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The Key Requirements for Successfully Implementing Talent Technology

NOTE: This post is part of an ongoing series drawn from the TAtech Learning & Certification Program in Talent Technology Implementation Management. The program provides a critical new set of skills for recruiters and HR professionals as they are increasingly assigned the responsibility for achieving an employer’s expected return on its investment in talent technology.

While a sound organizational foundation for an implementation project is essential to achieving the goal for a new technology-based talent acquisition product, high caliber leadership and a robust methodology are the decisive factors. They are the superstructure that gives shape to the outcome. They create both the reality and the internal perception of whether an implementation is a success or a failure.

High caliber leadership and a robust methodology enable recruiting teams to recognize and respond to the situational reality that confronts them. The complexity of modern recruiting teams, including their existing technology infrastructure and staffing protocols – often a mixture of full time, part time and contractual recruiters working both in a central location and remotely – as well as the installation and operational requirements of the products they purchase and any customization they have contractually required effectively transforms the simple acquisition of a product into an entirely different kind of organizational endeavor. Implementing a technology-based talent acquisition product is, in essence, a highly complicated change management challenge.

In order to integrate such products effectively, the organization must recognize and adapt to any of a range of new and sometimes uncomfortable realities. From unfamiliar user interfaces to altered procedures and performance expectations, from the need to learn one or more new skills to a recast role with new priorities, some of these changes can be extensive in their impact while others can be easily integrated into ongoing recruiting operations. Regardless of their scale, however, only high caliber leadership and a robust methodology can guide the organization to enhanced recruiting outcomes.

Unfortunately, there are more than a few instances where that truism has not been recognized or simply ignored. In those cases, the implementation of talent technology products gets inadequate organization attention and resource allocation. They are viewed as lacking the operational impact or cost exposure of larger technology-based products (used in IT or HR, for example), so their implementation is viewed as a minor undertaking. Inevitably, that perception leads to the conclusion by an organization’s chain of command that bringing such products on board does not warrant a fulsome commitment of its support, the assignment of high caliber leadership or the use of a robust implementation methodology.

Therefore, the first test of an implementation project for a technology-based talent acquisition product often involves making a business case similar to that which was used to justify the product’s acquisition in the first place. It involves convincing the organization’s decision-makers that doing the implementation the right way – assigning it the appropriate priority, budget, resources, leadership and methodology – is the only strategy that will ensure the organization actually receives the benefits it needs and deserves from the product. As with the original business case, there are two points which reenforce this position, but for the implementation case, the focus is not on the potential benefits of a product but on actually realizing those benefits for the organization.

These two points are:

Talent Acquisition – the organization invested in a technology-based talent acquisition product to achieve a specific goal, whether that was a lower cost-per-hire, an improved candidate experience, higher quality new hires or something else. An inadequate implementation will degrade or prevent the achievement of those goals and potentially the organization’s ability to recruit the talent necessary for it to meet its business plans.

Fiduciary – the organization made a financial investment in acquiring the product and did so with the expectation of receiving a specific return in terms of improved performance or operational cost savings on the money it spent. Inadequately implementing the product will reduce recruiters’ capability achieved with the product and, as a consequence, force the organization to accept a lower ROI or an additional investment for rework that will degrade or even eliminate the anticipated return.

Implementing a technology-based talent acquisition product is basically an exercise in building success – for individual recruiters, for the recruiting team and for the organization where they work. It begins with a foundation of appropriate and sustained organizational support and then employs a superstructure of high caliber leadership and a robust methodology to create a new and valued capability measured in individual and team performance enhancements that were not achievable before. When carefully assembled and integrated, these three elements enable HR and Talent Acquisition leaders and professionals to capture the power of technology and apply it to their recruiting activities in a way that leverages their success to advance the success of the organization as well.