I recently had a video call with recruitment technology expert Lauren Jones of Leap Consulting Solutions to discuss the challenges and opportunities staffing companies face when implementing automation tools and other HR technologies. Lauren recently founded Leap Consulting Services to help companies build recruiting technology architecture that is capable of full-cycle business solutions. She is a proponent of intentional, strategic, and mindful implementation of technology with human connectivity at its core. 

We discussed how we, as an industry, are in the middle of a tech revolution. During my career, I’ve seen business processes evolve from rolodexes and phonebooks to auto dialers and chatbots. HR technology solutions are ever changing and are here to stay. They offer many benefits when implemented and maintained strategically, but where do you even start in navigating the murky waters of automation? 

I’ve summarized our conversation with five tips for successfully integrating automation tools into your organization. 

Lauren Jones – Leap Consulting Solutions

1. Get your house in order.

How do you know if your company is ready to dip its toe into automation? First things first—you need to have good operational practices in place, clear processes, and strategic business goals that guide how your company builds its technology architecture. You need to be honest and authentic about where your organization is and what is going right and wrong. Deconstruct in detail your organization’s workflows and processes and identify where there may be systemic issues or overarching problems. 

Performing an analysis will help you pinpoint your team’s biggest challenges and opportunities, so you can clearly see where automation can impact the bottom line and free up your team for more human connections. 

2. Listen, learn and earn buy-in.

The decision to automate a process shouldn’t be made by one person. Taking a top-down approach will likely cause many missed opportunities. Think of it more like an outward-in approach: listen to those in the field—the recruiters—to truly understand where there are functional problems and opportunities for improvement. Always think with the user experience in mind and learn from those who will ultimately be the end users of the technology. 

Make the decision process a collaborative exercise. Depending on the size of your organization, you could create a committee to identify challenges, evaluate tools and even pilot the software. You could also collect feedback from employees via surveys or meetings to hear from individuals about their most pressing concerns. The more open communication and collaboration you have, the smoother the implementation process will be.

3. Identify your desired outcomes and work backward.

Lauren shared this quote with me: “Proper planning prevents poor performance,” and it rings so true. Putting in the work from the planning perspective will help you find a sustainable solution for your team. Start with the desired outcomes in mind and work backward from there to determine what resources are needed, who it impacts, and what an appropriate timeline is for implementation to achieve those end results. 

Develop an annual roadmap architecture that includes implementation, maintenance and expansion plans for the technology. You should be measuring the effectiveness of the tool continuously. If you don’t see the ROI and impact on the bottom line pretty quickly, make changes immediately. Don’t expect a tool to solve all of your problems; technology should complement your strategy and business goals, not replace them.

4. Don’t let cost get in the way.

Never look at a tool with price in mind or you will immediately be biased. Look at what the tool can functionally bring to your organization and see what levels or tiers of its functions are available. Partnering with an HR technology company should be mutually beneficial: you want to solve a problem that will have positive impacts on your bottom line, and they want to continuously grow and gain new customers. Tech companies want feedback and want to improve, so understanding clearly what’s in it for you and what’s in it for them can help you with negotiation.

Looking for beta opportunities is another great way to save money. It can provide access to the tool at a lower cost, customize the tool to your needs, and significantly impact the future development of the software. 

5. Take the leap and get started.

Every demo is going to make a tool look “cool,” but you want to make sure it is usable and that it integrates with your workflows. After a demo, always get a trial or create a pilot first. You need to actually get in and use the tool, not just see its bells and whistles.

Identify the low-hanging fruit of automation. Are there quick wins your company can have  by implementing automation? Redeployment, for example, provides a huge opportunity to automate communication. There are staggering statistics about how much waste there is in missed redeployment. At 3DIQ, our tool automates the process of editing, branding, and optimizing candidate resumes, saving recruiters time wasted wrestling with resumes in a variety of formats. What other simple processes can be automated that you can use to pilot tools before scaling them?

Bonus Tip: The 2020 StaffingTec Conference is a great way to start exploring automation tools and other HR tech that is moving the industry forward. It’s May 5-7 in Austin this year and both 3DIQ and Leap Consulting Solutions will be there. Even if you aren’t ready to buy, you will walk away with new information you can take action on now or in the future.

Where do you see the biggest opportunities for automation in your organization? I’d love to continue the conversation. Contact me directly at andy@3diq.com