Leo Labra shares how he and his team at Southern California Edison are empowering employees across the company to help find and attract talent

Leo Labra, Senior Recruitment Marketing Specialist at Southern California Edison, and his team recently began focusing on an initiative — called All Hands Recruiting — to activate employees across the organization to help find and attract talent and amplify SCE’s employer brand.

“Our mission as a company is to provide clean energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to help and create a better tomorrow,” Leo said. “And we’re tapping into our employees to help us accomplish that vision by helping us attract talented individuals like them.”

Leo said one of the key goals of the initiative has been to educate SCE’s employee base — especially hiring managers — about the state of the talent market.

We need to be creative and proactive in our approach with candidates. We’re forecasting and identifying roles that we’ll need to fill ahead of time. Leo Labra
According to Leo, because of how many long-tenured employees they have across the company, many of them haven’t searched for a job in a while. “As a result, they don’t understand the climate, our competitors, or how the unemployment rate is impacting how competitive the job market is,” Leo said. “Major companies are trying to attract the same talent we’re trying to attract.”

He emphasized the importance of building a foundation of understanding about the major paradigm shifts throughout the recruiting world.

For example, Leo explained, there’s been a shift from when only recruiting would go to careers fairs and talk to candidates — to now, where other types of employees go to conferences to speak on behalf of the company. And rather than their main corporate communications team putting out the bulk of their messaging across their digital channels, employees are the ones sharing the messaging and expanding their reach.

“It’s no longer an employer market,” he said. “We need to be creative and proactive in our approach with candidates. We’re forecasting and identifying roles that we’ll need to fill ahead of time.”

Leo and his team first reached out to pivotal groups across the company to ensure they understood their talent strategy and goals.

He said they first focused on their pivotal groups, which are the areas that are important to help move their strategy forward — and include crucial, hard-to-fill roles.

They reached out to six or seven of those groups directly to present their overall talent strategy, which is composed of five pillars: empowering employees to attract talent, targeted talent attraction, digitization, predictive assessments, and a supplemental workforce program.

“We presented that to our pivotal groups, and then we invited them to a workshop to walk them through how they could help us accomplish this and we’d provide them with the tools to be successful in amplifying our brand,” he said.

Then Leo’s team invited their HR business partners and stakeholders as well as other hiring managers and recruiters to the first workshop.

“This workshop was kicked off by our senior VP,” he said. “She talked about the context of why we need to do this and how competitive the market is.” They also used the workshop to hone in on what All Hands Recruiting means, why it’s important, and how to activate other employees to become talent scouts for the company.

We’re highlighting the importance for employees to tap into their professional networks as well as help us in amplifying our employer brand. Leo Labra

During the workshop, Leo and his team made sure to tie their employer brand messaging back to the company’s overall mission of providing clean energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and that finding the right talent would help them accomplish those goals.

Now they’ve expanded the workshop to different business groups to help them understand the initiative and why it’s important. “From that original four-hour workshop, we condensed it into an hour,” Leo said. “It was more of just the essentials and a walk-through of our strategy.”

To amplify their employer brand message outside the workshops, Leo’s team leverages social media and other digital resources.

They provide employees with content stories to share with their networks on social media. “We’re highlighting the importance for employees to tap into their professional networks as well as help us in amplifying our employer brand,” Leo said.

The team also developed a campaign to put out on digital monitors across all of SCE’s offices. “We put together personas of ideal candidates and at the very end we included the call to action of ‘Do you know someone like this? Refer them to our talent network,’” he said. “It’s also up on the homepage of our internal portal.”

And within that talent network, Leo’s team also makes sure to provide high-quality content to help drive and activate their EVP. “It revolves around our clean energy vision and what we do for the community,” he said. “We need innovative thinkers and problem solvers to help us become a new generation energy company. We’re trying to attract talent that connect to our EVP and values.”

Throughout the process, Leo said he’s begun to realize just how many employees want to get involved and help recruit talent.

We need innovative thinkers and problem solvers to help us become a new generation energy company. We’re trying to attract talent that connect to our EVP and values. Leo Labra
“Employees want to do this. They want to help us,” he said. “They just don’t know how. Which is part of the reason why we developed the workshop and are developing toolkits. The main reaction we’ve gotten is, ‘This is amazing. Tell us how we can sign up and help.’”

He explained this process is an opportunity for employees to help shape their own teams. “If they follow this recipe we’re giving to them,” Leo said. “They’ll have the chance to do that.”

According to Leo, the team’s next steps are to expand their reach, further education, and become more proactive with their existing talent network.

They’re working on developing a toolkit for every SCE employee to have access to. “If they’re going to a conference or networking event, any of our employees will be able to go onto our portal page and download a template for a presentation or some key talking points,” he said. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for employees to spread their employer brand message, and Leo said, they already have executive support for this next step.

They now have hundreds of employees actively spreading their message on social media, so the team wants to continue to educate them. “We’re continuing to do road shows and workshops to help them get more comfortable with building their brand on social media,” he said.

The more we can get in front of hiring managers, teams, and employees, the more visibility we can get for what this is about and how they can help. Leo Labra

The third piece, Leo said, is to find ways to be more proactive within their talent network. “We have about 100,000 people that we nurture with stories and content to amplify our brand,” he said. “The next part will be for our hiring managers to have their own mini talent pipelines or communities through the talent network.”

He emphasized the importance of understanding a project like this needs to be an ongoing initiative.

“Organizational change management is something that's going to always be at the forefront of the way we shift our culture and thinking about recruiting,” Leo said.

He also said there’s no such thing as talking about it too much or repeating the message too often. “The more we can get in front of hiring managers, teams, and employees, the more visibility we can get for what this is about and how they can help,” he said.

Leo Labra has been a member of the Talent Marketing Board since 2019. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.