Defining the success measures of Early Talent Programmes


21st July 2022

Read Time

5 minutes

Young black woman with pink braids sits at her laptop on a blue sofa. She is smiling at her screen.

We recently led a discussion at the 2022 ISE Student Recruitment Conference where our Strategic Lead for Talent, Simon, alongside employer panellists explored and defined the success measures of Early Talent Programmes and how to use these to prove their business value.

Simon was joined by:

  • Melissa Kose, Emerging Talent Manager, British Airways
  • Vanessa Soames, Early Talent Director, Cognizant

With the market more competitive than ever and fewer candidates for more roles the race for talent has accelerated. Businesses need to maximise their investment in Early Talent Programmes by driving conversion from applicant and employee, to prove the business case and retain the talent they nurture.

Latest stats show 14% and 19% of apprentices and graduates respectively have left after 2 years. This increases to 33% and 47% respectively after 5 years. Plus, fewer than 20% of apprentices from disadvantaged backgrounds complete their apprenticeship – a number that continues to fall.

This is a significant and costly loss for businesses. Not only does this pose expensive rehiring costs, drops in business productivity and increased demand on internal hiring teams, but in many cases also leads to budget holders questioning the business case for investing in Early Talent Programmes.

So, how can businesses address this?

Connectr’s session explored findings from a focus group of final stage candidates into their experiences and expectations of securing an Early Talent role. We also ran a live audience poll to explore the priorities and challenges of Early Talent employers in optimising the hiring journey. You can view all findings here.

We then called upon our panellists at British Airways and Cognizant to explore this further.

Three steps for shaping a business case

Our panellists  explored three key ways organisations can evidence and maximise the  business case for Early Talent Programmes.

Identifying and addressing the internal challenges for proving the business case

  • Track candidate feedback and leverage this to develop Early Talent Programmes that meet the needs of the young people you want to engage.
  • Use survey and focus group data to analyse the success of programmes and measure the cost of creating and running these against factors such as filling gaps, replacing outgoing team members, and helping accelerate a company’s growth and ability to deliver its products and services to customers.
  • Link the Early Talent Programme to the wider company agenda – what key objectives does this align with, including DE&I and commercial targets.
  • Identify a streamlined approach to managing the volume of hires – whether this is large or small – that ensures every candidate receives an outstanding experience.

Delivering an outstanding candidate experience to hire brilliant, diverse young people

  • This is crucial in today’s market, and must be multi-faceted.
  • Regular communication and feedback throughout the application journey are crucial.
  • Enabling the opportunity for candidates to connect with employees across the business, as well as one another, to build an authentic sense of community and support.
  • Redirection to learning modules and tasks during the application journey to grow the skills of candidates and prepare them for the stages ahead. This is also key to deliver to unsuccessful candidates, boosting your employer brand and supporting them for success in other applications.
  • Authentic and regular insights into company life, so candidates can truly envisage themselves at the business.
  • Access to Buddies / role models, giving candidates visibility of those within the business they can identify with.

Prioritise preboarding activities that maximise conversion and drive retention

  • Continue building relationships with candidates and existing employees through the preboarding journey to maintain connection.
  • Excite and prepare candidates for Day 1 with engaging content.
  • Host digital or in-person events, putting your brand above the rest and showcase the benefits of employee life within the organisation.
  • Deliver tailored communications outlining each role and responsibilities. Our panellists explored the concept of a ‘good’ or less painful renege during the preboarding phase rather than once in role.

These tools are key in driving an end-to-end candidate journey that empowers Early Talent to arrive in the business engaged, excited and – importantly – prepared to hit the ground running. Great for young people, better for businesses that want to minimise hiring costs and demand on internal resource, whilst building and future-proofing their talent pipeline.

Additional resources for employers

To find out how Connectr can transform your candidate journey, chat to us.