Innovation Is Easy!

486140535 (1)Easy to say, right? But let’s think practically for a minute. If innovation really were so easy, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?

As trusted advisors to our clients, our role is to help them innovate — to find smarter ways of finding, engaging and securing the talent they need to operate successfully (including the talent that already resides in their organization).

What constitutes innovation in our industry? Until a couple of years ago, it was primarily around helping clients execute their recruitment function more efficiently: lowering cost-to-hire and reducing time-to-hire.

But in 2017, those are just table stakes. Today, our challenges are even more complex. Efficiency is still important, but now we’re challenged to improve the quality of people we hire. Our clients are looking for employees who can start contributing right away and are more likely to stick around long-term. Consider call centers where industry estimates peg average turnover rates between 30% to 45%.

What’s more, the competition for these high performers has only intensified as the employment picture has improved. That means you have to deliver a consistently exquisite candidate experience that puts your competitors to shame.

Innovation should drive simplicity. Talent acquisition has become more complex over the last 20 years but are we any better at recruiting? Let’s use innovation to make recruiting simple (and fun) again.

PREMIUM CONTENT: Contingent Workforce Technology – What defines state of the art and why does it matter?

We’re helping clients do this by embracing new technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, chatbots and others to drive cutting edge recruitment and sourcing capabilities. When robots can do rote tasks less expensively, leaders can take stock and shift people to more complex processes that allow them to apply innate human talents and creativity in ways that robots just can’t.

Here are a few examples:

  • We’re helping clients eliminate or reduce the need for human recruiters to spend time on routine tasks such as resume parsing, interview scheduling and authorizing job requisitions or offers. Our own robot, DORIS, processed 72,000 candidate documents for a client — a task that would otherwise have taken 10 full-time staff two months to complete. With these kinds of rule-based tasks managed in the background by AIs, front-line recruitment professionals can focus on building better relationships with candidates and hiring managers.
  • We’re currently working with a client to pilot Mya, which bills itself as the first AI recruiting assistant. Mya combines AI with natural language processing (NLP) to assess job applicants, answer routine questions about the company and keep candidates up to date on where they stand in the process. These chatbots can be integrated with the applicant tracking system and workflow, or stand alone on a careers site.
  • AIs can take approved requisitions and, based on the job specification, execute targeted sourcing campaigns around the clock.
  • We’re using predictive analytics is to help clients anticipate their future workforce needs before those needs become critical. Terabytes upon terabytes of data from across the business can help organizations better understand what kinds of workers they’ll need, where they’ll need them and when they’ll be needed. The tools can also leverage macroeconomic data to identify which locations hold concentrations of people with the skills they need. The volumes of data needed to perform these analyses are too much for humans to digest and act upon — but predictive analytics tools make that possible.
  • We’re working with clients to use AI platforms that determine how likely an individual candidate is to be interested in a specific job. These technologies can even help to build a more complete profile of a candidate by combining the information they provide in their resume with unstructured data gathered from their social media activity.
  • On the flip side, AI and predictive analytics can help reduce attrition. Oftentimes, your best candidate is the one you lose — but complex algorithms that assess an individual’s social media activity, for example, can predict when an existing employee is about to jump ship before it’s too late. The same tools can also, by the way, identify passive candidates at other companies who might be willing to entertain your job offer.
  • As talent acquisition teams seek to deliver a consumer-grade experience to every candidate, sentiment analysis has come to the fore. We’re helping several clients get a real-time view into how candidates’ satisfaction as they move through the hiring process. Insight from these findings can help employers tweak problem areas and emphasize points of strength in their candidate experience.

In my next post, I will address how innovation  is everyone’s job, and how you can lead the innovation.

MORE: 5 Workplace Trends For 2017 – Talent Acquisition Execs, Are You Ready?

Penny Queller

Penny Queller
Penny Queller is SVP of Alexander Mann Solutions.

Penny Queller
Penny Queller is SVP of Alexander Mann Solutions.

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