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Talent Pathways Webinar

Thanks to Nick, Liz and Robin for their useful insights into their careers within the talent space.  It was a great opportunity for us to bring together individuals within our international talent network.  They helped explain career opportunities available for people within the talent profession and the challenges they face within their respective industries.

As well as learning about their careers to date, each were able to bring to life talent acquisition within each of their organisations and demonstrate the value they add.

We organise webinars such as this to enable our extensive network to learn from industry experts, network with their peers and to support their personal and professional development. Contact Sue O’Donovan or Shona Thom if you would like to be added to our network of Talent Acquisition leaders.

Diversity & inclusion at Virgin Money

  • The government’s introduction of gender pay gap reporting in 2017 was a big challenge for all financial services organisations. One initiative introduced at Virgin Money was to actively recruit men into customer facing roles in branches which were largely populated by females.  The target of a 50/50 split of gender roles by 2020 was established. This needed everyone to pull in same direction and measurement ensured there was nowhere to hide.
  • D&I influenced how roles were advertised. Persona advertising was developed for roles and every advert’s response rate was measured against diversity criteria.  Messaging focused on what we can do for you, to encourage applications. This helped attract a greater proportion of BAME candidates.
  • They aimed to ‘fail fast’ so that they minimised any time wasted.  For instance, we quickly realised that diversity job boards were not effective despite our hopes.

  • Liz talked about the importance of defining a company’s purpose in order to help employees understand why they do what they do.  This also makes for a more satisfying role because people are working together to achieve the same goals.  As Dolly Parton said: “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.”  This relates to people and business!

  • Greencore restructured from a silo structure to a matrix organisation in 2018 and some functions such as Talent Acquisition were centralised.  
  • 18 months later, the projects that delivered the most value were:

1. Implementing a new team structure that provided career development.  Each Talent Acquisition professional specialised in a particular area, enabling them to become experts in the vertical specialisms they serve.  

2. Data capture enabled greater reporting on candidate source, internal/agency hire split, time to offer, cost to hire.  Qualitative reporting on service levels was introduced through a monthly hiring manager satisfaction survey.  Data was shared monthly and success celebrated.

3. Internal hiring where possible ensured internal staff had visibility of vacancies meaning almost 50% of vacancies were then filled internally.  This is supported with a talent calibration process every 6 months.

4. By utilising their powerful internal network their staff enable 24% of direct hires to arise from staff referrals.

5. The selection framework is based around desired Greencore behaviours with process and assessment tools 

6. Trust and credibility is the centre of everything. It’s how thet add value internally by stating their commitments and meeting dealines on time. They moved from reactive to a proactive/consultative service.

Career insights

  • Know your business.
  • Delivery is everything. You are only as good as your last transaction.
  • Resilience is vital in recruitment. Especially when things don’t go as planned.
  • Demonstrate where HR has added real commercial value
  • Be yourself: trust in yourself and the way you deliver for the business.
  • Be demanding of your boss and retain their support.
  • Grab opportunities: sideways moves can help career progression.
  • Use your network to help progress career moves and change industries.
  • Create your own luck by working hard and seizing opportunities.

Presenter’s full biographies

Liz Liddle, Group Talent Acquisition Manager at Arriva plc

Liz had a 20-year career at Deutsche Bank in London in Programme Management within IT. While at a career crossroads, she was asked to run the Graduate Programme for IT and so began her career within Talent.

She moved to her native North East in 2015 and spent 3 years as the Strategic Resourcing Manager at Virgin Money. Here the focus was on diversity and gender balance and Liz set up Apprenticeship programmes and returner programmes for women and people leaving the armed forces. Liz is currently the Group Talent Acquisition Manager at Arriva, where she is enjoying ‘joining the dots’ with other colleagues across Talent to find, hire and develop the leadership population across the Group.

Robin Morle, Head of Talent Acquisition at Greencore

Having spent almost 14 years in agency recruitment, 11 at Nigel Wright, Robin made the transition into an internal function by joining Greencore in 2018 as Head of Talent Acquisition. As Head of Talent Acquisition Robin is responsible for all recruitment activities across the Group.

Greencore is one of the UK’s leading own label food manufacturers with an annual turnover of £1.5bn and employing 11,500 colleagues across 16 world-class manufacturing sites. They supply all the UK’s food retailers, with everything from sandwiches, soups and sushi to cooking sauces, pickles and ready meals.


Nick Lee, Director of Global HR Operations at Burberry

Nick spent 7 years in commercial recruitment working for various organisation across the UK. Returning to the North East, he managed to jump into internal recruitment, working inhouse for an Oil and Gas contractor. This evolved into a broader HR role and involved developing Apprenticeships and Graduate programmes. Nick joined Balfour Beatty at the inception of their Shared Service journey, working in inhouse recruitment and generalist Business Partner roles before running Balfour Beatty’s UK HR Operations.

In February 2020 Nick joined Burberry to lead their Global HR Operations team. He has regional teams in New York, Hong Kong and Leeds supporting 10k staff with back office HR. They have a significant transformation agenda across core HR IS and Payroll systems.

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