Blog & News 1 min read

Communities Aim to Conquer Europe

Article from Recruiter, February 2013, By Sue Weekes

The recruitment firm Annapurna HR is taking its specialist professional networks into Europe. Managing partner James Ballard told Recruiter it will begin by launching the Technology Transformation and HR Transformation Networks in Germany, and its Business Transformation Network and will follow.

“Once you’ve built a content community, the next step is to go global,” said Ballard. “I went away on holiday a month or so ago and when I came back there were 60 people waiting for approval to join the group from countries such as Egypt through to Malaysia.”

Annapurna HR was founded in 2008 by Ballard and partners Nigel Fox and Charlie Appleyard, and it later launched divisions focusing on technology and business change. Ballard explained that it wanted to position itself as an ethical recruitment firm that builds strong relationships with candidates and clients. “Some agencies can be rather transactional in how they deal with candidates and clients,” he said. “I think the future of recruitment will be about building communities. Companies are increasingly looking at direct resourcing so as an agency you have to have a really specialist supply when they do reach out to you. If you are building engaged communities of specialist people you can activate a very passive, almost dormant market that direct sourcing potentially won’t reach. It’s a powerful way to recruit.”

The three networks have more than 10,000 members between them and are designed to be thought leadership communities where ideas can be shared and disseminated. Each network hosts live events, LinkedIn discussion groups and also has a dedicated TV channel. Video and interactive media is seen as an important part of Annapurna’s strategy to deliver high-quality content to the communities so it has built a television studio in its office and invested in digital recording equipment and staff training. The technology infrastructure for the channel is provided by Concentra using its OrgVue software.

Typically, an expert will be invited to deliver a talk on a particular subject which is then posted on the network’s website. Content is driven by members and topics often emerge from discussions and question & answer sessions at live events. The network websites also feature interactive polls and Ballard says they are always looking for guest bloggers.

Annapurna may be one of if not the first recruitment firm to create multimedia channels for specialist groups in this way but Ballard predicts that many agencies will have their own communities and platforms in five years’ time.

“Anyone thinking of this route needs to be prepared to invest time and money though,” he explained. “It has taken us four years to get the HR Transformation Network to 6,000 members. Once a network is up and running though, it starts to take care of itself and goes viral.”

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