Applicant tracking system

Five Steps You Should Consider Before Implementing a New ATS or CRM

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Last week, I wrote about the fundamental questions you must answer before starting the change management process when it comes to switching ATS, CRM or HRIS systems.  Once you have those questions answered and you have the support of your organization’s executives, you are ready to start.

Now hold on Speed Racer, it’s not that easy.  I promise you. You have multiple players in various positions and locations. There are many moving parts – IT connectivity, integration with other systems, and experience.

Your goal as the Project Leader or Sponsor is to make sure you have the right people who will not only support you but also be a “champion of change and the new technology” throughout the entire implementation and launch process. Let us take a look at six key steps you will need to ensure the success of your project.  Keep in mind the steps below are very high level and will need to be explored in depth depending on the size of your organization.  Always remember to keep the result in mind as well as who you are doing this for and why.

To keep it easy, let us say that your company is a medium-sized logistics organization implementing a new Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

Step1: Determine your “champions of change” for the new system.  The key to your success hinges upon this.l.  Why?  You can have your Executive Team support and the Board’s support, but in the end, they are not the people using the new system on an everyday basis like your Operational and Corporate Hiring Managers.  Corporate Hiring Managers would be those who generally have openings like Accounting, Finance, IT, Procurement, etc.  On the operations side, find General Managers, Directors of Operations, Transportation Directors who will assist you in converting the “naysayers” (more to come on this). In my experience, Office Managers were heavily involved in the process so I would include them as well.

Step 2: Determine the Primary and Secondary Project Players.  You have listed out your “Change Champions,” now it is time to come up with the team that will take the new technology for implementation.  Your project team should fall into two groups – Primary players who are accountable for a specific aspect of the application.  Secondary players are those people who help more behind the scenes.  

Your primary users would be: Top recruiters who understand the process, are creative, and who are change champions, at least one hiring manager from each facility, IT Project Manager, and your IT Implementation Manager.  These are the players you will be relying on the most to ensure the success of your ATS implementation.  Each will play a vital role, and as the project manager, you will need to hold them accountable for deadlines.

Secondary Project Players are generally going to be other recruiters, Operational and Corporate hiring managers who are champions, but their role will be more on the testing side as different portals are complete in production (before going live).  Consider them as an extension of your Quality Assurance Team. Other secondary team members could be someone from marketing, creative and your copyright team is. Their responsibility would be working on the assets and copy for your career website and internal as well as external portals. 

Secondary projects members need to be ready to move up to a primary spot especially when what they are working on are front and center depending on where you are in your project plan.

Step 3: Communicate progress to all stakeholders once implementation begins.  Possible communications could be through Town Hall events, e-blasts,  weekly or monthly meetings. Knowing something creates comfort whether the news is good or bad. The more you communicate with your key stakeholders about where you are in the implementation process, the quicker you build trust.  Building rapport will reduce the amount of “naysayers” when it comes time to go live.

Step 4: Conduct user testing with specific stakeholders throughout the implementation including hiring managers and those candidates who recently joined the company.  You may ask why we should consider them? Well,  new hires understand the current candidate experience.  They will not only be open and upfront about how different the apply process is, but also make suggestions that you didn’t think about. the

Step 5: Develop training with the end user’s involvement.  Recruiting and Learning teams tend to use their jargon.  Not a good idea. Get your champions involved in the storyboarding and let your Learning & Development group make it pretty. Speak in your stakeholder's language that they are accustomed to hearing that will reduce the amount of confusion. Hold multiple training opportunities at least twice a day to accommodate employees in a different time zone. Be sure to record your sessions and then post the best session on your internal resource page. You may also want to deliver training to champion’s first, so they can be your advocate when the resisters begin pushing back.

Using these five steps will help get you started as you build out your implementation plan.  How you and your team implement a new system are so important.  Implementations always have high visibility at all levels.  Having a detailed project plan will guarantee your success.

Let me know if you would add anything to this list.  Contact me if you would like a copy of implementation plans I have used in the past.

 

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About Michael Goldberg: Michael is an experienced Talent Acquisition Leader with 15 years of recruiting experience in Operations, Logistics, Distribution, Non-profit, Sales, and Event Management.  His organization, The Recruiting Concierge, provides executive search and talent acquisition advisory services to organizations.  He has led useful implementations on multiple CRM, ATS and Video Interviewing platforms with several $1B companies. Visit his website to learn more about his success turning underperforming recruiting departments to highly functioning recruiting teams.

Four Questions You Must Ask when Implementing New Technology

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Once organizations go live with a new Technology whether in Operations, HR, IT or Accounting the excitement is all there – new system, better than what they had before, better data, etc.  However, most companies do not think about a change management process until rumblings about the new system start to bubble up.

Let’s start with the obvious:

It is about addressing your customer’s needs and making technology easier for your external customers and internal clients (employees using the new technology).

Here’s a shocker - Not everyone will be happy with the change. While they are initially not happy, it will be up to the person leading the change process to turn them around.  I will address the “how-to” in converting the non-believers.

Be honest when explaining how the change will take place.  Honesty in the change process goes a long way. 

Manage expectations with all stakeholders BEFORE you start the implementation process.

Never Stop Communicating around the project’s progress, changes in expectations or system functionality and potential delays.  The more open you are, the less the number of surprises arise and easier facilitation of change

Below are some tips for all project managers and executive sponsors as you plan or about to implement new and innovative technology that will help you be more efficient. 

Tim Creasy of Prosci says, “To position change management as a priority, you have to start first with what senior leaders and project leaders care about: achieving organizational benefits and project objectives. With these five questions you will change the conversation from “What resources do we need for change management?” to “What resources do we need to capture the 50%, 80%, or 100% of our project’s objectives that depend on people?”

So where do we start?

The key to ensuring your change management process starts off on the right foot is by asking the following four questions to your stakeholders, preferably BEFORE you begin.  For the sake of consistency, let us say you are changing Applicant Tracking Systems.

Why is the change necessary?  The current tool was not able to keep up with the demand for new positions and integrate with other tools – HRIS, Background Check, Drug Vendor, and Assessments.  Everything today is completed by paper and need to automate. Our goal is to attract/source/process candidates quickly than we do today so you can make better hiring decisions and have new hires start sooner rather than later.

Why is the change happening now?  We needed to implement sooner rather than later to keep up with the demand for new positions, and this is the best time to implement before you get into your busy season.

What is wrong with what we are doing today? There is nothing specifically wrong, but we want to have integrated systems to assist hiring managers in managing our candidates with an improved candidate experience, allows for better process flow and we can onboard them using one tool.  Also, HR can manage learning, employee information, performance and compensation in one system that will help you track your employees without having to go to multiple systems.

What happens if we don’t change now? Our ability to recruiter more efficiently will cause us to lose candidates and continue to create more administrative work. More importantly, it will take us longer to get you candidates which delays you (the hiring manager) in finding the best candidate.

Notice that the answers to those questions benefit the stakeholder.  Your answers place hiring managers (in this case) at ease because you are considering their needs as well as yours.  While there are plenty of questions needed to be answered, these four questions are key in starting the change management process around new technology discussions. 

So you have put your people first by asking the right questions.  Hopefully, you have the answers you need to identify your “change champions” who in turn will help you turn resisters into believers.

Implementing new HR Technology?  Contact Michael about the key steps you need to take during the technology-related change management process?

About Michael Goldberg:  Michael is an experienced Talent Acquisition Leader with 15 years of recruiting experience in Operations, Logistics, Distribution, Non-profit, Sales, and Event Management.  His organization, The Recruiting Concierge, provides executive search and talent acquisition advisory services to organizations.  He has led effective implementations on multiple CRM, ATS and Video Interviewing platforms with several $1B companies. Visit his website to learn more about his success turning underperforming recruiting departments to highly functioning recruiting teams or contact Michael to discuss how he can help your team.

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