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Connecting women and opportunity

Womanthology is a digital magazine and professional community powered by female energy and ingenuity.

Connecting women and opportunity

Womanthology is a digital magazine and professional community powered by female energy and ingenuity.

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Investing in diverse talent and building the foundations of a great talent acquisition experience – Ross Fullarton, Director of Talent Acquisition at UserZoom

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Ross Fullarton is director of talent acquisition at UserZoom, an experience insights management company (XIM). Ross studied theology at the University of Gloucestershire, before joining BT in a field sales role and then transitioning over to talent acquisition and recruitment roles. Ross joined UserZoom to develop the company’s talent acquisition focus and employer brand.

Ross Fullarton - UserZoom
Ross Fullarton

“Diversity and inclusion are a committed focus for us, not just in talent acquisition or the people team, but right across the business. When you speak with our founders, or other leaders across UserZoom, diversity is right up there as a priority. We are committed to this journey and to be a better company for it.”

Finding my niche in talent acquisition

I went through school and finished A-levels and after a gap year I jumped over to uni to study theology, of all things, for three years, as it was an area of interest. When I graduated, I had a brief stint with BT in a field sales role as part of a graduate scheme with them. I then got involved in recruitment with an agency in Leeds and was there for a good two years or so, working with UK-based companies, international companies, all with a tech focus.

When that business then got bought, I took the opportunity to leave and I set up my own agency, so I was self-employed for three and a half years or so. You can make it what you want when you’re doing it yourself – you get the highs, but you also get the lows. After three years my options were to find a team and start hiring for myself, or to go and find opportunities elsewhere. That’s when I started looking at in-house talent acquisition teams.

I joined a HealthTech business in Leeds and worked with them for the best part of four years and built up my career there. Fast forward to nearly two months ago when I joined UserZoom, where I am now.

A day in my life at UserZoom

At the moment I’m only two months in. Every day has been different so far, and that shows no sign of stopping. There’s always something new and there’s always somebody new to meet.

UserZoom is investing in an internal talent acquisition team to enable us to take accountability for how we hire into the company. Owning our attraction strategy will also allow us to uncover a variety of skill sets and backgrounds which will inevitably strengthen how we develop, build and market a product that meets all our customer’s requirements.

I’m looking at how, as a business, we can attract and assess the best people to join us for this journey that we’re on.

As part of UserZoom’s people team, we are committed to delivering upon our people-first value by focusing on and enhancing our candidates’ experience. We’re looking at how we market ourselves as an employer; how we reach out and engage with diverse talent pools; how we provide everyone with a better experience, whether that’s our candidates or our hiring managers.

Impacts of COVID

Over the last year or so, with face-to-face contact being so restricted, both our existing and new customers have understood the necessity of doing research remotely.

UserZoom’s platform and professional services have helped our customers understand their users in more detail, providing them with key insights into their users and the digital experiences they are demanding. We enable our customers to do all of that remotely and we’ve been doing that for years.

It’s been interesting to watch what’s happened with recruitment in general over the last year. At the start of the pandemic, understandably there was, perhaps, a panic across businesses and recruitment slowed down.

Now we appear to be coming out the other side of COVID, we can start to look forward to a new direction and with that there will be new dynamics to explore: How do we, as talent acquisition teams, tackle these new challenges as the market speeds up again? How do we position UserZoom as an employer-of-choice that stands out and shares our authentic story as a company?

Most importantly, this last year has taught us that what matters most is how we step up and support one another, regardless of background.

Investing in diverse talent

People talk about diversity so much nowadays, but I don’t think we take a step back to really understand why it’s important often enough. Ultimately, diversity brings new perspectives, new ways of looking at things and breaks down barriers to entry in the workplace.

When we bring people together from different backgrounds, each person will bring their own way of looking at an opportunity and will inevitably approach challenges with different perspectives. As a company, this ultimately enables us to collectively achieve more. Diversity of thought and action challenges us to think about new ways of doing things as well, which is vital. That leads to all sorts of improvements.

Broadening the talent pool

We need to think differently about how we’re setting up our jobs and the opportunities we’re providing to people, and in the way we’re marketing those. Moving away from job descriptions, and towards role profiles that focus more on a person’s core behaviours, skills and how they can enhance a company’s strategy, as opposed to defined and limiting ‘must haves’ and ‘essential to have’ criteria that unfortunately is based upon predetermined systemic biases and auto-excludes diverse talent.

We’re having these challenging yet important conversations internally at UserZoom and putting these thoughts and ideas into action. We’re on a journey and know we still have a lot of ground to cover. With our company value of ‘Kaizen’ at the heart of everything we do at UserZoom, we will continue to make improvements step by step.

An inclusive approach to diversity and inclusion

UserZoom screenshotDiversity and inclusion are a committed focus for us, not just in talent acquisition or the people team, but right across the business. When you speak with our founders, or other leaders across UserZoom, diversity is right up there as a priority. We are committed to this journey and to be a better company for it.

As a company, we’re on a really exciting journey of growth and expansion. As with any journey, it inevitably comes with many learning curves, ways to adapt and ways to do things differently as a business.

When we look at diversity, we don’t have this all sorted by any means, but we’re on that journey and committed to make improvements. There’s a real desire across the organisation to get there, and for many different people to be involved in doing that.

It doesn’t rest solely on the shoulders of UserZoom’s people team or talent acquisition either. Just yesterday I got a Slack message from one of our hiring managers, asking how we can develop and evolve our hiring process to take into account different people’s values, perspectives and backgrounds. Everybody’s on board with this journey.

In October last year, the business set up a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, made up of people from across the organisation. In fact, there was so much interest that we set up several subcommittees, so there’s a hiring sub-committee that I’m part of, as well as the overarching group.

This is enabling different people to get involved in this discussion as well as sharing their thoughts and ideas. So, it’s not just a ‘HR thing’ that’s pushed onto the business. The approach is organic from all teams and managers. There’s still a lot more we can do, but there’s real momentum behind doing it.

Being a male ally

The term ‘male ally’ is interesting. I don’t see myself as a spectator on the sidelines of the diversity discussion. I’d hope that very few people see themselves like that. Ultimately, we have a collective interest in improving, because that opens up opportunities for all of us, and for people within the organisation.

The more balanced and diverse we can become throughout UserZoom, the ripple effect is in the opportunities that come through that diversity of thought and everything else that we’ve been speaking about.

I’m conscious that I am in a fortuitous position as I have previously worked with, and currently work with, incredibly talented people from diverse backgrounds. I’ve seen first-hand how teams, groups and organisations can benefit from that inclusion. I’m also in a role where I can proactively make direct improvements, in terms of our recruitment focus.

I am committed to doing what I can to support my colleagues across the business within my capacity as director, talent acquisition. Speaking up. Being visible. Challenging the status quo.

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