Expert Tips from KPMG’s Katie Eiseman, Associate Director of Internal Operations and Systems
We know great Talent Acquisition leaders are always on the lookout for high impact innovations that can transform the way their company hires and attracts top talent. New technologies allow recruiters to focus more of their valuable time on strategic and high-value work, such as providing an excellent candidate experience and sourcing those difficult-to-fill roles. Today’s recruiting processes require teams to spend an overwhelming amount of time performing cumbersome administrative tasks, such as manual candidate screening and passive talent searches, seemingly endless data entries, and painstaking resume review. However, new technologies are increasingly available to TA organizations to remove these pain points and deliver extreme efficiencies and benefits – as long as change, adoption, and engagement are properly managed.
Key #1: Change Management: Plan it & Sell It, Don’t Tell It
There are many new technologies that can relieve HR teams’ major pain points, and yet it is very common for leaders to see lower than anticipated levels of engagement and adoption among users that the very tools were purchased for. The best chance for wide adoption is when the tool is first launched; however, too often project teams don’t strategically plan the go-live for the new solution.
A few items can make a noticeable impact on engagement, including:
- Timing: Even a highly desirable tool with user fanfare will see adoption struggles if the launch is poorly timed. Try to avoid launching during peak season or on the busiest day of the week. When you’re busy and the “old way” is still available, users are less likely to spend the time to learn a new solution.
- Inclusion early in the process: Make sure to include recruiters early in the implementation process, or even during vendor selection, so they feel like stakeholders in the decision process. This will make them feel committed and accountable for the solution’s success if engagement is sub-par.
- Consider a gradual roll-out: A gradual roll-out of the solution to a small group at first, if time permits, can establish a ‘proof of concept’. By testing with recruiters who embrace technology, you can observe key engagement metrics and build anticipation. Excitement is contagious – a pilot creates a small group of ambassadors for the new solution that you can leverage for a wider launch to reduce friction and motivate peers to adopt.
When it’s impossible to avoid launches during suboptimal time or a gradual roll-out isn’t feasible, “truly focusing on what’s in it for the users and why the new functionality is going to change things for the better” can go a long way, says Katie.
Katie’s Pro Tip:
“Recognize that change is hard. Be transparent about upcoming changes for your recruiters, especially anything that might sit outside of their natural workflow. Make sure to clearly express information on the new tool’s anticipated benefits and how they align with the user’s core interests.”
Key #2: Define Key Metrics and Measure Them!
Collaborate with your vendor partner on your business case to define success criteria and the connected metrics that will lead to your anticipated business impact. Your desired outcome will need to be turned into well-defined user engagement metrics ahead of the launch. These metrics should be clearly explained, monitored, and reported back to users before launch and on a continual basis to make sure the expectations are clear and to confirm that you are seeing a long-term return on your investment.
Katie’s Pro Tip:
“There are several approaches that may prove helpful to incentivize engagement once these goals are set. Tapping into the naturally competitive inclination of recruiters, create publicly available “Leaderboards” or a “Wall of Fame” and reward Superusers for meeting and exceeding the usage targets you set.”
In a recent integration, Katie “gamified” the process by rewarding users who showed initiative with the new tool. By assigning points to key tasks in the system, such as setting up a profile, creating campaign records, and requiring that all vendor-offered trainings are attended, users could win an iPad.
Key #3: Invest in New and Less Tech-Savvy Users
Even with the best incentives and clear solution benefits, sometimes new team members or less tech-savvy users may still struggle with engagement of a new solution. To overcome this challenge, you’ll need an action plan for continual training and peer best practice sharing to lift these unengaged users. Try scheduling meetings with your less engaged users to understand their reluctance to use the tool. Beyond giving them new motivation to re-engage with the tool, it might even offer you some eye-opening feedback. Reluctance to adopt a new solution can often lead to the discovery of efficient workflow processes or, to your user’s benefit, new feature ideas for the vendor.
Katie’s Pro Tip:
“Hosting or leveraging your vendor-partner’s Customer Success Team to hold one-on-one or smaller group calls can bring to light key custom features that may be a barrier to engagement but can be easily removed.”
For other non-engaged users, it may simply be the sense of ‘drowning’ with yet another tool and too much work. For this ailment, providing refresher trainings and user manuals, hosting interactive training simulations, pairing them with a Superuser colleague, and arranging “pod” information sharing sessions can all make a big difference in engagement.
Key #4: You’ve Got a Friend in Me – Leverage Your Superusers!
Driving technology adoption is heavy lifting. Superusers within your organization can act as ambassadors who help sell the benefits of the new tool and offer best practices. Leveraging your Superusers is a great way to make the load that much lighter and, oftentimes, expose new approaches towards leveraging the system that you and your vendor might not yet be aware of! Katie leverages her “Champion Group” to participate in refresher training sessions and to connect with new hires or struggling users. She also periodically surveys her users’ pain points and incorporates Superusers’ insights into broader training sessions and in her “Monthly Best Practices” emails, which go out to all users.
Katie’s Pro Tip:
“Give your “Champion Group” of Superusers time to share their best practices and personal testimonials. Hearing your peer’s first-hand experience of a solution’s benefits, such as how it reduced hours of time to complete a task or removed the burden of once manual tasks, is often the most effective way of driving broader engagement.”
Key #5: Utilize Vendor Partners to Support (Not Replace!) Your Adoption Efforts
In addition to in-house initiatives to drive adoption of a new solution, the right Vendor Partner will offer continual and dedicated user support. Examples of vendor support beyond basic user training and client updates can include: proactive outreach to unengaged users, agile implementation of custom features to address user complaints or barriers for engagement, and the sharing of best practices from across their client base. It’s always wise to verify if a vendor will offer the comprehensive support needed to make a new solution a success. This vetting can be done easily by asking support-focused questions during the sales process, checking client references for their firsthand experiences, and reviewing the work plan to ensure these elements are included.
Katie’s Pro Tip:
“In tandem with engagement support from your vendor, internal company support is just as critical, especially in the initial roll out to new users.”
While Vendor Support is key, it should never replace your in-house efforts. In Katie’s case, she made herself available by hosting weekly “office hours”, where she would open a conference line to create a forum for users to call in to ask questions or simply listen to their colleague’s questions. These forums gave everyone a dedicated time to learn more about the technology and share best practices beyond training.
While the trials and tribulations of introducing new technologies can be difficult and painful at the start, it’s important to keep in mind that your company’s ability to attract and retain the best talent is a marathon, not a sprint. Successful adoption of new technologies requires long-term thinking strategic planning, and staying ahead of the curve to deliver best practices for your company. We hope that these 5 Keys will provide a helpful toolkit to handle any problems that may arise.
Lauren Pease is Head of Client Solutions at HiredScore, a big data recruiting technology company that delivers candidate prioritization and recommendations for Talent Acquisition departments at Fortune 500 companies.
Questions? Feedback? Email Lauren at firstname.lastname@example.org