Across the globe we’re seeing positive indications of organizations moving through ‘crisis’ mode, with plans taking shape to reboot and rebuild how businesses operate moving forward. Surviving, let alone emerging with strength, has put HR and Talent leaders in unchartered territory as they deal with a swift redefinition of all things people and workplace. For many, there’s a recognition that the rules we’ve operated by now require re-writing. In a recent article, Josh Bersin outlined a non-nonsense approach to ‘The Reset’, with simplification weaving through new ways we can think about things like digitization and leadership.
In the recent PWC’s COVID-19 CFO Pulse Survey, US finance leaders warned a safe return to work comes with increased operational complexity. In a week marked by an unprecedented congressional replenishment of emergency funding of $480 billion, it’s clear that despite uncertainty many in the US are desperate to get back to work. A key element of this transition back to work? 40% of the 305 US finance leaders recognized that accelerating automation will play an important role in new ways of working.
What does this mean for engaging and hiring workers – a traditionally ‘high-touch’ process – in the post-COVID era? Smart talent acquisition teams are already looking at how they need to redefine the role of the recruiter – with some teams operating at diminished capacity, they already recognize it’s time to find a new balance between human interaction and reliance on digital tools. As the talent acquisition technology landscape has grown we’ve seen an explosion of chatbots, recruiting assistants and artificial intelligence. These tools flooded the market like a shiny new toy but with very few proven outcomes, and quickly became nothing more than a ‘check the box’ feature/function for HR teams. While bots automated mundane tasks or resolved basic queries, they lacked the richness to truly transform the way recruiting was done. Today, we still see even modern-looking chatbots operating at a very basic level – they’re ‘bolted’ onto other systems and ultimately dump an excited candidate into a legacy system or workflow that quickly becomes cumbersome for the candidate.
So, how can digital tools begin to actually impact the efficiency of our recruiting workflow and take the burden off the hiring manager and HR teams? Today’s recruiting automation tools are exciting because they aspire to be more than answering questions like ‘do I need to buy my own uniform’ and actually guide a candidate from initial exploration through apply to interview and offer acceptance. This means every step of the hiring workflow works in harmony, as one fluid conversational experience driven by automation – and when the conversation becomes complex, human intervention enables a seamless transition that eliminates that ‘stumped bot’ frustration from candidates.
The other incredible benefit to intelligent automation tools – cutting out the waste. A connected conversational experience means you only ask for information once, and only when it’s needed to move through the workflow – you don’t collect social security numbers from job seekers before they’re a viable candidate, or ask for a resume for roles that don’t typically have one to upload. This digital workflow enablement means your organization is now accessible and responsive whenever the job seeker wants to engage. The new reality for recruiters will be the demand to operate at a scale they’ve never had to before – potentially finding ways to respond to thousands of job seekers at a time and being prepared for massive spikes up and down in demand and supply. At the same time, recruiting teams will have to balance how they treat high volumes of candidates that may also be hard-earned customers – falling behind could come with a high price to the organization.
What will recruiting look like for your organization as we return to work? Every day, I’m privileged to have conversations with organizations that are in the midst of great change, and they know survival will require doing things differently. While intelligent automation holds promise for evolving the talent acquisition function, it also creates an opportunity to put the craft of being a recruiter back into recruiting. You may be operating with a smaller recruiting team as you look to rebuild or grow your workforce post-crisis, and automation could be the key to placing the human recruiter in the true ‘moments that matter’ while technology handles the rest. This is something a basic bot won’t enable – even if it has a fun name or cute icon. We’ve recently announced how we plan to remedy this challenge for hourly workers, one conversation at a time.