The opening session at the ERE Enterprise Talent Acquisition: Recruiting that Scales conference was kicked off by Janice Bryant Howroyd – Founder and CEO ActOne Group, a global recruitment business. Breaking for a typical opening session, her keynote didn’t start with depressing statistics telling us about the war on talent, nor did it try to scare attendees into signing up for a must-have technology. Instead it was a captivating, authentic and inspiring session that set the tone for the rest of the conference.

If you haven’t heard of Janice Bryant Howroyd, she is the first African American woman to operate a company that generates more than $1 billion in annual revenue, according to Black Enterprise Magazine. Howroyd, who has been in the recruiting employment agency world for over 40 years, delivered a clear and relevant message to the engaged ERE audience. As one of 11 children in her family, Howroyd was one of the first integrated black students during her Junior year of High School. Her resilience and confidence touched the audience.

Janice Bryant Howard ERE Recruiting Conference
Janice speaking at the ERE Recruiting Conference

US Unemployment sits under 5% and we’re at a point where candidates are no longer lining up for roles at your company, stated Howroyd. The session pressed the audience to think about the steps it took for everyone to get to their current role.

The new reality is that you can’t assume what worked in the past will work today. People are more reliant on technology to do the heavy lifting, and in fact, are we losing the great people skills by relying on technology too much? Are we neglecting the real people in front of us? It definitely provided room for thought.

She stated that our standard process for hiring needs to change, but how do we begin to approach it differently?

For Howroyd, she summarized the action as moving your FEET.

Move your feet Janice Bryant Howroyd

Her final takeaway was to be sure you make the applicant the center of the universe. If you do that well, you can use your FEET and achieve notable success, while gaining access to the best industry talent.

Regardless of industry or location, attendees from Boston to Boise all appreciated the call for creative thinking and innovation. Both of which are critical for recruiting in 2018.

To hear the message from an innovator, a woman who overcame challenges of the time as a smart black woman, was a highlight that will not be forgotten. One that will inspire a new attitude towards recruiting in a digital age, without losing the all-important human touch.

The message around getting the best out of prospective employees and talent retention resonated throughout the rest of the conference, and it certainly left me feeling inspired.

Jody Robie
@jodyrobie1