Changing Trends: The importance of digital in the talent process.

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An interview conducted with Will Lloyd Chief Executive Officer at Global Sports at Sport Accord 2017.

How do you reflect on the previous year at your organisation?

2016 was one of our most positive years of development, even given some of the political uncertainties we all faced, which saw us building on the strong growth of the previous 2 years fueled by further growth of and expansion into the French and Chinese markets particularly, but also a general recognition in the market of the increasing importance of digital in the talent attraction and acquisition process.

What are your current projects and areas of focus, and what will your areas of focus be over the coming year?

Our focus since we launched the business 6 years ago has been and continues to be to help support the growing professionalism of the international sports industry by attracting the best quality and diversity through a process of innovating, educating and inspiring talent.

Through constant innovation Global Sports has become the only specialist digital media and talent platform servicing the international sports industry’s increasing needs to attract this quality of talent to ensure the high levels of growth achieved can be sustained.

Operating across the English, French, German and Chinese speaking markets around the world we offer our 1,000+ clients an opportunity to reach upwards of 1.2 million industry professionals whilst at the same time we look to educate and inspire our candidate audience who are looking to start or build their careers in the industry by being THE destination site for career opportunities, intelligence and industry insights.

What sort of trends are you seeing in the sports recruitment sector?

The most noticeable trend is very much centred around the move to digital and away from the traditional recruitment agency model – a key reason for which is the recognition by sports organisations of the importance of building a strong digital employer brand to ensure they can attract the quality and diversity of the talent they need to sustain their growth in an increasingly competitive marketplace which cannot be achieved through the traditional recruitment model.

What suggestions would you offer to an International Federation that is looking to recruit an executive?

Understand exactly the profile of individual you are looking for (skills, experience AND attitude) and what it is that is going to attract that type of individual to your federation.

Ensure that you are investing in your employer brand presence in the wider market as well as in the specific market from which you expect your target executive to be working (it’s not enough just to have a high profile B2C brand – your target audience want to understand why they should work at your federation!)

Specialist digital platforms are also one of the most effective way to communicate to and attract professional talent with transferable function skills from other industries into the sports business.

Don’t waste your money on traditional recruitment process and agencies – use a digital specialist that has the reach and quality of audience that can provide you with a cost effective, transparent, rapid and measurable results-focussed service.

How is the talent acquisition process in sport changing?

The talent acquisition process has seen a fundamental shift away from the traditional recruitment model to the use of highly transparent, measurable and cost effective specialist digital channels.

This has resulted in those sports organisations who have invested in a professional HR function taking back control of the talent attraction and acquisition process resulting in a better return on investment and a greater engagement between an organisation and the talent they are looking to attract. I see this process becoming ever more prevalent as senior management start investing in what is their most valuable asset – people.

Specialist digital platforms are also one of the most effective way to communicate to and attract professional talent with transferable function skills from other industries into the sports business. The growth in industry professionals from outside of the industry is critical to increasing the professionalism and growth of the industry.

What role is digital playing in the sports recruitment process?

Digital provides sports organisations around the world with the perfect channel to engage with different generations of the workforce in different ways – but everything starts with having a clear digital talent attraction strategy at the centre of which is the employer brand and value proposition where an organisation is using digital in not only sharing its mission and its aims, but also its values, culture and even what it is like to work at that organisation.

My final point is that many sports organisations believe that because they have a strong consumer brand everybody knows them! The brand may indeed be well known but how well are the mission, objectives, values and cultures known by the target candidate audience – the answer in most cases is often not at all, hence the need to develop a strong employer brand.

Developing a strong and effective employment brand is a very different proposition and requires time, focus, education and engagement at all levels of the business.


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