Kevin BinkoJune 17, 2024
Topics: Customer Stories

From Legacy to Leading Edge: Lessons from Amwell’s HR Tech Transformation

Solving today’s modern hiring challenges with legacy technology? No, thank you. Advances in AI-powered candidate experience and talent acquisition software mean organizations can not only consolidate technologies to create holistic talent experiences — but also find powerful performance improvements and cost savings along the way. Yes, please.

I sat down with Amwell's Head of Talent Acquisition Missy Onorato and Phenom's Director of Product Brandon Bookatz, to discuss how Amwell was able to do just that by innovating through consolidation with Phenom Hire — the end-to-end hiring solution that's completely changing the game for small to mid-size organizations.

Watch the entire conversation on-demand here, or review the key takeaways below!

Is Legacy Technology Holding You Back? 

Without a doubt.

“HR is a group where it’s imperative to be innovative in this day and age — no matter what sort of industry you’re in,” said Onorato. “The core of companies are its people. So if organizations don’t have HR tools that help them be innovative, they’re going to fall behind and they’re not going to be able to attract that talent.” 

Companies are expected to do a heck of a lot more with their talent experience as technology has advanced: 

  • Candidates expect personalized experiences that are similar to their consumer experiences. 

  • Sourcers need to capture passive leads from the candidate experience, and easily engage current and past applicants.

  • Recruiters and hiring managers need to replace manual workflows and spreadsheets with automation to efficiently screen, schedule, interview, and hire top talent within a seamless experience. 

The problem? Not all of these expectations can be met with an applicant tracking system (ATS) — which means TA and HRIT teams need to procure and integrate more and more tools to fill in the gaps.

The ATS is an example of a legacy technology that, while revolutionary when introduced, can be a limiting function in some organizations’ recruiting tech stacks. Most companies only use an ATS to:

  • Open job requisitions

  • Sort resumes

  • Track applicants

  • Maintain records for compliance purposes

They’re commonly part of a larger human capital management (HCM) system or are available as standalone recruiting suites. The latter kind of ATS is most easily replaced within a holistic talent acquisition solution. 

As Bookatz discussed, beyond avoiding subpar experience with disparate point solutions the reason to consolidate comes down to cost. Managing multiple vendors across applicant tracking, sourcing, job boards, RPO, engagement, interviewing, and assessments is downright expensive and unscalable. The challenge is often that these are essential components of the  recruiting and hiring process. 

Modern talent acquisition teams need bulletproof applicant tracking, personalized candidate experiences, engaging candidate relationship capabilities, automated candidate screening, and tools to interview and hire top talent quickly. Understanding the need for a holistic and highly-scalable solution, we introduced Phenom Hire to solve the challenges of mid-size organizations who need a holistic and highly-scalable solution seeking to hire the right fit more efficiently. 

Amwell’s Tech Consolidation Story

Amwell is a Boston-based company that delivers telehealth services and solutions for patients and providers. Like many companies, they were using an ATS to manage jobs and maintain records in conjunction with their ADP HCM. 

Before engaging Phenom, Amwell had a strong foundation within their TA function and was successfully upskilling talent, implementing DE&I initiatives, effectively training managers, and implementing structured processes like interview guides. They were enjoying their experience with their non-HCM ATS, but were receiving a huge volume of applicants per requisition and needed additional technology or resources to screen, engage, and re-engage candidates. 

While strategizing how to improve talent acquisition at Amwell, conversations between Onorato and her Chief People Officer focused on innovation. They researched several different solutions to drive efficiency, consolidate their tech stack, and ultimately, hire top talent faster. In the course of their research, they evaluated multiple point solutions including scheduling tools, interview note-taking tools, sourcing tools, and more, which were ultimately deemed too one-dimensional. 

Conversations with Phenom showed a pathway to limiting the ‘swivel chair’ experience through consolidation into a all-in-one talent solution that would let Amwell’s recruiters focus on what matters — people and talent

When evaluating processes and technology, Onorato described three sets of key clients she is accountable for: her talent acquisition team, the rest of the business (C-suite, department leaders, hiring managers), and the internal or external candidates who interact with and apply for roles at Amwell. Evaluating the HR tech stack meant considering how any given solution available in the market would deliver top-notch experiences to each stakeholder. 

  • How do candidates feel about the job search experience?

  • Does the recruiter find the solution easy to use and helpful to reach their goals?

  • Can managers comfortably access and use the tools designed for them?

  • Will HRIT and operations be able to integrate this solution with other critical systems?

Most companies think about their talent acquisition and recruitment marketing in the context in which their business operates. For direct-to-consumer retailers, the ability to provide a personalized candidate experience and career site that looks and feels like their retail website is so important. For Amwell — a telehealth company that integrates and consolidates telehealth records and experiences for both patients and providers — creating a consolidated, integrated talent acquisition experience for candidates, recruiters, managers and HRIT teams was equally important. 

Related: What is End-to-End Recruitment and Why is it Important?

How Amwell Got Organizational Buy-In

It’s never easy to introduce change in daily workflows when your team is comfortable with their current tools. Amwell’s TA team was “fine” using their current ATS. To turn the tide, Onorato had to show her recruiters and managers what was in it for them. A consolidated, AI-powered platform like Phenom would give them more time to focus on their strategic responsabilities and achieve better outcomes. 

By providing her TA team and other business leaders exposure to the new solution throughout the vendor assessment period, she garnered support to introduce radical change to their HR tech stack approach. 

When making a case to other business leaders, Onorato focused on four key value drivers that Phenom offered: 

  1. Capturing passive leads and matching new/existing candidates to best-fit roles

  2. Delivering a personalized candidate experience that makes candidates feel valued while promoting Amwell as an exciting place to work

  3. Reducing overall time to hire through intelligence and automations

  4. Improving retention of top talent

A few of her tips to help with buy-in:

  • Show your recruiters and managers how they’ll benefit. Show them its about making their life easier with a single solution, focusing less on administrative work and more on people. 

  • Bring people along in the journey, bring team members into the evaluation process and allow them to ask the vendor questions.

  • Find another business leader to support your initiatives. When you start to show success, other business units will get on board.

  • Work with your vendor salesperson to build a business case together with projected impact and ROI that you can share with decision-makers. 

Reception and Results 

Phenom has had a huge impact within Amwell’s teams and processes already. A critical factor, however? Change management. Onorato was unsure how her team of recruiters would receive the new tech some of whom had been at Amwell prior to her arrival, or hired after she took over as a leader. Ultimately, they saw the value of Phenom platform and its ability to help them reach more candidates while delivering a better experience.

“There was some hesitation from them at first,” admitted Onorato. “Once they were able to see how the system works, and how dynamic it is for the candidate experience, they bought in a lot quicker than I thought. Our last tool was very one-dimensional from a CRM and even an ATS perspective. So bringing in the AI capabilities for them has been a really great experience.” 

The feedback and activity from managers have been promising, too. Before Phenom, there was little accountability among hiring managers to ensure they were attending scheduled interviews or delivering a positive candidate experience. Providing a centralized tool for managers to set ideal candidate experiences, review candidate profiles, own their calendars, and interview candidates has been a game changer. 

“Now that [managers] are accountable with this tool, we’ve seen less interviews canceled, and candidates being hired faster, because managers are part of the solution.”

In just two months with Phenom, Amwell already saw nearly 5,000 new applicants and a decrease in time to accept by 3 days. Excited to continue using Phenom, they’ll evaluate how working together can continue to advance HR tech innovation through talent management solutions. 

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