply with the human resources procedure and help enhance the onboarding process, employees have to get a real sense of where they are and understand the instructions we provide in the emergency procedure.

#Step 3: We adjust and prioritize our requests to our vendors

One of the red lines we want to keep in mind is “What is the minimum viable environment and procedure we have to provide to empowers employees learn by themselves?”

This question led us to prioritize these features in our most recent cycles:

  • Add furniture in our rooms to help employees know exactly which side of the office they are on (and in turn reduce cybersickness)

  • Add a fire drill, virtual fires and danger pop-up to help people feel a sense of emergency through Virtual Reality

  • Improve the quality of the pop-up with a recorded audio voice

  • Add features to help user interactions with the machine (menu to get to a specific location, implemented default paths)

At Orange Silicon Valley, we use the “Now New Next” framework to emphasize what we are looking for and what we expect. Crossing disciplines between Human Resources and Virtual Reality is a way for us to test and learn.

The purpose of our framework is to be clear about what we should look for in the near future and the scale of our virtual reality procedure. Next, we would like to extend our virtual reality procedure to the entire office, and then to the rest of the building and beyond.

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Atlassian is a global software company that makes a suite of collaboration products for teams; including Stride, Trello, and Jira. We know that behind every transformative innovation, is a team, not a lone genius, working hard to make it happen.

Our mission is to unleash the potential in every team. Diversity and inclusion (D&I) is a non-negotiable part of our ability to fulfill that mission.


Empirical evidence shows that diverse teams perform better. University of Maryland found that greater diversity is linked with better managerial task and firm performance. According to Credit Suisse Research Institute, increased diversity on corporate boards leads to higher returns on equity, higher valuations and better stock price performance.


Scott E. Page, a complex systems and political science professor at the University of Michigan used a multitude of research in areas ranging from economics to sociology to support his theory that cognitive diversity – the meeting of individuals with a varied set of perspectives – leads to gains in group decision making and intelligence.

“When solving problems, diversity may matter as much, or even more than, individual ability.” - Scott E. Page, Professor - University of Michigan

In 2015, Atlassian was hiring approximately 10 percent women for technical roles. This meant that our teams were not as cognitively diverse as we wanted them to be (because identity diversity is one of the best indicators of cognitive diversity).

Looking at the data available to us, we realized that this wasn't a "pipeline issue" and instead we needed to better leverage our existing sourcing and outreach work and design a process that evaluated each candidate as objectively as possible. In the U.S., for example, while 20 percent of technical degrees go to women, less than 20 percent of engineering staffs in large tech companies are comprised of women.

Close to 11 percent of American computer science graduates are Black and Hispanic but less than 5 percent of workers (including non-technical roles) are either of those races.


Atlassian identified and then worked to solve the three key problems we had in our recruiting process:

  • Male-centric employer branding

  • Small number of female applicants

  • Potential bias during the interview process


We decided to take an innovative and data-informed approach to attract more qualified and diverse candidates at Atlassian.

Addressing Male-Centric Branding

We started by updating Atlassian's employer branding. We put in imagery on our careers website that portrayed a diverse group of employees working in a multidimensional environment. We also highlighted benefits that Atlassian provides for people across different backgrounds and stages of life such as career growth opportunities, volunteer leave, comprehensive healthcare, and emergency backup childcare.

These changes made most people coming to the site feel like they recognized not only themselves, but the type of activities, social occasions, and work settings they wanted to work in.


In addition to revamping our website, we also redid our job advertisements using Textio. The product detects patterns on how job posts perform and provides recommendations on how to attract a wide pool of applicants.

According to research from Hewlett Packard, majority of women won't apply for jobs unless they think they meet all the criteria posted. However, most men will apply event if they only meet 60 percent of listed requirements.


Furthermore, people of color are reluctant to respond to ads that contain corporate jargon. We now write job descriptions with requirements as the lowest barrier to entry (instead of a wish list for a magical unicorn), and talk about our collaborative, curious, dedicated teammates. This appeals to a broader set of candidates, improving diversity and overall candidate quality at the same time.

   Solving For Small Number Of Female Applicants

As well as improving our website and job descriptions, our campus recruitment team implemented a number of changes to our on campus campaigns resulting in winning the award of 'Most Integrated Marketing Campaign' through the Australia Association of Graduate Employees.

We made sure we had strong female Atlassian representation at all events, from careers fairs to tech talks in order to inspire the next generation of tech leaders. We created the 'How Women are building the future at Atlassian' video with the hashtag #atlassianwomen.

How women are building the future at Atlassian - YouTube

Atlassian sponsors Women in Engineering Scholarships, adding to our existing Computer Science and Engineering' scholarship, and have sponsored events such as SheHacks. We have a long-term commitment and investment with National Computer Science School and regularly host school groups to encourage greater early engagement in tech.

Moreover, research has shown that women are often more critical of their abilities than men. For example, a study conducted by Cornell psychologist David Dunning and Washington State University psychologist Joyce Ehrlinger found that when it came to judging how well they answered questions in a scientific reasoning test, women thought they got 5.8 out of 10 questions right while men thought they got 7.1. In reality, their performance was almost the same: women got 7.5 out of 10 right and men 7.9.

To help potential applicants overcome their confidence gap, Atlassian engaged with all of the women tech societies in Australia though events and offered multiple mentoring opportunities. At events such as morning teas and college career fairs, we openly discussed the existence of the confidence gap juxtaposed with the very high success rates of female candidates.

   Mitigating Unconscious Bias

We used to interview for "culture fit." Atlassian (and other organizations) later realized that this ambiguous term is an intractable morass of unconscious bias rather than useful hiring criteria. By even looking at "fit", we were building a process that is encouraged groupthink, team blindspots, and cultural exclusion.

The solution is to move to interviewing for values alignment.

The value of values at Atlassian - YouTube

In a values interview, candidates are assessed around a specific set of questions that signal behaviors that are successful in our company. This standardizes the interview process and works to mitigate bias based on personal style or preference. For us, this means using structured behavioral interviewing to find individuals who want to work openly, with empathy for customers and colleagues, and who take ownership of making positive change.

For example, it’s more useful--and less likely to be biased--to ask “Give me an example of a time that you supported a teammate to reach their goal” rather than “What do you like to do on weekends?”. The former looks for specific information about past behaviors (the best predictor of future behaviors), while the latter simply gives the interviewer unnecessary and potentially biasing information.

We also increased the amount of specialized interviewer training and provided an action-oriented unconscious bias training for Atlassians involved in the hiring process.

An example from our values alignment quiz


The representation of women and underrespresented minorities improved in our graduate hiring:

  • 57% of our Sydney-based Gradlassian class (incoming tech grads) were women – noteworthy given women represent just 13% of technical degrees granted in Australia

  • 57% of our global Gradlassian class (including Australia and the U.S.) were women

  • 33% of US technical interns identified as Black/African American or Hispanic/Latinx


We got started a little late in the season and rolled out our programming in pieces, which lessened our impact for the first year at the graduate level, resulting in 18% female technical hires, which improved over time.

While we have made progress on women and underrepresented minority candidates, we have found that these changes haven’t yet increased the proportion of people with disabilities, etc. in our hiring pipeline.

 KEY TAKEAWAYS Experiment with new initiatives

Companies are often scared that their D&I initiatives won't be completely successful and consequently, don't experiment with new solutions. However, progress is more important than perfection. Keep in mind that this is an unsolved problem at scale. We need to learn, and failure is an inevitable part of the learning process.

 Be comfortable with starting small

Your new initiatives don't all have to be large-scale undertakings. You can start small and then expand what works. Remember, even something that may seem minor like the imagery on your website can have a large impact on the candidates your company attracts.


Textio - to improve job postings

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It’s an exciting time for our industry. In the three years since the SmartRecruiters Talent Acquisition System (TAS) came out of R&D, the recruiting industry has witnessed the kind of technological upheaval that’s transformed just about every business model around us, from marketing to manufacturing, real estate to retail, It’s been a long time coming for HR, which is strange, considering the degree to which the most influential business leaders give importance to the process.

Alphabet’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt knows that “hiring is reinforced as the most important thing a leader does”. Apple founder and maha-guru Steve Jobs considered the top bullet-point on his job description to be “recruiter”. Like many corporate recruiting teams, we struggled with finding the right formula for investing and measuring our recruiting resources to ensure maximum impact.

 What We Did 

Our mission at SmartRecruiters, in the broadest terms, is to match as many candidates with the right employers as possible. We had to prove to recruiters and HR departments that implementing our TAS would save enough time to make it worth their while, but there would need to be an investment in recruiting. We had to start by proving it to ourselves on our own team.

What we discovered surprised us. We found we weren’t spending enough on recruiting. We knew we needed to make a business case to support this, so set about making a ROI model that would validate our assumption. To show that increasing cost per hire was more than a worthwhile investment, we mapped a clear methodology, and made the necessary case for disrupting legacy approaches, as well upping hiring budgets.

 Why We Did It 

Part of the problem recruiters face in this new digital marketplace is justifying new costs to company number crunchers, and the formula of “give me Z people and Y funds and I will deliver you X hiring success” isn’t yet an ingrained capability in all recruiting teams. One of our key goals was making this x-factor of hiring success more measurable, and bringing incontestable metrics to our executives.

Let’s start with why we’re talking about this at all. The Boston Consulting Group found that “companies adept at recruiting enjoyed 3.5X revenue growth and 2X the profit margin than their less capable peers.”

Any increase in recruiting output and productivity has an impact on the bottom line. This drove out intentions of analyzing and understanding where we were today, and how we could improve.

Our methods for reaching that level sit atop three already established pillars, the first two of which are the top factors for hiring success, according to Bersin by Deloitte High Impact Talent Practice Study, 2016.

 Candidate Experience

The most important first step is to find and engage great candidates across all channels. If you’re not paying attention to how they’re treated once engaged, you’re likely to narrow your talent pool.

 Hiring Manager Collaboration

Building deep embedded relationships based on mutual trust and value allows recruiters to align more closely with hiring managers through the entire process to drive better decisions.

 Recruiter Productivity

Ensuring recruiting resources and focus are maximized to drive the necessary output for success.

Our recruiting team wanted to take these concepts further, in terms of the ability to attract, select, and hire the best talent, for any role, on demand and on budget. That’s what we defined as hiring success, and that’s what we went for.

 How We Did It 

We’re based in the Bay Area, which is notorious for talent shortage, putting increased pressure on our recruiting engine. And while technology innovates at ten times the speed it once did, our methodology for achieve hiring success has to keep up. Which means we must quantify our methodology to the point where any unsure hiring manager can see the immediate benefits of this process.

First, we did an internal audit to see where we stood ourselves. To understand how we arrived at our audit and measurement terms below, it will help to define how we calculate some of the terms we’ll be using.

 “Hiring Budget”

An organization’s Hiring Budget includes all recruiting costs such as all Talent Acquisition (TA) employees, program spend, outsider recruiters, travel cost of candidate and technology infrastructure, but does not include time spent by interviewers and the hiring team as they engage in the process.

While most organizations measure the cost of recruiting, forward-looking organizations consider their Hiring Budget an investment just like a marketing budget to attract and grow ideal candidates and express the budget relative to the salary of people hired. Therefore, the Hiring Budget is a percentage of the total salary of new employees or New Hire Payroll (NHP).

Leading organizations invest, on average and depending on industry, between 5 and 15% in their Hiring Budget. This can be a good measure to understand their investment versus an organization’s peers in hiring top talent.

   “Hiring Velocity”

Hiring Velocity measures one simple thing: the percentage of jobs filled on time. Why is this important? Well, it answers one simple question: Are we able to hire the people we need when we need them? It’s critical for CEOs and their executive teams to know that their decisions and plans can be implemented because they have a TA organization that can mobilize quickly and deliver results. If they can’t, taking too long to hire the right candidates hinders the organization’s ability to grow and meet goals.

Hiring Velocity is highly correlated to Business Velocity. Consider the diagram below. Even a Hiring Velocity of 50% means you’re only able to fill half of your jobs on time. This means you don’t have as many people in the organization to help fulfill strategy and meet targets.

At 80% or greater, velocity becomes a core competency and helps to move the business forward faster. Obviously hiring on time can have a significant impact on the business. However, it is actually less important than the metric most organizations rarely track – which is the quality of the people brought on board. Quality is always more important than timeliness in hiring. No organizations exist that congratulate themselves for hiring all their low-quality employees on time.

   “Net Hiring Score”

This is no better determinant of a company’s overall hiring success than quality because it speaks to the relative productivity and output of each hire made. This measurement is a company’s Net Hiring Score or NHS. Similar to NPS, which speaks to how loyal and expressive an organization’s customers are, the NHS, which ranges from -100 to 100, tells you what percentage of your employees are great fits (i.e. high quality) for your organization. To calculate NHS, there are three simple steps:


This number, which will range from -100 to +100, is the net hiring score and speaks to the quality of the people the organization is hiring.


Having spent 6% of our budget on hiring, we measured Quality of Hire with a single, NPS-like score, which we call an NHS (Net Hiring Score), from -100 to +100 where 0 is the median of current employees. We divided by department:

Marketing = -50

Engineering = +91

Client Success = +22

Sales = -42

Finance = +100

Other = +50

The outcome? -17. Which represents an average loss of $537K (Our Net Hiring Score (-17) X Our Recruitment Budget).

With their NHS (Net Hiring Score) in hand, organizations can now easily calculate and understand the net impact of hiring quality on their organization.

To do that, let’s make the following assumption - the worst performers in an organization create a burden of 1X their annual salary and star performers generate a gain of 2X their annual salary.  These assumptions play out across most organizations and are correct (if not much higher) as top quartile employees generally out-produce their peers by a minimum of 2X and poor hires (especially in leadership) cause a great deal of organizational dysfunction and slowed momentum. The final step is to calculate an organization's Return on Hiring for any given period of time / hires in three simple steps:


Calculate two numbers: Net Hiring Score and New Hire Payroll (NHP) - which is the total annualized payroll of the new hires for any given period.

If NHS is non-negative: Net Return on Hiring = 2*NHP x NHS (as a %)

If NHS is negative: Net Return on Hiring = NHP * NHS (as a %)


If a company hires 20 people with a salary of $50K each, the NHP (New Hire Payroll), will be $1M.

If they have a Hiring Score of 25, then the Return on Hiring will be $1M x 25% x 2 = $500,000

If they have a Hiring Score of -10, then the Return on Hiring will be $1M x -10% = -$100,000

This allows organizations to evaluate the financial impact of their hiring practices. Organizations should then compare the net return they are receiving in relation to the amount spent to recruit - i.e. Hiring Budget.

Simply having a positive score leads to improved team productivity, faster growth, more brand awareness, better candidate pipeline, technology adoption, increased revenue, and decreased attrition.


We found that with an increase of only 4% of the hiring budget (more on where we invested below), we upped the collective Quality of Hire to +28, and the Return on Hiring exploded to $4.2 million.

The chart below breaks down this process, and finds we are already at 32.5% of positions filled on time.


There are gaps to be filled, streamlining on both sides of our process, but we’re happy to have reached a candidate satisfaction score of 8.3, and from the hiring-manager side, a satisfaction score of 7.1.

We hired two recruiters to improve the process, and we invested in direct sourcing for entrance-level positions with LinkedIn, but that proved time-consuming and expensive. Instead, we optimized our ROI on job advertising with better conversions, referrals and smarter budget allocations, using a collaborative process with job-specific scorecards (see example in next section), so we had better evaluations with no bias. Finding the right sourcing mix for each type of job is critical, and taking this into account improved our overall candidate experience from the first visit to hire, but the most important thing we did, was to follow our own rules and processes religiously.

All this led to a) better candidate flow b) improved hiring decision making c) streamlined processes so both speed and quality went up dramatically.

Now that we could identify our own shortcomings and measure outcomes as we addressed them, our formula to accurately measure hiring success became clear. It had to with cost (Hiring Budget), speed (Hiring Velocity) and quality (Net Hiring Score).

 Key Results 

Once you have your own +/- Net Hiring Score, you can combine this with your Hiring Budget and Hiring Velocity for the three main metrics for a Hiring Scorecard, which represents the health and impact of the hiring function. This will quickly tell you which components might need some work:


In this example, the organization invests 7% of New Hire Payroll in recruiting. With that budget, it is able to maintain an acceptable velocity of 75% while hiring great talent - evidenced by an NHS of +52. (It’s important to note, however, that even if you have a positive NHS, low Hiring Velocity can still have an adverse financial impact by taking too long to fill jobs.)

To define Return on Hiring for any given period of time:

  1. Calculate two numbers: Net Hiring Score (as %) and New Hire Payroll (NHP) - which is the total annualized payroll of new hires for any given period

  2. If NHS is positive: Net Return on Hiring = 2*NHP x NHS (as %)

  3. If NHS is negative: Net Return on Hiring = NHP * NHS (as %)


Organizations should then compare net returns in relation to the amount spent to recruit - i.e. Hiring Budget.

Let’s take three organizations that hire 10 people with a New Hire Payroll of $1MM, with dramatically different results in terms of ability to hire top-quality talent:


As we see, Sad Sad World LLC clearly under-invested in recruiting. They lack the ability and resources to attract candidates, managers are not getting the pipeline they need, requisitions remain open way too long, therefore the business is not agile. Compromises are made around quality which results in numerous bad hires. The direct financial impact of all of this is a loss of -$500k.

Rockstars Only, Inc. took a different approach. By resourcing their hiring efforts with almost three times the amount Sad Sad World LLC, the Hiring Budget supported all recruiting efforts. When paired with more high-quality hires than low-quality hires resulting in a positive Net Hiring Score, Rockstars Only Inc. managed to generate an incremental $1MM return.

Team Not Bad has a mediocre Hiring Velocity, but average Hiring Budget. While these metrics are certainly better than Sad Sad World LLC, Team Not Bad makes the same number of good hires as bad (NHS of 0) which means the financial return on hiring is $0. Again, this is better than a negative financial impact, but certainly not a number you’d want to share in a board meeting.

 What We Missed 

In an effort to raise the bar, we started to use direct sourcing methods for most roles, but we realized quickly we were wasting time and energy going outbound for entry-level sales positions. We ended up turning our sourcing mix towards inbound (advertising,...) for junior roles and mostly outbound (referrals, direct sourcing,..) for more senior positions.

 Key Takeaways 

Hiring success is now measurable. Every organization needs to understand their hiring process and how it impacts hiring velocity. They can then revise their hiring budget to optimize return on hiring. Whether the issues lie within velocity, spend, or quality, most companies will find their situation is a combination of the three.

The idea of talent analytics can be intimidating to recruiting laters who aren't yet deeply data fluent. Our goal with this case study was to demonstrate a clear, and relatively straight-forward, way that TA leaders can analyze their impact and calibrate their budgets/output for success. If we have contributed to changing that situation at all, everything will have been worth it.

 Technologies Used 

We use LinkedIn and Entelo for sourcing, LinkedIn, Indeed, and niche boards for job advertising; Criteria Corp for assessment; and Outmatch for reference check. All of which are natively integrated in our SmartRecruiters Talent Acquisition System.

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Hot Topic, Inc. is the destination for music and pop culture. We have three brands (Hot Topic, BoxLunch, Her Universe) and over 790 stores collectively across the US and Canada. What started as an idea in a Pasadena, CA garage is now 29 years of embracing loud music, diversity, and inclusiveness for people passionate about music, pop culture, and movies.

We’re based in the greater Los Angeles, CA area (City of Industry, to be exact) and have 425+ employees at our Corporate HQ. Our total employee population fluctuates, by season, but averages at over 10K company-wide.

Our initiative was to redesign the HQ onboarding experience with the intent to increase ramp-up speed and engagement, which ultimately impacts productivity and tenure.


There was a glaring need for the onboarding experience to match the brand and culture. We operate in an empowering, autonomous environment, and are very inclusive, which resonates extremely well with employees. The onboarding experience that existed was the complete opposite. It was disjointed, solely focused on new hire paperwork, and did not provide the context or tools for new employees to ramp up quickly, which impacted engagement and productivity. It set the wrong tone and led to some obvious (and confirmed by surveys) disengagement.

We also thought heavily about CLV (Customer Lifetime Value) and how we can apply that same metric to people. If we can focus on engaging and ramping up our employees more effectively, we can possibly extend the productivity value and longevity/tenure of our people. The more productive and engaged our people are, the stronger the connection to positive revenue impact.


We surveyed all of our new hires from the past six months (80 total) and analyzed the results, while also comparing that with our own views of the onboarding experience. We embrace loud music at our stores and have TV’s and music throughout our office. Our onboarding experience had ZERO music or videos. There were no visuals, no presentation deck, nothing. It set the wrong tone and created an unwanted emphasis on what was lacking vs. what’s ahead as employees start their journey with Hot Topic.

As we reflected on all this, we realized there was an opportunity to enhance the employee experience while also assessing impact to productivity - which correlates to revenue. To enhance this experience, we wanted to ensure that it was strategic in connecting new employees to our mission and culture, while also creating an experience that would be both impactful and scalable.   

We took inspiration from two sources: 2016 Dreamforce and the Hero’s Journey (pop culture inspired thought process that every hero has to go through a journey to become a hero, and that every step in the process helps develop the tools/skills needed to become a hero).

At Dreamforce 2016 the theme was “Trailblazer”. As we walked to the main expo floor, a map was handed out with a gamified edge to navigating every booth. For every booth/demo you visited, you received a sticker on your map. When all the locations were complete, you took your completed map to the swag booth and had your choice of Salesforce swag. On average, there was a 20-minute wait in the swag line! By adding the gamified edge to the experience it drove engagement and conversion.

We took the idea of a low tech, gamified map/journey, along with the Hero’s Journey and came up with The Hot Topic Journey - our new hire’s roadmap to becoming a Hot Topic Hero (high performing employee). And since we’re the destination for all things pop culture, we put a fun spin on it.


We included nine steps that were designed to cover an employee’s first 30 days. The focus was to do 3 things:

  • Assimilate new hires into our culture
  • Align new hires with our mission and goals
  • Equip new hires with the context and tools necessary to get their job done

Ultimately, we wanted to answer questions before they were asked and establish new hires in our culture of autonomy, ownership, and collaboration. The nine steps in the journey aimed to do just that.  

We built a roadmap guiding employees through their first 30 days. This included key touch points designed to connect them to our culture, embed them into our business through engagement and context, drive ramp up speed, and productivity (key to revenue impact).

How we designed the Nine steps:
  • Surveying hires over the previous six months
  • Taking collected data and reviewing individually with leadership team
  • Identifying issues that negatively impacted ramp up, sentiment, and engagement
  • Taking the above, we mapped out a nine step experience covering 30 days (we wanted it to be meaty and meaningful, but not overwhelming. Nine steps seemed like just enough)

Our team collaboratively discussed how we can map this out and create a great experience. More than just a positive experience, we wanted to make sure it impacted ramp up speed and connection to our mission and road map.

We thought it would be great to have a map to guide new hires through what is always an anxious experience. Looking at the Dreamforce map as inspiration, we started talking about how each job is a journey you take with a company and the idea of the Hero’s Journey surfaced. It was perfectly aligned with our product and culture. The idea behind the Hero’s Journey is that every hero starts in the ordinary world, and has a set of experiences that help shape the individual into a hero.

This was the perfect mindset for onboarding. Everyone who starts fresh at a company is in the same boat - we wanted to provide the right steps to turn everyone into a Hero at Hot Topic. We asked, “how we can do that most effectively?” “What’s important from a tactical and strategic perspective?” “What posed as roadblocks to effective onboarding and assimilation into our business?” These answers shaped how we designed the program.

We landed on a name relatively quickly: The Hot Topic Journey. It’s a taken from the Hero’s Journey and speaks to the adventure every employee will experience at Hot Topic.

We took all these questions and laid them out on the table. Our initial list started with five steps. It then grew to nine as we continued to ask questions evaluate feedback.

The Nine steps of The Hot Topic Journey
  1. Call To Adventure
  2. Find Your Fellowship
  3. Meet The Jedi Master
  4. Cross The Threshold
  5. Explore Your New World
  6. Visit The Forge
  7. Join The Forces For Good
  8. Fill In The Map
  9. Master Your World

There are a few steps that required cross-functional partnership from benefits, HR, and Ops so we collaborated with them to build out the experience and ensured we had full buy-in.

Once we had an idea of what we wanted the steps to be, we started building out the experience tied to each step. That included the presentation deck, content, copy/voice and design assets. Our in-house marketing team was swamped as it was the busiest time of year for them, so we hired a freelance graphic designer. We created the copy, provided creative direction and also found a local printer to produce high-quality bi-fold maps.

We wanted a way to mark off each step so we also had small stickers printed. To help complete the experience, we had large decals of each logo printed so we can cling them to the conference room doors to help new hires identify meeting rooms.

Once we had all the content and assets in place, we set up time to review with our CEO and SVP of Marketing. We absolutely needed their sign off and received it enthusiastically.

  • 50% decrease in new hire attrition (leaving within 1 year): In 2016, we had relatively high turnover at our corporate office for employees with one year or less tenure. That number dropped by 50% after a full year of running the Hot Topic Journey.
  • Internal NPS: Prior to the Hot Topic Journey, our internal Net Promoter Score amongst new hires was 38%. Post Hot Topic Journey, our score increase to 68%.
  • Increase in qualified referrals: There was a strong correlation between NPS score and increase in qualified referrals. We saw a 22% uptick in qualified referrals over a 12-month span, and a 35% increase YoY in referrals hired.
Employee Lifetime Value

We wanted to measure and project Employee Lifetime Value. Against our control group, we saw a significant improvement in engagement and self-performance review after launching the Hot Topic Journey. Note, these numbers are a projection - we need another 2-3 years to assess quantitatively the overall ELTV impact. What the below highlights is a strong enough correlation between on-boarding, increased engagement & sentiment, which ultimately leads to less attrition and higher performance.

Pre Hot Topic Journey


Post Hot Topic Journey

  • Increase of 39% in high producer category
  • 50% decrease in low producer  - overall significant projected ROI

When we launched The Hot Topic Journey, there was immediate positive results for those that completed the Journey. What we didn’t anticipate is how it would make other employees feel. Those that recently joined the company prior to launching the Journey missed out, and they felt excluded. This was a big miss - we didn’t want employees feeling less valued. We provided swag to those that were hired in the preceding 3 months, and actually used this as a catalyst to incorporate The Hot Topic Journey branding and voice into more events outside of onboarding.  

We also didn’t anticipate how much time it would take to manage the nine steps. We initially scheduled the steps as we made hires, and realized quickly the varying timelines would cause us to be facilitating multiple events every week. We streamlined the events so that we had no more than 1-2 steps on any given week, which was much more manageable.

Lastly - we gathered a lot of feedback, and what was loudest was the need for systems training. When we designed the program, we wanted to solve for the biggest challenges in ramping up in a new role and we missed this basic need. Since the goal of our onboarding program is accelerated ramp-up to productivity, we added more training to our Visit the Forge session to include technology and core systems training.


It’s important to convey the immense value and competitive advantage your employees represent. Employees aren’t commodities; they’re your life blood, and the difference between success and failure.

Onboarding represents the start of the employee life cycle and can change the trajectory of your employees from the start. Just a small upward tilt to that trajectory, and you’ll reap significantly increased ROI across your employee’s tenure. You can’t afford to NOT invest in onboarding. This was our message to our Executive Team, and it’s a hard one to ignore.

Much like recruiting, onboarding is a team sport. You need full buy-in from the top down to ensure a successful program.

In order for buy-in to happen, you have to have data to validate why we should invest in onboarding. There’s a correlation to revenue impact, it’s just a matter of evaluating the right data points:

  • Ramp up speed x impact to employee trajectory
  • Increased engagement x positive impact on qualified employee referrals
  • Impact to tenure x cost of attrition

Innovation doesn’t always mean you’re the first to do it. Sometimes innovation is iteration. Don’t be afraid to draw inspiration from the most unlikely sources and use it to create something new. Don’t be afraid to adapt it as your business evolves. This mindset, fueled by two completely separate inspiration points, led to what was the #2 focus of our company for 2017.


We had a very low tech approach. We paid $500 to create the creative assets, $200 to have it printed (we printed bifold maps on cardstock and had branded dot stickers printed as well).  The other investment was our time and effort to execute the roadmap for new hires. We built out a seven question survey in Google Forms to capture feedback that measured engagement, sentiment, and an overall self-performance rating.

We might move to a different platform for collecting feedback, and add more..

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The Anchor Group is England’s largest not-for-profit housing association, providing housing, care and support to people over 55 years old.

Our initiative was to create a better recruitment process, while providing the best applicant experience possible.


We noticed a pattern emerging during the recruitment follow up process, with a high number of individuals that completed application forms then failing to engage with our in-house recruitment team despite attempts to reach them via phone and email.

Candidates’ busy lifestyle meant that they were often unable to respond to emails or answer the phone (except at very specific times of the day) and tended to shy away from completing extensive application forms. We also realised that there were highly-skilled candidates that were experienced in care but unable to translate this onto paper in the form of a CV.


The solution was a purpose-built recruitment Chatbot built into Facebook Messenger, with questions that will allow us to screen and engage with candidates instantly. 1.2 billion people currently use Facebook Messenger, and can access it straight from the mobile phone they keep in their pocket. This made it the perfect tool to build the new technology upon.

When someone clicks on an ad on Facebook, a conversation will immediately open in Messenger, allowing the applicant to be preliminarily qualified and book in a specific time for a call with an Anchor recruiter.


Using the Chatbot, we initiated automated one-on-one conversations with potential candidates. There are a variety of platforms available to build Chatbots, however we chose to build ours within FlowXO. The reason for this is because it has allowed us to hard code in our own features and integrations, so that it can be much more than a simple automated question and answer system.

Anchor Jobs Facebook Chatbot - YouTube

The best example of this, is a feature whereby once the applicant has inputted their postcode, the Chatbot can then calculate how far they are from the nearest Anchor care home and then estimated commute times. Our ‘natural language’ Chatbot responses also ensured that we retained a personal feel.

 In less than a minute, our recruitment Chatbot can:
  • Establish which role the candidate is interested in

  • Whether the location is within commutable distance

  • Whether the candidate has the required experience

  • Capture multiple data points such as name, email address and postcode


Facebook Messenger is also becoming a platform for customer service, so it was important this was considered when building the Chatbot. This resulted in building in functionality so that if the user had a specific question, they could be passed along to a member of our recruitment team while still on Messenger.

The technology alone, however, was not enough however to ensure success - the initiative involved building targeted social media campaigns that drove people to the Chatbot where they could then apply.

An example of our Facebook ads

The great things about Facebook ads are that we have data on everything - click-throughs, engagement, applications, etc. It allowed us to A/B test and optimize our messaging. Through analysing several months’ worth of data, we were able to conclude what messages would appeal to our target audience the most. By delivering the right message to the right audience, we were able to drive effective traffic to the Chatbot to maximise applications.

  • Since launching the chatbot, we’ve attributed 86 hires directly to candidates who initiated contact with Anchor Trust through the bot.

  • The “traditional” recruitment method applying for a job via uploading a CV to a website yielded a conversion rate of 2.04%. The conversion rate for the Chatbot stands at an unprecedented 27.35%.

  • 1,062 total Chatbot conversations with potential applicants. All those who do not finish their application can be “retargeted” via our social campaigns to re-engage them.

  • The average cost per applicant for previous recruitment campaigns was £51. The Chatbot has reduced the cost/applicant by 64% which now stands at £18

  • The number of average monthly applicants has increased 82%


The main consideration should be the development time for building a Chatbot. Once the software has been built there is also continual process of analysing the data to see how it can be improved. If we were to create another Chatbot, we would allow for more time to test it before it goes live. There is always a risk with new technologies that it won’t work as flawlessly as hoped, so you can never test too much!

For example, over the course of the development of the Chatbot, we have learnt that the language used is vital in guiding the applicant through the process and keeping them engaged. We know that emojis are popular online, so we incorporated them into the Chatbot along with our informal language and GIF’s to make the application process as fun and engaging as possible.

  • Simplifying the application process has significantly increased the number of applicants, while decreasing the cost per applicant.

  • Data is king – continually analysing results and data has allowed us to improve and evolve the Chatbot to make the experience even better.

  • Simply building a Chatbot is not enough – how are people going to discover it? You need an accompanying online advertising campaign to drive the people you want to apply onto the Chatbot.

  • Anticipate the time and cost that goes into developing new technologies.

  •  FlowXO

  •  Google Analyitcs

  •  Facebook / Instagram Ads

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Nurse Next Door is a home care service dedicated to providing quality care for seniors and peace of mind to family members. With over 150 franchises across North America, Nurse Next Door is making lives better by going above the typical tasks associated with home care to also provide Happier Aging—getting people back to doing what they love. We focus on attracting quality talent who live our core values—Admire People, WOW Customer Experience, Find a Better Way and Passionate About Making a Difference—in all roles within our company. These roles include caregivers, Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN’s), Registered Nurses (RN’s), Franchise Partners and various roles within our HeartQuarters office, such as our Pink Ops team which comprises a variety of departments. We strongly believe in the power of employer branding and to be visible where our candidates are.

Since launching in 2001, Nurse Next Door has taken a bold stance to help seniors stay at home and live Happier Aging. Happier Aging is a unique experience that focuses on identifying what use to make a person happy and getting him or her back to doing it again. It’s not just something seniors can experience, we believe people of all ages, including our employees, should experience it too. This philosophy shaped our initiative to showcase how Nurse Next Door admires employees by allowing them to live out their dreams, through video storytelling.


The home care industry is growing at a rate of 4.5% annually. With people reaching their 60’s and 70’s, an increasing life expectancy and rising costs of hospital services, the need for home care professionals will continue to grow in order to meet increased demand. As Baby Boomers age, home health care jobs will be plentiful and Nurse Next Door is always looking to get ahead of the curve for recruiting and staffing. Coupled with the fact that more people are consuming information digitally and visually, it was important for us to be able to catch people’s attention immediately.

We had leveraged blog posts with static images but felt we were missing a 360 view that was able to encompass everything we offered our employees. Through candidate interviews, we found there were two common misconceptions when it came to home care career opportunities.

The first misconception was that we were only hiring caregivers or nurses. While caregivers and nurses make up approximately 80% of our hiring, we also fill over 45 positions in our HeartQuarters (aka headquarters) annually. This number doesn’t include the additional roles our specific franchise locations hire for their offices either.

The second misconception was that home care wasn’t an “exciting” industry to work in. However, we knew firsthand that this wasn't the case. Since our founding in 2001, Nurse Next Door has focused on developing a culture that works hard, but also has fun and is extremely exciting and rewarding at the same time.

We created this culture through our initiatives such as quarterly All-Star Parties where we celebrate employees who have received recognition from their peers for performing an action in alignment with our core values. This can be things like finding a better way to do reporting, coming up with a new marketing idea to drive intakes or offering to help a colleague. During these parties, we also run auctions where employees can bid on prizes using Flowerbucks, our internal currency received for recognition.

Additionally, we have developed and built out a Dreams Program, where employees’ dreams of all shapes and sizes are granted. Some examples of this are buying a plane ticket so an employee could attend a personal development retreat, sending employees skydiving and purchasing the dream wedding dress for an employee. Working in the home care industry requires heart and the one thing we constantly hear from employees in addition to the culture is that their job gives them purpose and fulfillment.

With these points in mind, we knew that we had an opportunity to focus on these rich and exciting stories, and did just that. Through a visually-rich brand strategy, largely comprised of video, we were able to reduce the time-to-hire rate by 6 months without comprising quality of applicants.


The first area of opportunity we identified to combat these misconceptions and showcase what it was like to work at Nurse Next Door was to utilize video. In early 2016, we hired a Videographer on staff to help us tell our employer brand story and give people a genuine look into our company. She joined the marketing team and is actively involved in day-to-day operations. We felt that having someone work in-house versus an agency would allow that person to truly understand the employer brand and bring it to life.

One of the first stories we told through video was around our Dreams Program. We profiled employees who were granted dreams and shared their story on video for the Nurse Next Door website and social media. All of our employees in our HeartQuarters office are encouraged to submit a list of dreams, no matter how small or big, as soon as they join the team.

In the past, these have ranged from being able to buy a dream wedding dress, driving lessons, go skydiving, or even a well-deserved trip with family. Nurse Next Door’s President and CEO, Cathy Thorpe, reviews the list of dreams quarterly and makes these dreams come true.

Through research, we knew a lot of our applicants, especially the demographics of people who work in our Care Services Center, were active on social media and there was a huge opportunity to utilize this platform for recruiting. So we tailored our videos for social and actively promoted them across key platforms.

We focused most of our efforts on Facebook, because of their rich targeting technology and robust advertising options. Unlike traditional recruitment advertising sites, like Indeed and Craigslist, Facebook allowed us to post videos with captions to tell our employer brand story and add personality behind our name. For those who weren’t as familiar with us, we were now able to give them a genuine and transparent look into our work culture.


We started out by first building awareness around our Dreams Program within HeartQuarters through our daily company huddle and sending out the dreams submission form once a month (form sample below). We also worked to identify dreams that had been granted in the past and secured permission to tell those employee’s stories.

Our Videographer and People Team worked closely to coordinate when a dream was going to be granted, to ensure our Videographer could film the candid reactions. We’d advertise Facebook Live and Instagram Live sessions a few days prior to the dream to garner interest from our current and prospective employees. On the day of the dream being granted, we’d film a live session of it on Facebook and Instagram. Once a dream was granted, our Videographer would coordinate with that employee and determine filming dates, location, people, and logistics for a more in-depth profile. 

After the video was filmed and edited, we would post the video on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn). The final touch for the video would be to add captions since 80% of people watch videos without sound. We found Facebook to be the most effective platform for our content, so we began to allocate advertising to boost our media on this channel.

We also used use UTM (Urchin Tracking Modules) tags to link the video back to our job application on the website and track how many people went to the careers page on a specific video. This allowed us to add parameters to our URL’s so we could track ROI through Google Analytics. We did this by using the Campaign URL Builder

One of our biggest success stories was Queenie’s Dream.

Queenie's Dream - YouTube

Before becoming Nurse Next Door’s Procura Product Specialist, Queenie was a Care Services Specialist at the company at the time of her dream being granted. Originally from Hong Kong, Queenie came to Canada under a Working Holiday Program. Shortly after arriving, she met Tim who became her boyfriend. Although she always intended to go back to Hong Kong where her family lives, she made a decision to move to Vancouver, BC with Tim and start a new life there.

Ever since then, she and her family have been coordinating a time where they could visit her in her new home, but schedules and finances didn’t work out. Queenie submitted a dream to be able to bring her family to Vancouver for a visit and on Christmas, that dream was granted.

Here’s how we documented her dream:

After reviewing all the dreams, Cathy Thorpe announced that Queenie’s dream would be coming true.

Our Videographer coordinated with Queenie on when her family would be coming from Hong Kong to Vancouver if they were okay with having the experience filmed, where they would film it and what day and time the flight would be arriving.

After filming the footage, our Videographer edited the footage and customized it for social media and sharing purposes. 

For the Facebook targeting, we tested two different ads. The original version was optimized for brand awareness. It had a broad target audience and we measured success through video views and engagement. The second ad had a fairly targeted audience and was optimized for conversions with the goal of people sending in applications for our Care Services Specialist positions in Vancouver, BC.

These included targeting locations in the Lower Mainland, detailed targeting such as specific Universities and Colleges as well as demographics such as people who had “Call Center” or “Scheduling Coordinator” roles in their Facebook profile. For both Facebook ads, we used the “Traffic” campaign which is optimized to “send more people to a destination on or off Facebook.”

In addition to marketing on Facebook, we also shared our content across other key social media channels:

  • YouTube - While we saw more engagement on Facebook (due to targeting capabilities and # of users), we also shared them here because of its organic reach and value it adds to SEO.
  • Instagram - Instagram is one of the best platforms for visual storytelling as it’s optimized for people or businesses to share their story through media. We took advantage of this,  to upload videos, images and also take advantage of Instagram Stories/Instagram Live to give a real-time look at what we’re doing.
  • Twitter - We’ve found that lots of people who are searching for jobs use certain hashtags within their area (ex: #yvrjobs for people looking or posting jobs in Vancouver). For this reason, we share all of our recruitment posts (blogs, images, and videos) on here with job-related hashtags.
  • LinkedIn - This platform proved great for recruiting and reaching people who were interested in working for Nurse Next Door in different capacities - caregiving, HeartQuarters jobs, and Franchise Partners.
  • Website - To make our messaging more prominent to people visiting our website, we added the videos to various sections (ex: the blogs and sub-pages)  to support content and help paint a picture. To do this, we used the YouTube videos and embedded them onto the site.

Overall, most franchises reported a *doubling of qualified applicants. 

*note: due to Canada and U.S. franchise laws we're not able to provide specific applicant/hire data for franchisees.

Queenie’s Dream: Untargeted Ad

  • Goal: Brand Awareness
  • People who like your Page and their friends, age 18-65+, who live in Canada, British Columbia
  • 3,912 3-second views
  • 7,393 people reached
  • $0.01 per 3-second view
  • $50 spent

Queenie’s Dream: Targeted Ad

  • Goal: Applications for Care Services Specialist position
  • 2,164 3-second views
  • 3,940 people reached
  • $0.02 per 3-second view
  • $50 spent
  • 19 sessions to our Care Services Careers job posting on the Nurse Next Door website

As you can see, the untargeted ad received more views and engagement. However, we weren’t able to actually track how many people visited the job posting from the video so it was hard to correlate its direct result to applications. The second time around, we targeted the ad and used the Campaign URL Builder so we could create a call-to-action to the video for people to click and go directly to the job posting. This way we were able to track how many people checked out the Care Services Center job posting from this specific video.

Overall, metrics from all of our visual storytelling efforts dramatically decreased time-to-hire and quality of applicants as well. The time-to-hire period dropped from a range of six to eight months down to just two or three months and candidates that applied felt more connected with our story and purpose.

To date, we have created and published 85 videos focused on both our caregiver and HeartQuarters jobs and have seen an 1105% increase in followers to our Facebook account.

    After launching our videos and supporting media placement, most of our franchisees reported that the number of qualified candidates in their pipeline had doubled and they are now able to deliver a better branded experience when attracting talent.

    Franchisee Testimonials: 

    Travis Tinning, Franchise Partner, Nurse Next Door, Calgary, Alberta

    We feel that Nurse Next Door has a unique 'employer brand identity' in the elder care space - being blunt, we provide superior service and create a personalized, positive "WOW" experience for all of our clients and their families.  More than any other medium, video storytelling enables us to convey a lot of information about caring for seniors in a short amount of time, reach caregiver audiences that we were not previously reaching and connect with them on an emotional level.  By adding video storytelling to our employer branding mix, we now "show vs tell" by sharing real stories that highlight how we are different from other elder care companies and communicating our brand's unique personality to potential caregivers better than a job posting or other traditional forms of media!

    Bobbi Buss, Franchise Partner, Nurse Next Door, Waukesha, WI

    The video's for me have been great.......when someone can see an actual caregiver and client interact it displays way more emotion than if you were reading about it.  It truly reflects "happier aging" and "making lives better" when you can see "real life" situations.  

    Tiffany Rubin, Franchise Partner, Nurse Next Door, Delaware

    Video storytelling impacts our business by putting real faces on the people that work in our business, and real faces on the people we serve. This allows for immediate rapport, warm feelings and an overall positive introduction to the brand. This also allows us to explain what we do, without having to spell it out in bullet points. 

    From a business perspective, this also allows us the opportunity to highlight great caregivers and clients who may want the opportunity to share their story; it's an outlet! And it provides us the opportunity to continue to build on the credibility we have in the community. 

    Veronica Tissera, VP Corporate Franchise, Vancouver, BC

    Our videos have made a real connection as they have been able to convey a message where pictures and text can't replace. We have been able to share real stories from clients that have experienced what Nurse Next Door has offered to them and how it impacted their lives and only through video storytelling we are able to capture the emotion.

    Our videos have made it relatable for potential clients and their families instilling a sense of trust through the stories.

    For our caregivers, it has shown them how rewarding and empowering caregiving can be when their work is valued and they are able to deliver care with a heart. It has put us on the map as their career destination.


    When we first started producing video content, we would track views and engagement as indicators of how content was performing. While this was a good metric to measure for online brand awareness and engagement, we were missing the end result. We realized we also needed to tie it in with the end goal—the number and quality of applicants.

    Whether it’s a recruiting video for caregivers or Care Services Specialists (our schedulers in our centralized scheduling center), we set up unique UTM’s so we could track directly how many people clicked to go to the job posting from one of our videos.

    We also realized it was hard to directly track if people had applied because of the video (without asking applicants how they heard about the position) because the call-to-action of our job applications was to email a specific email address. Our learnings from that were that it was more beneficial to create a form so we could eliminate friction from asking people to take another step and also better track data and referral sources. This is something that is in the works with our new website launch.

    • Develop a unique program for your employer brand and leverage it to showcase what you are doing differently.
    • Determine your end goal and align your efforts to that. Ex: Is it to hire for a role or brand awareness? This may alter how you advertise it on social media.
    • Posting videos to Facebook is more effective than posting on YouTube. Facebook allows for specific targeting and native video which eliminates the “click-to-play” model.
    • Facebook Live sessions allowed us to receive a significant amount of organic views, that are harder to receive organically through uploaded native Facebook videos. We shot our Facebook Live sessions through iPhone’s.
    • When posting videos to Facebook, include captions as 80% of people watch videos without sound. We use a tool called Rev to add captions to do this.
    • Video engagement has a much cheaper cost per click than..
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    At GE we usually categorize Employment Brand at GE into four big ‘buckets’: candidate experience, brand ambassador programs, messaging, and online presence. The truth is the brand ambassador component is the glue that plays into each part of employment brand at GE.

    We started our program four years ago out of crisis for what candidates were seeing online before coming in for an interview. However, it quickly developed into something we offer for all GE Employees that want to volunteer to be a brand ambassador.

    In teaching the basics of storytelling, finding your ‘why’, and nurturing social amplification behaviors we have implemented an army of over 13,000 brand ambassadors, with little to no resources. These new ambassadors are yielding in fantastic reach and helping us engage talent in new ways.

     Why We Did It 

    A few reasons led us to create the brand ambassador program – like many change initiatives, they were rooted in limitations.

    First, we had a $0 budget starting this adventure with GE. I looked around and asked ‘what do I have?’. One of the key assets we had was access was 350,000 colleagues around the globe.

    The second challenge was our lack of polish in online profiles. I looked around at what our recruiters and hiring managers looked like online (not great). Many reacted with shocked expressions when I mentioned that candidates were doing their homework and googling them ahead of time. Connecting these dots for them helped set this initiative in motion.

    There were also core business reasons that made this the perfect time to implement this initiative.

    1.     Our company was going through a massive transformation to a Digital Industrial company. We had to tell the public about it, but most of our communication channels were B2B. The question then became - how do you get word out to people?

    2.     Transparency is not just ‘in’, it’s becoming an expectation. Customers/candidates could care less what we say about ourselves (they don’t trust it – exhibit A). They want to know what it is like to work at our companies from our employees.  

    3.     We had a huge culture shift going on as a company. How do you convey this externally? How do you help employees to discover and experience this?

    4.     Talent Acquisition use to be job led. It is now brand led. How do we now shift this in our processes and the way we approach candidates?

     What We Did 

    We used the voices we have in the company (the 350,000 potential marketers) to humanize our brand and represent us as people instead of an overwhelming corporate entity. To lay a firm foundation we started with a pilot and quickly grew it as we evolved the training. We also tried to involve as many key stakeholders as possible from the beginning, and along the way, that could evangelize and promote the training where it should be promoted.

    We created a basic one hour course and then other more advanced components that those with passion to represent the company can choose to join. The foundational course has been fused into other trainings that employees receive along their life cycle at GE such as New Employee Orientation, Hiring the Right People, and Executive/Leadership training. This ensures that we entice people to get involved and bring it to mind along their career path at GE.

    A big part of any brand or ambassador programs is about keeping it going - the longevity. To do this we implemented a strategy where we evolve and offer the training quarterly, as well as create full marketing strategies to involve our brand ambassador’s in and keep them engaged. This continues to create a buzz and enhances our marketing campaigns to increase the reach, engagement, but most importantly the longevity.

     How We DID It Pilot -> Feedback -> Update

    We started with a small group of recruiters (that were in most need of help but also a group that I would call skeptics – I knew we would get all the feedback we needed). Then we incorporated their hiring managers. We held these sessions live and learned a LOT just from facial expressions. Of course there was no shortage of direct feedback as well.

    We post-training surveyed through a quick online tool we have a GE. It included rankings for each part of the training as well as some open form fields for feedback. We maintained the same survey after the pilot to ensure data continuity/integrity and be sure we continued encouraging feedback. The open feedback helped us iterate and refine the training so it is highly tailored to our audience.

    One last note is that the training should evolve at least quarterly. Online presence and social channels change so rapidly that you need to be sure you are keeping up to date.


    Involve Key Stakeholders

    HR Managers, TA Leaders, and Recruiters – This audience is usually a great ‘test pilot’ if you feel your HR teams need help in this area. They’re often your best proponents as well.

    As a massive global organization, broad messaging can be a challenge. One of the ways we get the word out to all employees on training initiatives is through our HR team. They’re the ones ‘on the ground’ working with teams and know who could use this type of training.

    The HR team is also sensitive to those that might not be involved as much with technology, slowing up on hiring, or perhaps going through sensitive times losing headcount and such. We made it easy for them… an email they could forward to all their teams/contacts. 

    Another great outcome of getting HR involved first was that it answered the initial question most employees were thinking… “You mean GE is okay with this?” GE had a legacy of conservative views towards social presence and profiles, so employees needed reassurances that was evolving and their engagement was now encouraged. Not an easy culture shift. 

    Leaders/Diversity Leaders (or specific recruiting initiative leaders) – This audience can also be your biggest (and most important) advocates. Not only can they promote, but they can also lobby for other parts of the organization to get involved (this is how we were able to plug it into the Crotonville/GE University Executive courses).  

    Sometimes adoption is best advocated through examples. Our CEO at GE Power contacted us at some point along the journey. He shared that his 18-yo son said that people were looking at him online and rating him, etc. He wanted to know what he could do.

    We set him, and his executive team, up with personal brand ambassador training. Not only did he passionately participate, but he also sent the invite to the next general session to EVERY GE Power employee. When your boss is doing it… you want to too.

    Marketing/Culture Comms/Branding – These teams are crucial partnerships for brand ambassador programs. First, you want to be sure to walk in sync and follow the brand of your company for obvious reasons. At most companies their employment brand will not be as mature (or respected) as their corporate brand. Employment brand is the ‘new kid on the block’. Having corporate brand alignment and buy-in will help ensure that your program is a success.

    The way we did this at GE was by proving engagement data, sharing credit, but most importantly - provide them good content. The stories that our brand ambassadors could write after bring trained to think about their ‘why’ were exactly what marketing was wanting for their content portfolio. They know that people-centric stories spur emotion and cause a connection. They were hungry for content from our employees.


    3 Key Components (all voluntary and for any GE Employee):

    101 Digital Industrial Brand Ambassador Training – ~1 hour

    Be a Digital Industrial Brand Ambassador (GE) from HR Open Source

    Training Delivery Methods

    • Live/WebEx – customized per audience (example: Affinity Network, Leadership Program, etc.)
    • Quarterly sessions offered at 3 times in one day to help with global time zones – General / All employees can join
    • LMS – online training available through our LMS – can be taken as one course or broken into modules
    • Additional audiences and fusions:
      • New Employee - An overview and short tips are addressed in our NEO training (New Employee Orientation)
      • Manager - A portion of the brand ambassador training has been fused into “Hiring the Right People” training that every new manager participates in
      • Executive - Our Crotonville (GE University) references portions of the training and the full training as part of Executive training
    Agenda for training:
    • Why?
    • Win/Win – professional branding for you and (if you choose) GE
    • Being safe online
    • Maximizing your LinkedIn profile
    • The art of storytelling; your ‘why’
    • Other places you can ‘hang out online’ – social, review, content sites
    • Resources (see below)

    Example of brand ambassador infographic

    Flexibility ~Employees chose how much time to invest:

    GE Brand Ambassador internal website

    • Join a distribution list for all ambassadors
    • 30 Minute Monthly Tips and Tricks sessions
    • Resource website for ambassadors

    Behavior of Social Amplification (Employees pick the tool/method that works for you) ~10 min /week:
    • Sites you can refer to for great content
    • Monday morning email of updates for each company (usually video, engaging content to amp)
    • LinkedIn Elevate License
    • GE Eddie (internal social amping / news broadcasting tool created with Dynamic Signal)
    Continue the Buzz….

    An example from our Women in Engineering role model campaign

    Being able to train and promote participation in brand ambassador training is valuable, however part of the plan needs to be about sustaining the program and campaigns. This is where the brand ambassador portion of employment brand is weaved through everything.

    For example – our women in technology campaign. GE has committed to have 20,000 women in technology by the year 2020. We launched the marketing campaign, gathered leads that fell in love with the idea (not necessarily looking for a job), and have continued to have conversations with them. Eventually this will result in enticing them in and seeing how and where they fit at a company where they truly agree with the cause. But to do this we must continue the conversation. We achieve this in several ways.

    • Leverage hashtags: for this we picked #BalanceTheEquation – be sure all your brand ambassadors know if they upload a photo to instagram, twitter, etc. to use this hashtag and GE will amplify, retweet, repost, etc.
    • Use your Brand Ambassador's ‘why’ stories - Email stories of women rockstars at GE – highlight the cool jobs that make up STEM jobs (see results for how this has turned out so far) – these stories come straight from our brand ambassadors and their ‘why’ – you can find an example here
    Female Engineer Powers Pakistan & Empowers Girls - Together We Work - GE - YouTube
    • Use conversational social media - Facebook Live sessions of events going on at GE with our women executives or through our Women’s Network (our internal affinity program) have been very valuable. They’ve resulted in quick uptick of conversation externally, live engagement, and a transparent point of view – over 50K reach in 24 hours – email attached to use as template to ask for internal support
    • Think outside the box – We launched a RV bus tour to college campuses around the US where we were able to get an RV wrapped in the women in technology campaign and created some amazing activities we could do to educate what it was to be a woman in technology at GE.

    Our GE #BalanceTheEquation bus

     Key Results 
    • Increase in applicants - With our first big push through the brand ambassador army of the Owen commercials we saw an 800% increase in applications the following month.
    • Increase in quality/hires - Connecting to the right/quality candidates pays off – our Women In Technology Campaign provided over 18K leads within the first few days. Engagement with this audience through email and text led to at 75% open rate, 25% click through rate, and a 10% apply rate.
    • Social Ambassadors - Over 75% of our global employees have a profile on LinkedIn, and are actively engaged on social media (most are engaged and many are very active = 100 + postings / month).
    • Connected/Reach - Able to use brand ambassador army to reach more organically than many paid campaigns – our brand ambassadors have 19.7M unique first connections – we see this increase on average 15% per quarter for the last three quarters.
    • Know what content engages - We can learn by the masses of content that candidates / customers engage with (and in turn educate our brand ambassadors AND marketing teams).  We now follow the 3-2-1 rule. Three pieces of smart content, two pieces of thought leadership, to every one piece of content about a job or product.
    • Make emotional connections - Employees understanding and articulating their ‘why’ – long term we believe this will even help with retention.
    • Organic engagement taking place of spend targeting campaigns - Social amplification from brand ambassadors gaining over $3M equivalent in social target campaign spend for $0 in Q1 2017.
     What We Got Wrong 

    Involve your leaders earlier They can help ramp up faster. I was a bit timid of involving executive/senior leadership because at the beginning I heard things like… ‘don’t make our employees look good, they will be poached from us!’ or ‘I’m not sure if we want our employees speaking on behalf of us.’ I was worried they would say we can’t and leaned towards asking for forgiveness over permission. Looking back this was one of the ways we saw the biggest ‘uptick’ in interest. When leaders got involved and 1) posted their own ‘why’ externally but 2) promoted with their employees, we saw significant growth and respect of the program.

    Customize training (or add-ons needed) per function (i.e. Sales will want to add in/use differently than IT community) – possibly even label a ‘super’ brand ambassador to help promote in that region/function/business and recruit other employees.

    Have a clear channel/process for gathering the ‘why’ stories Including easy ways to broadcast externally. We created MyGEStory.com and it works well. However there are so many tools and technologies out there that make storytelling and collecting very user-friendly (and less manual) or time consuming for employee.

    Decide early on to be tool agnostic Just teach behavior of social amplification (we lost time arguing internally on the best tool for this).

     Key Takeaways 
    • People tell great stories that cause connection. You need to equip them with tools for confidence and time to get it done – and most importantly permission.
    • Brand ambassadors are ‘free’ marketing campaigns.
    • When employees learn their ‘why’ they share it They stick with the company through the hard times. It is too early to tell in numbers, but we are seeing a pride through hard times in each business that we have never seen before. Positivity and camaraderie can also be impacted, as brand ambassadors attribute engagement to believing in what they are doing. Having brand ambassadors discover and write about their ‘why’ gives them a sense of belonging - not just a job.
    • Brand + Data + Relationships = Recruiting - The focus of recruiting doesn’t solely land on our HR team. Our brand ambassadors are some of the best ‘recruiters’ we have!
     Technologies Used 
    • PowerPoint – to put the training together
    • WebEx - to host virtual quarterly trainings (WebCast once we went past 300+ participants joining each call)
    • LMS - to host online course and give credit to learners in their portfolio
    • Email distribution lists and internal communication tools (Yammer) - to provide a sense of community to the brand ambassadors
    • Email/LinkedIn Elevate/GE Eddie (built with Dynamic Signal) – to promote / help with social amplification behaviors


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    SoundCloud has the largest catalogue of audio on the web - over 135 million tracks and reaches 175 million unique users monthly. It’s not hard to imagine how much data we have and the insights our Data Team are able to glean from this. Data is at the heart of our decision-making process as an organisation and that sentiment is also core to how we work in the People Team.

    What better way of putting data at the heart of our decision making than to also put the data and insight needed to have an impact at the businesses fingertips - a company-wide People Dashboard. The nice thing about this story is that this wasn’t our intention back then. Back then we had much more modest ambitions: just a simple report on recruiting activity. The good thing is that we didn’t just stop there. We didn’t stop at the first hurdle, or the second, or third (when the enormity of the data privacy requirements became apparent). For us, this story is very much about the journey as it is about the outcome (which still isn’t finished and I doubt it ever will be as there’s always more iterating that can be done).


    The journey of the dashboard is a long one. It was led by SoundCloud's Head of People Analytics & Technology, Chris Brown.

    Back when I started as a recruiter in 2012 there was nobody who took ownership of people data, in the recruiting team at least, and the focus was more on the traditional ‘bums on seats as quickly as possible’ approach.

    It became pretty clear that we needed to do a better job of surfacing people data to the wider organisation with the approach of data-informed decision making which was based on facts, not just gut feeling. The goal back then was to bring more visibility of recruiting and, in turn, we could reinforce the need for better data quality from the recruiting team.

    When we started, I spent more than 90% of my time recruiting. It was important that we built out a self-serve approach to access all levels of ‘People’ related data to reduce the number of requests I received and set us off on our journey of People Analytics (although the idea of this wasn’t even on our radar back then!). After doing some research on companies who were also doing interesting work in this space, I ended up speaking with Derek Isley from Hootsuite who had recently published a case study for HROS (back in the very early days) on the work they were doing on recruiting reporting and metrics. These conversations played a big part in shaping the direction of the dashboard and other projects, like candidate experience, we had in the pipeline. This is really a testament to the power of the HROS network, and the member’s openness and willingness to share their insights and learnings. This worked well to help us get the basics in place to help us start from a good foundation.



    Riding the momentum of the recruiting activity report, our goal was to bring our People data to life to be able to shape acquisition, development and retention efforts across the business.

    We launched an ‘always-on’ People Dashboard which could be accessed by anyone in the company (who had access to our VPN). We also wanted to make this as dynamic as possible with regards to the level of information that could be filtered to really bring the Dashboard to life, provide a transparent window into recruiting, and drastically reduce the number of requests we were receiving.

     HOW WE DID IT  Kicking it off

    The early stages of the dashboard were only focused on talent acquisition data. It was only later that we had the ability to merge two data sets, from our ATS and HRIS, together to form the data architecture of People Data under one umbrella. To do this we changed the organisation structure (in the People Team to form the People Analytics and Technology Team) to bring together a team which had the overarching ownership on the data. This made things much easier when it came to ownership and accountability.

    As we already had a pretty solid idea of the use case for the dashboard. The steps we mapped out for this were:

    1. Understand the audience/customer needs

    2. Mock out the design (whiteboard session)

    3. Lock in the plan & timeline

    4. Involving the other internal stakeholder/decision makers (Legal, Security & IT Teams)

    5. Soft launch (internally with team)

    6. Hard launch

    7. Iterate and Evolve

    #1 Understanding the Audience

    We already had a report (which we classed as a dashboard) running at the start of this project. This has been a steady evolution over time, from....

    This (in 2013) using Excel and PDF

    To this (in 2015) which was built just using Google Sheets

    The common problem with this approach though was the amount of work that it took to produce the report and how prone it was to (human) error. The process usually went something like this: download data from ATS in Excel, produce some pivot tables, check everything looked ok, speak with the recruiting team to make sure everything looked ok, double check the numbers again, prep the email to send out to the stakeholders, attach relevant files/links, triple check the numbers, re-read the email, hit send then break into a mild panic that that there would be something wrong with the data.

    We knew there was a desire to have People data easily available to the organisation and we felt we had a pretty good understanding of where we could start from. We still needed to test our theory with the key audience - initially, this was only focused on the Talent Acquisition data. To do this we sent out a Google Survey.

    An early example of how we approached our stakeholders to assess their needs for Recruiting Data (below)

    This made sense for us at the time as we were still operating more in the Recruiting Operations space. However, we had been discussing options of working with the People Operations Team and bringing together more of their data into the dashboard. We left things with them to manage their side of the project so that we could fully dive into moving things forward with Talent Acquisition data and planned to revisit their progress at regular intervals so we could find a time which made sense to incorporate their data. Unfortunately, at the time we didn’t push this sooner. In hindsight, this was a mistake.

    *And some of the feedback we received which gave us a clear indication that we needed to improve in our approach (back then our Recruiting Activity Report was referred to as the Recruiting Activity Dashboard)

    With more formal feedback completed, and less formal feedback received, we felt we were ready for the next step: the design.

    #2 Mock out the design

    We had a good idea of the content of the dashboard. The focus now was on making this shine. We only really had one tool in mind to do this: Tableau. It made a lot of sense as our Data Team were heavy users of this already and it was a tool which was familiar with the broader company. This also helped us check off our need of having an easily accessible, always-on dashboard.

    Using a visualisation tool like Tableau allowed us to move towards more automation of the data, by connecting the various data sources, and, providing the information had been entered correctly the first time, reduce the risk of incorrect data.

    At this stage, it also made sense to revisit the progress that the People Operations team were planning and look at how we could incorporate their data into the dashboard.

    What was important was the focus on blending the two sets of data together in a coherent manner and flow which would instantly make sense to the audience.

    The basic flow of the dashboard, therefore, focused on acquisition, development, and retention.

    We had one initial session where we mocked up the design on a whiteboard. This was a quick and easy way of us fleshing out the look, feel and user experience flow without the need for over-complicated programs or tools.  

    Our whiteboarding sessions for mocking up the layout of the dashboard

    Our whiteboarding sessions for mocking up the layout of the dashboard

    While our primary focus was on the aesthetics of the dashboard, we also needed to understand how the flow of data between the different systems would work. As we didn’t have the technical expertise within the team (myself and the intern) we had to rely on the expertise of our Data Team for guidance.   

    A rough overview of how we felt the data flow would work best.

    #3 Locking in the Plan & Timeline

    Up until this point, we’d been quite relaxed about locking in exact dates for the roll out of the Dashboard due to the complexities involved. Having completed more of the research and mock up stages we felt better about being able to put together more of a robust timeline for rolling out the project, with the caveat that we were always going to be at the mercy of the other team’s priorities who needed to support us technically - the Data Team being a prime example of this.

    The official launch was set for October 2016.

    #4 Involving the Other Internal Stakeholder/Decision Makers (Legal, Security & IT Teams)

    Once we had a good idea of how the dashboard would work and the data it would contain we had the necessary discussions with our Legal Team regarding the data we would be disclosing. Sharing the dashboard with them there were no immediate issues which they flagged with this as it was all going to be for internal use only and we were only displaying aggregated data as opposed to specific employee data.

    What we failed to do at this stage, which we missed, was submitting a Privacy Impact Assessment for the storage of this type of data on Redshift with our Security Team. This came back to haunt us after launching the dashboard.

    #5 Soft Launch

    We wanted to make sure that the Dashboard was as watertight as possible before we released it to the wider organisation.

    So, two weeks before we planned to unveil the dashboard we invited members from our Workplace, Internal Comms, and People Team to access the Dashboard. We felt this was a safe, but robust, environment for the soft launch.

    We then had time to receive feedback on any bugs, typos or general confusion (mainly on wording) which helped draw our attention back to the details which became easy to overlook having been so immersed in the project for such a long period of time.

    #6 Hard Launch

    Picking the channel which would create the most awareness on the Dash’, we decided to launch this at the company's bi-weekly, Demo, which is held in our Berlin HQ and streamed to all of our other offices (and available to watch again). This provided us with the best opportunity to reach a large audience to drive home the significance and impact the dashboard would have on our organisation. This happened at the end of October 2016.

    We also followed up with an email to the whole company which then linked to a blog post on our internal wiki page providing context on the Dashboard and how it could be accessed.  This also served as a great reference resource and help guide people through the process of accessing and making sense of the insights.

    #7 Iterate and Evolve

    Before officially launching the Dashboard we were aware that we would be doing so with something that was still a work in progress. However, at the risk of being too perfect, we felt okay with the approach of rapid iteration and feedback sessions to tighten this up.

    Even now upon reflection, we feel this was the best decision to make, as producing a piece of work as complex as this throws up so many challenges that there has to be a line drawn somewhere with regards to a minimal viable product (MVP) versus striving for first-time perfection.

    Example 1 - fine tuning

    Example 2 - more questions

    Post-Launch & Offline

    Momentum was good after we launched the dashboard. We received a ton of positive feedback on this. All parts of the organisation who were impressed with the quality of the dashboard and breadth of information now available to them which they previously didn’t have access to - particularly for our Diversity & Resource Groups, Senior Managers, and Hiring Teams. Usage of the dash was good.

    Things were going great; well, almost.

    Just over a month after launching the Dashboard we ran into an issue with privacy concerns with our data storage process which left us with no alternative other than switching it off until we resolved the issue.

    As we’d missed the impact of submitting the Privacy Impact Assessment there was no other option but to take the Dashboard offline until we resolved the issue of how we could store, process, and access the personal data in a more secure way - access restricted to only our team.

    This was actually a blessing in disguise - although it felt a long way away from it at the time.

    It actually gave Dries, our Engineer, the opportunity to make the backend more robust, localised, and a little more future proof for the team’s needs without being so dependent on our Data Team.

    Moving to this new setup also made allowed for us to be able to access both data sets (from our HRIS and ATS) to perform ad-hoc queries in one place using SQL queries.

    How things looked after we had to go back to the drawing board with the setup of data storage and flow (end of 2016)

    The People Dashboard (The output of all this work)Headcount Evolution

    Snapshot view of headcount

    Diversity & Inclusion

    Distributions across the organization

    Employee Development

    Levels and Tenure


    Forecast and actuals

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    The main focus of Dell’s early employment branding strategy was to be visible where candidates were spending most of their time – on social media. However, there was no real approach to our content strategy on social. We simply followed a post and pray model to increase brand awareness, where we posted pictures that we thought were globally relevant and prayed that we’d reach candidates in all markets to join Dell.

    As social media evolved, so did our approach to Dell’s online presence. We created a content strategy aligned to Dell’s talent acquisition objectives and our employee value proposition (EVP) to attract candidates. While aligned to our EVP, the content we were sharing was a one size fits all approach across our followers, and over time, we realized that it was not driving engagement or converting followers into applicants.


    After two years of implementing our global content strategy, requests from local leaders to boost brand awareness in their markets began to grow. However, we only had one Employment Brand and Social Media lead, Dalhia Rodriguez, covering the entire Western hemisphere. In order to scale the reach of Dell’s employment brand, we needed to leverage resources in our core markets to create localized content that resonated with followers to drive conversion.


    In order to attract and convert candidates in Dell’s Brazilian market, we piloted a local content strategy in Latin America (LATAM) that mirrored our global content strategy, where we “glocalized” content and empowered social media leads in each country to “tropicalize” (our slang word for adding latin flavor) the content and create rich posts that would position Dell as a great place to work in their specific market.


    At Dell, we believe that managing our employer brand on social media has a significant impact on our ability to attract and hire top talent, but we have historically under-invested on social because the ROI is hard to measure. Due to our limited budget, we had to rely on our existing team members to close the gap and help grow Dell’s brand in their particular markets.

    We first garnered the support from LATAM’s Talent Acquisition Director, Amanda Spurlock, and she agreed to provide local interns for each of our main markets (Mexico, Panama, and Brazil) who, in addition to their recruiting responsibilities, could dedicate at least 25% - 50% of their time on social media. Once we had a commitment of people resources, we trained them on Dell’s employment value proposition, brand guidelines, and overall content strategy. We provided access to Sprinklr, a social media management platform, and Photoshop for the interns to be able to create and publish content that attracted talent. We also stood up sister Twitter accounts such as @DellPanama and @CarreiraDell and geo-targeted the content on our Careers at Dell Facebook in their native language for those countries.

    With a local content strategy, our followers in key markets now receive content that is relevant to them in their local language, culture, and values, to create a deeper (but more locally relatable/relevant) connection to our employment brand.

    For example, local Brazilian labor law requires companies with at least 100 employees to enter into employment agreements with people with disabilities. Now, with the support of our local social media resource in Brazil, we’re able to create targeted posts and boost awareness of Dell specifically for this demographic, an option that wasn’t attainable with much consistency before our localized content strategy was in place. We even identified a Brand Ambassador within our True Ability employee resource group that passionately shared his experience working with Dell in sign language. This was quite compelling because not only did we align with local recruiting objectives, but we showcased the company's overall commitment to an inclusive work environment.


    Our localized strategy is primarily based on Facebook because of the available geo-targeting feature. Below is an example of an organic post created by one of our local interns. Through advanced targeting on Facebook, we were able to reach over 33k people, compared to a typical post where we on average only reach between ~5-10k of our total global audience of 620k when we don’t target.

    Another example is from our University Relations team in Brazil, who created a video showcasing our engaging work culture and targeted interns specifically in their market. With that post, we were able to reach 274k people organically via our Careers at Dell Facebook (as shown below) and attracted over 700 students by using the Avature link as the call to action.

    Estágio na Dell - Portas abertas para seu desenvolvimento - YouTube

    A key element of the local content strategy is to consistently measure all of our posts to know the effectiveness of the strategy. For every post created, we use the same call-to-action (CTA), directing those who clicked to jobs.dell.com/brazil link to search Dell’s opportunities in Brazil. In addition, for every post that promoted a local event, we insert the specific link tied to our Candidate Relationship Management tool, Avature.

    When we analyzed the results, we found that our CTAs on our localized social posts resulted in a 1,661% increase in traffic to Brazil's job page (jobs.dell.com/brazil) compared to the year before.

    To test the effectiveness of our local strategy, we targeted the same content to our Brazil audience as shown in Exhibit A and to our global audience as shown in Exhibit B below. The post targeted to our Brazil audience of roughly 20k people had a higher reach and engagement rate than the post that had visibility to our global audience composed of over half a million people.

    Furthermore, we analyzed our posts targeting Millennials and women globally vs posts targeting the same demographic specifically for our Brazil audience and found some compelling numbers:

    • 145 posts were created towards our Millennial audience while 54 were specifically created for Brazil.
    • Posts targeting our Brazil audience got more engagement when compared against posts opened to our global audience.
    • In Exhibit A below you'll see that the top 3 posts were those targeting our existing Brazil audience.
    • 32 pieces of content were geared towards women both locally and globally and the top two posts with the highest level of engagement were those from Brazil, as shown in Exhibit B below.

    In addition, when we measure our other campaigns that make up our core content strategy -- Diversity and Work Culture -- the posts tied to the local content strategy consistently continue to be our top posts quarter over quarter.


    Attracted Top Talent in Local Markets

    We realized that by conveying the work culture in our key markets in the local language, we were able to effectively compete for talent within that market, instead of posting content globally in hopes that it would resonate and attract candidates in all markets. Roughly three months after implementing the strategic localized approach, we began to see our followers convert into applicants.

    • Source of hire for Social Media increased from 3% to 8% in LATAM since the implementation of the strategy.
    • We had over +1,500 college students opt into Avature from July to December 2017
    • Engagement on Facebook for our posts targeting Brazil doubled from 6.5k to 12.6k engagements once we started being purposeful with our content

    Increased Engagement

    Total followers is no longer used as a sole indicator to measure our brand's success. As our content strategy has evolved we have begun to put a higher weight of success on post engagement.

    For example, 50 percent of the followers of our Careers at Dell Facebook page are from Egypt and India (as shown below). Based on the size of these audiences we assumed that they would be the most engaged with our content but instead, our most-engaged fans on our Facebook page this year have been our audience from Brazil, which accounts for only 3% of our followers. We attribute this engagement directly to having a local resource in that market focused on consistently curating, creating and posting quality content in Portuguese 3-4 times a week.

    Easier to Measure Your Brand

    Through our localized approach, we have also been able to better track the ROI of our social efforts.

    • From July 2017 to December 2017, we have seen a 407% increase in page views and 439% increase in unique views for Brazil’s career landing page, which is more traffic than our bigger markets such as India, Ireland, and the United States!
    • By incorporating Avature links in our local content strategy in Brazil, we have been able to capture over 1,500 warm leads into our Talent Community.

    While we have experienced a lot of success in our localized content strategy, there a few areas that we still can improve on:

    Interns are short-term: The duration of LATAM internships last on an average of six months to a year so ramping up new interns makes it challenging to grow our followership in countries that experience various handoffs in responsibility.

    Measurement of same links is key to show ROI of strategy: Initially, we would use different links to all of our posts making it difficult to measure over time the effectiveness of our posts. Once we simplified the process of just measuring two links, we were able to measure over time the ROI of our branding efforts.

    Authenticity instead of stock photography: To get the strategy started, we would initially use stock photography as a way to make the posts aesthetically appealing but as we started incorporating videos and real pictures of our team members, we started to see an uptick in the level of engagement.


    Talent is getting harder to find and differentiating your brand from the competition is crucial for candidate attraction. Implementing a local content strategy drives deeper engagement with your followers and increases conversion of those followers into applicants.  With the success of our localized strategy in LATAM, we have begun to implement a similar strategy for the United States and Canada.


    Sprinklr, Avature, Photoshop, Facebook, Twitter

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    In 2015, Thermo Fisher Scientific was looking to launch the company’s first employer brand. The Fortune 500 Company employs 55,000 professionals in diverse fields including the research, healthcare, industrial and applied markets. Thermo Fisher Scientific offers services and products that enable its customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer.

    The employer brand team was faced with a challenge: How do you  take an enormously successful company with a humility-focused leader and communicate a story that will make people want to work there for the right reasons?


    Thermo Fisher at a Glance
    • $18B revenue

    • 55,000 employees

    • $700M/YR R&D Spend

    • 1,000,000 products sold

    • 600 global locations

    • Fill 12,000 reqs a year


    Like many organizations, Thermo Fisher relied heavily on its mission, vision and values when communicating who they are. These are the core, strategic influences that employees use within an organization to guide their decisions and influence their behavior.

    When Charlotte Marshall, Thermo Fisher’s Employer Brand Leader, joined Thermo Fisher Scientific, this approach concerned her. Specifically, thinking about their 2020 vision, she knew the Company had a mighty goal in front of them - to hire and engage 25,000 employees across 600 global locations within 5 years. Charlotte knew if Thermo Fisher continued to let their expectations of employees guide their conversations with candidates, they were not going to hit their hiring goal.  

    Charlotte explains, “When you step back and analyze what the words behind our mission, vision and values represent, they are our company’s expectations for how we behave and the projects worthy of our time. From an employee’s perspective, there is not a single reference to what the company offers its people in exchange for meeting these expectations. When you lead with these attributes in candidate outreach, you are missing the WITFM (what’s in it for me).”

    To compete effectively in today's talent-driven market you have to start talking about “why” candidates should come work with you. You can not let your company’s expectations for your employees lead the conversation. This is important because when we changed our language, and started to talk about the compelling things we can do for our employees and candidates – we more than doubled traffic to the careers page, halved cost per hire and drew in a higher quality of applications within 4 months of launching our employer brand.


    Goals and Objectives

    At the onset of the project, we had clear G&Os in mind.


    The first step was, in many ways, the springboard for all else to come. We learned about the company’s strategy, proof points and real personality—the individual’s stories, history and soul that drive the work and culture. We spent time listening to plans for the company and reflections about the organization. On top of that, we interviewed 13 leaders (members of the company’s ruling body, its rainmakers, its culture-bearers and those who will take the company into the future) to gather stories.

    Stories are key because good marketing is really about memorable storytelling. We conducted focus groups and a company-wide survey. We established a branding committee to review and direct the strategy and resulting creative materials. Members of this committee were respected members of the company representing different service areas, offices and points of view.

    The result of the research is the strategic positioning; also know as the employee value proposition (EVP). It is a way of clarifying and summarizing what we offer candidates and why they should come and work for Thermo Fisher. This is, without question, the most important deliverable in the entire employer branding process. It is the distillation of all that we learned about the company. It guided our work throughout the process and was used again and again as a touchstone for the evolving creative.

    Putting flesh on the bones of the EVP occurred during the development of the recruitment marketing creative (careers site, social/digital assets, candidate collateral, advertisements, recruiting booth etc.). The look and feel developed for these materials gave the company a broader canvas on which to paint a more complete picture. Messages can be expanded, become more discursive or refined. Key points can be highlighted. Individual markets can be targeted with more precise selling points.

    The final step before activation is to develop the content strategy, which can include employee profiles, images, videos, and articles. We spent time building a robust content library that demonstrates how our company delivers on our EVP.

    Research-based approach to identifying and coding key employment drivers Apply employment messaging to support business objectives  HOW WE DID IT 

    As with all large-scale initiatives, getting C-level buy-in at the onset of the project, was critical. We spent time building a support base and engaging key stakeholders. Once we had a wide base of supporters, we began a mix of qualitative and quantitative research to inform the development of our EVP. Once the research was complete, we held review sessions to test what we learned with our executives. It’s critical to keep this team engaged throughout the project and bake their feedback into the deliverables.  Finally, we drafted our content playbooks, developed the creative campaign and trained our TA team on the new employer brand.

    1. Draft Integrated Communication Plan (template below) to socialize the project with senior leadership to gain buy-in and support.

    2. Engaged a third party to conduct EVP Research

    Employer Brand Integrated Communication Plan (Thermo Fisher) from HR Open Source

    Thermo Fisher Scientific took a research-intensive approach so they could say with confidence this is the universal experience of working at Thermo Fisher. The organization is large, global and grows significantly via acquisitions. When Charlotte stepped into her role, there was a feeling a universal experience didn’t exist. Therefore, the team built a research methodology that would allow them to build their EVP with statistical confidence--this approach gave the senior leadership team a confidence that they could say the resulting EVP with authority at the end of the project.  

    They surveyed a representative sample of employees across all band levels, job categories and geographies, conducted six focus groups around the world, held qualitative interviews with senior leadership in addition to a culture-building workshop. Throughout the research, they were really looking for two things:

    • What did people care most about in their career

    • And what areas did Thermo Fisher really deliver on?

    And that’s where the art meets the science ­– they looked at overlap to the responses to those two questions. They compared those possibilities alongside the market drivers, their competitor positioning,  and voila their EVP was born.

    1. Research Findings - analyze research findings and develop findings report. Present findings to stakeholder team.

    2. Build Employer Brand Platform - develop EB platform, present to stakeholder team. Incorporate feedback and finalize.

    3. Draft Content Playbook

    4. Creative Campaign and Collateral Development

    5. Conduct Employer Brand Training


    At Thermo Fisher, being part of our team means a candidate will have the opportunity to: Realize your best – professionally and personally. We’re communicating to our audience that Thermo Fisher Scientific provides continuous challenge and expansive opportunities that empower professionals to reach their professional and personal best.

    This EVP statement is supported by four research-backed pillars that dive a bit deeper into who we are, how we work and what we offer our professionals.

    Supporting Pillars

    While the pillars expand upon our EVP, the true magic of the pillars come to life during content generation. To prove these four pillars are alive and well within our organization, each piece of content we produce must demonstrate these in some way, shape or form.  You won’t find any of the words from our EVP or pillar show up in our campaign. Rather we focus on developing stories, articles and testimonials that support the ideas each pillar represents.

    Pillar 1

    A transformative leader powered by an important mission

    Thermo Fisher Scientific is changing the scientific industry, achieving success on a global scale while wholeheartedly embracing its mission: enabling customers to make the world healthier, cleaner, and safer.

    On the bottom of the graphic above you’ll see the reasons to believe. They speak to the realities of the experience, the aspirations and what the market is looking for. But we also want to further understand on a real individual gut level what this means to our two most important audiences – candidates and employees. And from a candidate perspective when they encounter this pillar we want them to feel confident about joining the organization and once onboard they will maintain that confidence but it will move onto inspiration.

    Pillar 2

    Meaningful impact inside the company and out

    We are empowered to affect change, taking on challenges that lead to personal achievement, company success, and genuine contributions to society.

    From the candidate standpoint we want them come to an understanding of the challenge that lies before them. And once they are employees still understanding the way challenge helps them develop and make their job interesting but also overlaying that with a sense of purpose. So here you see a more emotional aspect than in the first pillar.

    Pillar 3

    Working the right way for the right reasons

    By putting our mission first and striving for optimal performance, together we focus on doing the right thing and improving the quality of work.

    We want candidates to see Thermo Fisher an organization with integrity and carry that over to when they are an employee and further overlaying that with a sense of achievement as how work gets done and how successful the organization is.

    Pillar 4

    Where careers are made

    Size, scope, and success makes Thermo Fisher Scientific a great platform for careers, offering a variety of paths for learning and development, cross-functional exploration, and opportunities for advancement.

    From a candidate perspective we want them to look at our organization and see a landscape of possibility before them and then becoming a employee (still realizing that possibility is there) but because it’s all laid out for them to connect with (and achieve) they move forward with a sense of fulfillment. It’s both rational and emotional.


    Next, we looked to see if any differences arose by audience. Sure enough, some audiences stood out, not just from the standpoint of being important to recruit, but even from a messaging segmentation approach. There are certain things we say (and dial up) when talking to a sales audience, than when talking to a technical audience or a campus audience. Other candidate drivers came into play for Asia and others. For example, EMEA placed more importance on the notion of challenging work where as Finance cared more company stability and leadership. These key messages are all documented in a messaging guideline doc (template below). Naturally, these differences can be leveraged in our to resonate more deeply with certain constituencies.

    Employer Brand Message Guidelines (Thermo Fisher) from HR Open Source CREATIVE CAMPAIGNS

    Throughout this process, our aim was to find colleagues across our global operations who would share stories with us about something they experienced personally or through work. It all came together to create this integrated personal and professional component to being here.

    Because of this, when we think of “the Thermo Fisher employer brand” it’s not just this creative messaging, it’s as much as the integration of real stories as anything. As you separate one from the other it falls flat. So really what we're after here is integration. Both programmatic and messaging itself.



    What I do helps us anticipate the future—by going back as far as we can go. Using Thermo Fisher Scientific systems, the British Antarctic Survey evaluates chemicals in 800,000-year-old ice cores. Our instruments help the scientists measure small differences in the ice over time, giving the world access to unprecedented information about how the climate has changed—and crucial clues about what lies ahead.

    Our work has global influence, but I also appreciate the small-scale rewards of what I do. Collaborating with my colleagues to provide new opportunities for our customers. Making sure the people we serve have the right tools to get the best results. Helping our customers speed up their analysis and productivity. Every day, I’m able to impact people who are doing important work and making groundbreaking discoveries.

    If you’re looking for clues to your future, you’ll discover that, at Thermo Fisher Scientific, each one of our 50,000 extraordinary minds has a unique story to tell. And we all contribute to a singular mission—enabling our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer.

    My Work is a Story of Eons - YouTube

    In each and every story we want to demonstrate both the professionals and personal reason to be here. If you go back to the core positioning, it’s about realizing your best professionally and personally…that’s the one thing that has to come through in every story. You also recall the pillars, some of them talked about being a transformative company with a mission some of them talked about working together for the right reasons. So what we’re also demonstrating is a connection to the pillars in each story. And in most cases it’s more than one pillar.

    The Campaign Look

    Digging deeper into what you are looking at, we want to capture these as a immersion in a particular scene that makes it very powerful and come to life. Notice Dan is not smiling the idea is that you look at this and immediately feel the impact of the story. Therefore your association with this place as somewhere to work goes pretty deep. A pulled-back scene shows the employee reflecting on a specific moment of their story, within the context of an environment that supports the story.

    • The photography and its beauty anchors our stories.
    • We are not looking for standard portraits. Each shot should reflect a unique aspect of the story, through selected focus, interesting angles or other techniques.
    • We are seeking an emotional connection with our audience. Expressions are vital – employees are pensive or excited, always engaged in the moment and looking over their environment.

    And so “What Story Will You Tell” was born. When job seekers reach Thermo Fisher’s careers page, instead of reading about hours, days, months in the lab amplifying DNA precision, they see Julio reflecting on the justice he knows his work has helped serve. He tells stories of families of victims who find peace through a rightful conviction based on DNA evidence; of wrongly incarcerated individuals set free, exonerated because of the science he helped create.

    Alongside these stories of impact are even more personal stories. Joe, the CIO of Thermo Fisher Scientific, truly believes his work changes lives each day because the lives of his twin children were once transformed forever by sequencing technology. Both a giver and recipient of such a gift, he attests to his work being more than just science.



    Competing for the top talent in science and technology, we bet on these stories providing value beyond just compensation, job perks, and creating the next big innovation. And the stories did just that. As you’ll recall each story ties back to a specific hiring need. For example, Thermo Fisher was opening a new technology data center in Tijuana, Mexico. Competing with tech giants such as Google and Amazon for top talent — as well as recruiting into an area not traditionally associated with tech innovation — the talent acquisition team used their stories to set them apart from the competition.

    Armed with over 40 employee stories, Thermo Fisher Scientific incorporated storytelling training into recruiter training programs (template below), helping them speak to people’s hearts as well as their minds. To incorporate it into day-to-day culture, each talent acquisition member was asked to share their own story. Storytelling has also been introduced into corporate town halls, where company leaders begin meetings by sharing stories from around the company.

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