Maggie BleharJuly 7, 2023
Topics: Talent Experience

Retooling Technology to Accelerate Your Talent Experience

From digital asset management to AI algorithms and dynamic integrations, there are many ways to consolidate and transform your tech stack for a more streamlined talent experience.

Ed Newman, Founder and CEO of talentEXP, joined Talent Experience Live to share a model for accelerating your talent experience, focusing on the first and arguably one of the most critical steps: retooling your current tech stack.

Discover practical insights and real-life examples highlighting how you can revamp your HR technology to better attract top talent, engage your target audiences, and retain your people effectively in the full episode below — or read on for the highlights.

When’s the best time for companies to transform their tech stacks?

In our current landscape of slow economic growth, Newman believes “the timing couldn't be better than right now” to transform your tech stack. The significant decrease in recruiting activity offers organizations an opportunity to pause and reflect on their current state — and strategize for the future.

In addition, recent advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and investment in HR technology over the past five years supports the case for upgrading your tech stack. With organizations becoming more conservative in their hiring practices, redirecting resources toward your tech stack is a wise move to stay ahead. Newman considers it an opportune moment to leverage these factors and ensure your technological infrastructure aligns with the ever-evolving demands of the industry.

Related reading: Introducing Phenom X+ — Generative AI for HR — And 18 Platform Innovations to Transform Hiring, Retention & Development

How can companies assess what technology is working and what needs an upgrade or overhaul?

When it comes to assessing what's working with your technology and determining what needs to be upgraded, there are several key factors to consider. Evaluate your current tech stack for the following:

  • Content capabilities: “Content is king, and if you want to improve that digital experience, you want to have a pretty dynamic way to deliver that content,” Newman said.

  • Artificial Intelligence: The important thing here is that AI must be in the DNA of your tech stack. Legacy tech platforms have started calling features “AI” when they’re really not, so getting a tool that has AI algorithms built in is key.

  • Assessment technology: If you’re going to adopt any type of automation, you need assessments that let you know how candidates stack up, Newman stressed.

  • Ability for integrations: This is a foundational must-have. With significant fragmentation of tech solutions over the past six or seven years, many companies have ended up with a patchwork of 15 or more different products stitched together, which ultimately fail to deliver the seamless experience that’s needed. To reduce this complexity, leveraging platforms that offer integration opportunities is crucial.

To navigate the future of your tech stack and determine which platforms to adopt and how to supplement them, it’s important to consider your current investments. Assess your contracts and the longevity of your existing technology. Developing a tech strategy blueprint helps with timing and prioritization, and a thorough analysis helps you realize the need for specific tech changes that should be prioritized. Performing these assessments upfront allows for faster decision-making and implementation.

“Any given organization has investments,” Newman reminded us. “It’s like an investment portfolio, and you’re deciding when to invest and when to double down. It makes sense to reserve a portion of your portfolio for experimentation, but usually that platform piece is a longer form investment.” It’s a balancing act between budget and having clarity about where your tech stack is going.

How important is audience segmentation in terms of content creation and the disbursement of technology?

There is an underlying compliance mentality in HR aiming to provide the same experience to every individual, but fairness does not equate to uniformity. Instead of using a one-size-fits-all approach, segmenting and personalizing content allows for the creation of distinct experiences for different audiences, ensuring the most relevant content gets to the right person — while maintaining consistency within each group.

Take a hard-to-fill IT role, for example. “You'll need to treat those people differently than the jobs where you’re getting 500 applicants,” explained Newman. “For these roles, we’re going to put the job application at the interview,” so you don’t lose applicants before you can get a conversation with them.

In other cases of confidential searches or specialized roles, traditional job postings may not be suitable. These specific audiences require targeted experiences. By thoughtfully segmenting the candidate pool, tailored interactions can be designed to meet their specific needs. This may involve scheduling conversations with individuals who possess a more in-depth understanding of the role, such as the hiring manager, rather than relying solely on recruiters.

Meaningful and personalized conversations are highly valued by candidates, and they can see through inauthentic or inexperienced interactions, Newman said. It’s important to remember that automation can be leveraged for tasks like screening candidates, which in turn frees up recruiters' time in allowing for more meaningful engagement.

Is different tech needed for internal and external applicants?

Newman suggests that when engaging internal and external applicant processes, it is absolutely crucial to treat them as separate audiences. Internal applicants already possess knowledge about the company, and the company has insights about their capabilities.

However, corporate policies often hinder internal talent mobility due to hiring managers' reluctance to let go of their employees. “Corporations take their hands off the wheel when it comes to internal talent, because hiring managers don’t want to let their people go. Because of that, we have policies that say you have to be in your job for more than 12 months before you apply to an internal position. If you do apply, we’re going to send your manager a message. It will absolutely curtail internal movement and it makes people feel like they need to go outside the organization to get ahead,” Newman said.

To address this, it is essential to open up internal mobility and establish a plan for backfilling positions when internal employees move. By providing opportunities for growth, such as succession planning, mentoring programs, and upskilling initiatives, organizations can alleviate the lack of growth that often drives employees to leave. “Succession planning in most companies stops at director level… it might not even get there, because those are the most important roles — but we don’t do it all the way down,” and that’s a problem, said Newman.

Utilizing employee relationship management tools for proactive succession planning helps employees focus on developing specific skills needed for the future. Just like learning to drive requires practice and experience, preparing employees for their next roles should involve more than just theoretical learning.

How are organizations progressively implementing successful employee experiences?

Organizations are gradually recognizing the importance of implementing successful employee experiences, although it may take time for companies to fully adopt this mindset.

Newman cited the book, "The Power of Moments" by Chip and Dan Heath, as a good example. It highlights the significance of designing experiences that go beyond purely digital interactions, emphasizing that people evaluate their experiences based on peak moments. Simply filling out an application will never be a memorable peak moment.

To create truly compelling and meaningful experiences for both candidates and employees, organizations need to focus on the very first day of work. This pivotal moment can be transformed into a personalized video with messages from loved ones — an example of what a new Phenom employee experiences on their first day of work.

By creating an immediate connection and instilling a sense of pride in new employees, organizations can set the stage for a positive employee experience for years to come, starting from day one. The willingness of employees to refer others to the organization also serves as a testament to their satisfaction, and can contribute to the overall success of employee experience initiatives.

Related reading: The 5 Main Drivers of Employee Retention

What advice do you have for organizations looking to transform their talent experience?

Newman’s most important piece of advice is this: “If you cannot garner the budget to do some massive transformation, start small and identify one area where you can create impact.” By demonstrating the value of investing in improving the experience in that specific area, such as higher conversion rates, increased offer acceptance, or longer tenure, you can build a case for broader transformation initiatives.

He also encourages organizations to remember that contrary to some beliefs that automation eliminates the human touch, it’s actually beneficial to embrace it. Automating the initial digital experience leads to human interaction with knowledgeable staff faster — and reduces manual, tedious work — creating a superior experience. Receiving a timely digital response, even if it results in being turned down, is far more preferable than entering a black hole of silence and receiving a message three months later, Newman stressed.

Streamlining the process from the first click to scheduling an interview provides a significantly improved experience, ensuring timely and meaningful interactions throughout the recruitment journey.

If you’re looking for more tips on creating an outstanding talent experience, check out our Definitive Guide to Employee Experience.

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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