Forrester Awards Social Depth
Social recruiting program at HCL is unique across the IT industry. Almost every company today, irrespective of size, uses social media as a talent database using features like candidate search, emails, job posting etc. In addition to these hygiene level tactics, HCL started leveraging social media for innovative campaigns to position it as an innovative employer and lead generation (drive applications using recruitment marketing) in 2014.
We have able to combine creative thinking, social media and recruitment to occupy this positioning. These campaigns not only contribute positively to our employer brand salience level but have generated some of the best-in-class business outcomes. The social recruiting program at HCL has been created using the basics of B2C marketing since the target audience (talent pool) is not limited. These campaigns have truly achieved the social depth for HCL by being some of our best lead generation campaign in 2014.
Background & Challenges
HCL’s being an IT services company has employees at the core of its offering and consequently it owes its success to them. With an annual need to 30,000 new hires, recruitment is a crucial to HCL’s topline and bottom line.
IT industry’s maintaining 5-7% of workforce on bench for faster response to new deals is now an obsolete practice with margin pressure and need for IT mammoths to become lean organizations to rake in efficiency gains. Just-in-time hiring policy is a reality and leads to a severe supply chain problem given short fulfillment time for the recruitment team.
Recruitment team like B2B sales force is responsible for one to one search and sale of the product (career choice at HCL). HCL formed the employer brand and recruitment marketing team to enable one to many messaging and reach in various countries to enable recruitment team just like we have been enabling sales teams for many years.
Sourcing of candidate resumes (lead generation) for various roles is traditionally done through following channels – job boards, employee referral, partner recruitment firms, corporate website etc. With high cost per hire for employee referral channel ($400) and partner channel ($1000) due to commissions. HCL has a separate sourcing team which is always hunting for the best talent through the social media channels for the last few years. This prospect identification could be done through search functionality, targeted emails, or company page on various social media platforms.
IT talent pool of experienced hires is extremely fickle minded with high rotation within the same set of IT companies. There is no stickiness of any employer brand. Hiring for IT talent is dangerously akin to pricing wars where the candidates join new companies just for the salary packages. This consumer behavior is largely prevalent due to the undifferentiated employer value proposition in the IT industry and the threat of new age employment options like ecommerce companies, internet based businesses, and product based technology companies etc which are not only offering attractive roles but also higher compensation. We also found in our candidate research, that employees are willing to join or stay with a company at lower compensation if there is a strong value proposition for them.
Employer brand and recruitment marketing efforts are meant to use marketing concepts and prowess to open additional channels of sourcing best talent across geographies with higher ROI as compared to traditional channels and to create employer brand salience to enjoy brand premiums when hiring candidates.
- Create differentiation and reap benefits of brand premium by driving salience for HCL’s EVP and position it is as an employer of choice/ positioning – innovative employer
- Lead generation through social media & lower CPH
- Use digital media to create a new channel for sourcing and reduce dependency on partners
Like other companies we invest resources to harvest the open playing field of social media to search for the best talent however, we also realize that the employer brand creation was negligible in these activates and social media is the ultimate place to engage with and drive employer brand’s salience. Also carefully crafted messages in-line with the EVP
80% of our demand in between 25- 35 years, 100% is graduates with a degree in technology. Majority of our hiring needs are in India, US, and Poland markets. We have segmented the target audience for the employer brand investment at HCL in following categories.
- Prospect employees/ candidates
- Current Employees
Social Recruitment Program at HCL – Campaign Plans
A team for marketing professionals, responsible for leveraging digital media especially social media to create employer brand salience by driving engagement and lead generation through recruitment marketing campaigns globally.
1. #HIRAL VIDEOS
– HCL’s popular employer brand campaign which converted the staid written job descriptions to disruptive video format, spoofed popular viral videos like Gangnam style, Harlem Shake, promoted these on social media and other digital channels to drive interest and applications.
- Business Outcomes – 175 M employer reach, 11,300 applications at a record cost-per- application of $4.93, 330,000 video videos on YouTube, and generated media coverage worth $40,000.
- World’s first ever end-to-end social recruitment campaign on Twitter which got us the tag of an innovative employer.
- Business Outcomes – 88,000 global participants, 250,000 engagements, HCL’s twitter followership increased to 200,000, over media coverage by 60 international and Indian publications worth $1,000,000.
3. Digital ideapreneur
to leverage employee ambassadorship, HCL ran this innovative campaign based on user generated content and proliferate it through social media to drive external employer brand salience of our culture / EVP.
- Business Outcomes – 50 M employer brand digital reach, 20 blog post coverage. Campaign is currently live across platforms.
4. Alumni Engagement
Digital manifestation of the alumni engagement program drives engagement and lead generation with the alumni base of HCL to meet business objectives.
- Business Outcomes – 633 re-hires in 6 months vs 400 re-hires last financial year, 2,000 new members to our LinkedIn alumni group. Alumni portal gained new membership of 65,000 alumni in 6 months.
5. Leveraging LinkedIn for social recruiting
- Business outcomes – 486 hire from LinkedIn in one year, an increase from 120 hires last FY. The talent brand index of HCL increased from 9% to 16% and we moved to 4th largest engaging employer brand on LinkedIn compared to 8th rank last financial year.
Detailed Campaign Plans
A. #HIRAL VIDEOS | Run time – November 2014 to December 2014 |Campaign Microsite –www.hcltech.com/hiral
Creative concept – HIRAL is a portmanteau of Hiring and viral video. The protagonist of the campaign is a creative HCL recruiter who has devised this clever idea of spoofing some most viral videos on YouTube by giving a job pitch to attract the best talent in short period of time as he is under a constant fulfillment pressure on meet his quota. Also, he enlists support of non- target audience - the viral watching friends of the best IT talent who are themselves too busy to watch viral videos.
#HIRALVIDEOS was a campaign with many creative angles which were integrated together to form the campaign concept:
• Converted the boring written job descriptions to an engaging video format and use it as disruptive hiring collateral of it
• First campaign targeted to non-target audience (viral video watching friends of candidate who are too busy to watch viral videos)
• Use creative strategy to ride on the popularity of viral videos in India to create unexpected hiring pitch
• Utilize social media, affiliate marketing, email marketing, recruitment channels, search and display advertising for a single campaign
A simple objective of seeking many applications in short time was addressed with an innovative campaign. The campaign consisted of three major stages:
1) Identification of demand: We first identified the top 10 skills that contributed 80% of hiring demand for HCL. These were later cross-verified with the online presence of professionals with these skills. Later the four skills with comparatively high probability of targeting were finalized for the campaign.
2) Creative Strategy: Hiral Videos, (a portmanteau of Viral and Hire) are cleverly disguised job description videos that appeal to the viral-watching friends of desirable candidates. Taking on several popular viral trends like Gangnam Style, The Harlem Shake and others, a fictional HCL recruiter tells the viewers to share the job videos with friends who fit the bill. The phenomenon of viral videos has been designed to capture the millennial generation. Appeal to them to not just making these videos viral but also to share it with people who would excel at an engaging career at HCL. #HIRALVIDEOS is a clutter breaking campaign designed to change the very perception of an IT employer, recruitment collateral process & the overall landscape.. It is designed to build salience of HCL as an innovative employer showcased by CIE.
3) Media Planning: A 360 degree media planning approach was attempted with wide leverage of social media channels; email marketing, Google Search and Display Network, media buying on job-board website and ad network. The rationale for selecting wide media channels is summarized in the table below:
The four video job descriptions were first uploaded on HCLTECH YouTube channel. However, the one-stop destination for users to visit and apply was the campaign website (www.hcltech.com/hiral ). All media efforts were made with an objective to drive traffic to the campaign website.
- People: This campaign was conceptualized by recruitment marketing team at HCL. A recruitment marketing lead, digital lead and digital plan executed expert were involved in this campaign directly under the guidance of Employer Brand lead. The creative agency helped us with the production of four videos and the media buying agency helped us with all media planning & activation that were required to procure media inventories.
- Platform: The campaign website was created to host all four video job descriptions and the application form was made available on the website. The campaign promotions were made across various media channels driving traffic to the campaign website.
- Monetary: The total monetary expense made on this campaign was $70,000 (INR 42,00,000) inclusive of website development cost, production costs for videos and media plan.
Measurable Impact: As in any B2B lead generation context, ensuring good number of applications (leads in our case) at competitive cost per applications (equivalent to cost per lead) is of utmost importance for the business. The traditional application sourcing channels mentioned above have substantially high cost per application ranging from $100-350. However, the Hiral videos campaign helped us attain thousands of applications at extremely economical rate of less than $5, which was very well received by the HR folks within HCL. Moreover, this campaign also managed to gather eyeballs across various digital channels which further helped us in creating external salience for employer brand. Hence, unlike other lead generation campaigns that are focused only on generating leads, this campaign also contributed branding for the organization, which is a unique achievement. The below mentioned metrics have quantified the results obtained from the campaign.
- #Coolestinterviewever | Run Time Jan 2014 to Feb 2014 | http://www.coolestinterviewever.com/
World’s first ever end-to-end Social Recruitment Campaign on Twitter. HCL became the most followed IT services company in the world at the cost of hiring a single employee.
Campaign Case study - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjQbh6WuLa8
Campaign Microsite - http://www.coolestinterviewever.com/ Do check out our teaser videos!
- Digital ideapreneur | Run time – Oct’2014 to Feb’2014| Campaign site - http://www.hcltech.com/digital-ideapreneur
The talent pool is dominated primarily by age group of 25-35 years (78% of HCL ideapreneurs are <25 years of age) active on digital channels and are technology savvy. TG is generally bombarded with brand content.
Our approach - Instead of approaching with brand content, we leveraged the route of user generated content (UGC) which in the present digital era is acknowledged and appreciated to a large extent. The UGC comes straight from the heart of an individual, has more variation and has been found to be convincing.
Target Audience - This campaign was designed to build salience and appeal for the ideapreneurship culture among the Gen Y employee base. The need of this TG is to receive relevant and bite sized information which engages them. Further, the authenticity of our EVP promise would be best delivered by our existing employee base. Keeping the TG need, user behavior and the messaging truth in mind, we launched the Digital Ideapreneur campaign –a campaign where digitally savvy ideapreneurs would evangelize the ideapreneurship culture on their social handles (Twitter and Facebook).
The campaign approach was based on the following five building blocks
We create a program to leverage this target segment for our business needs to recruitment. This program is currently in its year one and uses digital platforms extensively to drive engagement and lead generation.
We first introduced the alumni to the alumni program ‘ I-alum Program’ and communicated the positioning of ‘ Once an Ideapreneur always an Ideapreneur’ , invited them to join our portal , regularly communicated to them of the current happenings and growth of HCLT, invited them to participate in hiring and other marketing campaigns etc. This was all done via email marketing in the beginning. We even created an email helpline for any queries they had for the hCLT HR team. Once we started receiving good response via mail and also increased registration requests on Our portal we launched our LinkedIn group. Within a span of 3 months we are at a membership of 2000+. Our portal membership has gone to 7000+.
We use this community to run digital campaign to drive brand salience and driving applications today.
HCL Employees were administered an Ideapreneurship test. This test gauged the understanding of employees about the Ideapreneurship culture and their preparedness to adopt the same in their daily work life. Ideapreneurs who qualified the Ideapreneurship test, had certain minimum level of fans / followers and were reasonably active on the social media platforms were selected for the campaign to voluntarily advocate about HCL culture.
a) Digital training was provided to volunteers about the HCL’s social media policy and basic social media etiquettes.
b) Platforms: Campaign website with profiles of these digital ideapreneurs was launched to recognize and incentivize them (Appendix 1). This motivated the Ideapreneurs to actively participate in the initiative. A blog section (Appendix – 3) was created on HCLTECH website where the ideapreneurs could contribute their innovative ideas.
a) Internal: In line with our values of trust and transparency, a leaderboard (Appendix 2) was created that captured the score/ number of tweets and posts made by them on Twitter and Facebook. It created a sense of competition among them and motivated more ideapreneurs to join the campaign. Also all campaign participants and some of the highly engaged external Twitter fraternity were presented with sweatshirts (Appendix – 10).
b) External: Twitter fraternity who showed interest to know more about HCL culture were engaged through Tweet Chats (Chat sessions held on Twitter for an hour) with HCL’s top leaders (Appendix – 7) – Prithvi Shergill (CHRO) and Krishnan Chatterjee (SVP, Marketing). Also, audience had the opportunity to tweet chat with Anandan Pillai, winner of #CoolestInterviewEver campaign by HCL to gain further visibility about HCL’s culture.
- Content: In order to support the efforts of the participants, the core team facilitated the participants with feeder content at regular intervals. The major topics identified were – a) Quotes / thought, b) Technology news of the industry, c) Facets of own Ideapreneurship journey at HCL, d) Role of HCL in one’s life, e) Culture at HCL, f) Thoughts about innovation / intrapreneurship etc.
- Rewards and Recognition: Monetary rewards (gift vouchers), non-monetary rewards (blogpost publication on HCLTECH website) and merchandise (customized sweat shirts with participant’s Twitter handle) were provided at multiple campaign milestones.
- Alumni engagement | Run Time Oct 2014 to ongoing
- Build an outreach program to connect with over 90,000 alumni
- Revamp and align our alumni portal to our corporate and employee value proposition
- Build an active community of alumni who could act as brand ambassadors
- Lead generation campaign for this segment to drive applications for the current job opportunities