Your Guide Down the Digital Talent River

Your Guide Down the Digital Talent River

Steps 1 through 3

As discussed in my previous blog there is a 5-step guide to moving from yesterday’s Talent Pools to today’s Digital Talent Rivers.
To recap:

  1. Think outside-in
  2. Increase hiring to ludicrous speed
  3. Just-In-Time (JIT) Hiring
  4. Shrink the top of the funnel
  5. Take down the sign…

We’ll go through the first 3 in detail here and tackle the final two in my new blog coming in a few days.

1. Think outside-in

It’s always wise, before starting a journey, to take inventory.  For us, that starts by asking Are we treating candidates and hiring managers like consumers?  This one is easy, pick up your smart phone right now and try to apply for a job with your company? Do it right now, we can wait…..

I’m glad we’re back! Did you find the job on the web or cheat and go to your career site? (would a candidate do what you just did?).  Was the job easy to read on your phone? Did a bot engage to help?  Did you have to create a profile with some horrible password requirement? Did it require your resume? (if you want to hire passive candidates, would they have one?). Did it take less than 2 or 3 minutes? Did you get a confirmation?

And as a hiring manager… how is your experience? Is it easy to create a requisition? How easy is it to review candidates (whether contract or full time?). Do you get updates during the on-boarding process?

For many firms the acquisition process was built by regulatory and cost-minded folks, using technology invented generations ago. That worked yesterday, when there were no other options. But Increasingly talent expects, and will gravitate towards, firms that deliver an outstanding hiring experience.  Be it for the candidate, the hiring manager or the recruiter.  Experience will segment winners from losers. Even great brands that deliver bad experience will fail, while the unknown’s, delivering amazing experience will prevail.

Experience is the fuel that powers our Digital Talent Rivers strategy. We must simplify, automate and accelerate candidate capture and hire. Engaging talent should be no harder than ordering a Pizza, and just about as transparent.

Recommendations: Imagine an amazing experience. Feel confident that there is tech to deliver it.  It’s a journey so you don’t have to do everything all at once. Maybe start by using bots to accelerate apply or on-boarding.   Hire and empower tech talent inside Talent Acquisition to make, and fight for, the business cases for change.  Don’t let other groups delay or shut you down.  Most importantly win the C-Suite.  Make sure they understand the risk of not transforming is too great to delay or ignore.

2. Increase hiring to Ludicrous Speed

Is it possible to consistently hire most of our talent “in a few days?” I like to ask this question when I attend meetings because it always generates the most responses, frustration and desire. I also like to ask: “But the technology is here today to do it, faster and cheaper, why don’t we just change”?  Pandemonium follows!  The responses usually are:

  1. I don’t know, but I sure wish it could
  2. There are too many organizational siloes and barriers
  3. Lack of technical/process competency

What I find fascinating is that few argue the possibility.  Most believe and want it to happen. In marketing terms this is called Latent Demand. It means there is demand pressure waiting for supply to develop. In Talent Acquisition the latent demand for instant hiring is so strong that when it emerges there will be so much demand it will disrupt the landscape.

So what’s really holding us up? I would argue that we are still using the old “inspect for errors” approach to hiring versus the “design quality in” approach. Not sure what I mean? Look at your hiring approach (end to end) and see how many quality checks, tests, interviews and more are involved in your process. Sure, they may be necessary, but there is a cost – a very significant cost There is a lot of waste. Error. IT’s slow. And ultimately very expensive. Shift from thinking “that’s how we inspect our poor quality” to “Can my design eliminate inspection and what’s the cost/value return”. 

Cycle-time is the engine that will drive our Digital Talent Rivers strategy.  We must get past our own barriers and accelerate.  By increasing speed we can visualize and overcome those barriers and deliver the greatest possible value to talent and our business.

Recommendations: DON’T settle for incremental, human-centric or good enough approaches.  Put a sign on your wall that says: “I’m mad – our largest competitor is hiring in 5 days – get out of my way”.  This will be true sooner than you think, so make sure it’s on your competitor’s wall!  DO embrace cycle time as the mechanism to measure the “Muda”, or waste, in your process.  As you explore sub-cycle improvement look at technology that reduces human intervention and improves experience. Text to Apply, FAQ bots, Programmatic Advertising, Matching Platforms, Scheduling Tools, Digital Interviewing, AI Assessments and on-boarding automation can all deliver these dual benefits.

3. Just-In-Time (JIT) Hiring

I’ve met a few companies with workforce plans that include reasonably good hiring forecasts.  But globalization and the pace of innovation make this kind of planning increasingly difficult. With good reason, they are more focused on (internal) talent management.  Thus, firms need talent acquisition to be nimbler and fill in the gaps, reacting to the unforeseen. This is no different than a car dealer who places their orders with the manufacturer long in advance of the model year.  But the dealer also expects their manufacturer to respond quickly if some models have better, or worse, than expected results. Yet even today many TA organizations bemoan unexpected hiring requests and justify long cycle times. 

Fortunately, our earlier focus on experience and speed has positioned us for JIT hiring. Our commitment to experience and speed will already enable us to engage, capture and convert more talent, faster.  So, what does this really mean? Sure, we’ll deliver great outcomes, but this is also where our cost-model starts to plummet. By shifting to a demand driven model – delivering better hires faster – we won’t need the same cost-infrastructure. In manufacturing terms – we’ll reduce inventory (both internal resources and the costs associated with recruiting new hires).

Talent is the inventory engaged in our Digital Talent River. We will no longer need as many as we improve productivity and reduce investment in redundant and unnecessary recruitment activities.

Recommendations: Change the investment equation in your group to include the cost of poor experience, long cycle time and inspecting out the poor quality. This is the step where you make the business case for change. This is how Toyota gut-punched the US auto industry (and ultimately made all manufacturing businesses better). 

How is your ride down the Digital Talent River going? Feel like you are starting to see a clear path forward? Follow here next week as we continue on our Pontoon boat down the river of talent a go into detail on steps 4 and 5.

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