Talent Acquisition needs a blended people/technology strategy to...
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Talent Acquisition needs a blended people/technology strategy to succeed!

By Alen Brcic, Director of HR Technology, Novant Health

Alen Brcic, Director of HR Technology, Novant Health

Talent acquisition function, which can be dated back to the ancient world of Egypt, Greece, and Rome to modern-day recruitment, has always put people at the forefront of progress. Through the evolution of time, processes, and technology, the skill-sets keep changing but people are still at the center of the advancement.

How is that changing now in the world of AI and Machine Learning? The concept of work is shifting the paradigm of what the future of work will mean for all of us humans. Without digging deeper, the perception may be that these advanced technologies will alleviate the need for people. Period.  

Do you agree with that perception? Are we entering the time of popular movies such as “Terminator” and “I, Robot”? Possibly, but not in the immediate future or in our lifetime. Still, these modern technologies need to be an integral part of any talent acquisition strategy to ensure people remain at the forefront of progress. Modern technology capabilities such as AI, Machine Learning, and RPA need be part of the strategy, as they are unlocking new capabilities on how HR operates. The opportunity is tremendous to expedite decision-making, eliminate transactional work, enhance service to the business and candidates and streamline old processes. It eliminates the difficulty in the workforce’s efficiency, not the workforce itself. Talent acquisition should look at a blended technology/people approach to operate more as a nimble startup delivering services. Numerous studies directly correlate experiences of candidates to revenues of an organization and so it must be considered an integral part of any operating model.

"As customers, we expect excellent and personalized service whether we go to a restaurant, a store or make a purchase online. Why should it be different when we deliver services in talent acquisition?"

To start, it is important to define who are customers of talent acquisition. I would group them in four categories: 1) The Enterprise 2) Hiring Leaders 3) Team Members and 4) Candidates. 

To keep putting people at the forefront of the future of work, here six potential components of the blended technology/people strategy that should be considered.

Deploy AI to speed up decision-making and hiring

Leveraging modern Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), we are capturing data on candidates that allow us to align these data lakes to business needs using AI. The days of decision-making being based on tedious review of resumes is numbered; rather it is a combination of data points gathered through the candidate profile, assessment and education based on shifting needs of the business and hiring managers. AI and Machine Learning capabilities are available to eliminate the bias and immediately give focus to the high potential talent that has expressed an interest in posted roles. Certain roles may consider work experience essential, while others consider education and skills. Giving talent acquisition that capability directly aligns business and hiring manager needs to the future team members and allows TA to focus their time engaging those high potential candidates continuously. If the talent interest is not available in the ATS, these advanced technologies leverage external data lakes to identify candidates that meet the specific needs and help connect them to the business.

Look at Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to alleviate transactional work

The opportunity of RPA exists because many organizations have disjointed systems and still require manual transactional work to get these systems to support business needs. As the transition to seamless interoperability is still a work-in-progress with API adoption, the near future will still require a level of transactional work. RPA can bridge the gap to further alleviate transactional work. In talent acquisition, for example, there are numerous transactional tasks even with the deployment of AI. Dispositioning candidates that do not meet high potential talent requirements is something that could benefit from RPA. It could enhance the feedback and communication to candidates expecting transparency and prompt response. With predefined criteria, leveraging AI as noted above the opportunity is tremendous to remove transactional work and increase the speed and transparency for candidates.

Capture instantaneous feedback from all customers and act on it

Having a pulse on customers is essential in any business. Decisions have to be correlated directly to customer feedback and needs. The first part is to capture real-time feedback from all customers in the talent acquisition life-cycle. The next immediate step is to continuously use that feedback for process improvement, engagement and building value for your customers.

Make it simple for all customers

To capture data and engage candidates the process needs to be simple. It needs to meet the customers where they are and open up as many channels for engagement as possible. Whether that is the digital any-device-any-time, or more of the old school way. The more channels exist for customer engagement, the higher the value proposition and engagement with our brand will be. The customer-centric journey needs to be based on a detailed design thinking approach.

Use service delivery as a differentiator

As customers, we expect excellent and personalized service whether we go to a restaurant, a store or make a purchase online. Why should it be different when we deliver services in talent acquisition? We know and hear it that due to the vast amounts of transactional work, time is taken up by tasks that may not directly correlate to value. The role of TA is to provide exceptional consumer grade service to all customers and meet their needs. This includes one touch question resolution, being able to put ourselves in our customers’ shoes and understand their unique needs. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, rather deploying modern technologies to alleviate transactional work, using customer feedback for continuous improvement and making the customer journey as easy as possible will all lead to service delivery.

Build your internal and external brand

Branding of the TA role seems to be on the rise in most industries. We are able to see companies posting on social media and engaging the general public continuously. Building the brand needs to go further to create a value proposition for talent acquisition. From engaging across newer platforms outside of LinkedIn, to innovative ways to motivate potential candidates even when not selected, to delivering strategies to hiring managers that help them with interviews and decision-making, to helping drive and encourage internal mobility. Branding of the talent acquisition role needs to be looked at holistically leveraging and focusing on external and internal customers..

To wrap it up, similar to how small businesses respond to feedback from their customers on Yelp and are continuously tweaking their operations, larger organizations are moving to a similar approach for talent acquisition. It is more personal. Approaching the role as a business with an entrepreneurial mindset is essential in the future of work to ensure that people remain at the center of progress.

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