Shakespeare once wrote, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Unfortunately, in the technology marketplace, that sentiment doesn't hold true.
Indeed, HCM technology focused on finding applicants and building a talent pool can also help companies get and stay competitive, but their various names fail to hint at their strategic possibilities. That, in part, is what causes companies to overlook them altogether or underutilize the potential.
The best way to illustrate this point is simply with the names these HCM technology systems held over the years. Here are some:
- Applicant tracking systems. This was intuitive once, because applicant tracking was the primary feature of HCM software in the recruiting space. But today, this name is too narrow since vendors have added functionality to these systems. The term is still in use, however. Just recently I participated in TalentSummit.io, a virtual conference about recruiting and recruiting technology sponsored by HireVue and Glassdoor. The session I did was labeled "Making your ATS Great Again," a play on Donald Trump's slogan. But if you listen to my content, the subject of tracking applicants is only a small portion of what you can be doing with these systems.
- Recruiting systems. Yes, recruiting is a big part of what these systems that serve the pre-employment space should do. However, recruiting is rarely associated with marketing and brand awareness, which is a major function these systems can be serving.
- Talent acquisition systems. This is the most frequently used term in today's world of HR tech and, in my opinion, comes the closest to hitting the mark. However, "acquiring" talent is only one way you're going to build your talent pool. You also have to attract, groom, monitor, engage and inspire. "Acquisition" really doesn't do justice to any of those key functions.
Companies can use these kinds of HCM technology for more strategic purposes, and there is a major disservice being done by the lack of education about what's possible. Today, if you choose the right system or collection of systems, you can also use your HCM software to market to your talent pool, collaborate with internal stakeholders and integrate with other key systems.
To add some inspiration and change, I'd like to introduce a new term to the industry: "Team New" systems. Team New speaks to the need to continually refresh your team and to keep the bench stacked with quality and variety. Team New is actually an inspiration that comes from a few places:
- It is another dimension of Phase New, which my company, Hive Tech HR, uses to describe our services where we're working on a business case for new systems and finding new systems for our clients.
- Another industry influencer, Stacy Donovan Zapar, enlightened me to a company that has introduced the concept of Bring Your Own Team whereby you apply as a team to a new company. In a world where teamwork is one of the keys to reaching that next level, it seems like Team New could be a predictor of the success of an organization.
- So much of what companies, including ours, are doing today is team-based, so that when we look for people we're always looking for someone who will fit in with the team. Many technology creators now reference "team," such as Teamwork (project tracking); Teambay (employee engagement and monitoring); and Fairsail (HR system), which refers to employees as "team members."
I digress. The point is that Team New systems have so many components that can increase your competitive edge. Mind you, you can't go out and search for Team New systems -- at least not yet -- but the idea is that the terms we use don't do justice for what you can be accomplishing with the technology. What you really need are Team New systems that can help you with the four W's.
- Find out who the best candidate is before your competitors do.
- Wow them with your image, but not by contradicting what your employees experience.
- Continue to woo them through the candidate experience. Concepts like video interviewing don't hurt.
- Win the best candidates' loyalty by a seamless transition to the employee experience.
One of my clients looking for an HCM technology system recently acknowledged the second point above -- the need to build an image through their externally focused systems. The system that really knocked my client's socks off enabled the company to portray a very attractive image that would be a huge upgrade from the current external presence. That ability to market your company helps with attracting talent, but it also doesn't look too shabby to your prospective customers. Where's the applicant tracking in that? This expanded vision is more what Team New is all about -- translating HR tech functionality traditionally associated with interviewing and offer letters into a group of systems that can contribute to a company's bottom line.
For now, a quality talent acquisition system -- or whatever term you use -- is necessary to not only compete, but to win. The first step to making the business case is to learn that you can use these systems for much more than the names suggest.
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