Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could predict the future of our hires? Pairing futurecasting methodologies with a candidate relationship management system can result in an efficient recruitment model that does just that. But how do you select and implement a platform with predictive strategies in mind?
Don’t let terms like Enterprise CRM, or predictive strategies put you off. What we’re talking about here is sourcing and sourcing with not just recruitment in mind, but talent pipelines, competitive intelligence and a keen eye toward creating a single source of intelligence throughout your company.
Here are the 10 steps to get you there. You don’t have to be a sourcing expert, you don’t have to understand all the technical terms. If you’re reading this article, chances are you understand that talent is your biggest and in some cases, ONLY, competitive advantage. Let’s learn how to build a talent library within your CRM that will stand the test of time.
1. Invest in the Right Tools
Your professional reputation and future talent technology investments depend on it. If we truly believe candidate experience matters, the very first step is getting the right tools. To stay on top of the mounting candidate data available to today’s recruiters (and to keep that data clean and useful) you need a great Candidate Relationship Management tool. These are a little different than sales focused “Client” CRMs because they’re often able to link to your applicant tracking system or pull data from your HRIS or even create reports to inform your recruitment marketing efforts.
To Do: Find a CRM that meets your hiring needs. Obviously, if you want your hiring process to move forward seamlessly, you need to plan for a CRM that will “talk to” any other systems. Look for additional training and single source of truth methodology.
TIP: Single source of truth in CRM terms is basically a centralized database that gets updated rather than duplicated when someone (anyone) amends a record with new information. Just like Salesforce allows you to store information about your clients and sales calls, a great CRM designed for talent acquisition will allow your entire team to update a single record and not duplicate information from other entries OR other systems.
2. Set the Stage Before You Get the Budget
The consequences of a less than planned candidate relationship management process is detrimental to the organizational culture, your continued access to the next “shiny object” and, quite frankly, company success overall. If you “ask forgiveness rather than permission” you can halt any progress toward data integrity. Don’t do this as it can be detrimental for talent pipelining and workforce planning if you get this wrong.
To Do: Before discussing budget, ask your hiring function and executive stakeholders these questions:
- Have you prepared adequately by devising a talent pipeline strategy that reflects your aspirations and investment?
- If your recruiters and sourcers fail to adopt, are your talent managers accountable for their below par metrics?
Are you benchmarking internal metrics with vendor product clients?
TIP: Ask your stakeholders what they’re currently spending on sourcing information they may already have within their system. Then ask recruiters and sourcers within the organization how they do their jobs. Chances are, especially in larger companies, you’ll find a lot of wasted time and effort, as well as duplicate strategies, which make proving the ROI of a great CRM for the Enterprise, a piece of cake.
3. Carefully Select a Subject Matter Expert with the Experience of a Talent Practitioner
Consider who actually knows the task at hand. All too often, the failed attempts of assimilating a process and implementing CRMs can be traced back to the very person who developed it to begin with. Similar to specialists in the medical profession, there are experts in the function of talent acquisition.
To Do: Select a subject matter expert (SME) who not only understands the function, but is or has been in the practitioners’ seat. These individuals grasp the real-world scope of daily work processes that those who don’t have that experience would never recognize.
TIP: While getting into the nitty-gritty of technical aspects of setting up your CRM, make sure not to gloss over the softer benefits, like candidate experience, social communication and increased engagement. Allow your technical expert to set up the “nuts and bolts” of your system, train you and your team and then lay your own experience and process over that. This results in a clean but culturally aligned recruiting process when completed.
4. A Pre-Configuration Cut and Paste is NOT an Implementation
When we hear “buy-in,” we often think of the executives who can sign checks, but buy-in isn’t all financial when it comes to implementing a process altering tool like that of a CRM. It’s pivotal that your organization builds tactics and strategies that encourage team adoption and sets a standard for continued use.
To Do: Communicate and clearly outline the relevance of the program’s enactment. If the user can place themselves within the process and determine a relief, they will be far more invested to use the system.
TIP: Off the shelf is just that, something anyone can get off the shelf, which means if it were that easy, everyone would be leading the pack in talent sourcing and pipelining. A pre-configured system will not provide the nuances you need to recruit for your company, much less the different talent pipelines you likely need to fill (again with that single source of truth and talent library concept undergirding it all) including campus, high-volume, high-skills, executive, and any certifications or professional designations.
5. Establish Sourcing Leadership
Another obstacle experienced by organizations implementing CRMs is that of leadership structure. Too often in the realm of sourcing, leadership is not viewed as an integral component in a successful talent pipeline strategy. There is a need for a hybrid skillset in the management of such a large undertaking. Building that team is the challenge.
To Do: Understand that the individual or team of individuals who spearhead must own a certain level of tech-savvy management skills while having the knowledge of a practitioner. Simply understanding software, cloud-based or otherwise, isn’t enough to grasp the needs of the user base, and understanding the unique user will not meet the technical nature of launching and managing a CRM implementation.
TIP: You wouldn’t be reading this article if you didn’t want to improve your recruiting processes, but some things are working. Don’t throw all that away just to skip the implementation time, it goes faster than you think and gives your team time to audit and implement its own processes, optimize or automate what is working and cut any dead wood from your workflows.
6. Attain Critical Mass
Ultimately, success depends on a strategy outcome of attaining “critical mass.” Case study after case study has found that a laundry list of leadership directives is a losing proposition. When an empty vessel is delivered, enthusiasm from the tactical team will wane and hinder, if not avoid, implementation success.
To Do: Remember the big day of implementation requires evidence of a “big data play.” The team should be able to clearly observe expectations and mission orientation via the available pipelines. Welcome your recruiters and sourcers on day one of login with an output of quality, validated leads that drive the volume of data and a seamless integration of sourcing strategy.
TIP: Change management is no easy feat. Any project manager or our friends in Human Resources can attest to that. However, once you’ve spent the time and money to getting this project off the ground, don’t let it flounder due to lack of participation. Hold contests, audits, have games or leaderboards, throw training sessions and assign mentors. No matter what you do, make sure you get your team involved and make it clear it is essential that everyone use the system. Think of your sourcing strings, practices, CRM and more as intellectual property that belongs to the company. Great training and participation ensures it’s protected.
7. Define a Record/Profile
As each aspect of the talent strategy proceeds in building momentum within the CRM framework, the secret to the success of a best-in-class talent CRM is how your organization defines and reinforces accountability measures. You must ensure that a “record” has a strict standard and that the protocols are clarified in your communication plan.
To Do: Upon defining a “complete record standard,” emphasize and display samplings of what a “bad record entry” looks like and how it will ultimately adversely affect the platform downstream.
TIP: You can’t manage what you don’t measure has been a marketing adage for ages and with good reason, it’s true! It’s also really hard to improve what you don’t measure. And you can’t measure something without a set definition. Your road to improving the way your company and your team sees and manages data, starts with the answer to this simple question: What is a complete record to us?
8. Show and Tell
Recruiters and sourcers are impatient creatures by nature. Their very career is built upon keeping up with openings, candidates, metrics and all the other fast moving pieces of the talent acquisition industry. The interest in adopting the new process and CRM can go either way, as discussed. If the process is seamless, a little bumpy, but obviously beneficial, their time investment will be deemed worthy and the implementation will probably result in a successful launch and strategy adoption. On the other hand, if the process bears very little view of how they can begin using the tools and resources right away, chances of failure multiply.
To Do: Show how to approach the tool from day one to sunset and tell how each move they make within it will affect the end result. Team curiosity and enthusiasm is best provoked when action items that leverage CRM functions are observable with plenty of records to sample from and benchmark against. Make the connections for your team by explaining how the tool meets your end goal.
TIP: Recruiters are also competitive by nature, so giving them insight into how this will make the entire team more competitive in the talent marketplace cannot be underestimated. Case studies of other companies who have built their talent library or implemented a CRM to great success are a great way to motivate the team. Plus, more automation of sourcing, allows sourcers to perfect their craft every day and recruiters to spend time engaging with candidates and bringing in the next great hire.
9. Communicate, Invest and Be Accountable
Build your CRM for plug and play before you lift the curtains on the first day. Above all, challenge conventional thinking and never view a CRM implementation as one additional hinge. With proper CRM implementation, your company can stumble upon relevant and strategy enhancing n that increases relevant leads, better focuses your interview process and even reduces time to fill.
To Do: Approach your CRM as a central hub of more effective and intuitive lead generation and engagement practices. The CRM is many things, but rarely mentioned is its ability to inspire predictive performance, revealing the trending patterns of talent and unveiling from where your best are coming.
TIP: There’s something about a system that catches all relevant data (including timelines) that makes certain members of the team uncomfortable. While predictive performance is a plus of implementing these systems (the right way) you may also find the new processes reveal weaknesses in your team and reveal patterns of behavior that could harm your employer brand, productivity or candidate experience. Don’t get discouraged. Work through these issues as you would any performance management problem. Remember the CRM didn’t cause this issue, it simply shone a light on a situation that always existed.
10. Avoid the Adoption Paradox
Early adopters, or superusers, are critical to the process of successful CRM launches. With the implementation of massive tools, often those who are leading the adoption are not the people who will actually use the system. In an enterprise structure, chances are it’s not as simple as asking the opinion of your recruiting team to know whether a CRM launch will fit within the current workload and process. Instead, you employ a “super user” to not only reinforce the strategy, but develop the system of rewards that will keep the team on track.
To Do: And yes, there most certainly needs to be incentive to uphold the process. These individuals will be influential in driving adoption and standards as well as act as a resource during transitions. That means, the views of the early adopting leader will very much be an indication of how all others users will feel about implementation. If the superuser understands the technology and is enthusiastic about the change, you can almost guarantee the same from those reporting to them. The paradox comes in when those enthusiastic, early-adopting superusers are unprepared, unsupported and ill-equipped for change.
TIP: People learn as well (or better) by teaching than watching. Once your superuser is up and running, start training another one, and have the superuser train his or her person. In this way, you can “flourish” the process and get enough people following the processes you’ve laid out from the get-go. And the periods of training don’t need to be long. Your first superuser should be training someone after two weeks on the system, in order to deepen his or her OWN learning curve.
The talent pipeline for enterprise companies should not be taken lightly. The very success of future hiring initiatives t upon it. That is why the use of technology like candidate relationship management (CRM) systems is not to be taken lightly. Selecting and implementing the right tool takes the work of executives, specialists and the very employees who will be users. Don’t let your investment fall flat.
Want to know more? Feel free to contact me directly to schedule a chat on how to devise a best-in-class CRM Sourcing Strategy framework.