S4 E87 | Have you met…Mirandah Thomas?

Mirandah Thomas takes a minute to share what being the Leader of Talent Intelligence at Centene really means.

Welcome to the CXR channel, our premier podcast for talent acquisition and talent management. Listening as the CXR community discusses a wide range of topics focused on attracting, engaging and retaining the best talent. We’re glad you’re here.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 0:20
Welcome, everybody to another CareerXroads podcast. This segment or this session, or this special edition is called a Have You Met? And I’m pretty excited today. We have industry, individual personality has been around quite a while in the space. She’s got some pretty impressive history, I mean, she comes out of Edward Jones, I think you were there for nearly a decade BJC Healthcare all this and talent acquisition, and now you’re at centene? Corporation. Right? So yep. Mirandah Thomas, you are the leader of talent intelligence at Centene.

Mirandah Thomas, Centene 0:55

Chris Hoyt, CXR 0:56
I got to ask you, what does that even mean?

Mirandah Thomas, Centene 0:58
Yes, yes. Well, the funny thing is, is that we’ve had to kind of figure it out along the way, believe it or not, believe it or not. But where we are today, and what we are is. So we are focused on providing external market talent, market intelligence, to our stakeholders, which would include both RTA full cycle recruiting partners, and leaders. And then we also are focused on sourcing strategic sourcing, for difficult to fill or challenging roles across our organization. So we’ve been kind of been experiencing a little bit of an evolution.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 1:47
Yeah, well is, is the term talent intelligence, at least in your world is not being used external talent intelligence, like a research Intel, or is it also internally like from mobility and maybe internal search standpoint?

Mirandah Thomas, Centene 2:04
So so far, it has really been focused more externally than internally, but as the world changes, we we so too evolve and change with it. But yes, right now the focus has really been external. So we’re kind of helping our leaders and our stakeholders to connect the dots and really understand what the talent market and landscape looks like, particularly for some of these critical skill sets and roles where we are having to go external, because we don’t already have an internal pipeline. So our team is there to kind of help connect those dots and build a strategy help build an external marketing strategy. But we do that with other partners as well. We have a brand team that we partner with, when it comes to branding, and also our delivery team or full cycle talent attraction team, we do it all in partnership, it takes a village really, so.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 3:03
So if you’ve got a village, it says, it says, it says a lot about your organization, can you just for those who may not have heard of Centene? Can you can you give us sort of the escalator pitch of, of what Centene is and what you guys do?

Mirandah Thomas, Centene 3:15
Yes, we’re a managed care, health organization. And really, we primarily focus on bringing health care to some of the country’s most underserved communities primarily focused in the Medicare and Medicaid space. And so, you know, you can imagine that with, you know, what’s been going on with the economy, the country, COVID, the demand for medicaid medicare Services has has just continued to increase. And so with that, we’ve seen some some definite organic growth. And then also, we’ve acquired companies. You know, last year, that a year ago, we completed, you know, the acquisition of Wellcare, which is also a very large managed care company. So within the span of three years, we’ve almost doubled in size. So you know, and kind of that’s catapulted us to, you know, essentially a fortune 50 company in a very short amount of time. So you can imagine how ta has been at the forefront of that growth, and trying to help the organization navigate that.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 4:36
Well, I mean, to go through that in a normal year, right, because the last the last calendar year of recruiting has been anything but normal to go well for anybody right. So but but to go through that a normal year, a challenge in and of itself, big deal, right? You’ve got team alignments, you’ve got responsibilities, you’ve got reorg, you’ve got all these crazy things and if you’re doing any structure or leading an intelligence or a source Team across the organizations and keeping them out of so a big challenge, but then to throw COVID into the mix, right? And how recruiting changes and how candidate behaviors have changed in the last year, like what’s with all of that, right, I guess, aren’t you for just not hanging up your hat and say, right, but what what do you think is sort of the biggest thing you’re dealing with now? Like, what’s what’s top of mind for for Mirandah?

Mirandah Thomas, Centene 5:30
Yes, there, there’s a lot. There’s a lot, but I will say some things that have really been top of mind. So first and foremost, probably one of the primary reasons that I was even attracted to this organization is our head of talent acquisition or VP of talent acquisition, her her strategic vision for TA, and how we work continuing to move towards a more proactive recruiting structure, and helping the organization to better align the capabilities and the needs of the organization to how we target talent, right, and how we assess talent. So, you know, there’s just been a lot of talk about our evolving world of work, right? And what that means, and what are the core capabilities and competencies aligned with that, and then helping the organization to understand what what does good look like, you know, what is good look like, when we’re identifying talent, assessing talent, and helping them navigate those conversations. And then and those things help inform kind of the strategy for my team. So that’s, that’s one and my team is moving more towards these, we’re calling focus talent pools, right. So in sourcing, it’s always a challenge that you get bombarded with just-in-time recruiting, you know, and we will always, to an extent support some level of just-in-time recruiting. But we are starting to continue to evolve to understand where our most critical skills, skill sets are particularly where we have to go external, and where we’re developing what we’re calling focused talent pools, where we have individuals from my team that are aligned to those those certain critical skill sets. And they can be actively building and engaging that talent for now and the future. So that’s something that’s that’s definitely consuming a lot of time. And then I think the other thing is to what you mentioned, with just the world that we’re in right now, candidate behavior has has is not quite changed, although the demand has continued to increase. Right. For talent, right, the the floodgates are starting to open across many organizations, as far as you know, now seeking to acquire that talent. And candidates are still kind of trying to determine like, do I even want to make a move right now still, and so we’re kind of having to maybe talk about more about even maybe taking things back to the basics when it comes to our strategy of outreach to candidates, because the response rate is, is still very, is low. Right now.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 8:40
So that’s the thing. So I know that people typically listening to our show, are going to understand exactly what you’re saying, but folks who maybe are just watching the news and seeing limit rates, and they’re thinking, it’s gonna be really easy to hire right now. It’s going to be super easy, cuz everybody’s looking for work. But in some of these roles, very specialist roles or more senior roles, even mid level and above, like, nobody wants to move. Right. Safe in there. What are their hunkering down?

Mirandah Thomas, Centene 9:07

Chris Hoyt, CXR 9:08
And, and kind of trying to wait this out. And I think to your point, Mirandah, like, the wave is coming in that you’re being expected to hire more, right as we come out of this. And you’re not the only one. I’ve talked about a dozen ta leaders in the last couple of weeks, who said, and I’ll quote, one that I just met with this morning. It is a tsunami that is on its way and I don’t have the staff to address the lower response rates and the lower traffic, right, and the declarations that are an all time record high. What do you what are you going to duck put you on the spot but

Mirandah Thomas, Centene 9:41
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, it’s kind of what I was saying is that, you know, we’re starting to think about you know, put yourself in the candidate shoes and how do we how are we processing information right now during this this pandemic, right. My personal Well, email box is just an email address that I give out when I have to give one, but I rarely check it. You know, and to be honest, you know, the best way to probably get in contact with me as either is probably through my phone. So

Unknown Speaker 10:18
don’t leave me don’t get I get drowned in all of it. Yeah,

Mirandah Thomas, Centene 10:23
Yeah. Yes. So we’re kind of having to take it back to those basics, you know, and where we can, you know, think about, you know, and especially when you think about people being at home, right now, instead of in an office, when you think about cold calling someone before when they were in an office, and maybe their their cubicle, you know, it didn’t have you know, walls in, you know, hey, I’m, you know, what my boss is, like, right over the wall here, you know, and, but it’s different now, people are actually at home. So having a conversation doesn’t necessarily feel the same way. They may not be any less busy, you know, they’re still busy. But, um, it’s the thought is, is that, you know, we can’t just completely let that go by the wayside, we have to kind of balance the two, you know,

Chris Hoyt, CXR 11:11
I love I love the back to the basics aspect, I mean, the blocking and tackling of sourcing and recruiting and fine tuning those skills. And that radical concept of picking up the phone. Yes. So those of us who’ve been doing this a little while, that’s sort of where we had a Rolodex, or those little flip Rolodex, right on desk and keeping track of that. So I think that’s great has there been, has there been Is that something you guys are sort of pushing internally, centene is just, you know, smile, and dial, pick up the phone a little bit more than an in mail barrage, or an email, you know, blast,

Mirandah Thomas, Centene 11:43
It’s definitely been a conversation that my team has been having, um, you know, because we’ve gotten accustomed to the tech now, I love the technology, we’re I mean, and we’re all got accustomed to it. And, you know, especially when you’re, you’re demonstrating success, and I’m not gonna lie, it’s, it’s, it’s efficient, right? If I can send a message to, you know, 50 people at once, instead of having to call one person at a time, it is more efficient. We’re in a different time now. And so you know, it may be okay, you may start out with a LinkedIn in mail, or an email. And then if you after you don’t get a response, maybe you follow up with a phone call, you know, or something like that. And so it’s kind of incoming, fresh off Sourcecon, I think there was a lot of chatter and discussion about, you know, leveraging different different tactics, doing AB testing with your, your messaging, and you know, having to be persistent and understanding candidates don’t owe you anything, right. They they’re busy human beings, just like you are and so they’re not responding is not that does not necessarily mean they’re not interested, it just means that you didn’t fall to the top of their priority list.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 13:00
Well, that’s true. You know, you mentioned a point earlier, like, it’s not that they’re not busy anymore. I mean, we’re finding that they’re more busy, or they’re more exhausted or that type of thing.

Mirandah Thomas, Centene 13:07

Chris Hoyt, CXR 13:08
And I’ll tell you, Mirandah. You call that a resource Sourcecon, I have to say they’re one of the resources within the industry, I’m so glad we’re able to sort of pivot and continue to deliver really great content, if I’m not mistaken, ERE’s got something going on this week for high volume recruiting Sourcecon stuck with it. So I mean, that’s a resource we should really be proud of, and continue to support the space as we get through this.

Mirandah Thomas, Centene 13:29
Yes, definitely, definitely. Oh, it’s always great. Just communities like like this one, like CareerXroads, like Sourcecon, I think that’s that’s what I like the most is just the just the info sharing and how these communities are just so open. Actually, earlier today, I just got off the phone call with someone that I network with at Sourcecon. And we you know, another leader, similar, some similar challenges, things bouncing ideas off each other, and it’s just great to be able to reach out to those people and talk it’s like, oh, have you tried this? What is your What is your thought on, on on this? So that’s, that’s the thing I love the most.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 14:12
That feels so good warms my heart. I love that. Well Mirandah, it’s great to get a couple of minutes to get to know who you are and the stuff that you’re working on. I love that you’re leaning all into various communities. I think it’s just wonderful. You know where we are if you ever need anything, and thank you so much for your time today.

Mirandah Thomas, Centene 14:27
Yeah, no problem.

Announcer 14:30
Thanks for listening to the CXR channel please subscribe to CXR on your favorite podcast resource and leave us a review while you’re at it. Learn more about CXR on our website, CXR.works facebook.com and twitter.com /CareerXroads and on Instagram @CareerXroads. We’ll catch you next time