A sector-by-sector review of tools and solutions.

By Brent Skinner 
Technology touches every space of the HR outsourcing and operations industry. And who better to give inside scoop on what trends are blazing the trail for the future in every sector of HRO than the top leaders in our annual Baker’s Dozen surveys? No one—that is why we tracked down a duo or trio of experts in learning, background screening, managed services programs, recruitment process outsourcing, recognition, relocation, and talent management. Insight abounds.
How are social media tools affecting the administration of on-the-job learning programs?
Raytheon Professional Services: By their very nature, social media channels typically support “informal” learning—meaning they are most often not tracked or reported in the learning management system (LMS). This creates several challenges for learning organizations. First, it makes it difficult to incorporate these channels into a blended learning solution when the topic requires tracking of completion status or is part of a certification or compliance path. Second, this lack of tracking and reporting makes it difficult to demonstrate return on investment for these types of learning channels using traditional metrics. Lastly, the user-generated content aspects of these channels are usually uncontrolled or unmonitored, which can result in the propagation of information that may contradict the messages relayed in the formal training. While these channels offer a great opportunity to extend learning beyond the formal training event, like any other blended delivery option, they have to be applied in the right way to be effective.
The Training Associates: Social media tools have earned their place as the prevalent means of informal learning. These tools (wikis, blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, etc.) are often used to find quick answers to specific learning questions from subject matter experts and aren’t generally meant to replace an entire curriculum. Also, learners need to be cautious as to the validity of the data being presented through social media, as not every contributor is a subject matter expert.
The issue of social media and how they are used has become a fundamental challenge for most organizations. The amount and extent of company oversight and tracking (versus allowing employees to self-govern) are issues that companies grapple with most often. Communities of practice can be monitored, but too much corporate oversight or tracking tends to stifle participation. The best way to overcome this is by creating employee governance to help actively monitor the community so as not to feel like corporate is performing that role. Tools such as Yammer provide companies with the ability to incorporate social media while at the same time keeping it within the confines of the company’s secured IT infrastructure.
In what ways is the new technological environment for learning less dependent on the traditional LMS? Or does a conventional LMS remain central to on-the-job learning?
Raytheon Professional Services: The new technology environment for learning has to support both formal and informal training delivery. For formal training delivery—instructor-led, web-based, and virtual classroom training—the LMS continues to play the prominent role. Because these delivery options tend to focus on “training” the user, the LMS allows learning organizations to track that the training occurred, assess their learners’ comprehension of the training, and report the results. Conversely, informal learning—mobile, social media, video-on-demand—relies less on the LMS because these delivery options tend to focus on providing information to the learner at his or her “point of need” for performance support.
The Training Associates: Organizations aren’t ready to throw out the conventional LMS just yet. Learning management systems are still the best tools for organizations to effectively manage learning in relation to business objectives, and for tracking training and education and identifying skill gaps in their employees. We are continuing to see LMS functionality evolve to better address learners’ needs for quick access to learning. The best learning organizations will take a holistic approach to learning by incorporating browser-based tools and platforms such as social media, SaaS (software–as-a-service), and UGC (user-generated content), into their training and development programs and learning systems.

Given the new technological tools available for learning and training, how can organizations best ensure that they remain compliant with government regulations that apply heavily to this aspect of the employee lifecycle? Are these requirements slowing technological advancement, accelerating it, or a little bit of both?
Raytheon Professional Services: Compliance with governmental regulations requires that training results be tracked and reported.
For formal training programs, this is most often accomplished using the LMS. If organizations wish to incorporate informal learning channels into these compliance programs, they will likely have to include these results in the LMS so that they can be reported along with the formal training results. Validating competency or knowledge transfer can include various elements: choosing a mobile learning platform that synchronizes courses completion and assessment results from the mobile device to the LMS, or using a formal assessment launched from the LMS to validate knowledge comprehension gained from an informal channel. In the end, the LMS still plays a major role in compliance tracking and reporting. This requirement doesn’t necessarily slow the technical advancement of informal tools, but it can certainly slow its adoption rate as a viable component of a technology solution in heavily regulated environments, or at least for curricula that requires compliance reporting.
The Training Associates: Companies whose business relies on compliance with government regulations need to carefully monitor, update, and disseminate this information to employees, as well as provide a means to track employee acknowledgement and understanding of existing, new, or updated regulations. This can be accomplished using a variety of assessment tools that can be housed within the LMS itself and tracked on a corporate level. This also provides for a legally defensible record should litigation ever arise requiring proof that the employee did receive training.

If you could name one shortcoming in human capital management (HCM) technology that hinders the relocation process, what would it be?

NEI Global Relocation: The ability to link a client’s HCM technology to our system to allow a feed of data relating to a relocating employee can be a great benefit. Being able to upload data from the HCM to our system saves time and avoids duplication of entry, which also reduces the risk of data entry errors. However, often times the data required to support a relocation or international assignment is not housed in the HCM, which means only a limited amount of valuable data can be uploaded electronically, with the bulk of the employee—and family—data still needing to be manually entered. We find the biggest shortcoming to be not HCM technology itself, but a limitation of available resources to support the integration of the technology into the relocation process.
Specifically, are you finding that the workforce management technology available today slows or complicates the relocation process?
NEI Global Relocation: No, we find that workforce management technology available today actually streamlines the relocation process. Our involvement with our client’s workforce management technology is often limited to payroll systems. Our systems have enough flexibility that we are able to adapt the interfaces with our client systems with minimal complication, often times expediting the process. It is important when working with a new client or updating the interface with an existing client to ensure that the structure, process, and timing for these feeds are thoroughly discussed to set proper expectations on the role to be played by both parties. Additionally, the technology we make available to our clients provides access to critical data and enhances the functionality they gain from their systems.
SIRVA: In relocation, today’s workforce technology simplifies and streamlines the mobility process and removes variability from what was historically a very manual process. With the right technology in place, repeatable, scalable, and measurable processes can be implemented—ensuring that manual intervention is an exception, not a common occurrence.
Relocation is a time in employees’ lives when they are most mobile, and they need technology that aligns with this lifestyle. Mobile technology can enhance each relocation, delivering an enriched experience far beyond the previous standard.
What kind of technologies best help employees remain connected and productive even as they are in the midst of relocating for their employers? Why?
NEI Global Relocation: We find that having a personal contact to rely on throughout a relocation or assignment continues to be the most critical “tool” to ensure the employee remains on task and productive. However, supporting this critical contact with a web portal and/or mobile app that provides current and constructive information and support tools further enhances the process for the employee. The demographic makeup of the typical relocating employee is changing, and the lines between working and leisure hours are becoming more blurred; it is important to ensure employees can access the data they need, when they need it.
Graebel Companies, Inc.: As capabilities within mobile devices have increased, the concept of “always in touch” has become a reality on a global scale. At any given step in the relocation process, an employee can be in contact with the employer or relocation consultant. Today, among the biggest changes that are taking place is the movement away from simple email and chat sessions to “just-in-time” video chats.

Imagine the scenario—a transferee has an issue with temporary accommodations overseas, but is able to have a live-video feed conversation with his or her consultant. Here, in real time, the employee can show the consultant the issue, and this in turn results in a much clearer understanding so that a solution can be found with the temporary living provider.
As mobile technology expands, a third caller can be added, or in this instance the provider, so that everyone—the transferee, provider, and consultant—can see first-hand the issue in “real time.” We anticipate that this form of communication will become as common as a text message, which will further enhance the quality of the conversation. In the end, transferees will benefit from a much more enriched experience, as they are never really “alone” in the move, no matter where their relocation might take them.
SIRVA: The role of technology is to lessen the administrative burden on the assignee. The most effective technologies are active, bringing the relocating employee into the process only when necessary.
A great example of active technology is location-based services. Tasks and actions can now be based not just on actual due dates or milestone dates, but where the employee is in the world. Relevant information and content can be brought to the forefront, while content not specific to that particular point in time and location can be filtered.
In addition, technology should be in place to track assignee sentiment to effectively gauge their mobility experience. While data might indicate that the employee is having a positive relocation experience, anecdotal sentiment can suggest otherwise. By tracking sentiment, a relocation provider captures a more in-depth analysis of each assignee’s experience and can act quickly to make necessary improvements.
When different providers within the same managed service program (MSP) use different tools for the same projects, how does that impact the MSP’s performance?
Randstad Sourceright: The structure of the MSP itself solves the potential issues of multiple tools, because the MSP typically works with the client through one vendor management system (VMS). That VMS tool is dictated by what is best for the client. So, the short answer is that suppliers within the same MSP will not be using different tools for the same projects, at least as far as the client can see.
The other side of the story is that different suppliers to the MSP might use different systems within their own organizations. That puts the burden on each supplier to work with the particular VMS used by the MSP. If a supplier’s internal systems do not integrate with the VMS, there is more work for the supplier to do.
A good MSP provider understands the importance of supplier relationships in an effective program. As MSP providers, we must keep our supply chain in mind when choosing a platform, and we must provide the most support and guidance possible to help the supplier use technology to most efficiently work with the MSP.
Staff Management | SMX: Our job as the MSP provider is to meet our clients’ goals. The possibility for providers within the same MSP to use different tools for the same projects allows for a customized approach. There are processes in place for the successful use of each tool, thus determining which solution works best for each supplier. This capability facilitates reaching the client objectives and positively impacts our role as an MSP.
Allegis Group Services: When there are multiple MSPs servicing a large organization, either with differing technology or with a single VMS solution, a few key challenges arise. For the most part, companies that are seeking an MSP solution are looking for an enterprise solution, and often the MSP deployment can act as a bridge between differing lines of business. There are scenarios such as extensive merger and acquisition activity, regional operating models, diverse labor categories (i.e., light industrial vs. professional), and autonomous business units that drive the selection of multiple solutions. One obvious challenge with these scenarios is the difficulty to achieve consistent process across the enterprise, which can be a frustration for both end users and centralized teams such as HR and procurement. It also can create a fragmented approach to the supply base, which will likely receive inconsistent feedback from different providers, and suppliers will need to use multiple technologies to manage their front- and back-office operations.
The second major gap is in achieving a true analytics view of the workforce. Because different MSP and VMS providers drive metrics slightly differently and with multiple tools, aggregating this data in a timely manner is a challenge. Even with a single tool where multiple MSP providers are in play, some of the tools do not provide a great partitioning of data, which is a security concern and ultimately dilutes the value of reporting.
Do you, as an MSP provider, try to infuse technological consistency into the model by requiring managed providers to use the same tools? Why or why not?
Randstad Sourceright: Consistency is a basic premise of MSP, and that consistency extends across processes and technology. With that in mind, suppliers of a particular staffing engagement are required to use the same technology platform for interacting with a customer. The suppliers participating in an MSP might have their own distinct systems internally, but when interacting with a customer through an MSP, they must work through the same platform.
A single platform provides universal visibility into workforce activity across all suppliers to a particular client. This ensures the most efficient use of contingent workforce suppliers. It helps the MSP provider maintain consistency of rates paid to meet staffing needs, provides visibility into talent supply and demand, and provides a clear view of potential issues and areas for improvement. If you don’t have a consistent model for managing suppliers, including processes and technology, you don’t have a true MSP.
Staff Management | SMX: We require our suppliers to use the VMS tools used by our clients to ensure a consistent format in the submissions and tracking of candidates. Suppliers can use any system they like for their internal purposes, but for interacting with our MSP, the VMS tools are required as the system of record to enhance efficiency.
Allegis Group Services: In general, AGS recommends an enterprise-wide solution, with a consistent technology solution. This approach minimizes client IT involvement in integrating with multiple applications, provides a common experience for end users and suppliers, and facilitates better analytics of the workforce.
How, if at all, do you integrate clients’ post-hire (e.g., onboarding, performance review) technologies with any pre-hire technologies (i.e., talent acquisition platforms) that you might use? If you don’t, why not?
PeopleScout: We work with our clients to integrate our applicant tracking system (or other applicant tracking systems) with their human resources information system (HRIS). The integrations we have designed and support transfer all the pertinent information on applicants who are converting over to hires. Once the information is transferred from the applicant tracking system (ATS) into the HRIS, it initiates the employee record, onboarding processes, provisioning, and payroll information. After the point of transfer, the HRIS becomes the system of record. Before the transfer point, the ATS is the system of record. In addition, we compile information from the HRIS with information from the ATS to improve the hiring information. For example, we would compile sales performance data with recruiting source data and candidate experience data. By doing this analysis, we could potentially identify the most effective sources for high performers or experience that may result in high performance.
Kenexa: In terms of recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), typically we have seen one of two engagements take place. The first is where Kenexa inherits all of the technologies associated with the current recruiting process. In that case, if there exists an onboarding portal or HRIS integration where the client wants us to handle all of the onboarding process up to the first day of employment, then we are granted access to both the ATS platform and the HRIS onboarding to facilitate the onboarding steps for a new hire.
With some clients, we are asked to process internal hires whereby we also need to validate the performance merits for internal hires to verify eligibility for consideration and would access the appropriate performance review platform. The second scenario exists where a client has engaged Kenexa for a new future state rollout of both technology and RPO services. Our objective then would be to design and implement a new future state process where we would use the Kenexa 2xB platform for the ATS, onboarding, and performance technologies. In most cases, Kenexa would still have an integration with a client’s HRIS platform as well.
Adecco RPO: All technology integrations have two components: process integration and the actual technical integration. The primary focal point is the process integration, which will help us to understand the value of the technical integration and establish requirements should a provider not already be in place. Technical integrations vary based on systems complexities and security requirements. We at Adecco RPO do not perform the integrations but work as project managers connecting the technology organizations and the appropriate client resources.

When a client uses a pre-hire technology (e.g., for employee assessment) that your firm does not, how do you integrate that into the process?
PeopleScout: We work in partnership with the client and the pre-hire technology service provider to design and implement an integration with our ATS. In our experience, most assessment providers have standard integration design that can be implemented quickly (two to four weeks). In the case of an assessment provider, the integration usually includes passing candidate authentication details to sign them into the assessment technology, and then real-time assessment results including the score and full report are transferred into the ATS.
Kenexa: Our approach is to work with each of our clients individually to determine the technology approach that best fits their needs. Often our clients seek RPO services that are enabled by their existing technology platforms—for example third-party ATS technology. If a client has an existing technology platform that he or she wishes to harness as part of the RPO program, we will generally use this platform as the system of record across the relationship, as opposed to establishing costly/timely integrations with our own in-house systems. For example, we maintain many successful RPO partnerships based on third-party ATS platforms such as Taleo, Virtual Edge, PeopleSoft, SAP, etc. Rather than leveraging a separate/in-house ATS and merging data through costly/timely integrations, members of our client-specific recruiting teams work within the client’s third-party platform directly to manage requisition flow, provide updates on candidate status, and drive reporting. This approach provides the client with the following benefits:

• Increased visibility, as data entered into the system by our recruiting staff is immediately available to client hiring managers/HR team members.
• Client end users are able to work within a technology platform with which they are already familiar, driving greater user acceptance.
• Reduced costs, with no additional licensing or maintenance fees associated with an additional platform.
• Quicker implementation, with no need for timely/complex integrations.
The same approach applies to assessment technology. If the client wishes to use existing/third-party assessment technology as part of the RPO program, we will directly incorporate this technology into the partnership, as opposed to harnessing our own in-house tools. Our client-specific team will provide candidates with the information required to access/undergo such assessments, then ensure assessment results are provided to the hiring manager to drive candidate selection.
Adecco RPO: Many of our clients use technologies that are not part of our technology stack, so the first thing we do is make sure we understand the functionality and desired results from the use of the technology. Once we have a clear understanding, we integrate it into the process by redesigning the current process flow, establish any potential technology integrations, and update our metrics reporting. Once the redesigned process has been agreed to, we begin the communication and training elements to ensure that the integration occurs as smoothly as possible. As we use the technology and review the related metrics, we gain a better understanding of the nuances of the technology and make minor process adjustments accordingly.

Is there an urgent need to unify under one platform your sourcing activities with clients’ efforts to do the same? Is the integration important further along in the process of acquiring talent or at the ATS stage?
PeopleScout: Having a unified platform for sourcing activities does provide a clean solution. However, multiple platforms can be used in a complementary or integrated way. In our experience, the most important thing to keep in the forefront is the candidate experience in viewing sourcing content and moving into the application process. All of the technology tools that support the sourcing and application processes need to have full and consistent client branding as well as seamless connections when moving from one platform to another. The end result will be an informative and easy process for the candidate that communicates client culture and value proposition while smoothly guiding the applicant through the process.
Kenexa: In general, we have found that creating a single system of record across the client organization is a best practice. For example, if the client currently uses Taleo to drive the talent acquisition process and is satisfied with this technology, we would recommend harnessing this same platform as part of the RPO program—with both client hiring managers and Kenexa’s client-specific team working within the same Taleo system.

We generally do not advocate using more than one ATS across a client organization. This approach ensures that end users are not required to access multiple/disparate systems to facilitate hires within the RPO program and outside. Further, it allows the client to drive consolidated reporting across RPO hires and hires that are driven by in-house resources. Such reporting can be used to support workforce forecasting and budgeting efforts, as well as overall areas for efficiency improvement and cost savings.
Adecco RPO: We have client agreements in which we handle all candidate sourcing, and we also have agreements in which our clients handle all sourcing, but we do not have instances where we and our clients are sourcing for the same requirement; so, by default all sourcing activities occur in a single platform. The urgency lies in legal and regulatory compliance, and as such, in instances where we are using a different ATS than our clients for certain requisitions, we make sure that the application process and forms are identical so that regulatory reporting can easily be joined together.


Does employee engagement start with recognition or with something else? Or, are there multiple entryways to commence a successful effort to engage employees?
BI Worldwide: Employee engagement is an outcome of a good recognition strategy, but it is not the only thing that causes employee engagement. Engagement is ultimately a result of good management, and recognition is something every manager should make a priority. More than ever, great managing is a matter of having a strong understanding of each unique individual and knowing their abilities, their aspirations, and how they work best. Employers also need to give work meaning. Employees want to be a part of something bigger than just a job and a paycheck. Meaning drives higher performance, and recognition allows a manager to acknowledge the accomplishments that are in alignment with the strategies and mission of the organization.
Inspirus: Employee engagement and the elements that contribute to it are defined differently by everyone, including the top research firms. There are, however, some common themes or drivers:

• Pride in the company
• Nature of the job
• Trust and integrity
• Line of sight (between employee performance and company performance)
• Leadership—relationship with manager
• Relationships with coworkers and team members
All of the above elements are connected to how an employee experiences his or her relationship with the company. Workforce recognition and appreciation programs are tools that can affect each and every aspect. For example, an employee’s perspective could be represented as:
• Pride in the company—We follow through on our promises to customers and value our people by recognizing the great work they do.
• Nature of the job—I feel good about the work I do; it’s challenging and I am regularly acknowledged for what I am able to accomplish.
• Trust and integrity—Leadership walks the talk when they say “…people are our most important asset”; I am regularly rewarded for results and appreciated for daily effort.
• Line of sight—I know how my role and responsibilities affect the bottom line of the company. What I do each day matters and I am rewarded for hitting goals on a quarterly basis.
• Leadership—Relationship with manager: I regularly receive feedback from my manager. She provides coaching to help me improve my performance, immediate positive reinforcement for things I do right, and recognition for results I have achieved.
• Relationships with coworkers and team members—We are encouraged to spend time building relationships across the organization. I know my team members are looking out for me. In fact, we have a peer-to-peer recognition program and some of my most memorable recognition moments are those I received from my team members.
No matter where you start, a successful effort to engage your employees can be advanced with workforce recognition.
MTM Recognition: Employee engagement begins with a number of factors including the employee’s relationship with his or her supervisor and his or her loyalty to the organization and its mission, vision, goals, and brand. Recognition is an important element in building these relationships. An employee recognition program should be an integral part of the communication and reinforcement of the organization’s brand and message by incorporating these elements into every aspect of the recognition program—from the initial announcement of the program, to the presentation, to the uniqueness of the ultimate award itself. Each of these moments should be memory markers that build the employee’s relationship and engagement with the organization.
What is customers’ receptivity to incorporating employee recognition technologies into the mix? Is this an uphill battle or an intuitive sell?
BI Worldwide: Customers are very receptive to allowing recognition technologies into the mix. The technologies allow customers to consolidate strategies, communicate to all employees very quickly, post best practices, and effectively onboard employees. There are so many administrative advantages to incorporating technology as a way to deliver on the overall strategy that it is fairly easy to “sell” customers on the benefits of incorporating technology.
Inspirus: Most large companies realize intuitively that they need an infrastructure and technology to manage a portfolio of workforce recognition programs. The challenge is understanding all the pieces and parts required to make the initiative successful.
Whether it’s companies not knowing everything that is involved, or a marketplace that tries to make it all sound “simple and easy,” there is a tendency to oversimplify the effort it takes in terms of investment, resources, and time to manage. The technology is important and should be selected based on program workflows, desired features, and robust reporting. To realize the value of workforce recognition, companies must understand the importance of a successful implementation. Inspirus offers various pieces of advice to prospective clients:

• Invest in well-designed programs, plans for effective (and sustained) communications, broad education around recognition concepts, programs, and tools. Integrate into other aspects of the business such as talent management, compensation, and other key initiatives.
• Allocate resources for visible leadership sponsorship, project management, and cross-functional team support.
• Take the time to build a road map, “go slow to go fast,” and reevaluate and adjust as needed.
MTM Recognition: Customers understand that the most valuable and effective recognition programs are based on a single platform to leverage a consistent message and theme reinforcing the organization’s mission, vision, goals, and brand. This single platform also adds value by tracking, reporting, and publishing award events and awardees for multilocation organizations. The single platform also allows for more effective budget management of a comprehensive awards strategy. These technologies reduce administrative burdens on often over-burdened HR departments while still providing a custom program and message.
How are you balancing clients’ demands with the legal protections for a job candidate’s use of social media?
Universal Background Screening: While the FTC has commented that social media checks might fall under the jurisdiction of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), it seems that many employers are taking a cautious approach given limited case law in this area. So much of the information contained in social media can be considered subjective, and definitive identity matching can prove difficult. Most employers I’ve spoken with on this topic have avoided adding it to their company’s screening program at the current time. Instead, their focus has been to expand the scope of existing background checks, such as searching on “aka” and alias names, adding multi-jurisdictional criminal databases to supplement state and county checks, or expanding the use of employer and reference checks.
FirstPoint Background Screening Resources: Balancing the potential employer’s need to conduct a full and complete background check on a potential new employee who the employer will be inviting into his or her workplace while still protecting the applicant’s rights can be done. The key is that all parties are up front in their expectations. The potential employer should make the candidate aware that a full background check will be completed, whichincludes a social media check. The employer should have the applicant sign a consent form that includes all of the disclosures required by law and that clearly states that part of the background screening process will include a social media check. The applicant should be honest about anything in his or her past that an employer might find, and offer an explanation up front as to the circumstances. My experience is that many applicants who do not receive employment due to findings from the background check are disqualified not because of what was found on the background check itself, but because they tried to hide or were not honest about the information discovered. Most employers understand that no one is perfect even when conducting social media screening. It’s the attempt to hide or not be honest in the process that causes them problems.
SecurTest: Our clients and SecurTest do not investigate the social media of applicants. Several states have made such investigations illegal. Second, how does an employer access the content of social media as to its relevance to the position or prediction of future job-related performance? Our counsel to clients is to focus on objective behavior versus the applicant’s social commentary.
Are you seeing any weaving of screening technologies into the architecture of larger end-to-end talent acquisition platforms? If so, to what extent is this occurring and why?
Universal Background Screening: We have seen “integrated” background screening become more and more popular with our clients, as part of an end-to-end talent acquisition solution. Universal works with many talent acquisition platforms as an integrated partner to provide these services to employers, who are looking to streamline the process. Our clients who have deployed these integrated solutions have reported a more efficient, accurate, and timely screening process.
FirstPoint Background Screening Resources: Over the past years, we did notice that a background screening company’s ability to interface with a client’s talent acquisition system was an important component of the decision to partner with a background screening company. Efficiency became the priority sometimes even over quality of the finished product. Lately though, what we have noticed is the ability to interface is not as important as it once was. Quality of the final product, along with strong customer service support, have once again risen to the top of a company’s requirements. Companies have recognized that no amount of speed or efficiency gains can equal the quality of the report or the support behind the report companies need when they call. No matter the technology, quality and service always rise back to the top over time.
SecurTest: No. Clients are focused on savings or reducing costs. The need for a seamless interface between our background screening reports and summaries is required for many platforms, but this has been the case for years.
Is your firm itself looking to expand its technology beyond screening, to create an in-house developed talent acquisition platform of some sort? Or is screening such a complicated effort that it needs to be a provider’s sole focus?
Universal Background Screening: Universal has taken the approach to partner with talent acquisition technology providers, rather than develop an in-house software product. With so many applicant tracking solutions available in the market today, and many of them tailored to the particular needs of the employer based on size or industry, we have found the partnership approach to be successful for us, our clients, and the talent acquisition software providers.
FirstPoint Background Screening Resources:We are constantly listening to our clients and paying attention to the market to see the direction of where we need to invest our technology dollars, as well as our product development efforts and continued growth in customer service. The background screening profession is a three-legged stool, and all three legs need to be equally solid for the stool to stand the strongest; technology, quality product, and client support make up the legs of that stool. We are constantly researching and investing in how to further strengthen each leg so that our clients have the strongest program possible that yields the results that expect.
SecurTest: SecurTest has and is expanding its iReviewNow technology to allow consumers and clients to use this patented compliance technology. iReviewNow allows the consumer to see his report contemporaneously with the employer, identify and report inaccuracies, dispute the report, provide context to derogatory information by giving his side of what happened, and, importantly, explain what he has done since the conviction or incident to improve himself or steps taken toward rehabilitation. This area is the most important advancement in background screening due to the new Equal Employment Office Commission (EEOC) guidance, FCRA regulations, and mounting class-action lawsuits against background screening providers. It provides a technological solution to compliance, keeps the client out of court, and mitigates, if not eliminates, damages to the consumer. It makes the applicant or employee part of the background screening process by providing transparency, accuracy, and fairness. This system cannot be duplicated, as patent and intellectual property law provides powerful protections against infringement.
This expensive technology advancement is being licensed to other background screening providers, which places our industry at the forefront of solving questions of accuracy and fairness.

The biggest concerns, questions, and solutions being sought by our industry and clients are the growing class-action lawsuits, FCRA, and EEOC regulations, and how to provide accurate background screening.

What aspects of the employee life cycle do you see driving growth and innovation in talent management technologies today?
• Social—Social activity will deliver informal information to support talent decisions. In addition, employee-driven data will enable employers to harvest more data from employees, particularly their needs, wants, and desires.
• Analytics—big data, fusing information from the different processes across the talent life cycle to build insight. This will enable employers to source valuable CRM information from candidates, in order to more fully understand their behaviors and how to engage more effectively with passive candidates.
• Mobile—talent management on the move, with more talent management processes mobile-enabled, fitting the way people work and the way they prefer to engage with digital content.
myStaffingPro: Talent management system buyers are demanding that the technologies they purchase provide real ROI. Buyers want to reduce costs and/or increase efficiencies. Specifically, in the recruiting world, buyers are beginning to look at the talent acquisition system as something more than an electronic filing cabinet. They are looking for tools that decrease the manual/transactional processes that are part of the recruiting job. Users of these products expect these systems to provide true process automation, and in turn, increase efficiencies and lower costs.
In light of merger-and-acquisition (M&A) activity this past year, do you see talent management (and the development of technology for it) surviving as an individually identified area of discipline? Why or why not?
Lumesse: The talent management marketplace still has some way to go to reach maturity for penetration of market. The innovation driving the industry therefore continues to be a key requirement as offerings such as social and mobile evolve—and evolve fast. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) suppliers have never shown leadership in this area, and it is the ability to respond to changes in talent management that will give organizations an edge over their competitors in attracting and developing talent. For this reason, we believe once these recent acquisitions are assimilated into their broader organizations, their Achilles’ heel will be an inability to compete and deliver this agile approach, leaving the way open for those organizations closer to customers and their challenges.
myStaffingPro: With all the M&A activity, it seems that everyone is moving toward a “suite” approach to HCM. Those companies that own the suites will definitely make an argument that all of your HCM products should be bundled into that suite. While this approach might be adequate for some buyers, the single vendor approach ignores the following:

• The suite vendors tend to have one or two functional areas that could be considered “best of breed,” with the balance being average at best. Companies that purchase the suite of HCM products might be relegated to using second-rate products in some functional areas.
• Many of the HCM suites are not truly integrated. It is rare that the HCM suite consists of all organically developed integrated components. In many cases, the suite has been completed by purchasing a product. It is often years before these products become truly integrated into the suite.
• The niche vendor tends to be more innovative and nimble.

The suites might be slow to pick up on new technologies and innovations.
In addition to the above points, we believe that recruiting will continue to be a technology that survives (and thrives) outside of the HCM suite because of various factors:

• The integration of HCM is easier with recruiting than any other functional area. While every other functional area needs to connect to employees, recruiting is more focused on applicants. The most important integration is the conversion of the applicant to an employee at the time of hire—a relatively easy integration.
• The user interface (UI) for recruiting is typically not accessed by all employees (unlike learning, performance, etc.). The tight integration (and similar look/feel) of the UI with other HCM functions is not a “must have” for users.
• The recruiting ecosystem is vast—job boards, background checking,
assessments, drug screens, CRM, social media, etc. It will be difficult for the suite vendors to keep up with the dynamic nature of this environment. The niche providers are better positioned for this.

Where do you see talent management and workforce management complementing each other and why? How can technology facilitate these synergies for better employee engagement and retention?
Lumesse: To harness the full value of an employee base, you need to look at the complete picture. By broadening talent management to the full employee base through more social tools, and knitting it together with data from workforce management—including workforce planning—companies can start to predict their talent requirements and prepare more effectively for the future. It is becoming more important to be agile and capable of planning for an uncertain future. Talent management can provide data on skills, succession, performance, etc., and by combining this insight with data on churn, cost, demand, and head count. Businesses are more capable of understanding the talent levers they can pull across their enterprises. Companies are also beginning to realize that the old approach to talent management is not driving adoption and aiding retention. The top-down approach is being flipped to bottom-up, as companies realize that engagement with employees will drive performance and retention, and provide a more predictable employee base to grow their business.

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