Talent Engineer at HelloFresh
The beginning of a new role in the evolving talent operations and talent intelligence space.
In many companies, the TA operations function design and develop the back end of the Talent Acquisition process. Since July 2021, HelloFresh TA has built additional requirements into our core roles. Talent Operations now has three core competencies within our operations function.
- Candidate Experience (Data-Driven Improvements)
- Talent Coordination
- TA Intelligence
In this post, I detail the conceptualisation of the Talent Engineer role that we aim to build in HelloFresh. TA teams see the increased value of customisation of reporting, understanding of complex API Integrations, and design thinking. Throughout the years, HelloFresh has observed the increasing importance of focussing on the career development of individual contributors. This is a new position. We are sharing ideas and approaches to the expectations and structure of such a role to create an industry discussion about the future of TA Operations.
This new position merges core responsibilities of TA operations, our product, analytics and engineering teams.
By Definition, Engineers design, evaluate, develop, test, modify, install, inspect and maintain a wide variety of products and systems.
Talent Engineers at HelloFresh will be senior individual contributors with expertise in design and data. Role models for our TA Intelligence Team. While they have no people management responsibilities, they are part of the leadership team. They will report to the Global Head of Operations, Intelligence and Experience and support the TA leadership and Talent Intelligence team. Overall TA Engineers ratio will be 1–20 TA Intelligence Partners/Candidate Experience Specialists.
Responsible for the design, development and architecture of the systems built within the TA department. They will enable others and facilitate the design process across teams. Our Talent Engineers will need to have the ability to code. Albeit, our TA team requirements are language agnostic. This requirement mounts and supports the core responsibilities and effectiveness of the Talent Engineer role.
The Talent Engineers will be proactively initiating and executing process and technical improvements (e.g. scaling, technical debt reduction) across the department and beyond, playing a leading role in the entire TA product development lifecycle. They will be consulting Product Analytics, HR BP, Employee Experience, People Systems, TA Intelligence and TA Leadership on projects early on, ensuring that technical considerations are factored into the project’s scoping and planning processes.
Focussing on operational excellence is key to delivering high-value experiences. Talent Engineers play a crucial role in scaling knowledge and raising the bar. They will coach teams on resilience patterns observability and facilitate weekly intelligence meetings where the operational performance of the system and past incidents are reviewed. They collaborate on the alignment and implementation of cross-team action items.
They are thought leaders influencing the long-term product roadmap. They look for opportunities to scale the adoption of existing infrastructure solutions or initiate new ones, focusing on making our teams or systems more efficient (e.g. application templates, operational guidance or reporting). Lastly, they contribute to setting standards and support others in technology selection, evaluation, and adoption as part of our Tech TA Radar process.
Talent Engineers have tasks that extend beyond TA as they play a crucial role in our product analytics teams as well. This way, they have the potential to coach TA and Product Analytics team members and help identify and develop promising talent.
Talent Engineer is not just a label for the best Talent Intelligence Specialist. It is a technical leadership role with a strong emphasis on cross-team coordination communication skills and requires leading without authority. The initiatives that an individual is driving tend to have a much longer time horizon for the impact to become visible and are often realised through the hands of others. This delayed gratification can negatively affect motivation, especially for problem-solvers with deep expertise value and get source their energy from solving large-scale problems with fast iteration cycles. For us, it is essential we, therefore, promote internally to ensure. Talent Engineers have a deep knowledge of HelloFresh and have a strong desire to solve long term challenges.
In larger organisations, the engineering aspect of this role could start the discussion, where this role sits. In the CTO or CIO function rather than the TA function. Because of the speed requirements and core nature of this role being consultative this role must sit in the TA team. Having deep expertise in TA processes is fundamental to the success of this position.
Talent Engineering in HelloFresh
For each TA role in HelloFresh, we help support team members by providing detailed role expectations that outline the core responsibilities and expectations for each position. In addition, we transitioned from core KPI’s to Health Metrics, which serve as a detailed benchmark of how we should assess performance. The purpose was to drive the TA teams to think wholistically instead of individually on performance. These changes saw productivity increase by 250% in Q3 and Q4 21.
Using our core TA principles¹ as a compass to direct and support this position, we will also define health metrics and role expectations.
In this post, we have provided insights into the critical aspects of the role of a TA Engineer, influenced heavily by our own experience of TA working closely with engineering and product teams. In addition, Zalando’s Principal Engineering definition allowed us to think about how we create a single-threaded leader without the management skills within TA. This is not an extensive description of the challenges and intricacies of the role.
¹TA principles within HelloFresh were created in July 2021. 1, everyone is welcome at our table. 2, data empowers us. 3, create a safe space. 4, candidate experience first. 5, share your recipe. 6, innovation does not stagnate. 7, fail fast, learn faster—8, challenge and commit.