Looking for a TA career change but not too sure how to get there? Our ‘So you wanna be a…‘ series of articles takes a look at some of the more niche TA roles and digs deep into the who, how, and why behind them. Our resident editor Jody Smith will chat with some of your favourite TA leaders in that space to find out how they got started, what their role really looks like, and what tips and tricks they have for other TA superstars looking to get a foot in the door.
In this issue, Jody sat down with Louise Joyce, Talent Experience Manager – AU & Asia @ Xero to find out what really goes on in the life of a talent experience manager.
Your title is Talent Experience Manager. There are a few variations of this title on LinkedIn, could you tell us a bit more about what a Talent Experience Manager does?
At Xero, we use the term ‘experience’ across various business functions as we focus the most on the human element of how we work. So like many other teams at Xero, instead of being a Talent Acquisition or recruitment team, we call ourselves the Talent Experience team.
As a Talent Experience team, we are not only about recruiting new people to Xero, but about the entire experience for our talent community. This includes, but is not limited to, connecting with prospective applicants, current applicants, internal talent, unsuccessful candidates, pipeline, and talent community groups across the globe.
As the Talent Experience Manager at Xero, my role focuses on the exciting and continued growth across Australia and Asia. Not only do I get to lead, coach, and inspire amazing talent professionals, but I also work closely with the company to share our recruitment expertise so we can together work towards current and future priorities and projects. Like all teams at Xero, I also work closely with my global peer group to ensure we are connected and consistent, no matter where we are in the world.
Do people often confuse what you do?
Yes, they do! Sometimes I wish I were an accountant so that people understood what I did day-to-day. I am also married to a paramedic, which is a much more exciting story than saying I work in HR for an accounting software company. You would think this may be a conversation ender rather than a starter, but after starting at Xero four years ago, it is hard to get me to stop talking about what I do. When you work somewhere you are passionate about, it is far easier to explain what you do and why. That’s especially important as a talent professional, as you can share your great experience with candidates.
What are some of the biggest blockers/challenges you come across in your everyday work?
The challenges in my current role are actually the things I enjoy the most, such as never-ending growth, change and opportunity. Xero has grown extensively over the last few years and we have strong targets to continue this growth going forward. Because of that, there is never a dull moment for me or the team globally. Our priorities and journey continue to evolve and change in-line with our product, our customers, our community and the market.
With that growth and the agility of our business comes opportunities to influence processes, grow teams and expand my own skills. All of this change and opportunity can be overwhelming at times, but one of the key reasons I have stayed at Xero for so many years is having an awesome group of people to work with everyday, supporting me, teaching me and cheering each other on.
What have you been able to achieve that you likely couldn’t do if just a pure recruitment focus?
I think the key to working in an ‘experience’ function is that we have the space to focus on quality. We are not fixated purely on output and numbers; we want to ensure that all of our interactions with the Xero community are enjoyable, as well as effective and positive. The focus on quality is really important for our current hiring needs and as we prepare for future growth and opportunities. It is the bigger picture of a Talent Experience approach, not just a recruitment process.
How is being a Talent Experience Manager different from being a Talent Acquisition Lead?
Talent Experience is about the entire journey of your talent community from first impressions, all the way through to onboarding. It is the focus on the experience of the candidate, and not just the roles filled and time to fill. Something I remind my team of often is to focus on “quality not quantity” and I believe this is a simple application to looking at experience over acquisition.
Given it’s a fairly new role in the market, if you expanded your team what would you look for in a Talent Experience applicant?
That’s a great question! We are currently growing our talent teams across the globe and always interested in speaking to passionate talent professionals. The key things we look for are a focus on candidate experience and process improvement. Talent Experience at Xero is continuing to evolve, and we are eager to bring people into the team who are excited to be part of this journey, bring ideas to the table, challenge each other and ask questions, while being passionate about what they do and who they work with.
Louise’s Cheat Sheet for Aspiring Talent Experience Managers
What are some of the actionable things you can do if you want to be a talent experience manager? Here’s some suggestions from Louise of who to follow, what to use, and where to seek out your info.
Industry experts and influencers to follow
The key to learning from other industry thought leaders is diversity. Speak with people from different industries with different challenges, as well as your direct competitors. This will give you new solutions, ideas, pain points and opinions that you might not see otherwise.
Absolute must-use productivity and tech tools to make your life so much easier
At a high level, I always recommend that you use tools well and ensure you have the support of your stakeholders to embrace it as well. Data is key to making changes and identifying opportunities, so the more we can enter into our tools and systems, the better.
Last year, we rolled out a fully tailored applicant tracking system and it has been genuinely life changing for how we work and operate. I understand not every team is in a position to invest in this, but taking people on the change journey has been one of the great successes behind this implementation. Some of my other go-to tools are Calendly for scheduling and Trello for project management, especially when working with geographically dispersed teams.
Newsletter and event recommendations to keep the brain ticking over and your network fresh?
There is so much information out there it makes me dizzy. But I will keep it short and sweet. Years ago I attended an event where Amantha Imber spoke and have enjoyed receiving the insights from Inventium ever since. I also find that TQSolutions share some insightful and handy information across their platforms.
Is there a specific niche area of recruitment you’d like to know more about. Email us and let us know.
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