NZ HR Award Winner Profile: Award for HR Innovation

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Fletcher Building recently won a New Zealand HR Award for their innovative campaign to attract new candidates for its graduate scheme.
The campaign, ‘_B Curious’, also won the Christian Dahmen Memorial Award in association with TakeON!.
In August 2014, Fletcher Building launched its graduate program to the student market in New Zealand.
“We wanted to dispel myths, appeal to a diverse audience and create curiosity,” the designers of the campaign said. “We launched an under the radar non-branded campaign that asked the audience to _B Curious. We decided to be a neutral as possible, so used black and white to avoid any association with a particular brand.”
Blackboards and chalk were placed in the University of Auckland and Otago University campuses, and a one page microsite, Facebook page and instagram account were also set up.
“Each day we wrote a new obscure statement about Fletcher Building on the blackboards and posted the clues to social media, asking students to step forward and guess using the #bcurious to post their guesses to social,” _B Curious creators said.
For week 2, students were asked about their dreams and career aspirations and encouraged to share.
“We wanted them to know that not only do we want them to ask questions but we’ll always want to know about them too,” Fletcher Building said.
The following week, the company’s identity was revealed.
Before the campaign, the organisation was not particularly well known outside of the engineering and construction space.
“We wanted to come up with a campaign that made people think twice about our organisation,” Keith Muirhead, group recruitment manager at Fletcher Building, told HRM. “_B Curious was designed to create interest and intrigue, and to inform people about the scale of the opportunities we offer.”
He added that another of the intentions behind the campaign was to attract a more diverse candidate pool.
“Candidates in the manufacturing and industrial sectors tend to be male,” he explained. “We wanted to attract a broad, diverse group.”
The key drivers behind the award-winning initiative were:
  • The concept of a completely unbranded campaign hadn’t been done before
  • The company’s objective to make people who hadn’t considered Fletcher Building think about the organisation as an employer
“There’s been a wind of change at Fletcher over the last few years, particularly because we had a new CEO,” Muirhead told HRM. “We wanted the innovation at Fletcher to come through in the campaign, and we wanted it to attract curious people who would bring a different perspective and fresh thinking to the company.”
According to Muirhead, the campaign achieved exactly that.
“Going unbranded challenged people’s thinking,” he said. “It also allowed us to engage with them in a very human way and understand what their idea of success looks like. We then built our follow-up communications around that which continued to engage candidates.”
“I think it was different in that it was a campaign unlike what people were used to seeing,” Muirhead added. “It made people stop, think and consider what was important to them, which not many organisations do.”
To Muirhead, a surprisingly large proportion of the campaign’s success stemmed from ditching all branding.
“It was probably quite brave to start a campaign that was unbranded,” he said. “But this made it more personal – the results showed that this went down extremely well in its launch on university campuses. You go into these things with a degree of nervousness, but feedback showed us that we had achieved the broadening of perceptions we wanted.”
Muirhead referred to an application received from a candidate who said that his interest in the company came purely from the campaign’s innovation, which led him to research Fletcher Building.
“The whole project was a demonstration of our team’s capability to create and execute something innovative,” he said. “We’re hugely proud [of winning the award], and because there’s a lot of outstanding stuff happening across the board that external recognition is great. We’ve seen some transformational work across IT and manufacturing so it’s great for us that some of that work and that story is out there – there was some amazing competition from an HR perspective so we’re just really proud.”


Have you got what it takes? Entries for the 2016 NZ HR Awards open October 1 2015.

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