recruitment marketingRead Part 1 of the series here.

This is my 3rd straight year attending the HR Technology Conference and one of the best experiences is always the conference sessions.  The sessions are led by presenters that know the space and their market extremely well and I always walk away with new thoughts, ideas and to-do’s.  While the sessions all differ in their ultimate goal from thought leadership to down and dirty execution, they all provide tremendous value to the attendees that participate in them.

This year I was able to attend a number of great sessions especially around talent acquisition and recruiting.  Please note, however, I was unable to attend all the sessions I wanted to so if you don’t see a session on the list, it’s not an indictment on it but moreso I was just unable to attend.

Now onto the learnings I received from the sessions.

Closing Keynote: Where Are We Going? What Have We Learned? by Jason Averbook (@jasonaverbook)

One of the best sessions I attended was the last of the conference.  Jason Averbook brought closure to the conference not only doing a great send-off to Bill Kutik but also challenging conference attendees to make sure the insights and learnings that got them excited during the conference would be leveraged when they went back to their teams and companies.  Here is my take on the major themes for the session:

Technological Change: We’ve come a long way in a relatively short amount of time with HR Technology.  From mainframes to floppy disks to servers to the cloud (thanks @Ray_anne) however with each innovation and the benefits it offers, the way we implement systems hasn’t evolved too much.

While we don’t have to install the 47 floppy disks like we used to (which Jason did when at Ceredian years ago) we have a unique advantage now of making better quicker decisions on the technology we use to execute and enhance our strategy.  The key is understand what our goals are and what we need.

The one other interesting dynamic of all this is that consumer technology has quickly outpaced what businesses use and have for the first time in history.  So while we try to get our employees to adopt technologies and processes, we have to understand this changing technology dynamic.  Both as vendors and decision makers, we have to try and make technology adoption easier and with this comes the need to understand the tools employees use as consumers.  Determine what’s familiar for them that can help them do their jobs better.

Here’s Jason’s slide what technology is about today:

Strategy comes first: While technology can help achieve success in your HR goals, it by itself is not a differentiating factor.  To truly create competitive advantage, organizations need to determine their strategic goals and process first to determine the technologies that help them achieve it.

Listen to your stakeholders in the organization and focus on overarching goals not symptoms.  Don’t just solve the immediate problems but go further to help achieve the goals of the organization.  And make sure your focus isn’t so siloed that you miss out on other opportunities.  This was best exemplified with Jason sharing this great video: It’s Not the Nail

As Jason notes, analytics sessions are always packed and have been for nearly 3 years. But few organizations actually focus on this after. Why? They don’t know what they should be measuring and don’t take the time to determine this and fully commit to it in their strategy.  Building a strategy is hard but organizations that do it well will see the benefit.

Focus on innovations today not later: One of the most important takeaways from the session was to not let key innovations fall into the abyss of never getting done.  And the importance of making these key elements of technology a priority.

As Jason asked the audience, when was the last time we bought a solution because of it’s payroll managing capabilities?  But if we didn’t buy it for that, why is that the first thing we always implement?  While payroll is essential to go over employees the sentiment still sticks here, we need to prioritize the key initiatives and reasons why we buy the technology in the first place.

Saying “We will get to it in Phase 2 or 3 might as well mean ‘We are never getting to it'” (thanks @SteveBoese).  So as we think about implementing new systems always map out the core areas you need to implement along with the value added areas your organization need to make your people strategy a competitive advantage.

As organizations left the conference, Jason urged them to start with strategy first, continue to deploy key solutions identified as adding value and always look to extend capabilities and remain curious about what you can do.  It was a great session.


Panel on Global Talent Challenge: How Can Recruiting Technology Span the Globe? with Deloitte’s Kent Kirch, PepsiCo’s Chris Hoyt (@TheRecruiterGuy), Manulife’s Maureen Neglia, Cisco’s Danielle Monaghan, moderated by Gerry Crispin

This session was an interesting look at global organizations and how they were dealing with challenges that exist when leveraging technology and processes across the globe. The big takeaway from this session was that you needed to listen to your global counterparts fully to understand how the overall strategy works in their environment.  There’s no one size fits all playbook that can make sure your strategy and technology work well in any local recruiting strategy.

Here are some of the great soundbytes from the session’s panel.

Global Recruiting Insights

  • A big takeaway here is that while global recruiting presents some unique challenges the key recruiting strategy and goals don’t change much.  You need to know local markets but always keep in mind bigger recruiting picture – Chris Hoyt and Kent Kirch
  • While centralizing technology is great and many tools provide lots of value, it’s integral to understand local recruiter process to ensure user adoption of technology.  – Maureen Neglia
  • Social media is just an extension of what recruiting has always been about: human interaction.  Figure out the platforms where candidates are and engage – Chris Hoyt

Interesting Stories

  • In one of their local markets, Manulife launched a new technology to help recruiters.  The problem is that in this market recruiters spent a lot of time out of pocket and the technology implemented required computer to use properly. Any solution used here had to be mobile friendly – Maureen Neglia
  • In South Africa, recruiters track candidates on scholarship from high school through university.  This typically spans over 7 years so they need systems that enable them to track progress and alert them on candidates who graduate – Kent Kirch
  • In one of their Asian branches, Cisco noticed that there was a lot of pregnancies in the office among their female employees.  Later did they realize it was what is seen as a favorable year in which to be born within the local calendar* – Danielle Monaghan

*I like the story but please note that the particulars are vague and may be a little off due to my note-taking, not Danielle

Key Initiatives

  • Cisco has created an internal resume bank for employees that they use to fill open roles.  So any employee can apply to these positions within the organization
  • PepsiCo is leveraging Big Data & analytics across their global strategy.  Now all their global teams have access to data and analytics similar to what they have in the U.S., most for 1st time.
  • Manulife spends a good deal of time listening to the needs of their international recruiting teams and implements technologies based on these unique core needs.
  • Deloitte has a Global Recruiting Council internally with global leaders across the world that participate.  This helps them gauge interest and prove concepts before they roll out any initiative internationally.

Recruiting Technology State of the Union by Elaine Orler (@elaineorler)

Elaine conducted a good session on how you need to think about your current and future recruitment technology needs.  She also provided a hit list of companies to see on the HR Tech expo floor.

Here’s some great takeaways from the session:

Recruiting Technology Today: Elaine started right off the bat with outlining what most organizations face today.  Most organizations use more than 5 systems to execute their recruiting initiatives (this includes ATS, assessments, recruitment marketing and others.)  And while this may work for you today, the question posed was “Has your recruiting technology solution evolved?”

Organizations were asked to answer this question for themselves as it’s key to ensuring that your organizations remains competitive to find the talent it needs to be successful.  And something you should always looking to achieve.

What are you running to?:  So now that you understand where you are at today, you really need to determine the future.  And with that organizations need to answer “Where are you running from?” and “Where are you running to?”.  This will help you determine what you need to do from a strategy and in turn technology standpoint to be successful. This also includes taking a look at big trends in recruiting such as predictive analytics, event management, mobile and workflow management.

So where are you at?:  Elaine shared 4 stages that you may be in.  Adoption or getting internal stakeholders to better use your existing solutions.  Evolution or bringing in new tools to help you evolve your strategy further.  Experimentation or the need to try out new tools and trends on a smaller scale before committing more resources.  Explosion or the need to totally re architect your entire technology ecosystem.

As organizations look to identify which stage they are in, they need to go through the checklist: 1) inventory what they have today, 2) identify key gaps in process and technology, 3) isolate solutions that fill identified gaps and 4) Phase in solutions and gain adoption internally.

Be Sure to Keep in Mind: While going through the process of selecting new solutions, it’s important to keep in mind two main things.  First, how does the technology we choose integrate with the existing solutions we decide to keep.  Second, how does the chosen solution ensure compatibility with all devices including mobile.  These both are becoming incredibly important in today’s technology space.

This session proved to be one of the most packed that I was at and many attendees I spoke with said that it was the most useful they attended.

Hilton Checks-in With Digital Recruiting Technology with Hilton’s Rodney Moses and HireVue’s Mark Newman (@HireVue)

The Hilton / HireVue session was one of the first I attended but also proved to be one of the better sessions I had the opportunity to attend.  Hilton is leveraging HireVue in a number of really intriguing ways and seeing tremendous performance as a result.

Here are some of the key insights I gained from this session:

Adding Human Element back into Recruiting:  While we all know that digital interviewing provides major cost and time savings for organizations, I really liked how this session focused less on what we already knew and more on the key value propositions that provide value not only to the organization but the candidate.  The recruiting process has become more and more transactional over the years and as an industry we need to bring human element back into recruiting.

Veteran Recruiting a Priority: At Hilton, digital recruiting touches 70,000 hires a year and touches upon a number of key initiatives around Digital Sourcing, Hourly Recruiting, Candidate Experience, Campus and Veteran.  It’s in Veteran recruiting that there is a big focus for Hilton, who hopes to reach 10,000 Veteran hires in the next 5 years.

I also was excited to hear that Hilton is giving 2 night stay to any vet taking a job interview across the world while HireVue offers free digital interviewing to vets who want to promote themselves.  Both great ways to give back to this community.

Better Candidate Experience:  Hilton also has a huge focus on candidate experience.  And they should as any candidate that comes in is always a potential customer and guest at one of their hotels.  They showed their interview process which I thought set expectations well, was well branded and pretty straight forward.  What I liked most was their ability to capture feedback at the end of the process for their Net Promoter Score, which was a fantastic 94%.

Improve Selection Outcomes: Rodney and Mark spoke a lot about giving a voice back to the candidate in the interview process.  Thus enabling them to be able to tell their story, showcase their skills and prove their ability to do the job in a way that the resume or a profile could never do.  Most important in this respect, however, is it helps managers make better selection decisions on candidates overall.  This became clear from the video messages left by Hilton managers across the organization explaining how HireVue has helped them do their jobs better.

Overall, it was a good session to see how Hilton was using HireVue to understand their candidates better and ultimately improve how they hire the right people for their culture and organization.

Tune Back In

Those were some of my favorite sessions but do note that I didn’t include “The 3rd Annual Candidate Experience Awards” in this writeup.  I will be doing a blog post later this week on the winners, learnings from the session as well other key thoughts on the Candidate Experience.  Stay tuned later this week.

0 responses to “#HRTechConf 2013: What I learned in Vegas, Part 2”

Leave a Reply