A return to the RL100 spiritual home

The sun was shining. Waves were lapping. And there was a buzz of excitement in the air.

It could only mean one thing. The first Summit of the year, back in the spiritual home of the RL100 – Whitstable.

A picturesque sea view setting mixed in with top quality content is a winning formula any day and this one felt particularly special after being away from Whitstable for so long. Topped off with a fabulous evening back in the beautifully candlelit JoJo’s, made for a night of good food, good wine, and even better company.

But enough about the dinner, though excellent, what about the food for thought?

Kicking things off RL100 Advisor and TA legend, Adrian Thomas, leading a session looking at the RL100 Supplier Charter, with a little help from his charismatic assistant, James Driver.

Built by the members of the RL100, for the members, but also for the betterment of the TA industry as a whole, the Supplier Charter was a labour of love borne from the previous year’s Summits. This document focuses on the caliber of the relationships we have with our suppliers and vendors for the partnership to get the RL100 seal of gold standard approval, as well as the companies we choose to work with themselves.

After a quick overview of the Charter, attendees looked at ways of ensuring that the document doesn’t just sit by the wayside but instead actually gets used and put in front of suppliers during both the procurement process and is then continued to be upheld throughout the whole relationship.

Next up we were joined by RL100 and RecFest Partners, Join Talent, looking at the changing narrative and function of TA leaders in 2023. An empathetic Kevin Blair went over the monumental changes that have faced the industry over the last few years, from the move to remote work, the tightening of the marketing (particularly in tech) and the additional pressure to expand into new markets to name but a few.

While it may seem that now more than ever it’s never been harder to be a Talent Acquisition leader, and the role is seemingly forever shifting, there is light at the end of the tunnel, with the room contributing their own experiences and offering shared support all round.

Finishing up the first morning section of the Summit, we had Kirstie Kelly leading a roundtable on Strategic Workforce Planning.

With workforce planning being such an integral element of the TA function that it could be an industry in itself, and a Talent landscape that is continuously changing, how can we go about workforce planning that can cover the next 5 minutes, let alone 5 years?

As SWP has been the golden thread of this quarter’s Summits, this session provided an excellent opportunity to summarise such a broad and meaty topic, and take a note of any final thoughts on it – look out for a deeper dive into Strategic WorkForce Planning soon!

In the post-lunch session, Robert Peasnell from TMP.worldwide highlighted the importance of candidate experience in attracting and retaining top talent. Despite its intellectual recognition, many organisations struggle to prioritise candidate experience with over 40% of companies not allowing for candidate feedback, due to limited resources and buy-in, and for those that do have less than 2 in 10 candidates rating their experience as excellent. Robert also noted the importance of using social media in attraction techniques, as two thirds of candidates will use it while researching potential companies.

Next up we had a stats session from Sam Berthourd at Hackajob focusing on what companies can do to shorten the skills gap within tech.

From the Great Reclamation, the lack of nepotism in the tech world, to reskilling the over 55s, numerous opportunities were explored which led onto a great roundtable discussion, as well as more insights from Sam regarding what candidates want when it comes to applying for roles and sticking with them.

This was then followed by a surgery session looking at everything from panel interviews to company dress codes – are ties still a thing? Brilliant for sparking conversation and an excuse to offload, this provided attendees a safe and secure place to discuss matters close to their hearts, with the assurance of Chatham House Rules in place.

Finishing up the day we had the amazing Hung Lee giving the people what they want – an excuse to talk about ChatGPT!

Part terrifying, part awe-inspiring, Hung really drove home the exponential rate that AI is growing at and the impact it’s already having on the recruitment industry – and every industry!

After a fabulous evening in JoJo’s the second day of the summit began with a look at the newest candidate attraction from Talk’n’Job’s CEO, Markus Krampe.

By using voice messaging, Talk’n’Job has seen a significant increase in applications from those who may not have a traditional CV. With a case study on NHS applications showcasing the benefits across, volume, quality and cost, voice applications could definitely be the new way to market roles to blue collar and GenZ candidates.

Next up we had an open and honest session from Charu Malhotra, leading a thought provoking discussion on Prioritising Diversity: Strategies for Creating a Roadmap Beyond Gender on DEI

Pulling the curtain back on the chaos that is creating an I&D strategy from scratch, Charu detailed some of her own experience on this from across a number of organisations – the uncomfortable conversations, the hard truths, and the need to take a multifaceted and intersectional approach, when it comes to prioritising diversity in your recruitment processes.

Finishing up a great couple of days, the Whitstable summit was rounded up with a talk from Dr Lorraine Kemp and Ed Kemp, covering menopause in the workplace from both a medical and legal perspective.

Leading a powerful and supportive session that resonated with many in the room, Lorraine looked at the ways that menopause symptoms impact so many and then opened it up to the room to think about how more can be done to alleviate the knock on effects of these symptoms in the workplace.

As always a great couple of days away for all, providing not only opportunities to learn from one another, but more importantly the chance to share and seek refuge during these challenging times as TA specialists. As stated previously, Strategic Workforce Planning was the golden thread that wove its way through these talks, but support and honesty was the theme that lay at the heart of this Summit.