HR Technology

Applicant. Tracking. Systems. Why do you need them and which one is for you? This is actually a hard concept for some pros to wrap theirtechnology head around. I myself didn’t even know what an ATS was until I had been using one for about five years. I didn’t know that’s what it was called, in fact no one used it when they hired me except to report hours for payroll. Literally, they would take paper time cards and figure them up and key them into a function of the ATS that communicated the information to another program. Sounds ridiculous right? So my former employer had bought this fancy system and no one was using it for its true purpose. They also hadn’t activated it through the website to capture applications, they were still peddling paper applications (this was only about eight years ago).

Where I currently work actually built their own applicant tracking system. You would think that was super bad ass because we are a highly technical company… it’s not. I was excited at first because this means you own it, you edit it, you tailor it how you want. The major downfalls: someone on our payroll has to make edits we want, it doesn’t communicate with Costpoint or Outlook or our educational assistance function, EDP function, etc. and it just plain doesn’t do what us recruiters need it to do.  I’ve been mumbling about needing an ATS since about my fourth day on the job here.

Last year at #SHRM13 I spent some time on the overwhelming vendor floor. At first look it was miles of sales people shoving the latest and greatest tool in your face, but once you get to a useful vendor and pocket a few awesome giveaways, you start to relax. It’s nice to be able to  compare vendors side by side and really evaluate where you are going to get the most bang for your buck. I spent some time with a couple of HRIS vendors that really rocked my socks, but I think my favorite was Halogen Software. What’s really sweet nowadays is that big players like Halogen are not just an ATS, they are every technological tool you need in one place. I chatted with a rep at the conference and had a few follow-up calls with the most amazing rep ever, Nancy!

Nancy let me ask a ton of questions to truly understand their product line and explore different scenarios to meet different needs. She also walked me through a demo or two! My favorite thing that Halogen can string together for a client, above the basic needs of applicant tracking system, is what they call the eAppraisal Professional Services. Most software tools are going to have this extra as an option these days, but Halogen is adamant that you should implement only what you need and they are willing to file that down with you. This function includes employee appraisals and project reviews, goal alignment and management, on boarding forms and task management capabilities, performance based development planning and other neat things to follow-up on these tasks faster than before! Their systems connect the HR function of talent management with the managers function of talent management and facilitates a one stop shop to weave every piece of it together. Their customer service really is amazing (straight from their site):

From award-winning products to stellar support and services, we’re raising the bar on what you can expect from a talent management vendor. In fact, being ranked No. 1 in customer satisfaction means you can expect more from us.

Companies that have grown from small business to mid-size and have their sights set on being a mega size business tend to find themselves caught up in a pile of processes and a bunch of neat tools that don’t get the job done all the way. When you’re shopping for the right tools you need to keep in mind that these tools don’t replace HR or any of your HR functions they facilitate a faster track to implement all of your HR/talent management functions. If you don’t know where to start, I recommend connecting with Nancynwilkinson@halogensoftware.com or 1-866-311-5007) and letting her help you assess your needs and better understand the right custom suite for you and your organization.  If nothing else, mosey around their website and pick up white papers on HR metrics, retaining talent, managing employee goals and more! You can also pick up some great insight from any of their talented blog contributors.

 

 

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Changing the Game

Lets just jump right in to opening day since #MarchMadness has become a huge disappointment for me…

How the Oakland A’s perfected the Applicant Tracking System…Remember the 02 season for the Oakland A’s? They finished 1st in the American League West with 103 wins and 59 losses. They were essentially a Cinderella team. Beane was able to produce an unexpected record with an unexpected team on an impossible budget. Often times you hear that necessity is the mother of all invention and that is probably the case here as well. Beane’s predecessor was forced with the task of fielding a competitive roster on a limited budget and turned to sabermetrics for help. He used sabermetrics to measure on-base percentages and target undervalued players. He eventually taught this system to Beane and he continued using it and tweaking it (and still uses it) to maximize a minimal budget and put together teams worthy of winning. The incredible thing about this is that someone had to step out and say “let’s try something different… no more recruiting the way we have just because it’s the way we have always done it…”. Other teams began utilizing this system and it began to change the recruiting of the entire league, not just one team. And hey, a good movie was born through the process somehow too 😉

The point isn’t really that the Oakland A’s decided to use evidence based metrics when assessing players, well.. yeah, that is part of the point. The other part is that someone was willing to change the way of doing things. They were willing to change the way they recruited in hopes to change their organizations output of a finished product. It’s kind of like our ATS that we turn to in HR. A one stop shop that shows us work history, education, skills and all other good to know evidence based info about candidates and employees. At one point, that wasn’t the norm (note: I am too young to know a time when that was not the norm in case you were curious). I did however work for a company that chose to utilize the paper way instead of maximizing the abilities of their ATS many years ago and it was foolish. I can only imagine the fights that sabermetrics brought in comparison to the pushback I got from charging forward on the oh so obvious one stop shop ATS that was being underutilized. What did we find when we started using all the bells and whistles on the ATS? We could suddenly work far more efficiently than we ever imagined. We could get lots of great things done, everything was in one place, everything was easy to get to, easy to measure and easy to assess…Ultimately, we could change the game. We improved our efficiency and overcame the fear of not holding a handwritten application in our hands when assessing candidates.

There will always be room for improvement, but if we aren’t open to change and improvement we will eventually get left behind. If HR professionals allow their organizations to fear change or fear it themselves I can promise you the organization will eventually be outperformed by competitors. What are some changes you are fearing in your organization? What are some changes you are heading in your organization?

"...how much you don't know..."
“…how much you don’t know…”