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INSPIRE 2020: Day one event recap

November 17, 2020
iCIMS Staff
7 min read
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The first day of INSPIRE 2020 is in the books. We watched more than a dozen sessions, panels, talks, and acts from people all over the world.

There were a lot of big announcements as well. We officially launched the iCIMS Talent Cloud, introduced dynamic candidate profiles, and gave everyone an early look at how we’re helping employers grow and advance their existing talent.

There’s a lot to unpack from the day’s events, and we certainly won’t be able to cover it all here. Here’s a quick look at some of the highlights from Day One.



Opening Keynote with iCIMS CEO Steve Lucas: Talent Powers Transformation

The new flow of work. The pandemic changed how we live and do business; new business models, new priorities, new challenges.

It’s a shared experience that’s changed our present and future.

Technology is rapidly evolving to help. We’re supporting employers with dynamic candidate profiles, data-driven insights, and AI-driven talent acquisition—to name just a few.

Welcome EASYRECRUE. We’re excited to announce our latest acquisition. Paris, France-based EASYRECRUE offers tools for video interviewing, digital assistant/chatbots, talent assessments, and talent mobility.

Big changes are coming to candidate profiles. Candidates become new hires. New hires become employees. Employees advance. That’s why we’re creating dynamic candidate profiles to follow (and foster growth for) employees along their journey with your company.

Takeaways from customers:

  • Wellpath: Find new ways to foster human interaction. Candidates want to know what it’s like to work for us, so we find ways to show them using video and AI technology.
  • FedEx: “We’ll do whatever it takes to show people you can have an opportunity at FedEx and we’ll meet you right where you are.”
  • Uber: Treat furloughed and laid off employees with respect and empathy. Our recruiters have helped write employee LinkedIn profiles and resumes. They’ve also recruited for nonprofit organizations to help give back.

Bottom line: When the right teams and talent come together, amazing things happen.



Career Mobility in the Accelerated Future of Work

The burning question: As COVID-19 continues to dominate headlines, how can organizations chart a path to recovery and thriving? The key may be to unleash their workforce.

Big takeaway: People are resilient, adaptable, and have big potential. Employers that unlock that potential will thrive in the future of work.

We’re all veterans of the future of work. Erica Volini of Deloitte:

“Workers around the world… have responded to a very challenging work environment. One in which they’re working in radically new ways, having to change their ways of working almost at a moment’s notice. But they’ve been able to do so. And I think, in a way, they’ve exposed us to the real potential of the workforce.”

What role has COVID-19 played in shaping the future of work? It’s a mixed bag.

  • Pros (depending on your perspective) include more remote workers and wider job searches, less anchored by geography.
  • Cons include longer days with more meetings, worse mental health, and Zoom fatigue.

Corporate DNA needs purpose, potential, and perspective. These maximize the good and limit the unintended consequences of work in a COVID-19 world.

  • Purpose is aligning an individual to business direction and goals. The result? Belonging.
  • Potential is reinventing roles and responsibilities beyond an individual’s proven skills and experience. This leads to security, both for the business and the worker.
  • Perspective is staring down uncertainty and making bold decisions moving forward. We’re all in uncharted territory.



Changing the Game: Transforming Culture with a Values-based Playbook

The call: Feb. 1, 2018. Cynthia Marshall got a call from Mark Cuban. She wasn’t 100% sure who he was.

Now she’s the CEO of a professional basketball team. Her first task? Build a culture of diversity and inclusion at the Dallas Mavericks that will set the standard for the NBA.

What drives Marshall? Cynthia Marshall believes, “Education matters. Zip code doesn’t.” Her roadmap for life: Dream. Focus. Pray. Act.

The job that meant most. Marshall worked for AT&T for 13,088 days (that’s 36 years, not that anyone’s counting). She held many jobs in that time.

The most impactful? Her job as a recruiter.

“I learned how to conspire with people in a good way and contribute to the health of an organization.”

How do you reform an organization’s culture? Go “ALL IN.” Marshall says it’s about INtent, INclusion, INsight, and INspiration.

Values-based playbook. Marshall’s 100-day plan focused on values and how to put these values into action:

  • Make the new values clear
  • Own the mistakes
  • Ask for help
  • Create supportive communities
  • Invest in your people



Driving Change through Diversity Hiring: Best Practices in Diversity and Inclusion

Pause for reflection. In light of the events of 2020, Memorial Sloan Kettering reviewed its code of conduct with an eye towards improvement.

“We know that patients want to be treated by staff who reflect and understand them. Which meant we needed to increase representation at every level of the organization, including the board.”

Diversity recruitment practice built on three pillars:

  • Inclusive environment
  • Source from diverse talent
  • Opportunities for internal mobility

D&I aligns with business goals. It’s informed by employees and patients.

Lean on employee resource groups. This builds trust and ensures everyone’s views and experiences are being heard.

Reskill internal employees. When talent is in short supply, sometimes the best (or only) way forward is to develop existing talent.

Creative solutions. In particular, lab technologists are is such short supply that it’s nearly impossible to fill those roles.

MSK partnered with a local university to create Lab Scholars. Employees keep their full salary and benefits while going to school full time and are not required to work while in the program.

The result? MSK fills theirs need for lab techs from their own employees and has a 100% pass rate.

A full playbook. Remove educational requirements. Foster continual learning around bias and diversity initiatives. Build diverse talent pipelines.



Opportunity & Innovation During Times of Change

Everything is different. 2020 scrambled the playbook. iCIMS CEO Steve Lucas and Chief Operating Officer Diane Fanelli sat down with Moira Forbes, Executive VP of Forbes Media, for an interview. Here’s Forbes:

“Everyone is primed to understand that we need to innovate, we need the change. That’s a unique dynamic circumstance. Sometimes, when certain industries or companies have huge crises or challenges, there may not be that same willingness or understanding.”

What is your north star? In times of uncertainty, find and be clear on your vision, strategy, and communications.

Be unshakeable. “When there is no playbook… you have to find the places to anchor into.” Sometimes that means taking an unorthodox position you know is right for your business and sticking to it.

Overcommunicate. It’s okay to not have all the answers. You don’t always have to paint a rosy picture. People want trust. Find ongoing ways to communicate strategy.

“Leaders are the emotional barometer of a company.” Things are challenging right now. But a leader needs to be in charge. They set the tone with their words and actions—and that has a ripple effect across an organization.

Emotional intelligence. Organizations are a lot flatter because of the pandemic. In order to build followers, you need to be able to influence, motivate, and encourage people. Flexibility is important. What works for one may not work for all.

Bias for action. Things are changing fast. Be willing to move quickly and try new things.

Not everything will work. Sometimes most things won’t work. But some will.

Leaders today need to have the courage to lead from the front, be authentic, and galvanize others to follow.


Thank you to all who attended the first day of INSPIRE. We hope to see you all again tomorrow.

Remember, registrants will have access to our full library of session recordings once the event concludes. Have a great night and be sure to look for our recap of Day Two coming shortly.


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