How HR’s Digital Transformation Will Elevate the Candidate/Employee Experience in 2020

Human resource and recruiting leaders have experienced unprecedented change in the past few years, with an array of workplace trends and innovations combining to reshape how HR delivers value to its business line partners, how recruiters use next-generation technology to perform their jobs and how the HR function is viewed in the C-suite.

In this new year, many of these trends will accelerate and new ones will emerge. Here’s what to expect in the human resources field as we turn the calendar to the new year.

Candidate as king: The first step in employee engagement

The importance of creating a positive candidate experience will grow in 2020, reflecting an ongoing job seekers’ market with continuing low unemployment. Top candidates may reject recruiting experiences that are too cumbersome, that don’t keep them in the communications loop or that fail to employ modern technology to make the hiring process mobile-friendly, intuitive and friction-free.

One study found that 72% of applicants with a poor candidate experience will share that experience on sites like Glassdoor, on social media or with family and friends. Another recent study from PwC found that nearly half (49%) of job seekers working in in-demand fields say they’ve turned down an offer because of a bad experience during the hiring process.

The need for a candidate experience that mirrors the convenience, efficiency and speed of the best online consumer transactions should extend to the background screening process. Inaccurate screening reports, unwieldy information-gathering processes or delays caused by use of outdated technology can cause candidates who’ve already accepted a job offer to reconsider their commitment.

Employers should be giving candidates the flexibility to enter needed information from any device, provide text notifications and reminders to help them complete tasks and offer time-saving features like document uploads and e-signature.

Technology innovations will continue to transform recruiting

Recruiters have been among the biggest beneficiaries of new  technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, tools that mean they no longer have to invest long hours screening thousands of resumes, spend time answering applicants’ frequently asked questions or perform the juggling act of scheduling candidate interviews.

That trend will likely continue in 2020 as technology innovations help bring new efficiencies and improved hiring outcomes for recruiters. According to research from the Talent Board, the top recruiting technologies companies will invest in video-based job descriptions and virtual assistants to help source existing candidate databases. Also high on that list of technology investments will be text-based recruiting and reference checking technologies, the study found.

Next-generation, mobile-first technology also will continue to make background checks faster as well as more accurate and comprehensive.  The most common background checks on candidates can now be done in one business day, for example.

The best systems allow recruiting teams to set up an account and submit their first background check order within minutes, a must-have feature when time is of the essence in recruiting in-demand talent.


Onboarding assumes new strategic importance

Organizations that don’t take new-hire onboarding seriously can pay a steep price. A negative onboarding experience can cause new hires to leave a company, essentially doubling the cost of what is spent to source and hire them. For example, the average US employer spends $4,000 and 24 days to hire a new worker, according to a Glassdoor study. That same study also found companies with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%.

With labor pools shrinking and top talent hard to find, retaining good employees will continue to be a front-burner issue not only for HR and hiring managers but for the C-suite.

A background screen should be viewed as a critical first step in the onboarding process. If the screening process is too cumbersome, lengthy or is mobile “unfriendly” — if it doesn’t allow candidates to use their phones to submit needed information or provide consent during the process, for example — it can set a negative early tone for your newly-hired employees. An intuitive, frictionless and fast screening process sends a message to new hires that their new employer “walks the talk” about creating great employee experiences.

The employee experience will remain front and center

In his keynote speech at the 2019 HR Technology Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas, industry analyst and thought leader Josh Bersin said HR leaders should think of their technology systems not only as HR tools but as “action platforms”  designed to streamline workflows and create more actionable insights for business unit leaders.

Bersin said providers across HR technology categories are increasingly focused on building platforms that improve the user experience for both employees and job candidates, not only for back-office HR users. These vendors are designing more of their HR applications to be accessed within the flow of managers’ daily work and to integrate with mainstream work platforms.

Employee experience has become a new engagement. In 2020, HR leaders will remain laser-focused on creating processes and implementing technologies that make employees’ lives easier and their interactions with HR more memorable across the talent lifecycle, from onboarding to performance management to learning and development.

As the trusted screening partner of 70% of the largest staffing firms in the world, Sterling understands the intense competition for talent, complex program requirements, and increased pressure our customers face.


Vincenza Caruso-Valente

Vincenza Caruso-Valente
Vincenza Caruso-Valente is general manager, retail and staffing, Sterling. Find her on LinkedIn.

Vincenza Caruso-Valente

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