Al-Futtaim Group (AFG), a multinational conglomerate covering industries such as retail, real estate, automotive, and more across regions, recently won four prestigious accolades at the Asia Recruitment Awards Singapore 2020 virtual awards ceremony.

These awards were:

  • Most Innovative Recruitment Strategy-In-House - Bronze
  • Most Successful Referral Scheme - Silver
  • In-House Recruitment Team of the Year - Silver
  • Most Innovative and Sustainable Office Design - Bronze

Following these wins, Deidre Ong, Head of Regional Talent Acquisition at AFG reveals to Priya Veeriah how the organisation stands out when it comes to having a competitive edge in the talent war. Additionally, they share how the HR and talent acquisition teams managed to get employees onboard to move away from legacy practices, in light of disruption.

Q What is your organisation’s recruitment strategy, and how has it evolved in recent times? How does this agenda fit into the bigger HR priorities?

The management realised the need to let go of old practices and recognised the lack of data as a threat where the burden of legacy way of working is a signification barrier to digital transformation and modernisation is essential.

With that in mind, we embarked on an HR Journey, with one of the agendas focusing on linking talent acquisition to align our people to the organisation’s Agile Business Strategy.

The automation adventure was managed at five levels: structure, culture, systems, leadership, and HR.

Q What were the key business drivers behind your winning recruitment strategy, and how have you executed it successfully?

Importantly, we started with the basics as we are relatively unknown in the market. A lot of time spent was to build our employer brand and message to communicate with prospective employees. We have connected with our marketing colleagues for support to help ensure consistency in delivering content.

Additionally, the new paradigm of talent acquisition involves treating candidates like customers and using technology to get better insight and make informed decisions.

Q No execution is free from unexpected hurdles. What challenges did you face in the process, and how did you overcome them?

One of the biggest challenges and shifts that acted as fuels was getting employees to move away from legacy practices. There were frustrations and resentments that swelled, as they felt that the complex HR system slowed decisions and deliverables were low.

As HR and talent acquisition whisperers, we have already recognised this as a human disruption. Digitisation is not just about technology - it is about different ways of thinking and working.

Leaders need to be encouraging these new ways of working and hence, we acted as marshal support to provide guidance on the usage of the system coupled with engagement sessions and workshops on a frequent basis, to help ease the transition. Once they are seen to be actively participating in this transformation, others will follow.

Q On to the most important part – results! How did you measure the ROI or milestones of this initiative, and what are you most proud of?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution in terms of measuring the ROI, but it is a good place to start off with on a strong recruiting team who is able to identify areas where increased efficiency could drive cost savings for the company.

We have developed a suite of hiring tools and data that measure both the effectiveness and the efficiency of your talent selection process. Some examples of common efficiency metrics include recruiter workload, time-to-fill ratio, and time to source. Common effectiveness metrics include cost per hire, source of hire, and quality of hire.

Tracking our recruiting operations ROI not only provides measurable milestones for your team’s work, but it also helps you:

  • Identify areas of improvement
  • Decide where to focus your recruiting efforts
  • Use company resources more efficiently
  • Prove the value of your efforts to leadership
  • Build stronger business cases for new recruiting solutions that will drive efficiency

In fact, I am very proud of my team in Asia that has led this initiative together to achieve this successful milestone.

Q What is one way AFG stands out from others when it comes to attracting talent in the competitive landscape?

An organisation’s strength is determined in large part by the quality of its talent. We know that the hiring landscape is changing, and company culture is becoming increasingly important when it comes to attracting top talent - as well as keeping employees engaged to boost retention.

Today’s most talented professionals are seeking more than just a lucrative salary and generous benefits packages; they are looking for companies that offer a cultural fit.

In AFG, the talent acquisition team has been educated to know of the importance of culture fit, in order to define what the organisation’s culture of tomorrow looks like ahead of time, versus feeling our way through it on-the-fly.

Thus, we hire for culture forward and not culture fit, and that makes us stands out differently in the competitive retail industry.

Photo / Provided

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