106 Communications

6th Sense

The 49th AGR Conference: the highlights

June 2017 | Apprenticeships, Diversity, Employer Brand, Student engagement

The 49th AGR Student and Recruitment conference.  6-8th June 2017.  A windy Brighton.  A maze of a hotel (Metropole) for the conference.  While the Grand (venue for Gala Dinner) didn’t look so grand from the outside, as it gets a bit of a face-lift!

All in all, it promised a fun-packed agenda covering everything from the apprenticeship levy, engaging the iGeneration, diversity from many angles as well as unbiased assessment processes.

Of course, there was also the 106 session, in partnership with Laing O’Rourke, on Social Mobility.

Here are my takeaways.

Plenary speaker – Baroness Floella Benjamin

I arrived fresh off the train Tuesday morning (after quite an early start) to be rewarded by feeling loved, hugged and inspired by the wonderful lady that is Baroness Floella Benjamin of Beckenham, Kent – as she kicked the day off. Her speech was full of passion, fabulous personal anecdotes as well as an appeal to all of us to tell the children of today that ‘there is a whole world out there for everyone’.

Key takeaway: Remember the 3 C’s – CONSIDERATION, CONTENTMENT and CONFIDENCE – and you won’t go far wrong.

Gradconsult/FDM Group – changing world of university partnerships

A bit of a different focus – talking about the relationships between employers and universities.  It’s one thing to build a better relationship with a target university and FDM showed the work they had done with Birmingham, Greenwich and Newcastle; but can you also get the universities to help with selection?

Key takeaway: Think about the relationship you want with a university and how you can make it easier for students.

Capp/EY – transforming the recruitment process

Can your business predict whether someone with a 2:1 or 2:2 will perform better at your organisation?  EY and Capp have come up with a new assessment experience to test strengths, which means that there’s less emphasis on academic achievement and enables EY to hire people from a wider demographic.

Key takeaway: Think about opening up your recruitment process and make it more authentic to the actual experience at your company.

Plenary speaker – Darius Norrell

Just after lunch this stretched my mind (and I suspect many others) and challenged our understanding with the neuroscience nuances of our brains and how we can trick/manage them.

Key takeaway: Off-set threat experienced in your brain by using one of these – Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness.  If you need to know more, please ask Darius to explain. Not sure I can!

ACCA/Milkround – tapping into the influence of school leaver role models

According to Milkround, school leaver engagement is focused on two key areas of influence – family (48%) and teachers (27%).  ACCA and Milkround put together an After-School Careers Fair that could talk to students, family and teachers, as well as running a Q&A session on social media.

Key takeaway: Get closer to influencers, including encouraging more employees to go into schools and talk to students.

Deloitte – a different diversity

Wise words and one of the most engaging presentations at how Francesca Campalani and her team have tackled diversity and created a culture of respect in everything they do.

Key takeaway: The more you put culture and identity at the core of everything you do, a diverse workflow will naturally follow (it’s not the other way around) + if you want to jazz up a presentation, add a picture of a weird cat.

Plenary speaker: Simon Fanshawe OBE

A challenging speaker who brought to life the visual judgements we naturally make, through stories about blind musical auditions as well as through a great law firm case study where 14% of their partners were called David vs 11% were women.

Key takeaway: Use social sensitivity, equal contribution and gender diversity to create the best result. And remember, don’t hire the best person for the job!

Accenture/Trendence – evidence-based targeting techniques

An informative presentation by Joan, Annie and David on the importance of data and research to refine university targeting as well as help fine-tune your attraction campaign.

Key takeaway: Don’t do what you have always done, challenge yourself and others.

Laing O’Rourke/106 – social mobility

Obviously the best session of the conference (!).  A great turn-out for the session, which focused on the work you need to do to engage people from low-income families and move away from some of the common practices of recruitment.

Key takeaway: Do the research to really get to know your audience.

Plenary speaker: Dr Daniel Susskind

Such an interesting way to close the conference and loved hearing how his father was seen as a radical by the Law Society in 1996 when he predicted that lawyers would be using email as a way of communication in the future.

Key takeaway: Where technology is concerned there is no finishing line…


Hosted by Hal Cruttenden who kept the awards part at a pace and for some reason had a real aversion to the butternut squash starter.  I rather enjoyed it.

Key takeaway: Pick your table wisely, you may be sitting next to much younger people than you who love a jager bomb between courses 😉

Author: Karen Davies

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