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How Workplace Culture and Recruiting Top Talent Go Hand-in-Hand. An Interview with Gaby Patenaude from Export Development Canada

Workplace culture is an important aspect of any happy and productive working environment. There’s something to be said, though, about organizations that go above and beyond to showcase what the culture in their workplace actually looks like. Students, new grads, and early career professionals are digitally savvy and do their research to find the best fit for them. Even if your workplace culture is out-of-this-world-amazing, are you telling your story effectively? Are young candidates seeing it, hearing about it, watching it? If they aren’t, there’s a chance that you’re losing top candidates to other employers who are taking the extra steps to highlight the quality of their teams, culture and why they are the best place to work.

Export Development Canada (EDC) is one of those employers who strongly supports employee culture while also showing it in an authentic and engaging way. We had the chance to speak with Gaby Patenaude from EDC who shares how their organization lives and breathes culture, community, personal growth, professional development and so much more to ensure that candidates know that they are working for one of the best employers in the country. Read the full interview below.

Meet Gaby

Gaby is the Campus Recruitment Program Lead at EDC and has been with the company for three and a half years. Starting as a new grad, Gaby knows first hand what it’s like to make that school-to-work transition. She also understands how important it is for employers to step up and showcase what it’s like to work at a particular organization. Gaby manages the whole student-employee lifecycle – from campus events, partnerships with schools and interviewing candidates, to providing programming, onboarding and support once students are in the door and on the payroll.

Go, Grow and Succeed’ at EDC

EDC’s culture is unique with a variety of inclusive employee-led committees, community giving programs, professional development workshops, and a “state-of-the-art gym” to support their employees — both in work and in personal growth. “As someone who was really actively involved in my university community, I really value the giving nature of EDC,” Gaby comments.

“Community involvement is embedded in everything we do, whether…when EDC employees worldwide take a day to do volunteer work with over 40 organizations or to our stellar CSR practices embedded into the business transactions we make every day. I think that kind of purpose is really what younger generations seek in an employer. Somewhere where their values can come to life at work.”

Having initiatives like employee-led committees also allows employees to connect with so many more peers and leaders that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to. “It lets employees feel like they have a wide variety of what I like to call ‘work extracurriculars’ because there are so many ways for people to get involved at work outside of what is listed on their job description.”

“Through these committees and their events, I have met so many new people and flexed new muscles as I took on side projects totally unrelated to my role. That is so rewarding and definitely lends to an inclusive workplace culture. No matter where people are in the hierarchy, they can really make a difference.”

Shouting Out Your Culture To Top Talent

All of these amazing initiatives and activities that are ingrained in the culture at EDC would be lost on new candidates if their team wasn’t active both on-campus and online to spread the word. Gaby cautions employers not to completely limit themselves to one strategy or the other, but to really look for a balance. “It’s a balancing act of that digital side to reach broad audiences, but [also] creating a space for highly specialized, in-person interactions.” EDC has found that dedicating specific and targeted strategies to both digital and in-person experiences has been enormously beneficial in their overall recruitment and employer branding strategy.

“TalentEgg has been instrumental in us reaching broad audiences with country-wide digital campaigns with hot new tools like Instagram takeovers. The nice thing about digital content is that in most cases it is there to stay and you keep referring back to it if candidates want to do any self-led research. I think it’s important to have digital brand awareness about your employer.”

Striking that balance, Gaby found that the most success they’ve had is with smaller scale, highly specialized events.

“For instance, partnering with campus clubs and associations to host case competitions in topics where we want some fresh insight, or hosting career spotlight events where students come and experience what it’s like to work in a certain role or career.”

Tell Your Story Authentically 

While it’s vital to tell your employer story both in-person and online, Gaby stresses that it’s important to have authentic and transparent content.

“I think the more transparent the better! We’ve found the best success in our recruitment campaigns when we really connect with students. For example, during our Instagram takeover with TalentEgg, we let a student a day take over TalentEgg’s account and take us through a day in their life: from their walk to our downtown office, to their 1:1 with their leader, to their gym session at lunch, or lunch on our rooftop patio. This was a way better indication of their impact and life at EDC than any thoughtfully worded job poster.”

Gaby also stresses the importance of showing candidates that you truly care about them as a potential hire, that they aren’t just another number. EDC did this by hosting a TalentEgg Talks Live where students and grads asked Gaby live questions. She was able to give the audience across Canada a deep-dive 30-minute session about EDC instead of a quick 1-minute conversation at a career fair.

“Recruitment is all about allowing the candidate to really be able to picture themselves in a role and envisioning their happiness and success in that role. TalentEgg has been great in shining light on the new and upcoming strategies for things like social media recruitment marketing, mobile marketing, and others. This has also been proven in bringing students into our office and introducing them to employees. It allows them to put a face to a job and see what someone’s career path was to get to where they are.”

Advice for Fellow Employers and Final Thoughts

“It’s important as an employer to show that you are developing people and not just employees. It’s a two-way street – employees will invest more in their jobs if they know their employer is investing in them. The reality is that if you as a company aren’t staying up on trends, or putting in a caring approach to employees, those employees will go to the next employer down the street that is doing a better job. So I think employers really have an obligation to take their employees seriously and give them the best caring culture to support their best work.”

That’s one of the reasons why Gaby started her career with EDC. She emphasizes why it’s so important for young people to know that their employer will be there for them in the best of times to push them forward, but also on those not so great days.

It’s important to not only rely on being present online and on-campus, but also to tell your employer brand story, bringing it to life and helping future candidates see what their future could be like at your organization.

Your Complete Guide to Canadian Campus Recruitment

The eighth annual TalentEgg National Campus Recruitment Excellence Awards and Conference took place on Wednesday, June 19th, 2019 and we are happy to say that it was an egg-cellent day of learning and collaborating on best practices in student, new graduate and early career recruitment. The TalentEgg Awards and Conference marks a moment when employers, nonprofits, campus recruitment professionals, and career educators come together for a day to discuss different approaches to support youth employment and professional development. We would like to sincerely thank everyone who joined us for the event, and we can't wait to see you next year!

All Awards and Conference attendees got to take home our 2019 Guide to Canadian Campus Recruitment. This valuable resource gives employers and HR professionals crucial insights into recruiting Gen-Y and Gen-Z job candidates, including best practices, tips on how to use social media effectively, and what matters most to students, new graduates and early career professionals when it comes to starting their careers.

If you missed out on the conference, you can still access TalentEgg's key findings from our Gen-Y and Gen-Z research and recruitment insights gained from our work with the Student Judges of the TalentEgg Awards! We’re offering a free digital download of the 2019 Guide to Canadian Campus Recruitment right here!

Here’s a sneak peek of what you’ll find in the 2019 Guide:

  • Candidates' recruitment pet peeves
  • Why your employer brand needs CSR
  • Unique experiences to develop your future talent pipeline
  • Connecting with early-career professionals
  • Why and how to connect online with potential candidates
  • How your recruitment efforts can be everywhere, all at once
  • The importance of continuous learning and incorporating it into your onboarding
  • …and more!

Get your free copy of this essential resource!


2019 Guide to Canadian Campus Recruitment

Please complete the following for access to the free download.

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6 Tips For Creating A Winning TalentEgg Awards Application

It’s that time of year again! The applications for the 2019 TalentEgg National Campus Recruitment Excellence Awards & Conference are officially open!

The #TEAwards are an egg-cellent opportunity for top employers, career centres and educational institutions to be recognized for their egg-ceptional work, as well as gather valuable feedback from students and recent graduates on their campus recruitment initiatives.

We know you’re ready to get cracking on those submissions, but before you do, we wanted to share a few of our top tips and tricks for crafting an award-winning application.

1. Get organized

The first thing you should do is decide which award categories best fit your initiatives – and with 17 awards, you have plenty to choose from. To get started, make a shortlist of the ones you want to apply to and carefully read through the descriptions to ensure your team’s efforts meet the outlined criteria.

Here are the categories for this year’s TalentEgg awards:

EMPLOYER AWARDS

  • Best Grad Program
  • Best Campus Career Website
  • Best Internship/Co-op Program
  • Campus Recruiting Program of the Year
  • Campus Recruiting Program of the Year for a nonprofit NEW!
  • Campus Recruiter of the Year (Individual)
  • Campus Recruiter of the Year for a nonprofit (Individual) NEW!
  • Best Recruitment Marketing And Outreach
  • Best Social Media Presence
  • Special Award for Social Responsibility in Recruiting
  • Best Campus Ambassador Program
  • Best On-Campus Student Engagement Strategy
  • Best use of AI in Recruitment NEW!

EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS

  • Best Contribution To Student Career Development
  • Special Award For Innovation By A Career Centre
  • Best Digital Recruitment Campaign By An Educational Institution
  • Career Coach of the Year (Individual) NEW!

For more details, head to our website!

2. Gather your materials

Each awards submission is composed of two parts. The first is the mandatory online application. We ask all applicants to fill out a short form and provide a brief overview of the initiative being submitted for review.

Note: The Campus Recruiter of the Year and Career Coach of the Year (Individual) awards application are slightly different. For these awards, we ask for a short description of the nominee’s achievements.

The second component is the supporting documentation. We request all documentation to be presented in PDF format and attached with the application form. For this part, you can embed links to online presentations, websites, or other types of media to support the application and demonstrate the impact of your efforts.

Over the years, we’ve noticed that our judging panel tend to favour applicants who are able to support their achievements with solid evidence. Speaking of which…

3. Know your audience

Your work will be judged by an eggs-clusive panel of top students. In other words, your target audience for your campus recruitment initiatives. Therefore, to help ensure your application is well-received, you need to tailor it for a younger demographic.

Here’s what we recommend:

      • Use terminology that everyone can understand. Avoid industry jargon words and phrases.
      • Communicate in a Gen Z and Y-friendly voice. Aim for casual and conversational, but still professional.
      • Speak directly to the wants and needs of students. Check out our Guide to Campus Recruitment to get key insights from students & grads.

4. Show your work

So you think your organization had the best recruiting program of the year? Great – we want proof! Including quantitative data like statistics or percentages can help strengthen your claims and create a comprehensive application.

Another factor all winning applications have in common? Visual appeal. To stand out to the judging panel, try:

      • Using a style and branding that is similar to your other campus recruitment material.
      • Incorporating visual evidence, such as screenshots, logos, videos, etc., to illustrate your application.
      • Including pictures of your student/new grad employees and/or campus recruiters to help the judges better connect with your organization.

5. Keep it concise

With so many submissions to evaluate, most of the judges will likely only spend a short time evaluating each application. A text-heavy application will not appeal to a Gen Z and Y audience. The key is to provide as much detail as possible, but also keep it concise.

To do this, include only the most relevant and impressive information and use bulleted lists or graphs to convey your points wherever possible. Also remember that you can provide links to any social networking accounts, online media, and additional information you want to include.

6. Be creative

Don’t be afraid to flex those creative muscles when crafting your application! The goal is to create a submission that stands out from the competition in a memorable way and the best way to do that is to be innovative.

Think outside the box by leveraging new technology as much as possible. For example, you could create a video or a slide deck for your application instead of a traditional text document. You could also use infographics to represent your data in a modern and visually appealing way.

Just make sure that the end result is accessible and easy-to-navigate. It doesn’t matter how flashy your application is – if the judges can’t understand it, they can’t engage with it.

Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to creating a top-notch #TEAwards application. Good luck!

 

Interested in sponsoring the event? See the sponsorship opportunities here!

Introducing the 2018 Guide to Canadian Campus Recruitment – Decoding Gen-Z

The seventh annual TalentEgg National Campus Recruitment Excellence Awards and Conference took place on Tuesday, June 26th, 2018, and we are happy to say that it was an egg-cellent day of learning and collaborating on best practices in student and new graduate recruitment. The TalentEgg Awards and Conference is a special day for us because it marks a moment when we bring together employers, nonprofits, campus recruitment professionals, and career educators for a day to discuss different approaches to supporting youth employment and professional development. We would like to sincerely thank everyone who joined us for the event, and we can’t wait to see you next year!

All Awards and Conference attendees got to take home our 2018 Guide to Canadian Campus Recruitment. This valuable resource gives employers and HR professionals crucial insights into recruiting Gen-Y and Gen-Z job candidates, including best practices, tips on how to use social media effectively, and what matters most to students and new graduates when it comes to starting their careers.

If you missed out on the conference, you can still access TalentEgg’s key findings from our Gen-Y and Gen-Z research and recruitment insights gained from our work with the Student Judges of the TalentEgg Awards! We’re offering a free digital download of the 2018 Guide to Canadian Campus Recruitment right here!

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