TA unleashed: realising the future state via the tech stack

Though many organisations own the skills, technology and information to build a high-performing talent acquisition (TA) function, few fully take advantage of their data. Put another way: few do realise their capability. 

Teams will forgo their performance by failing to leverage the HR tech stack for insights that pertain to talent development, retention and internal mobility. Whether this happens knowingly or not does not alter the truth: TA must befriend data.

This article explores why optimisations to the tech stack improve TA performance and the steps to design a new future state.

When tech enables best practice recruitment


Holistic oversight 
When recruitment systems, and the surrounding tech stack run optimally, TA knows precisely the talent accessible inside and outside the organisation. 

With enough data, insights regarding internal mobility are gleaned: those people being succession planned, those soon to be released from completed projects and others eager to relocate. Such visibility helps identify, retain and develop valuable talent, as well as flag crucial skills to be developed or sourced externally. The hiring process is swifter, and team design is more effective. 


Control over data
Conversely, an overabundance of irrelevant, outdated data or a lack of data strategy can overwhelm. Talent acquisition-related information is often derived from various sources, including candidate source data and experience data, and even macro-level data like national workforce or economic performance—all of which can be quantitative or qualitative. 

TA excels when it controls data, not the other way around. Knowing how to harness its breadth and depth is non-negotiable. Do this well, and improvements can go as far as enhancing the hiring experience for all involved.


Intelligence-led decisions
Limited data analysis results in limited insight, causing teams to zone in on an incomplete problem—or the wrong one altogether. But with complex analytics, TA stays ahead of the curve. They can convert data into trends. For teams, it allows an understanding of what’s working in their sourcing, interviewing and assessment processes and what isn’t. Most importantly for leaders, robust technologies provide evidence to influence where it counts. 


Continuous improvement
A well-optimised, integrated HR tech stack drives and reinforces efficiencies. The talent acquisition processes run smoother, building confidence in daily activities, which helps fulfil the function’s objectives. That couldn’t be truer when AI manages lower-value tasks, as it frees teams to pursue strategic and people-facing work.

Steps to design a future state operating model

Rather than flying blind in the hope of achieving the desired state, implement a systematic six-step approach to get there:  


1. Set one guiding goal
Transformation doesn’t happen by accident. A clearly defined, documented goal/s will steer leaders’ and teams’ efforts at change. It may help to envision the future for TA and then work backwards. Balance aspiration with rational thought, and one will soon understand what the focus ought to be.


2. Take stock of systems
Make a record of every technology, new and outdated, used by TA. To do this, create a system diagram model by illustrating each platform and integration and their interactions. The model will help define the scope and scale of the redesign and provide a useful record of the data flow.


3. Review against objectives
Step two is the perfect jumping-off point for checking whether the tech stack aligns with the function’s objectives. Any misalignment should be plain to see. Also, consider whether the tech will enable TA’s adaptation to market trends.


4. Assess data collected
What makes data ‘right’ or ‘wrong’? The answer depends on the function’s needs. Generally speaking, data collected must support productivity, and systems should have essential functionality, such as report creation and performance tracking, to monitor results. Now is a better time than any to check data flowing between systems is reliable (accurate and complete).


5. Review processes and practices
Systems don’t work in isolation. Consider how talent acquisition interfaces with them. Are documented policies and procedures being adhered to? What do team members find cumbersome? How might things be made clearer, simpler, and more efficient? Design the team around the optimal process rather than shoehorning systems into current ways of working.


6. Plan and implement change
What this looks like has to do with the findings, the urgency of improvements to be made, along with the available resources to progress them. Prioritise and set timeboxed milestones that are realistic and achievable for the team on their bandwidth.

Taking action

Developing your future state model takes time and concerted effort. To get your TA team to achieve it sooner, an experienced team of talent experts can help instil a culture of continuous improvement driven by a best-of-breed tech stack. Only then will talent leaders and teams be able to leverage data in strategic decision-making. 

In our fifth article in our Redefining Talent series, Harrier explores what it takes to build out a competitive talent pipeline. 


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