By Peter Weddle, CEO TAtech
Buying talent technology successfully requires that an employer be thoughtful in its goal setting and planning for new products and exhaustive in its analysis of alternative solutions and providers. That’s not sufficient, however, to ensure the organization achieves the expected return on its investment. The effective implementation of those products once they are purchased is equally important and requires a no less rigorous and detailed approach. My last post addressed the 3 Golden Rules of successfully buying talent technology; this post will cover the 3 Golden Rules of successfully implementing it.
Every solution provider worth its salt provides some level of implementation support for the buyers of its products. As with anything else, however, the scope and quality of that support varies from provider-to-provider. What doesn’t vary is its focus. All solution providers see their job as the installation, testing and activation of their products. They’re responsible for making sure the product works once it’s turned on.
Implementation for employers means that as well, of course, but it extends far beyond just the product itself. For employers, successfully bringing a new technology onboard means achieving their expected improvements in recruiting outcomes as measured by key performance indicators and, therefore, the realization of the benefits to the business that were used to justify the acquisition in the first place.
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Given that additional requirement, it should come as no surprise that employers must pay attention to the effective implementation of whatever new technology they purchase. Whether it’s a CRM platform or a new ATS, a conversational AI solution or a sourcing automation product, deploying it in the organization so that it delivers the anticipated performance improvements is both critically important and extremely difficult to accomplish. It requires both a comprehensive methodology – a plan of action and milestones – and a knowledgeable and skilled team to execute it.
According to the knowledge market StackExchange, a methodology is “a set of principles, tools and practices which can be used to guide processes to achieve a particular goal.” For an employer, it involves ensuring that the right individuals take the right steps in the right way at the right time in order to install a technology-based talent acquisition product that performs as represented and delivers the improvements the employer needs in order to fill its openings with high caliber talent on time and within budget.
Such a methodology is much too extensive to cover here, but there are 3 Golden Rules that guide its effective application.
Golden Rule #1: Get everyone involved. Although they will vary from organization-to-organization, stakeholders hold the key to implementation success in every organization. They are the individuals and/or functions that will be affected by the introduction of a new product, so all of them should be invited to participate in the implementation effort. They must feel as if their interests and concerns are adequately addressed or they may add friction to the effort or even derail it. Stakeholders include but are not limited to members of the recruiting team, hiring managers, HR, IT, and Finance.
Golden Rule #2: Pay attention to culture. Many technology-based talent acquisition products will affect the culture of the recruiting team and conceivably other units in the organization. These changes may be relatively minor – such as the need for recruiters and/or hiring managers to learn new skills – and much more significant – such as the requirement to recast policies or operational procedures. If not properly explained and initiated, they can cause resistance from those affected and, as a result, the degradation of any performance improvements achieved with the products.
Golden Rule #3: Never stop communicating. No one likes surprises and everyone likes to hear about progress, so it’s important to communicate from the very outset of the implementation effort and then continuously after that with both stakeholders and the units they represent and the chain of command. This stream of information has two purposes: to build internal support for the product by promoting its potential benefit to workers and to keep those workers up-to-date on such important details as the timeline for their access to the product and what will be expected of them when that happens.
A growing number of employers are setting up appropriately staffed and resourced committees to oversee the acquisition of new talent technology. They should do the same for the implementation of the technology and also ensure that the committee has a clear and detailed understanding of what it must do in order to achieve the goals set for the product. The 3 Golden Rules will get it started in the right direction.
A Final Note: If you’re looking for a comprehensive guide to the effective implementation of talent technology, get the TAtech Talent Technology Implementation Management Handbook & Job Aid. It’s available in the TAtech Bookstore.
Food for Thought,
Peter Weddle is the author or editor of over two dozen books and a former columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He is also the founder and CEO of TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions. You can download his latest book – The Neonaissance – FOR FREE at OneStoryforAll.com. And, if you don't have time to read the entire book, just download a short excerpt of his inspirational message