Can a dedicated employee relations team improve the candidate experience?

As we continue our journey exploring the importance of the candidate and onboarding experience in the flexible labour market, I want to touch on a concept that came out of a recent interview on the Staffing RecOps podcast: deploying an employee relations team.

Those of you who know me well will be aware of the fact that I’m focused on exploring how we can improve the candidate experience. In an interview with Pradeep Talreja, Senior Director, Talent Acquisition at Apidel Technologies, we talked about how the firm changed its approach to its workforce and the success that delivered.

Focusing on Employee Delight

Pradeep had some interesting insights into how the business sought to create better rapport with its contingent workforce and while he certainly had a lot to share, it was the creation of a dedicated employee relations team that really stood out as an interesting move for the firm.

This function was created to do what you’d expect; improve relations with employees. But it seems to me that they have been employed to do so much more. When Pradeep shared his insight into the attributes they sought when recruiting this team, the job was clearly about more than just relationship management.

In fact, as he highlighted, the focus was getting people into these roles who were emotionally intelligent, understand the psychology behind the workplace, and who were dedicated to creating ‘employee delight’ – a new phrase which Apidel Technologies has introduced me to.

A Process-Driven Strategy

While everything Pradeep talked about on the podcast was clearly focused on the emotional element of contingent workforce on-boarding and retention, everything was underpinned by structured processes that support the success of this approach. The business focused on Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that ensured workers were delivering what was needed and, in turn, the firm was giving employees everything they required as well.

The finer details are perhaps too much to go into in one blog post, but I’d urge you to listen to the full interview as Pradeep has a wealth of insights that can help other recruitment firms looking to improve their relationship with contingent workers. But one crucial take away in terms of processes is just how important it is to constantly review and improve them.

Part of the role of the employee relations team was to gather feedback from workers and ensure this information makes its way back into the process in the form of improvements. That includes regular check ins with individuals, reaching out ahead of assignment end dates and looking at when and why a worker hasn’t been redeployed. Data points in relation to all of these can be hugely valuable when it comes to improving the experience and retaining contract and gig workers.

Shaping what these SOPs look like and creating an employee relations team to drive this was never going to be an overnight solution and it did take time for the business to get this up and running – but it was worth it in the end. As Pradeep highlighted, not only was the business able to see an improvement in its Glassdoor ranking, but it also noted a 20% uplift in the number of people who had their project extended since introducing the employee relations teams.

Implementing this approach in recruitment

For those recruitment firms looking to replicate this success themselves, the podcast will certainly give you a lot of pointers, but here’s my top five takeaways:

  • Processes need to be simple, easy to use and work in favour of the contractor. If existing deadlines make live video interviews a challenge, consider other means of accommodating them.
  • Standardisation is also key. SOPs, communication and the overall experience from pre-to post- assignment need to be consistent for all.
  • Regular review is important – it’s impossible to identify where improvements can be made or processes are hindering efficiency and engagement if you’re not committed to regularly assessing what is and isn’t working for your contingent workforce.
  • Feedback ties into the above and should be a priority. Develop questionnaires, set up standard evaluation calls and feed the information back into the process. How and what you measure will be unique to your businesses, but metrics can include how many candidates or workers have their project extended or external reviews as per the example of Apidel Technologies.
  • Use the right tools and use them in the right way. Make sure everything’s connected. If there’s an update that the payroll team needs to be aware of, it must be easily accessible to relevant groups to ensure that the worker has the best possible experience.

A dedicated employee relations team might not be feasible for every business, but the commitment to a top-notch worker experience should be.

Check out our range of interviews on this topic on the Staffing RecOps Podcast.

If you’re interested in taking part in the podcast, contact hello@staffingrecops.com

James Lawton Enterprise Account Executive
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