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How a workforce solutions company’s corporate recruiting team refined their candidate experience

When it comes to understanding what’s going on in the world of hiring, few companies know more than Kelly. The global workforce solutions company connects hundreds of thousands of people with work each year, through services that range from temporary staffing to specialized and strategic workforce solutions. With a portfolio of clients across industries from manufacturing to education, contact center to science and engineering, Kelly has a front-row seat to changes in the market.

And in 2020, they saw a lot of changes—not only for their clients, but also in how they hire internally. As many companies scaled back hiring in the wake of the pandemic, seemingly overnight, the way in which Kelly interacted with candidates had to change.

“We really had to take a step back and look at all of the branding and the language we were using for talent outreach—even the headlines we were putting on our LinkedIn, the articles we were sharing,” said Sara Secaur, Global Director of Talent Acquisition, who oversees all hiring at the corporate level. Secaur knows that each and every touchpoint in the candidate and employee experience matters in shaping whether they can see themselves thriving at a company.

That’s why the company was thrilled with the introduction of Textio for Employer Brand last year. The team was already using Textio to improve their email and LinkedIn InMail outreach, as well as their job posts, but Textio for Employer Brand allowed Kelly to bring Textio insights on inclusive language to more types of content—career sites, newsletters, social media posts, and more.

Adapting their brand in an unpredictable 2020

Just prior to the pandemic upending the hiring market in early 2020, Kelly had begun to launch a new campaign. And while it aligned well with the Kelly brand, the campaign’s tone and messaging didn’t work for the new hiring environment that the pandemic had so suddenly created. The Kelly Marketing team needed a way to gear the campaign to be branded as more helpful—focused on the basics of matching people with companies and managers that were hiring during the pandemic.

The team undertook a review of all their candidate and employee communication frameworks to identify places where they needed to change their tone, add empathy to their messaging, and make sure they were using inclusive language. Every interaction or piece of content shapes the impression of what it’s like to work at and with Kelly.

“From a technology deployment standpoint, Textio was instrumental in helping us craft and understand the language and messaging that we were putting out there,” according to Marvin Figaro, Diversity and Sourcing Strategy Manager at Kelly. “When you look at the core values here at Kelly, and some of our equity goals, Textio has helped us understand that words matter … this [language] will connect well with one group, but maybe not others.”

More than job posts—using Textio for every touchpoint across the internal candidate and employee lifecycle

As Kelly looks at the year ahead and sees hiring coming back, they see their use of Textio being instrumental to changing how they appear in the marketplace.

“Our [internal] candidate experience team is also leveraging Textio as they’re building our marketing materials and scripts for videos,” explains Secaur. “We’re planning on using Textio in partnership with our social media specialists on the Marketing team. We often provide them with content to support internal hiring, and we’re putting all of it through Textio first.”

Figaro shared that they’re also using it for website copy. “We use Textio on some of our sites, like on our inclusion and diversity pages. It’s important to do a gut check on if you have the right language from an employer brand perspective. Are there any harmful words in there, and does it appeal to the right people?”

No matter what hiring or employer brand content you’re working on, Textio can help unlock insights into how your language will be received.

“What I hope is when people look at Textio, they don’t just see it as, ‘Oh yeah, it’s a job description tool.’ We are literally using it every step of the way to ensure we’re being intentional about how we’re communicating. The life cycle span of Textio is huge—and it covers so much more than even when we first started,” Secaur explains.

In pursuit of a more equitable workplace

In October, Kelly launched the Equity@Work platform after a national reckoning with systemic racism brought new understanding and awareness of social justice in the workplace. The concept wasn’t new to Kelly, which has a proud history around connecting people to work in ways that enrich their lives. Equity@Work aligns with those same longstanding values, but with more focus on reducing barriers to work and removing biases in hiring practices—both internally, and in how they work with clients. Refining the platform will continue to be a big priority this year—spanning the entire organization, and influencing their marketing, employer brand, hiring, and company culture.

As part of Equity@Work, Kelly made changes to their own hiring practices—such as removing salary and criminal history from their employment applications, updating their policy around minor marijuana offenses, and reassessing degree requirements for many positions. They’re also reevaluating and updating their existing content to make sure it aligns with their inclusive values.

“We’re really looking at ways to break down barriers and make employment and the workplace more equitable with Equity@Work, and part of that initiative is being even more conscious of the language we’re using,” said Secaur. “I’m using Textio [for Employer Brand] like crazy, running different pieces of content through and looking at, are we using inclusive language? Are we using growth-mindset language?”

Figaro added, “One thing that was very forward-looking and helpful was Textio’s harmful language feature. We don’t know what we don’t know, and when you use Textio and it says—hey, you might want to consider changing this, it really improves how you communicate.”

The language a company uses can inadvertently put barriers where they don’t exist, and also impact who can see themselves belonging in a workplace. With inclusion and equity being a core value at Kelly, Textio has given them another tool to identify language patterns that matter and where they can make changes—no matter the content type.

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