The Great Resignation (yep, it’s still happening) has led employers everywhere to reevaluate how they recruit talent. Among them is one of the world’s leading retailers, Stockholm-based H&M, which flipped the careers website model on its head by shifting from a recruiter-oriented platform to one centered squarely on job candidates and all they bring to the table.
The revamped, mobile-first site, developed in partnership with Toronto-based design and experience agency Jam3, makes the H&M story accessible to prospective employees everywhere, allowing candidates to apply for whatever role they’re interested in regardless of location or language. H&M operates 4,200 stores in more than 76 countries, and its careers site is available in 36 languages. At the time of writing, the company claimed it had more than 3,000 open positions.
H&M’s core pillars — diversity and sustainability — are promoted on the company’s site which stresses the key roles and individuality of everyone in its workforce. The site also illustrates the multiple career paths one can take at H&M through a series of short, documentary-style videos and testimonials that showcase employees’ lives inside and outside of the workplace.
The platform is also home to an interactive tool that showcases the company’s diversity. Content includes videos, GIFs and fun facts about the retailer. The company breaks down categories of employees across personality types, including as: Change Maker, Challenge Seeker, Trailblazer, Motivator and Balance Seeker.
Tim Wellenberg, associate strategy director at Jam3, which also does work with brands like Adidas and Postmates, noted that with trends like the Great Resignation and hybrid working, the employer/employee power dynamic has shifted, and recruiting and retaining talent has become more challenging — meaning the need for employers to stand out has become more urgent.
The agency kickstarted the process (in the middle of the pandemic, no less) with a trove of research to help it gain a deeper understanding of how potential candidates were interacting with the website, and what information they were expecting and where, he explained. “What we found really helped us define our personas, and really understand how to best attract, engage and convert those different personas,” he said.
Each user journey was mapped out and used as a basis for its creative team to design components of the site. “It was important to interlace our design with the H&M story in a way that felt fun, style-lead and progressive,” according to Wellenberg.
It also became clear that, as a global company, H&M needed a back-end design that was ergonomic and flexible across the entire business, something that worked across every department, country, language and culture.
Wellenberg stressed that to be competitive in this environment, companies must first clearly define who they are as an employer. “Standing out means communicating the value to your employees at every single brand touchpoint, and consistency is key,” he offered. In the case of H&M, “we took the existing employee branding and translated that into a new tone of voice and visual language to bring everything together.”
Also essential is staking a presence wherever talent happens to live their digital lives. Jam3’s research on global job search channels revealed, for example, that LinkedIn and Indeed are popular portals for job seekers in the U.S. and Europe, while Naukri is preferred in India and Japan uses Mynavi. “For a global company like H&M, it meant they could find the right talent in the right place,” added Wellenberg.
Ann-Charlotte Berglind, head of HR for H&M, noted that when prospects are seeking a job in these times, among their priorities are “finding purpose and self-actualization,” and landing on an employer where they’ll experience real career opportunity, something that also informed the new site.
“The key to building a great company is combining different, bold people,” she said.
Paul Lewis, chief customer officer of the job search engine Adzuna, said H&M’s site “really stands out from the pack by putting the business’ values front and center,” adding that environmental, social and governance (ESG) are increasingly important to those seeking employment opportunities.
Lewis stressed that employers get a leg up in their recruitment efforts by emphasizing perks and benefits, flex work arrangements and essentially by “putting the human back in the hiring process.”
Richard Cho, chief recruitment officer at talent acquisition platform Gem, suggested that when it comes to attracting prospects in this sizzling employment market, first impressions are vital.
Companies should embrace a hiring process that makes candidates “feel seen, heard, remembered and taken care of at every stage — this starts with the very first outreach,” he said, adding that this is “a singular moment to bring in top talent that directly aligns to the mission and culture of your company — now is the time to double down on your employer branding efforts.”