Our latest research studies on learning and hiring are separate efforts that overlap on one critical aspect: skills. I’ve heard both of those sides of the equation at two different conferences over the last 48 hours, and it’s one that more and more employers are examining or fully committing to.

This week I have been on the road between the Learning & HR Technology Solutions conference in Orlando and the IAMPHENOM user conference in Philadelphia. It’s been a busy, fun week keeping up with the latest trends across learning, talent, and HR. Below you’ll find some of my highlights from the Phenom event.

Industry Focus for the Win

I’ve watched a number of different organizations across the HR tech industry become successful in the last few years by focusing in on an industry’s unique challenges, adapting the product to those challenges, and then being known in that space. A great example of this is frontline, high-volume hiring. While broader than one particular industry, it touches on a common challenge for many organizations in retail, manufacturing, healthcare, and other similar fields.

I share that because Phenom has done a great job in the recent past to focus on the needs of these types of organizations to create more predictable candidate pipelines and more consistent hiring outcomes. Some of their big customer wins in the last year or two have come from those specific solutions that support things like one-way interviews, automated scheduling and screening, and more.

I’m a Sucker for a Good Story

One of my favorite sessions at IAMPHENOM was a panel featuring three enterprise talent leaders:

  • Kevin McLane of CVS Health
  • Darin Averill of Circle K
  • Elyse LeBlanc of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

These leaders talked in specific terms about some of the strategies they are putting in place to solve for employee attraction, retention, and more. For instance, Averill talked about the convenience store’s most recent round of changes that have helped move Circle K past some key competitors in terms of employee retention rates:

  • Pay for performance on top of a base wage
  • Advanced notice on employee schedules to decrease surprises and personal scheduling conflicts
  • A gamified new hire journey that makes onboarding more engaging and fun

That set of strategies was a great balance with what LeBlanc had to say at a higher level:

We looked at why people stay with us for 10 years, 20 years, or longer. What’s the secret? It turns out that they stay for the people. Our biggest value as a company is the Golden Rule: treat others as you want to be treated. Even as we grow rapidly as a company, we’re careful to keep that core value at the heart of who we hire and how we support them. That’s what makes the difference here.

Recruitment marketing and how employers talk about their brand and culture is the number two priority for employers according to our latest Talent Acquisition Trends study (number one was onboarding). These examples help to share what employers can do to stand out from the crowd, both from an aspirational (Four Seasons) and technical (Circle K) level.

The industry-specific focus is an interest of mine personally because of some research our team is working on, but that certainly wasn’t the only thing addressed at the event. I saw terrific sessions and a big vision for using AI and data to create a better and more human future for talent acquisition as a whole.

Thanks to the Phenom team for the invitation!