Growth inevitably means hiring more people and whilst you’re responsible for getting people through the door, you might be under greater pressure when considering budgets for staff, technology or advertising, and in many cases, this can mean that HR and Recruitment teams become targets for such reductions.
This is exceptionally common across the public sector, where organisations who previously had HR representatives across multiple departments, now find themselves scaled back to a smaller central function or even sharing services across multiple organisations/regions.
Over the past 2-3 years, we’ve seen Shared Service Centres formed across many areas of the public sector and even private businesses are realising the opportunity to share costs and resources.
Although this is a change to standard organisational structures, the benefits can be countless:
- Bringing teams together allows you to standardise processes and drive efficiencies.
- Reduced duplication of effort allows resources to be freed up and focussed elsewhere.
- Sharing of best practice and knowledge across teams can help to upskill staff.
- Raise commercial revenue by selling shared service facilities to external organisations.
While this can sound like the perfect solution to solve your budget/resource problem, there are some challenges to consider:
- If teams are consolidated; do you need to reduce headcount, should you invest in a central services office or can teams continue to work from their original location?
- Staff who historically recruited for certain roles might need additional training, for example; Head Teacher recruitment is very different to recruiting administrators.
- Whilst there are short-term benefits - most come longer-term.
- Procurement and legal restrictions can at times create roadblocks.
At the heart of this change is technology which can help organisations to ease their transition. Software like Slack or Microsoft Teams will help geographical/remote teams to communicate well and tools like Confluence and SharePoint can help to build knowledge. A major benefit is having to maintain only one instance of these systems across all the organisations involved - which can help save thousands on licences and maintenance hours alone.
Whilst many HR and recruitment systems can be adapted to work across different organisations, implementing and rolling out a shared service system can be restrictive and complex. When building our shared service offer, we felt two of the most important aspects was to ensure an organisation does not lose their brand identity or any key functionality required. Using individualised branding, content and unique URL’s, a company can maintain the ability to recruit their own individual opportunities, whilst sharing application forms, templates and email content across a collaboration. In addition, by expanding our already comprehensive permission system, we allow recruiting managers to completely retain all their self-service functionality.
With GDPR regulations and security at the forefront of everything we do now, our ISO27001 (Information Security) and ISO9001 (Quality Management) accreditations reassure clients that our system is continually risk assessed and that candidate data/applications are effectively managed or restricted by user/organisational access. Security however should never be at the expense of a great user experience; whether a candidate seeking to apply quickly and easily, or a recruiter accessing the portal to review applicants and manage opportunities.
One very successful example of a shared service careers site is Greater.Jobs. This is a collaboration of 9 individual local authorities and from day one, we worked with key stakeholders to standardise all aspects of their recruitment process. Not only regulating forms, processes and workflows, engage|ats allowed Greater.Jobs to open the site up to external partners to advertise their opportunities, which has helped the collaboration to raise commercial revenue. Further information on the Greater.jobs collaboration can be found here.
There are various choices to promote shared service opportunities and I feel that going forward, we’ll see more organisations exploring, adapting and coming together to share resources or investing in systems which better match their individual needs. Although Shared Service Centres can be challenging, change can be good - as our clients have already proven!
Ian Key - Project Manager (Product & Innovation)
The Policing Vision 2025 sets out the plan that will shape and transform how forces use their resources to keep people safe, whilst providing an effective, accessible and value for money service that can be trusted.
In recent years, organisations have evolved the way they engage with their customers, staff and the wider general public. Although many strive towards a digital transformation, a large number of organisations are still heavily reliant on traditional methods across every function of their business.
The modern population is hungry for new technology and organisations that struggle to understand how their target audience needs are changing, face a challenge when looking at wider reform. Some of the big names who have recently disappeared or face an uncertain future includes; Poundworld, HMV and House of Fraser.
Having the foresight and tools to adapt to the changing needs of your staff/customers will be something that will help organisations operate efficiently in the 21st century. As little as ten years ago, who could have imagined we would be paying for goods or hailing a taxi using an app on a mobile phone?
Police forces (although a public body) must operate as a business. With annual budgets slashed and reductions in police and civilian staff, now is the time to consider wider reform. In particular the continued use of traditional paper-based methods that can be costly, both on time and money.
One area of business that is evolving at a fast pace is recruitment. New industry trends including AI, VR and video interviewing, means candidates can now be shortlisted, rejected or scheduled for a final interview without ever speaking to a person over the phone or face to face!
Whether recruiting police, civilian, apprenticeships or volunteers, automating every aspect of recruitment will not only ensure compliance with GDPR legislation, it will reduce the time spent assessing applicants and ensure you can compete for and attract the best candidates in the market.
So, with new technology revolutionising the way candidates and recruiters engage with each other, we are seriously asking the question “is paper the thing of the past in recruitment?”
Frank Kinrade – Business Development Manager
Today, candidates and employees are behaving increasingly like consumers. Their expectations go far beyond the salary and benefit considerations of previous generations. Be it more purposeful work, a sense of belonging, the flexibility to work when and where they like, the physical environment or the technology that is being utilised. There are a huge range of factors that now influence where people choose to work and for how long, and it is all based around the experience they have interacting with your brand at different stages.
With new innovative ways of applying for vacancies, candidates can submit multiple applications, be shortlisted and arrange interviews in the time it would traditionally take to apply for one. So, if there’s any lack of response or delay in the recruitment process, applicants will quickly lose interest and move on to the next opportunity.
Equally as important is the efficiencies added when you automate parts of the process, whether you’re a commercial recruitment company attracting new clients or an employer with limited time for day-to-day tasks, automation will reduce the time and money spent at every stage of the recruitment process.
Although the industry continues to move towards automation, it’s important to bear in mind a multi-generational workforce. Automation is widely accepted (and expected) by the youth generations, however, automation cannot take away from the brand experience you are trying to reflect and less tech-savvy applicants may be less comfortable applying for opportunities or even adapting to new recruitment technology, so is there remains a balance to be had.
Whatever your future plans, automation is guaranteed to continue to revolutionise recruitment. Current solutions include AI technology to review and shortlist CV’s/applications automatically and future technology is likely to connect recruiters with candidates more seamlessly.
So, whether you interview candidates using VR or AI in the future, the recruitment landscape will continue to innovate and inspire us all, and now is the time to embrace new technology, because your competitors certainly are!
Frank Kinrade – Business Development Manager
Talking to a colleague recently the subject turned to advances in HR technology and the conversation inevitably turned to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning and the huge changes this could bring to our industry.
“AI will surely never really replace a good resourcing manager?” my colleague suggested.
“I agree” I replied, “but is that really what it’s meant to do?” You see, I don’t think it is. At least not yet.
I’ve been working with websites and HR technology for nearly 20 years and whilst I wholeheartedly believe in using new technology and innovation to improve HR processes, personally I don’t think that there is currently a recruitment experience that’s better than spending time with the individual you’re going to potentially be working with. The current batch of AI and Machine learning tools used for HR are designed to support this, not replace it.
Let’s talk about the hot topic of driverless cars for a second. We’ve all heard about them, we’re all aware that they are ‘coming’ but few of us have thought about exactly why? The reason is quite simple. Driving, at least for most people, is a mundane and relatively pointless activity (other than for getting us from A to B) that takes up a lot of our valuable time.
So with driverless cars, we’ll soon (hopefully) all be able to travel in comfort with the flexibility of our own transport that’s always ready to take us where we want to go and, who knows, it may even be safer than a driver who’s tired, irritated by the car in front drifting between lanes or who’s been held up by every, single traffic light. AI in this context is about removing the monotonous activity, giving us the chance to use that valuable time and dare I say it, also potentially perform the activity better than a human can. I think this is exactly how we should view AI in HR.
You see, these new technologies are about removing some of the dull, more tedious elements in the process of hiring someone and do it better, so that recruiters can focus on ensuring that they take the time to speak to candidates, understand their needs better, build relationships and add real value to the candidate experience.
There are essentially three ways that AI can currently be introduced into the recruitment process and all are designed to augment it, cutting down administrative, repetitive tasks and increase productivity, freeing up time for more high-touch activity with candidates.
First, AI technology can be used for sourcing candidates, using an intelligent search to unearth passive candidates for a role by tracking down the best candidates based on their digital footprint. This could be using anything from their social media profiles, their work portfolios, memberships of professional bodies and interest groups, social media groups and so on. It’s about AI doing the ’search’ leg-work, widening the potential pool of candidates to review and reduce the time it takes to find those matching your criteria.
Second, using AI for screening candidate CV’s. This is often one of the most labour intensive, exhausting and frustrating tasks, particularly for high volume roles in areas like apprentices, graduates, retail or customer services. Using AI to intelligently filter CV’s based on the role criteria clearly makes sense, but when you add in the fact that the AI could ‘learn’ from your successful past hires, from publicly available sources of information like social media profiles, online activity, interest groups and so on to identify exactly what a ‘good’ candidate looks like, this could be an area that’s significantly improved with the technology. Introducing AI here could potentially save mountains of sifting time and, at the same time, remove any unconscious bias from screening and increase the quality and success of selected candidates.
Finally, there’s the opportunity of using AI for Candidate Matching. Any recruiter who uses their ATS to ‘talent pool’ could benefit hugely from this with AI finding the strongest candidates from within the pool and matching them against the specific role criteria at the touch of a button. Numerous areas could be matched including a candidate’s skill set, salary preferences, test scores or personality traits. And the opportunity doesn’t end there. Imagine being able to have AI look for your next potential senior hire by looking at all your current employees, their online profiles and aspirations and so on and you can see that the opportunities for managing succession planning and talent development by implementing AI is also quite exciting.
So, rather than fearing that this new technology might mean it’s time to find a new role, HR and Resourcing teams should embrace it, as not only is it likely to allow them to have more time to do what they’re best at i.e. making meaningful contact with candidates, but it’ll also potentially mean they have wider, more suitable and better screened candidates to bring into their organisations.
Scott McGougan - Client Services Director