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Gold Stevie Award Winner 2019, Click to Enter The 2020 Stevie Awards for Great Employers

Company: Advisor Group, Phoenix, AZ USA:

Nomination Category: Recruiting or Talent Acquisition Team of the Year


Nomination Title: Advisor Group Talent Acquisition: Delivering Talent for Business Growth

Team Essay

Advisor Group is one of the largest networks in the U.S. of independent financial advisors, overseeing more than $268 billion in client assets. The company’s 1,000+ employees, stationed at offices in 5 states, serve more than 7,000 customers in a fast-paced, dynamic industry. The past 18 months have been a time of growth and vitality: the business added 2,000 customers (+35%), launched multiple new services, integrated 3 major acquisitions, and addressed significant new regulatory requirements.

The efforts of the HR team were key in 2018 to the culture change and employee engagement required to support the needs of the business, as Advisor Group was entering its second year as a stand-alone company with no brand recognition for talent attraction. Hiring demands were accelerated due to organic business growth and three acquisitions within 9 months.

The small but mighty Talent Acquisition (TA) Team of three, in partnership with the entire HR function, rose to meet the challenge and contributed to phenomenal business outcomes:


4X business value

35% growth in customers

$78B increase in assets under administration

40% of employees new since Jan 2018

19th place to 3rd as reported by a leading consumer research firm


The team prioritized experiences for candidates and hiring leaders for timely and outstanding talent delivery. Focus areas for success included: strategic process management, system optimization and talent branding.


Strategic Process Management

Committed to best in class process and high value business contributions, the team avoided over-engineering processes to create administrative burden. Customized recruitment processes were designed to fit business needs “just in time.” The recruiters gained credibility with hiring leaders by delivering outstanding customer service and talent. Candidate and hiring leader experience surveys topped 9.0 on a 10-point scale indicating partnership and best in class delivery.

Multiple vendors and sourcing models were deployed for candidate generation so recruiters could focus on highest value contribution work: screening, experience and process management. Recruiters exercised ownership with fewer than 10% of roles filled by agencies resulting in $500K+ in savings.


System Optimization

To manage volumes, the team leveraged its Workday system tools and all applicable available automation, without sacrificing the experience for the candidate or the hiring leader. Rules-based messaging and customized branded content in combination with Workday inbox tasks were used to keep the recruitment process advancing forward. Pre-boarding and onboarding tasks which touched multiple parts of the enterprise were automated on critical paths. Reporting was used to diagnose bottlenecks, audit processes and communicate status to the business.


Talent Branding

Advisor Group had no brand awareness in the marketplace for candidates, so the talent branding efforts were critical. The “be a part of the team” campaign was designed and launched on an external career site, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, interview training, onboarding and employee referral campaigns.

The career site user interface was designed for quick search, succinct content, minimum clicks. The mobile version delivered over 60% candidate applications. Application volume increased from 4,000 to over 16,000 in Workday.

Glassdoor reflected that messaging was resonating with candidates and employees. The company rating has moved from 2.6 to a high of 4.4, averaging 4.0! The CEO rating moved from 67% to reach 95% -the highest among any of our competitors. Offer acceptance topped 96%. And in just one year, growth exceeded 50% for followers, connections and shares on LinkedIn --with Advisor Group’s talent reach index moving from last to first among direct industry competitors.

The team was committed to meeting challenging recruiting goals in support of business expansion with lean resources. The team folded in stakeholders, vendors, internal partners, peers and leadership into the recruiting circle with strong and supportive relationships which continue to drive Advisor Group in its talent destination pursuit.


Team Summary


1) Business Growth: 4X business value, 35% growth in advisors, 35% headcount growth, 20% internals placed into open requisitions, 40% of current company new, 3 acquisitions

2) Cycle Time: 16% reduction

3) Less than 10% of roles filled by third party (>$500K annual savings)

4) Brand Creation & Career Site generating 12,000+ applicants in 14 months; offer acceptance rates >96%

5) LinkedIn followers, views, likes, shares increased 50%

6) Glassdoor Ratings: 2.6 to 4.4 High, averaging 4.0; CEO: 67% to 99% High, averaging 95%; 8X increase in followers; referrals: 18% to high of 90%, Averaging 80%

7) Employee Referrals: 15% of hires (2018), 20% (2019)

8) Diversity: Parity Pledge and 34% diversity of new hires

9) Selection Training & Tools: developed and delivered in person to over 70% of leaders with 4.7/5.0 score

10) Experience Surveys: candidates (9.5/10.0, 86% NPS); hiring leaders (9.01/10, 70% NPS)