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HR recruiting software struggles against demographics

As retirements mount, competition for workers is getting intense. HR must act quickly on hiring and improving employee retention, which includes a smooth onboarding experience.

DALLAS -- Souring demographic trends, aggressive recruiting and increasing risk of turnover are putting more pressure...

on HR recruiting software.

For example, Oracle CEO Mark Hurd cited falling total fertility rates in the U.S. -- the U.S. ranks 143rd in the world, Hurd noted -- which is going to mean fewer trained workers for the future.

"HR is hard," Hurd said, speaking at last week's Oracle HCM World conference, which seemed to focus on HR recruiting software. "It's going to get harder -- and particularly as it relates to talent," he said.

Paul Seo, a senior managing consultant at IBM, cited similar challenges. About 10,000 people enter into retirement each day, he said at the conference. And workers who aren't being engaged will leave their jobs in under three years.

"These are gigantic issues that not too many people have figured out what to do with," Seo said. In HR, in particular, "we are struggling."

Speed in recruiting matters

Recruiters are moving faster to land prospects. Employers are making it easier to apply. Sometimes, all a candidate needs to supply is a link from a LinkedIn profile.

Mark Hurd, CEO at OracleMark Hurd

But Oracle is not alone in this outlook.

"Not only is it easy for your top talent to go find a job, they are constantly being picked at," Seo said.

This means HR recruiting software has to identify prospects quickly.

For instance, a firm finds a top applicant. The HR recruiting system may recommend actions to engage the applicant, such as inviting the person to a social event. But the analysis goes deeper, as well.

The HR recruiting software looks at prior candidates. In this example, it finds a specific application "is in the top 10% of other candidates that we've considered in the past, so we know [the applicant is] probably a really good fit," said Gretchen Alarcon, group vice president of Oracle's human capital management strategy. The goal of this deeper analysis of previous candidates and incumbent employees is to make recruiters more productive.

Competition is intense

Demographic issues aside, it already seems clear that recruiting is competitive. In some occupations, such as healthcare, there is much competition, said Kathy LaFond, director of human resources at Glens Falls Hospital in New York.

"We're already feeling it," LaFond said of the difficulty in hiring people with certain skill sets, such as registered nurses.

Glens Falls Hospital is the largest hospital and health system between Albany, New York, and Montreal. It has a staff of 3,000 employees, with 2,200 full-time workers.

The hospital, which recently upgraded to Oracle HCM Cloud, had eight HR systems, handling functions such as payroll and performance management. At the time each system was purchased, it seemed like a great idea. But "from a 10,000-foot level, they didn't make a whole lot of sense," LaFond said.

The onboarding process has to be absolutely seamless and have a red-carpet feel to it.
Kathy LaFondHR director, Glens Falls Hospital

The hospital began moving to Oracle's HCM Cloud in the middle of 2016. It started with core HR, payroll and benefits. And then in the following year, it added recruiting, learning, compensation and other functions.

LaFond said the transition wasn't that difficult. The HR migration was at the same time the hospital was moving to electronic medical records. "By the time [the medical record system installation] was done, a little HR technology transformation didn't really seem like a big deal to the organization at all," LaFond said.

Onboarding is the first impression

The new HR system helps with the speed of recruiting. But a critical part of this is onboarding.

Onboarding covers another theme at the conference, which was improving retention. LaFond said she believes onboarding is very important to creating a positive first impression.

"The onboarding process has to be absolutely seamless and have a red-carpet feel to it," she said.

In recruiting, the hospital highlights its use of advanced technology. The health system has, for instance, a linear accelerator for cancer treatments and da Vinci Surgical Systems, a robotic surgical system. These systems can help interest candidates, LaFond said.

But LaFond said the onboarding has to be as advanced as the medical technology.

If a candidate has to fill out their name, address and Social Security number "on five different forms, there's a real disconnect there," LaFond said. They can now do it in one process.

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How have turnaround times accelerated, from resume to offer?
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I don't see that the recruiting process, particularly the speed, has improved at all. There is an amazing amount of 'chum' being spread by bots and off-shore based prospectors. But, in the end, it all stalls out at the HR and hiring manager level. As a baby-boomer with current (modern) IT skills, I am disillusioned and prefer to take my early SSA before that money runs out. I would have liked to add my over 40 years of experience to the 'market' still, helping nextgen folks transition into serious work/work-ethic. However, there is an incredible disconnect between those who are hiring (and are bemoaning the lack of talent and the amount of early retirees) and those who are highly qualified and seeking new and/or different opportunities. I think that HR departments in general have failed their mission. Too often, they are only interested in serving the 'manager class', and do not really know how to represent the professional employee.
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