CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
E.ON plugs into mobile recruitment communications to improve apprenticeship diversity
Article Type: e-HR From: Strategic HR Review, Volume 8, Issue 5
How technology is changing the way HR works
Alan DaviesAlan Davies is based at E.ON.
E.ON, one of the UK’s leading integrated power and gas companies, is constantly pioneering new ways of attracting and recruiting apprentices to deliver the wide range of skills required to keep the country’s lights on and homes warm. The organization employs 17,000 people in the UK and over 93,000 worldwide. There is a high demand for places on the apprenticeship scheme.
E.ON apprenticeships offer training for jobs such as electrical and mechanical fitters, overhead linespeople and cable jointers. Its highly popular schemes have to date attracted mostly male applicants and E.ON was keen to promote its training and development opportunities to groups that have been historically under-represented on its apprenticeship schemes.
The challenge in the first instance was to raise the awareness of the schemes among a non-traditional audience. To do this, E.ON turned to specialist recruitment communications expert, TMP Worldwide. TMP, which specializes in working through its clients’ brands to find and hire people, devised an innovative and engaging mobile phone recruitment campaign that could be targeted at very specific demographic groups.
As well as reaching out to a more diverse group, E.ON wanted to promote its apprenticeships within certain geographic locations so young people living close to its “Learning Centres,” where training and development of apprentices takes place, were aware of the career opportunities on offer from E.ON within their local community.
1 Engaging the audience
To meet this specific need, TMP approached mobile phone network Blyk. Blyk’s network offers free texts and minutes to 16-24 year olds and, in exchange, users receive appropriate advertising, based on collected lifestyle information. In this way TMP could pinpoint the exact demographic groups that E.ON wanted to reach using a mobile channel that would also appeal to a younger age group at the right stage in life to consider apprenticeships.
The mobile phone campaign was run in December 2008 ahead of the January 2009 application process and kicked off with a targeted SMS text message sent to 18,000 young people, based in 22 key locations across the UK. A “teaser” message tailored to engage the audience was purposefully crafted to be cryptic, without any reference to E.ON. The content of the message and the delivery via new technology were used to intrigue and engage recipients and encourage them to find out more.
E.ON received an impressive 22 percent conversion rate to the teaser message with 4,028 positive requests for more information. Those who answered “Yes” received an animated picture-based message encouraging them to join an E.ON apprenticeship scheme. This was a branded message enabling E.ON to communicate its values and culture and provide more information about its apprenticeship schemes.
With additional details at their finger tips, 1,642 interested recipients of the second mobile message asked for further information, which prompted the delivery of an HTML email with more details about the schemes being run and directing people to visit E.ON’s apprentice website.
2 Cost-effective communications
The campaign used mobile technology to target under-represented groups. Using mobile marketing and being aware of new channels such as Blyk allowed E.ON to segment its audience into very specific categories without incurring high costs. The digital nature of the campaign also meant transparency in terms of spend as E.ON could clearly measure response rates and invest more in the design and content of messages delivered as the campaign unfolded and recipients expressed greater interest in the apprenticeship program.
While the apprenticeship recruitment process was still underway at the time of writing, and successful candidates yet to be announced, E.ON achieved its key goal of raising the awareness of its apprenticeships among a more diverse demographic. This is step one of a journey that E.ON will be pursuing further and which has been made possible through the use of new technology that allows for a specific age range, within a certain location and among under-represented groups, to be educated about the exciting apprenticeship opportunities that are on offer at the company.
About the author
Alan Davies is employer brand and attraction specialist at E.ON. With a degree in marketing, he has worked for E.ON for nearly eight years in the fields of marketing and branding. More recently, he has worked on developing its employee value proposition and attraction strategies, on direct sourcing and on improving E.ON’s candidate experience. Alan Davies can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org