Questrade Financial Group, through its companies Questrade, Inc., Questrade Wealth Management Inc., Community Trust Company, ThinkInsure, and Zolo, provides securities and foreign currency investment, professionally managed investment portfolios, mortgages, insurance, real estate services, and more. They use cutting-edge technologies to develop innovative products that allow customers to become much more financially successful and secure.

In an interview with Manage HR Canada, Kiran Singh, Director of Talent Acquisition at Questrade Financial Group (QFG), sheds light on the approaches and tools that can aid in hiring and retaining talent in an organization.

Could you brief us on your current roles and responsibilities at Questrade Financial Group?

I joined Questrade Financial Group in 2019 with the purpose of establishing and developing the talent acquisition function. Our Chief People Officer recognized the importance of hiring the right talent to drive the success of QFG's strategic direction and brought me on board to launch and initiate a focused approach to talent acquisition.

I have had the privilege of laying the foundation for talent acquisition within the organization. This involved essential components such as developing the Talent Acquisition Strategy and framework for the company to provide not only immediate support to the business but also look at long-term sustainability, advocating and assisting with employer branding initiatives to bring more awareness and visibility to QFG in the market as a Top Employer of Choice and developing policies and processes to ensure consistency across the Enterprise with our hiring practices.

“The candidate-to-employee journey is important, along with the need to provide ongoing learning and development opportunities to retain talent.”

To begin this transformative process, my first task was to build a dedicated team to support the company's hiring needs. This undertaking was vital given our rapid growth during this period.

What are some of the major challenges and trends you see in the space?

A challenge organizations face globally is the difficulty of finding the required skills at the required time. In addition, with the market shifting and now more so than ever, it being a job seekers market vs. an employer’s market, there must be a focus on the candidate experience. The candidate profile is multidimensional; not only are they job seekers, but they could be prospective or current customers or brand ambassadors. A positive candidate/customer experience (CX2) is required. Addressing these challenges involves exploring and implementing strategies to better attract and engage qualified talent in the market.

We are actively seeking ways to enhance our talent acquisition efforts, including but not limited to considering more flexible qualification requirements, using real-time data to keep up with market trends, identifying solutions not only for the short term but for long-term sustainability and focusing on Internal Talent Mobility (ITM) to provide learning and development opportunities to our employees to grow within our organization.

Developing a seamless candidate-to-employee journey is important, as is the need to provide ongoing learning and development opportunities to retain talent. To strengthen our position as an employer of choice, we are placing emphasis on building and enhancing our Employer Brand in the market, continuously seeking out new ways to find and attract new talent through technology, and a continued focus on our corporate culture.

Another challenge organizations are currently navigating is defining post-pandemic normalcy. We are actively exploring how to strike the right balance between business needs and employee well-being. As discussions surrounding the hybrid work model and remote versus onsite work gain momentum, we remain committed to prioritizing our employees' well-being.

At QFG, we consistently strive to align our practices with our core values and business priorities while maintaining a healthy, positive atmosphere and a strong company culture that enables us to support our people as they grow and shape their future with our organization.

How do you envision the future of the HR industry?

In an ever-evolving landscape, continuous adaptation and growth are imperative for organizations. It is essential to monitor the various functions within HR, including talent acquisition, learning and development, succession planning, and compensation. Exploring tools and resources that provide valuable data points as close to real-time as possible, as well as predictive analytics, is crucial. These insights can help organizations understand the market, industry trends, and the overall landscape enabling them to identify current gaps and devise strategies to bridge them with a focus on long-term sustainability.

Leveraging tools, technology, and automation is important to stay ahead. Each workplace environment is unique, so we must evaluate what works and makes sense. While some challenges may persist during the post-pandemic transition over the next year or two, by remaining proactive, flexible, and adaptable, we can navigate the evolving landscape, seize opportunities, and drive success for our organization.

What are the technologies and processes you are implementing in your HR processes?

At QFG, we care deeply about our people and want to ensure they have the best experience possible. That is why we focus on improving our recruitment processes by streamlining and automating tasks and removing redundancies in manual operations. Transitioning to Google has allowed us to automate a number of tasks and processes throughout the recruitment process, reducing the time spent on reporting and internal communications and improving the overall candidate experience significantly.

Additionally, we have partnered with a vendor to access external market data and insights in real-time, enabling our recruiters to provide meaningful information, better equipping them to provide market data and insights to hiring leaders, and better manage business expectations. These efforts aim to enhance efficiency by optimizing the recruitment process and empowering our recruiters with data-driven insights to implement effective hiring strategies and assist the business in workforce planning.

What advice do you have for your peers in the HR space?

The pandemic has accelerated the existing challenges in attracting and retaining top talent. While technology offers streamlined efficiency in the hiring process, elevates employer profiles, and enhances candidate/customer experiences, care must be taken to ensure the human connection is not lost.

Developing a strong corporate culture, providing opportunities for growth and development, and balancing virtual and in-person interactions are crucial in maintaining human connection. Prioritizing the human element alongside technology is essential for attracting and retaining talent.