Workforce.com

2012 Game Changer: Kristen Neubert

Manager, recruiting strategy and innovation, DaVita Inc., Denver

November 29, 2012

While many companies look for ways to tap new recruits through social media, Kristen Neubert realized the best way to reach candidates was by telling DaVita Inc.'s story. And it is a compelling one.

In 1999, DaVita, then known as Total Renal Care, was near bankruptcy. A new management team led by CEO Kent Thiry restructured the company resulting in a total turnaround by 2005, according to a Stanford Graduate School of Business case study. With its financial house in order, clinical outcomes improved dramatically as did employee retention.

When Neubert, 36, joined Denver-based DaVita, a kidney dialysis provider, in 2007, hiring was in full-swing, and it hasn't slowed since. Last year, 12,000 new recruits joined DaVita, she says. While the company was using social media to post jobs, Neubert says that wasn't enough.

What was needed, she says, was a two-way conversation between recruiters and job seekers through social media blogs and discussion groups where applicants could ask questions and get to know the company's culture.

DaVita's approach wasn't working, "so we shifted the conversation from a monologue to a dialogue and found ways to tell the DaVita story," Neubert says.

In addition to revamping its social media presence, she also introduced new technologies enabling recruiters to better track the quantity and quality of candidates and hires. This saved the company nearly $2 million, according to her supervisor Tony Blake, vice president, people services, at DaVita.

"DaVita carefully measures cost per hire, and a major component of cost per hire is 'advertising cost per hire,' " Blake says. "By using analytics to drive down the cost of job boards, search engine marketing and other paid media channels, Kristen's efforts lowered advertising cost per hire by $160 per hire. When you multiply this by more than 11,000 hires, the savings to DaVita approaches $2 million."

Blake says one of Neubert's strengths is her ability to synthesize information from a variety of sources. "She is very intentional to not limit her thinking to the current, conventional body of knowledge," he says.

Rita Pyrillis is Workforce's senior writer. Comment below or email editors@workforce.com.

Workforce Management, December 2012, p. 27 -- Subscribe Now!