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During August 2019, a large multilateral open a call for senior women leaders. This year two job families were in the focus: Rule of Law and Political Affairs.
For this call we used disruptive sourcing methods to increase the number of women leaders from under represented countries. As many organisations are facing challenges to reach senior Japanese women, we will in this article describe how we actively worked to attract women leaders from Japan. We will take you step-by-step through our journey, how we planned, prepared, reported and executed. A journey that resulted in an 500 % increase of qualified Japanese women applicants .
STEP 1 - Talent persona and Communications Plan
Our first step to reach and attract Japanese leaders was to build a talent persona and a communications plan. The purpose of a talent persona is to make the outreach as targeted as possible. When working for clients, time is always a constraint. It is often first when the organisation realises that they don’t manage to get applicants at their own, that they turn to an external vendor, but in most cases the application deadline is just amended slightly.
The purpose of our persona was to identify:
WHO is the Japanese leader we are looking for,
WHERE we can find her,
HOW we can reach her and
WHAT to communicate to convince her to take action and apply.
Our persona builder consisted of a number of questions, some of the answers we could find in the job description, such as education level, experience, and languages. But to know who we were looking for, we also needed to understand where she works today and what other organisations/ entities operate in a similar context.
Based on the two roles and based on the context of this multilateral we identified a few “hotter” organisations. To reach women leaders we targeted larger NGO’s, IOs, larger UN organisations with a law profile. We targeted larger "bilaterals", JICA, USAID, DFID, CIDA, SIDA etc.
As UNDP lost its Resident Coordinator mandate earlier in 2019, we also identified field-based Japanese UNDP leaders as a potential target audience. As UNDP over many years have recruited for the LOTFA we also targeted LOTFA leaders.
STEP 2 - Content development - Building the messaging
The talent persona helped us to identify WHO we are looking for, WHERE can we find her, HOW we can reach her and WHAT to communicate.
We learned that our target persona is most likely to not actively be looking for jobs, hence we must reach out to her with clear message that catches her attention and creates curiosity.
We also needed to quickly catch her attention and to help her quickly understand that this is a role that fits her profile and career aspirations. We therefore created a dedicated website with different types of articles.
We produced articles showing other women that currently serves in this type of roles, we produced articles describing the salary and compensation package of this multilateral, we developed articles describing the call and how it has contributed to make their operations more gender equal.
STEP 3 - Outreach execution
When the talent persona and messaging was developed, we immediately started the outreach. To really convince the Japanese women to apply, we added a personal component. We searched for senior women leaders and built a longlist of about 150 UN, JBIC, JICA, Development Bank and IO leaders and then we send personal e-mails to each and every individual.
In combination with the targeted outreach we also started to use targeted social media promotion. Our experience says that to get the best effect of social promotion, you need at least 2 weeks. In the Impactpool platform you can search and source talents based on nationality, but in LinkedIn and other social networks that is not possible.
So we needed to think out of the box. To reach Japanese diasporas we focused at targeting women leaders living abroad who was following/liking Japanese media providers, newspaper and TV-channels. Our assumption was that if you live abroad and at the same time likes/follows Japanese radio channels in Facebook/LinkedIn, it is likely that you are Japanese.
To get the desired results, all outreach efforts was carefully planned and executed. So the first things we did was to:
identified the most effective social platform for our target audience.
identify smart channels/groups that we could use as carriers of our message.
When choosing social platform(s) we looked at several dimensions including but not limited to age, geography and interests. To contextualise, Twitter is effective when targeting Communications experts, as many journalists use Twitter as their main channel. However there are much better social platforms when targeting women and or young professionals.
If you need help to identify the best social platform at the lowest cost for your outreach, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
STEP 4 - Reporting
The final project stage was the reporting. To provide clear reporting is often lacking when using sourcing firms. Some are better than others, but often the KPIs that interested us, gender and geography is left outside.
What makes our reporting unique is that we are coming from the sector, we know what data points we need. We are proud of the reporting we provide and as part of this article we are happy to share the report we sent to the multilateral after the completed assignment.