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Ericsson's Dave Ansell
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Case study: Ericsson



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Ericsson shares its experiences as it continues on a major transformation journey, including launching a new careers site to better engage with potential candidates. By Sabrina Zolkifi.

In 2008, Ericsson embarked on a major transformation journey to expand its business into industrial verticals, TV and media, as well as expanding its software and services business lines.

Dave Ansell (pictured), the regional head of talent acquisition for Ericsson Asia South and Oceania, says restructuring the company to have a much more regional focus has allowed it to develop and implement global systems and processes to deliver all its HR services.

“Leveraging on our size in this way allows us to save money by consolidating all the channels we use to engage with candidates, but also gives us the opportunity to build on work that has been done in other countries and thereby improve the scope of that engagement over time,” he says.

“The development of a global digital recruitment strategy is a perfect example of this – it’s allowed us to build recruitment capability via social media that we wouldn’t have had the resources to do in the region.”

Matt Kaiser, global employer branding and digital recruitment specialist at Ericsson, says it is still in the process of redesigning the careers site, which went live in November 2013.

“We’re still evolving the site, but it’s a major component of what we’re doing,” he says. “As part of that, we’re going to be highlighting more regional content on the careers site. We want to be able to highlight some of the great things our region has been doing, while maintaining that global presence.”

In the next phase of the careers site redesign, Kaiser says it aims to have more engagement and real-time conversations between the company and candidates.

“We’re going to have more Q&A interaction between candidates and recruiters so they’ll be able to ask questions or provide comments,” he says, adding it is also building its social networks to better connect with candidates on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Communicating with communities

But these social networks aren’t only good for questions and comments. Kaiser says it also makes it easier for candidates to share their qualifications and build their personal brand.

“We can also connect with members in this talent community when we have open roles in a specific region.

“When we get information on their backgrounds and interests, we can connect with candidates on a global platform in specific regions for specific opportunities. That’s really allowed us to focus and target our efforts, and communicate with many candidates easily, versus having to connect with one candidate at a time.”

It didn’t immediately work 100%; it took us a little while to learn how to use it effectively
Dave Ansell, regional head of talent acquisition
Ericsson, Asia South and Oceania

It’s no surprise the company is focusing great effort on its digital presence as the war for talent continues to intensify on a global scale.

Ansell says a strong digital presence has been one of the best platforms for the creation of talent communities.

“Before the advent of digital recruitment technology, we wouldn’t have been able to create that kind of community at all. Now, we’re able to engage somebody who is interested in working for us without physically being in the same location,” he says.

“It gives anyone who is interested the opportunity to engage with us.”

But the process wasn’t spared from the usual teething issues brought on by a change of such magnitude.

“Given that we were implementing a new global process, it involved an offshore shared service centre supporting us in India, and both the regionalisation and globalisation of functions,” Ansell says.

“It didn’t immediately work 100%; it took us a little while to learn how to use it effectively, both from an interface perspective and making software revisions to ensure things were working appropriately.”

He says the revision process took about two months to work through, and adds the team was able to “iron out most of the challenges by the end of January 2014”.

“It’s given us significant improvements since, and as far as our regional-specific engagement, it’s something that’s added to our footprint in our talent community.”

Checks and boxes

However, with all things digital, Kaiser and Ansell advise the right policies need to be in place, especially to better manage social media’s role in the talent function.

“We have a social media policy and are in the process of setting up training for employees to understand how to best leverage social channels to strengthen our brand and employer brand,” Kaiser says. “We’ve tried to shift our policy away from what you can’t and shouldn’t do, to what you can and should do to help us strengthen our brand.

“Engineers know engineers and project managers know project managers, so if they’re sharing our message about a job opportunity or employer brand, it’s going to help us reach the right audience.”

Therefore, rather than putting boundaries around their social media efforts, Kaiser says Ericsson established a policy which helps employees better understand the value and strength of social media, and the content they can and should share with their networks.

Ansell says this is why it’s important the company produce more regional content, as mentioned by Kaiser earlier.

“The more region-specific you get, the more interesting topics you’ll be able to put out from that region, and the more likely you’ll be able to engage with people in those channels.”

He admits this is one area Ericsson is still looking to improve, partly because it hasn’t been able to commit enough resources in the region.

“Currently, we do not have people within the region who are able to provide more comprehensive, interesting and frequent regional updates,” Ansell says. But he adds the company is committed to building the competence and finding internal resources to better engage with candidates looking to have a conversation with Ericsson.

“I hope as we mature, the business begins to engage even more with the talent community as well,” he says.

Looking back and moving forward

If he could do this process again, Kaiser says he would ensure he has a good understanding of all the key stakeholders involved.

“From my standpoint, it’s important to understand the individuals who need to be aware of what we want to do, why we want to do it and where we want to go, and buy into that,” he says.

Kaiser says the biggest stakeholder in this should be the marketing and communications team because it will already have a number of corporate channels built.

“The Ericsson brand is a strong brand and we are very protective of that brand, and rightfully so. It was important that we engaged our marcomm team from the beginning so they felt comfortable in the process, knew what we wanted to accomplish and were also kept aware of our progress and understood where we were in the process from time to time.”

For those who may be struggling to create or revise their digital recruitment strategy, Ansell says: “If in doubt, get started.

“If you aren’t able to understand how cost-effective a talent acquisition tool such as social media can be, it will soon become clear once you begin to engage with candidates directly and hire people without having to spend agency fees.”

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