Maggie BleharJune 10, 2024
Topics: Partnerships

Overcoming Implementation Pitfalls with talentEXP

Ed Newman, industry expert and author from talentEXP, has overseen an HR tech implementation or two throughout his career working with Fortune 500 companies in the design, development, and implementation of talent acquisition strategies and technology infrastructure.

He has a myriad of insights when it comes to overcoming implementation challenges, which he recently captured in his new book, Phenom Do. In this episode of Talent Experience Live, Newman shares how to win organizational buy-in, leverage AI to augment human capabilities, and navigate common implementation pitfalls to secure ongoing ROI.

Read on for the highlights, or check out the full episode here.

Tell us about "Phenom Do"

Newman, who has 35 years of industry experience, was an early fan of the Phenom Intelligent Talent Experience platform. His book, Phenom Do, outlines how to master the art of leveraging the platform, breaking implementation down into four distinct steps. Although the book focuses on Phenom’s platform, it can be a valuable resource for those facing the rollout of any new HR technology.

The title – pronounced Phenom “Doh” – is a nod to the Korean martial art Tae Kwan Do, where Do translates to “the way” and refers to the quest to master physical elements and techniques — as well as to find enlightenment and joy.

“Just like in martial arts, you need to practice your techniques at least 10,000 times to become a master.… so there’s a lot of work that you need to do as a practitioner to use this platform to solve problems over and over again to become the master of it,” Newman explained.

Order your copy of Phenom Do today! Go to and send your request through the “contact us” option.

Can you talk about the crucial role of data in today’s HR tech implementations?

Ensuring you have the right data — and that it’s going to be collected reliably and accurately — will lay a solid foundation for success, Newman emphasized. “There are no silver bullets, but one of the first things you have to do is get your data right.”

Why is the right data so valuable? Regardless of the reasons you’ve outlined in the business case for implementation, the only way to show the technology is meeting those goals and returning ROI is by having the data to prove it.

At the outset of planning an implementation, the following should be defined:

  • The data needed to show ROI

  • A strategy for collecting, cleansing, and reviewing that data

  • Allocation of staff resources to data review and scrubbing

What is the difference between analytics and data?

The terms “analytics” and “data” often are used interchangeably, but there are important differences between the two, Newman explained, and both serve important purposes.

Operational reporting data is the detailed, real-time information about processes and activities taking place day-to-day. Meanwhile, analytics shows you different views of that data, uncovering trends and patterns that can guide strategy and decision-making.

Selecting the data metrics you’ll use in alignment with business goals and objectives is key, Newman said. “You need to be thinking first and foremost about the goals and objectives of the business. What is the business trying to accomplish? In what direction is the business going? And then, how will our talent operations support those business objectives? Finally, you have an operational reporting strategy and a metrics and analytics strategy that ties to those.”

Related reading: Metrics that Matter: How to Leverage Analytics to Make Data-Driven Decisions

Why should experience design take precedence over compliance?

Compliance is critical to protecting the organization against legal risks related to data privacy and maintaining a fair and ethical workplace. However, Newman has seen compliance prioritized too early in the implementation process — to the detriment of system design and user adoption.

“Very often, compliance requirements come into play way too early, and systems and processes get defined based on that,” Newman said. “What I find particularly with recruiting technology is if you don’t build for experience first, you’ll never be in compliance, because people will never use it.”

In other words, when people start working outside the system to recruit and hire, your data integrity goes out the window. So focus first on designing a system that recruiters and other stakeholders will want to use, because it makes their jobs easier, and then introduce compliance measures.

Can you talk about the importance of operational support?

Operational support goes hand-in-hand with a well-designed user experience to secure long-term sustainability of ROI, said Newman, who dedicates a section of his book to this topic.

“You can’t expect that all your users are just going to figure stuff out on their own,” he said. While you can anticipate a large portion of potential use cases for new HR technology, the key is to be able to adapt the solution to tackle new challenges as they arise on an ongoing basis.

“If you don’t have operational support that can constantly take those potentially new challenges and new requirements and figure out what the best use case is, what the most frictionless experience within the technology is, then slowly, the users start doing things outside the system.” And that means you’re not establishing the digital footprint and data needed for ongoing success.

Operational support should be available for HRIS teams during integration, and especially for talent operations for the duration of platform usage. Additionally, technology with AI will require dedicated resources and support.

“You can do an amazing job designing for experience. You can do an amazing job of defining your goals and metrics and reporting strategy. But if you don’t support it, it’s going to erode and fade,” Newman said.

How can organizations plan for challenges related to AI adoption?

Newman has noticed some specific considerations related to technology implementations involving AI:


“There’s so much legislation brewing right now around AI,” Newman said. He sees a lot of activity (and, at times, pushback) from compliance teams trying to determine governance policies. In particular, the risk of AI introducing bias into recruiting and hiring processes has gotten a lot of attention. (Although, as Newman pointed out, it’s HR’s job to protect the organization against biased hiring regardless of whether or not AI technology is used.)

Concerns are also swirling over the possibility of employers letting AI make definitive decisions regarding candidate selection and hiring, Newman said. “If any company is thinking that the AI fit score is going to make a decision for them, it’s not a good choice.”
Ideally, an individual with AI skills and expertise should serve as a liaison to the organization’s compliance team, explaining planned use cases for AI and ensuring ongoing collaboration on compliance efforts.

Upskilling Your People

While the mantra that AI will augment rather than replace humans is rooted in truth, employers have to acknowledge that everyday job duties will change for some roles. And managers can’t expect their people to automatically know how to perform these new value-add job activities. “You’ve got to either give them the ability to learn the new skills, teach them, or … give them other roles, let them work in other capacities, and put people in the roles that are going to do those value-add activities that you expect.”

For example, AI can take over resume screening, giving recruiters the opportunity to focus on sourcing passive candidates. But if current job duties emphasize processing and organizing inbound applications, they’ll need to be trained on sourcing skills.

Likewise, AI scheduling tools will give recruiting coordinators a lot of free time. Rather than eliminating those positions, what if these individuals could become candidate concierges, giving job candidates the extra attention throughout the hiring process that sets your organization apart?

“Maybe [recruiting coordinators] don’t spend as much time checking calendars as [they] do making sure there’s a really great experience happening for the candidate and the manager,” Newman said.

Learn more in our State of Skills: 2024 Market Data Report

Key Takeaways

Here are Newman’s top takeaways for a successful tech implementation:

  • Although important, avoid letting compliance considerations dominate the design phase to the detriment of user experience.

  • Make sure operational support is in place. Don’t leave recruiters to figure out a new system on their own.

  • Come up with best practices that fit your organization’s specific needs, goals, and ongoing challenges.

Learn more about maximizing your platform investments in this on-demand webinar.

Maggie Blehar

Maggie is a writer at Phenom, bringing you information on all things talent experience. In addition to writing, she enjoys traveling, painting, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends. 

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