Lessons from Apple, Disney, the CIA and more on how to attract top digital talent

The Drum has assembled an enviable panel of magnificent minds from the industry and beyond to identify the latest trends and brilliant ideas shaping our space. Here’s what’s been exciting them lately…

Co-founder of Transmute and executive director of Bima, Tiffany St James, takes a look at best in class thinking being employed by some businesses as they look to attract, develop and retain the best talent in a digital age.

If most people start their career journey by reviewing organisations online – what does your digital and social media estate say about your company? It’s not enough to have a careers page and a LinkedIn company page if you’re looking at attracting the best people – it’s how you are using a range of platforms that counts.

Careers pages have evolved into more sophisticated web attraction platforms. Organisations are showcasing punchy, under two minute video interviews from a staff point of view, and talent managers’ film clips of current opportunities are peppered over their career digital estate, YouTube, and dedicated digital career communities.

Ernst and Young, Apple and the CIA all have dedicated Facebook recruitment strategies, knowing that socially recruited people have a greater understanding of company culture and a lower attrition rate. They are serving the 99 per cent of people who didn’t get the job, keeping them engaged about other roles in the business.

Interactive maps on Disney’s site can pinpoint job locations, and career pathway diagrams at Boots show individuals how they can progress. People want to see what the environment is like and companies are responding by offering up video pans of the canteen and common spaces.

At the very least you need to be aware of what individuals in the business are saying about you on Glassdoor.co.uk, where interviewees, current and past employees can rate your business. This should be house-keeping. Your minimum offer.

Organisations that are digitally more savvy are proactively listening on a range of social media platforms or commissioning regular research to understand what people are saying about the organisation online and plugging the insights back into refining business processes; key if you’re aiming to be an employer of choice.

Proactive contributions of business insights from your people at every level on social channels helps corporate online reputation and – as IBM have studied – employee-led posts are better shared and engaged with than many corporate communications. So creating your internal army of digitally engaged, motivated and empowered advocates is key.

Digital-first businesses like TalkTalk are articulating their talent DNA – refining the behaviours they wish to recruit against, matched with the actual experience of working within the business, to get the right people for the business in the door to start with. Once successfully hired, collaborative digital tools and internal learning platforms help serve pushand- pull education and self-directed careers, to enable people to make connections, grow and learn.

Best in class internal digital education programmes have to offer more than ‘Lunch & Learn’ and masterclasses. Digital capability will need to be mapped, and matched with business ambition and capacity to have training interventions designed that matter – to take all your people to a new level of digital capability, or specific roles much further ahead. There’s great economies being made in fragmented media business or companies with global distribution from internal corporate universities and strategic delivery of digital and social media advocates networks, practitioners’ hubs, and centres of excellence at group HQ.

No matter where you are on your digital and social maturity, consider how best to attract and keep your great people through digital means.

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Tiffany St James

Former head of social media for the UK government, Tiffany St James spent a decade leading digital change programmes.

She also spent five years working for FTSE 100 firms before founding her own digital transformation consultancy, Transmute. Over the past 12 months the business has served parliaments, governments and private firms worldwide.

She lectures for and advises Google’s Digital Academy and is a prolific technology speaker.

A recent graduate of MIT’s educational technology courses she is currently designing solutions and connecting relevant organisations in the digital skills ecosystem to help to tackle the UK digital skills gap.

All by Tiffany