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Avature 2020 Virtual Summit in China: Key Lessons & Takeaways

Written By
Pedro Camacho
Content Producer

The 2020 Avature Strategic HR Virtual Summit in China has come and gone, which means it’s time for a quick recap. The event saw some of the top regional leaders in HR talk about their strategies, discuss best practices and share hard results and ROI. It was also the ideal venue for Avature itself to present its product roadmap, as well as future projects and developments in the works. All in all, speakers from Walmart China, Bayer, Shell, Ogilvy and L’Oréal made the most of a jam packed day of activities, treating more than 150 virtual attendees to keen insights on the present state of HR and the use of Avature technology for reaching their goals.

The Challenges of Going Digital

With the China market accelerating at a faster pace than the global footprint, a lot of companies have had to adapt their traditional structures and adopt digitalization sooner rather than later. Such was the case for Walmart, the retail giant that found itself tackling its recruiting challenges in the country with a subpar legacy ATS, inconsistent processes and many manual touchpoints that overwhelmed recruiters. So they decided to partner with Avature, in search of a more agile approach and better, more suitable technology. 

Jacky Lin, Talent Acquisition Director at Walmart presented the company’s digital transformation story, focusing on a detailed description of their customer journey. In essence, the Avature implementation had the task of resolving issues for all stakeholders involved: from recruiters who were overwhelmed with difficulties to retain and access information, to hiring managers who had zero visibility of the recruiting process, all the way down to the candidates themselves, who suffered from an overall poor candidate experience.

 “Avature has very robust reporting capabilities. All touchpoints in the recruiting process can be data points to generate real-time analytics, such as time-to-fill, cost-to-fill, and headcount change reports. Cost control is critical for a labor-intensive company like us, and Avature’s reporting capabilities play a big role to help us keep our talent cost in control. For example, we can schedule reports to be automatically sent on a weekly basis to our People Analytics team and Head of HR to help them make an informed solution based on data.”

Jacky Lin, Talent Acquisition Director at Walmart

By making use of the full TA suite of Avature, including ATS, CRM, Hiring Manager Portal, Agency Portal and Talent Community Landing Pages, Walmart was able to reach its objectives and then some. After implementation, the company created a consistent recruiting experience across all business units, improving candidate experience and leading to 173 hirings in the first three months alone. 495 hiring managers adopted the new processes which were widely considered to be more transparent and efficient, with all information displayed in just one platform. And lastly, but just as importantly, recruiters were able to digitize most of their paper and manual processes, generating better collaborations with other stakeholders and reducing their ability to track time to fill to only 17.09 days. 

Sourcing Might Be More Important Than Ever

While many companies have stopped hiring for the time being, many others have been mapping sourcing strategies for passive candidates, building a solid pipeline to prepare for the end of the hiring freeze. In that regard, Bayer’s Talent Acquisition Director in China, Angela Tang, presented the company’s TA model, detailing how to build an in-house sourcing team and how this team collaborates with the broader company to support business growth. Tang also shared methodology of talent segmentation and the respective recruitment approaches.

“We introduced advanced recruitment technologies and redesign our recruitment team structuring. We built an in-house headhunting team to source for Tier 2 positions, i.e. mid-to-senior positions where hiring volume is big. In this process, Avature CRM can provide technical support to this team: manage our talent pool, manage the candidate relationship, and maintain long-term interaction with them”

Angela Tang, Talent Acquisition Director in China for Bayer

L’Oréal recruiter Irene Zeng also structured her intervention around sourcing, albeit from a very different angle: how exactly do you source for a position that didn’t exist before? By detailing the company’s search for a social media influencer role to fill, Irene delved into how they leveraged Avature CRM and ATS to target companies strategically and use reports to help them make data-driven decisions. She also offered a glimpse of the company’s future ventures with Avature, including their plans to leverage the power of internal mobility.

Strengthening Employer Brands

The pandemic has impacted companies in ways that couldn’t have been foreseen. While it’s true that much of this impact has been negative, many have taken advantage of hiring freezes to focus elsewhere, creating communication strategies that showcase their employer brands and offer insights into what it’s really like to work for them, positioning themselves well for the post-COVID reality. 

With this idea as a backdrop, Shuni Chen (TA Director Greater China for Shell) and Feiya Song (Employer Branding Director Greater China for Shell) talked about the increased importance of a strong employer brand and the strategies their company implemented to tackle this challenge head on. It was a rare glimpse at the marketing strategies of one of the largest multinational companies operating in China and the first foreign entity to participate in emissions trading in the country. 

Chen and Feiya’s talk focused mainly on two popular Shell initiatives that generated impact in their employer branding by utilizing digital platforms and cross boundary collaboration, while also gaining strong commitment from top management in the process. One of the initiatives was their recent campaign for International Women’s Day, which aimed to highlight diversity and inclusion, a key differentiating EVP message for the company. First they encouraged female employees to share genuine experiences and stories, as well as selfies, through internal comms, business WeChat groups and their own Shell Women Network. After more than 50 were compiled, they then selected the top 10 stories and shared them through their China Recruitment WeChat and Weibo accounts where they tractioned 6.8k votes and 8.5k views from followers.

The second marketing initiative they shared was the Alumni Project, a community network integrated by present and former Shell employees who share a strong educational background, and enjoy innovation and achieving something together. The project was created by leveraging Avature’s own DNA and looks to build an ecosystem to boost business incubation, resource integration and business cooperation.

“Shell has created an alumni community with the help of Avature DNA solutions. This is a global initiative and we can now connect with our alumni from different parts of the world. By staying  connected, we will be able to provide opportunities for them to return to Shell, or to build a strong ecosystem to facilitate business cooperation”

Shuni Chen, TA Director Greater China for Shell

In the case of advertising agencies, the concept of employer brand is usually very closely tied to creativity. Such is the case for Ogilvy, which emphasized how creativity is present in every department of the company, including their talent acquisition teams. Stella Sun, Ogilvy’s Chief Talent Officer, spoke about how their employer brand is the key to their successful recruiting program, while also revealing the importance of automation in providing a high-touch candidate experience, which allows recruiters to focus on other activities.

To Conclude

As China continues to adapt to the realities of a new work environment, events such as the 2020 Avature Strategic HR Virtual Summit serve as a perfect opportunity to discover fresh insights from some of the HR industry’s movers and shakers. Besides offering the platform to discuss these ideas, Avature continues to deliver technology to achieve our customers’ HR goals and take their strategies to the next level. 

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