3 ways tech can help TA functions ‘rebuild, adapt, transform’

Thompson Reuters and Medallia shared how they’re fusing tech and talent at Spring HR Tech.
By: | March 16, 2021 • 4 min read
(Image: Adobe)

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, a recent iCIMS report found some good news: More than 90% of organizations surveyed are planning to hire for new roles this year.

Charles Mah, chief evangelist at iCIMS, said that “2021 will be a year of rebuilding, adapting and transforming”—and it all happens by “embracing technology.”

During a panel discussion Tuesday at Spring HR Tech—which is running through March 19; click HERE to register—Mah spoke with Jesper Bendtsen, global head of talent acquisition at Thompson Reuters, and Tey Scott, vice president of global talent acquisition at Medallia, about how their organizations are bringing together talent and technology to create a post-pandemic talent acquisition design.

Remote work

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What has perhaps been the biggest workplace story from the pandemic will continue to impact workforces throughout 2021 and beyond, the panelists said.

Thompson Reuters had already been envisioning the future of work before the pandemic, Bendtsen said, and the overnight shift to remote work sped all of that up—from the use of video communications to cloud reliance. “It accelerated what we previously had been imagining of the possibilities of virtual recruiting at Thompson Reuters,” he said.

Spring HR Tech runs through March 19—click HERE to register.

Now, the company is looking at the long-term implications of a more flexible working—and recruiting—environment, particularly how the shift will impact engagement and retention. The company has also made one significant decision:  “Although we have more flexibility in how many days we’re in the office versus out, we won’t be embracing ‘work from anywhere,’ ” he said.

At Medallia, leaders have recently been exploring recruiting issues related to employer branding: How do you attract a global workforce when the work isn’t always tied to an office?

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That leads back to HR technology, she said.

“Does every tool allow you to post a job as remote? What does someone search on when every other employer is also posting about remote opportunities?” she said. “We’re used to posting office by office and now there’s this worldwide open marketplace. So, how does HR technology help us get there? Those are the things we’re still working through.”

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Digital experience

A seamless digital experience, Scott said, can provide a significant “competitive advantage” for employers. To truly leverage that, however, they need to check in with their people frequently to understand their experience of the workplace technology being deployed.

“It’s so important to take the pulse on engagement with the tools and within the organization to understand, are employees using the tools, are they feeling connected through the tools?” added Bendtsen, who noted that Thompson Reuters is in the midst of a “massive” digital transformation.

One new area it’s looking at is chatbots for basic functionality, he said. However, he cautioned HR tech buyers not to overcommit to new technologies.

“How many new tools are being introduced? How many new programs are being rolled out to hiring managers or interviewees or the population? What is the candidate experience like? How necessary are these tools we’re rolling out?” he asked, noting new tech additions should be laser-focused on solving particular problems.

“You have to overlay your [tech] wish list on top of a strategy,” Mah added.

Diversity, equity, inclusion

As global consciousness toward DEI grew dramatically in the past year, so too have expectations for employer investment in the issue.

At Medallia, diverse hires have been on the rise but really gained steam after the CEO decided to tie executive compensation to DEI outcomes.

“That’s not to say we didn’t have great attraction before but a real acceleration happened once the company got behind it and put some skin in the game in the way,” she said.

Now, the organization is working with a tech partner to map the total addressable candidate market from a diversity perspective, which she said will be a game-changer. “Then, it’s about how do we engage that audience,” she said. “Where are they, how do we find them and how do we tell our stories and engage them to apply?”

Authentic storytelling, Bendtsen agreed, is among the most important strategies for diversity hiring in the new workplace. “It’s the brand promise,” he said. Equally key is executive support.

“Without top-down buy-in, you won’t achieve your goals,” he said.

Click here to watch the full session.

Jen Colletta is managing editor at HRE. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in writing from La Salle University in Philadelphia and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining HRE. She can be reached at hreletters@lrp.com.