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Lessons Learned from Eclipse Day

It’s a big day–Eclipse Day!  

If you were lucky enough to score legit eclipse glasses to view this celestial event, congrats!  By the time you read this blog, the big event will be over, and we will be back to everyday life as we previously knew it.  Not only did eclipse glasses make cardboard eyewear fashionable, it gave us a chance to block out the surroundings around us and focus on one main item–the eclipse itself. As refreshing as it may be to focus solely on one item, we may not always be able to do that in our professional lives.

When it comes to implementing a new project, such as an ATS or employee onboarding platform, we need to remind ourselves to take off our innate version of eclipse glasses and prep for implementation just as we prepped to watch the eclipse. Sometimes it can be easy to get fixated on one particular item and lose awareness of the whole picture when implementing a new software tool with dazzling features. Software implementation may seem like a daunting feat, but if we prepare for it, it will be a magical experience in many facets.

Preparing for an Eclipse…or Software Implementation

USA Today provided us with great tips to prepare for the eclipse, and those same ideas correlate well for software implementation.  

  • Decide where you want to be. Location and timing were key in acquiring the best view of the eclipse.  When it comes to software implementation, ask yourself, “Where do I and my team need to be and when is our target date to be actively using our software?”  Setting these internal expectations for you and your team will help you meet your goals.
  • Stock up early. Many individuals were not prepared with having eclipse glasses in time to view the event. Some who traveled did not expect the delays regarding food and travel time. When it comes to software implementation, allow yourself adequate time to
    • Submit necessary online forms which detail your software preferences.
    • Perform testing on your software platform to ensure it collects the info you need.
    • Complete training on your site to familiarize yourself with its features.
    • Finalize any details prior to going live.

Why add undue stress to yourself? Pace yourself with weekly goals to help you from pulling from your limited “stock” of time.

  • Don’t bother with a telescope. Using a telescope to view the eclipse would have caused many to miss the grandeur of the event and could possibly have been damaging to eyes if proper care was not completed. As with implementation, sometimes we look at tasks with a telescope and focus too much on individual items. All little items make the big project, and little items are valuable; however, focusing too closely on particular items within implementation may result in missing the whole picture of software functionality.
  • Do your homework. As with the eclipse, learning about the big event helped us appreciate the magnificent details of how it came to be. With software implementation, doing some internal research regarding your needs will help you create the software platform that will best meet your daily employment functions.
  • Plan a party. A rare celestial event is definitely a call for festivities, but so can your software implementation as well.  If you and your team are trying to decide on your preferences to build your ATS or onboarding platform(s), make it a team social event where you can work together with breakfast or lunch. If funding exists within your company, see if you can get delivery or catered food.  Make it a time for team togetherness.

Just like the eclipse, with a little planning and keeping these five goals in mind, your software implementation will be a stellar event too.  The members of the ExactHire team are here to help you through each step of the software implementation path.  Questions about our products or implementation?  Please email us at support@exacthire.com.

Ready to Focus On Mobile Recruiting?

Sometimes the need for change is glaring. Outcomes are increasingly negative. Trend lines are plummeting. You know it when you see it; it’s time to change things up. Unfortunately, when the need for change is obvious, it might also be too late to implement effectively.

If your organization is considering a mobile and social media recruiting strategy, the good news is that it’s not too late to effectively implement one. In fact, most small- to medium-sized businesses are in the same boat. According to a 2014 study by CareerBuilder, only 39% of all employers use social media for recruiting and hiring. And in LinkedIn’s 2015 Global Recruiting Trends Report, only 30% of employers reported having job postings optimized for mobile, with 37% reporting their career sites were mobile-optimized.

Gaining A Competitive Advantage

Successful organizations must have leaders who proactively research new trends, best practices, and technology. By doing this, they can make the decision to change before the change is required. This positions an organization ahead of the curve, where they are more likely to gain a competitive advantage with successful implementation. While your competitors may not be ahead of you in mobile recruiting, you may fail to gain a competitive advantage if you delay too long in developing a strategy.

Changing before you are forced to change is also advantageous because it increases the chances that your change process will be successful. This is because before implementing any change–especially large scope change–an organization must take the time to consider whether it is, in fact, ready to change. A “Ready or not, here I come” attitude can have disastrous results.

The Consideration Stage

New initiatives take time and resources. Often, the time and resources are drained from existing operations. So one of the primary objectives of the consideration stage is to determine whether taking on a new initiative is feasible, in light of its potential impact on existing operations.

Of course, there will almost always be tradeoffs for small- to medium-sized businesses looking to implement a new initiative. Unless a large amount of capital is available, implementation will affect some degree of inefficiency on overall operations. But the goal is is to minimize this inefficiency and to generate outcomes that result in a net gain or benefit after implementation is complete. Ultimately, an organization must determine its priorities by weighing the value of a new initiative against the value of existing operations.

Once priorities are determined, the next step is to develop a case for change, and then get buy-in from all stakeholders who will be charged with implementing the new initiative. This step is vital for achieving successful outcomes that align with the leadership’s established priorities. Not surprisingly, this step is often missed when an organization is caught off guard and rushes into the change process.

Considerations For Implementing A Mobile Recruiting Strategy

In addition to the feasibility of implementing a mobile recruiting strategy, an organization must consider the need and value of developing a strategy. To do this, it helps to simply begin by looking at your current performance.

Recruiting Performance

Here are a few questions to consider for your organization:

  • Has it become increasingly difficult to source candidates?
  • Has the quality of applicants decreased?
  • Are applicants dropping out of the process earlier?

Answering “yes” to any of these questions may indicate that you are not reaching enough job seekers, or when you do reach the job seekers, they are turned off by your application process. In a 2015 survey by Pew Research Center, “Some 47% of smartphone job seekers have had problems accessing job-related content because it wasn’t displaying properly on their phone, and an identical 47% have had problems reading the text in a job posting because it was not designed for a mobile device.” This should be troubling news to employers when, according to the 2014 Talent Acquisition Survey by Jibe, “80 percent of job seekers expect to be able to do part of their job search easily on a smartphone.”

Even if your organization’s current recruiting performance is healthy, there may be reason to move toward developing a mobile recruiting strategy. Consider your competition.

Competition

While your current talent recruitment efforts may be producing acceptable outcomes, your competition can change this very quickly. Take a look at your competitors’ online presence:

  • Do they have career sites optimized for mobile?
  • Are they advertising jobs via social channels?
  • How easy is it to apply for a position with a mobile device?

Regardless of your findings, you will find one of two things: a threat or an opportunity. And just like with other aspects of business, it is better to anticipate new conditions and proactively adapt to them than to be caught unaware and scramble to adjust. The former approach will strengthen your organization’s advantage; the latter will likely erase it.

After considering your current recruiting performance and reviewing your competition, you are likely close to making a decision on implementing a mobile recruiting strategy. But are your employees and job seekers ready for change?

Employees

As discussed above, changing too soon or without buy-in from stakeholders can lead to disastrous results. Likewise, imposing an aggressive timeline for implementation on unprepared employees guarantees difficulties. For organizations that have been testing the waters of mobile recruiting, there might be less of a danger in fully embracing a mobile recruiting strategy; however, those starting from a blank slate will likely experience growing pains. Consider this:

  • How tech-savvy are my current employees (stakeholders)?
  • How open are they to change/ adept at learning new skills?
  • Do they fully understand and agree with the need for a mobile recruiting strategy?

Your answers to these questions will go a long way to determining the time and resources needed to successfully implement a mobile recruiting strategy. The best, well-conceived strategy will fail without adequate resources driven by a reasonable timeline. Again, this is why it is so crucial to begin the change process well in advance.

Finally, if your organization understands and agrees with the need for a mobile recruiting strategy, and implementation is feasible in light of its potential impact on existing operations, then the final consideration is to what degree are job seekers ready?

Job Seekers

It may seem counter-intuitive to place job seekers as the final consideration; however, this helps to ensure that an organization makes objective considerations at each point. Your accuracy in determining job seeker readiness relies heavily upon third-party sources–of varying statistical accuracy. So it makes sense to begin considering that which you know with great accuracy, rather than having your consideration of the job seeker preference/readiness drive all others.

With that being said, job seeker readiness will help you refine your implementation timeline as well as your overall mobile recruiting strategy. Here are a few questions to consider about your job seekers:

  • Is there a prevailing demographic for your new hires or workers in your industry?
  • Is mobile device usage high for this prevailing demographic?
  • Do you receive a high percentage of job inquiries via social media or email?
  • Do you receive a high number of applicants from a specific job board?

Again, answering these questions will require you to rely on statistical data and make some assumptions to draw conclusions. But working through these may reveal insights that inform your ultimate decision to develop a mobile recruiting strategy.

Moving Beyond Consideration

The consideration stage may seem exhaustive–if not exhausting–but the work completed upfront will lay a solid foundation for strategy development and implementation planning. Additionally, once a thoughtfully considered strategy and implementation plan are in place, an organization is more likely to reach desired outcomes without unexpected delays or tradeoffs.

Back-To-School Lessons For Software Implementation

Here in Central Indiana it finally feels like summer has started– it is hot and humid. But for many, summer is quickly coming to an end. School starts next week, and there is plenty to do in preparation.

This year, I thought about how gearing up for the school year is similar to HR software implementation in a business environment. They can both be overwhelming and stressful, but with a good plan of attack they don’t have to be that way.

Back-To-School – A Self-Guided Exercise

The sheer amount of “Back-to-School” things that need to be addressed can seem endless. I organize all the to-do’s myself and take it one step at a time for each child and their respective school. A typical “Back-to-School” list would look something like this:

  • Make sure the enrollment forms are all in.
  • Include those vaccination records from the doctors
  • Submit the 23 versions of Emergency Contact forms.
  • Buy school supplies–those on the long list and little extras like locker mirrors.
  • Purchase new school clothes–why can’t they all have uniforms?
  • Plan after-school care and busing schedules.
  • Calendar parent-teacher nights and PTO meetings.

And that is just a short list! As you can imagine, preparing for a new school year is mostly a self-guided exercise. Yes, you are given all the resources to succeed, but it is up to you to plan, organize, implement.

Luckily, with software, there are guides to support your company on its path to successful implementation.

ExactHire HR Software Implementation – Guided Practice

An HR software implementation guide, or plan, allows for you to focus on setup and implementation tasks as they become necessary. This ensures that your implementation is as efficient as possible. However, many times, organizations’ attempts at implementation are bogged down when various co-workers take vacations or address other important projects and deadlines. Does this mean that implementation must be put on hold ?

I can’t speak for all the HR Software companies out there, but here at ExactHire we know you have a lot going on at work. And we work with you to provide a schedule that is manageable and flexible. We want to ensure that you only bite off as much as you can chew–and no more.

Orientation and Guidance

While most organizations are excited to quickly get moving on new software platforms, there is a lot of setup work to do. We guide you in with “kid-gloves”. Our proven system allows you to focus on tasks that require your immediate attention, while giving you time to get acquainted with the new platform. This is all done in a way that allows you to fully process the information and make corrections to your system before going live.

Of course, some might not want new software in their life, and we get that perspective too. Are they scared of change? Maybe. Think about the first day of high school…I bet that feels rather similar to adopting new software. They might wonder what will happen in a new environment.

“Will I like it? Will it be easy? Will I have help?”

With ExactHire the answer is ‘yes’ to all of those concerns. We are the “Freshman Orientation” for HR software implementation and the “Guidance Center” for ongoing support. Our team will guide you through the various items needed to setup your system, and we are here to answer your questions and concerns as they arise in a timely and friendly manner.

So enjoy the last days of your summer break, and rest easy knowing that a change in seasons (or software) will be better than you can imagine if you have a good plan of attack.

ExactHire provides Human Resource technology to help HR professionals recruit, hire, and retain top talent for their organizations. To learn how your organization can create efficiencies with our solutions, contact us today!

Feature Image Credit: 244.365 – September 1, 2010 by Thor(contact)

3 Issues That Can Ruin Your ATS Implementation

It’s fairly common that I encounter potential new clients that are using an existing applicant tracking software tool. The reasons these folks are considering a change range from feature/functionality issues to service response times to price. What I find interesting, however, is that there’s almost always a central underlying reason they’re not happy with their current solution. That reason usually ties in with how the tool was implemented.

Since we deal almost exclusively in the SMB space, there usually aren’t enough resources for a client to have an implementation specialist, let alone an implementation team, to take on this type of task. Given that, below are 3 of the more common things I see that tend to get things off on the wrong foot.

1 – Failing to have a plan

This doesn’t have to be any type of elaborate or formal document. On the contrary, this can be a simple spreadsheet or piece of paper. The key is to make sure the more important things are listed, along with who is going to take care of them and when they should be done. If your vendor doesn’t provide you with some type of implementation plan, you can do this yourself. Here are just a few things to think about…

  • How will existing job descriptions be loaded to the ATS?
  • What stages or statuses do you plan to use for applicants?
  • What information will be included in the online employment application (if used)?
  • What access should different hiring managers need?

This is far from comprehensive, but I think you get the idea. Taking thirty minutes on the front end to put this down in some format should help save a lot of headaches going forward.

2 – Timing for training

I’m surprised at how often groups share with me that they were trained before their ATS was significantly built-out and ready for live use. Then, by the time they finished up the various needed tasks to get the site ready, much of what was covered in training was forgotten. Most ATS providers will have a knowledge base with information and videos to help supplement training, but try to avoid scheduling training any earlier than needed in the ATS setup process. Instead, first work with your vendor partner to make sure all the core things are in place for the tool to work appropriately. Then have training provided so that there is very little time for the knowledge provided to fade before being put to use.

3 – Adoption

This is the natural last step to implementation. Getting others in the organization to use the tool quickly is critical. Allowing some hiring managers to continue to get their resumes via email because they’re “too busy” for training is an obvious occasion for issues. Likewise, make sure there is a clear link to the new applicant tracking site from your existing web page. Adoption by your applicants is equally important. Since most ATS solutions are fairly easy to navigate for both applicants and internal users, the thought of change is almost always far worse than the reality. Be firm in how a solution like this is rolled out internally to make sure the organization can benefit quickly and see a positive ROI.

Putting applicant tracking software in place for most small and midsize companies shouldn’t be overwhelming. If you’ve selected the right partner, they likely will guide you through much of this without any prompting from your end. However, being diligent and sticking to your plan will help you get the most benefit from your ATS in the shortest period of time possible.

To learn more about ExactHire’s HireCentric applicant tracking software, please visit our resources section or contact us.

Image credit: Candyland by John Morgan (contact)