A true partnership approach enhances Thomson Reuters’ talent acquisition strategy

Experis has managed talent acquisition for Thomson Reuters UK since 2005. The onsite recruitment team is white labelled and a fully integrated part of the business. In 2015, the contract was extended, also expanding into Europe.

We spoke with Craig Wymant, Global Head of HR, regarding the evolution of the European talent acquisition strategy for Thomson Reuters.

Please can you provide us with a brief overview of your current role and responsibilities?

I have a dual role. I effectively business partner with the go-to market (sales) team for Europe and our strategic customer solutions group who serve our top key accounts globally. Additionally, I have responsibility and leadership accountability for the day-to-day running of HR teams in 24 countries across Europe – that’s 60 HR professionals servicing over 6,000 employees across various groups within Thomson Reuters. I’m also responsible for talent acquisition for the European region.

How have you worked in partnership with Experis to review and enhance your European talent acquisition strategy?

We’ve really partnered effectively to enhance the overall end-to-end proposition for talent acquisition. We’ve transitioned from a model with high usage of third party agencies to more direct sourcing. That’s enabled us to do a number of things, including managing the candidate experience more effectively, penetrating more diverse pools of talent, and delivering enhancements to both the candidate and the hiring leader experience throughout the whole cycle. We’ve seen significant improvements in the calibre of candidates coming through and it’s also delivered some cost efficiencies along the way.

How has talent acquisition evolved for Thomson Reuters in the UK over the past two years?

Experis has been a key partner. As our business has evolved they’ve been on that journey with us. We’ve transitioned from a reactive state of talent acquisition to a proactive state in how we source and acquire talent.

Fundamental to that has been building the capability of the talent acquisition team so they have true domain knowledge for the capability sets that they are working with to acquire and hire. We also consider them as an integral part of the business so when we’re thinking through things like human capital reallocation or understanding future capability needs, they’ve been on that journey with us.

Please can you talk us through your recent talent acquisition change programme? What are some of the key features?

Historically as an organisation we ran as a portfolio of individual business units. We’ve moved to a new operating model, simplified and unified, and built clear and distinct capability sets within each element of the organisation.

Working with the talent acquisition team, we’ve been able to target, prioritise and align the talent acquisition leads to the capability sets and clusters that we are recruiting and hiring for.

How do talent acquisition and Thomson Reuters’ diversity strategy align?

Total inclusion for Thomson Reuters and being an employer of choice is absolutely key for us. We are continuously evolving our employee value proposition, our policies and working practices to enable us to attract and retain the best talent. And let’s not forget the best talent is diverse. From a sourcing perspective, we must continually improve how we tap into different talent pools to source and retain diverse talent, and how we partner with leaders to help them do the same. The talent acquisition team plays a key role in strategy as part of that journey with us.

What impact does the relationship you have with Experis have on effectively delivering your talent acquisition strategy?

The relationship with Experis and Thomson Reuters is absolutely core to our success, not only in delivering for the here and now, but also partnering to think about the future talent requirements and capability sets. Being an integral part of our business and really understanding the dynamics about having the right person in the right place at the right time is crucial for us.

There are also a number of other points that are of value. The talent acquisition team are out in the external market; they’re representing our brand. Because the team are knowledge experts within their field they’re able to bring the market intelligence, analytics and external market insights to help inform us and partner with us to help shape key decisions as we move forward.

What’s next and what is the key focus in 2016 for talent acquisition?

There are a number of key areas that we can take to the next level. There’s an opportunity to be more joined-up as an organisation and think about how we progress on our enterprise journey regarding specific capability sets. There is also the opportunity of expanding our UK talent acquisition proposition into Europe for other parts of the organisation – Experis are already partnering with us within Europe with our go-to market sales capability.

Let’s not underestimate the impact of technology. We need to invest in technology-enabled solutions when deciding how we go out to market to source within those distinct and diverse pockets. E-enabled solutions will also allow us to more effectively manage and enhance the end-to-end experience for both the candidate and hiring leader.

We must also remain proactively ahead of the curve and in alignment with strategic workforce planning agendas. We will continue to focus on cost efficiencies and the direct sourcing model, and continue to reduce dependency on third party agency spend to maximise that return on investment. Finally, we will review our KPIs and put a bit of a stretch in there as we move forward.

What do you see as the biggest challenges for HR leaders in 2016?

There are a number of challenges for HR professionals. In most organisations, one of the biggest costs is people, so that is an asset that needs to be smartly and strategically managed.

Fundamentally for me as an HR practitioner, it’s business first, HR second. I need to understand the commercials of the business and I need to know what I am in service of. I believe that in our industry there are HR practitioners and business partners who don’t truly understand some of the key levers of their organisations from a commercial perspective, whether that’s the internal or external landscape and drivers. So one of the big challenges is to become more commercially astute and be business-led rather than HR-led.

Secondly, we need to be smarter in how we use data insights and analytics to help us make informed decisions. Often we make gut-feel decisions but it’s about taking market intelligence, data and insight, and translating that to inform some of the decisions you make in service of your organisation.