The transformation of Human Resources is always a galvanizing undertaking for an HR team in a growing business, and now, recruiters are joining in on the action. Previously, HR transformation was focused on aligning the people, processes and technology of the organizations so as to create a rich employee experience. However, technological advances in cloud computing, (ATS) applicant tracking solutions, and digital business models have broadened that focus to include the Candidate Experience.

Still, often times, HR transformation means spending too much on too much of technology. Ingeniously conceived transformation plans end up only creating more red-tapism, multiplying processes, and sometimes, automation dysfunction. And, at EOD, another huge capital expenditure fails to bring about meaningful change, or create a candidate experience that funnels in top talent effectively.

None of this is to say that HR technology is a waste of money. Rather, businesses might be able to build better candidate experience by leveraging good applicant tracking solutions. A good solution might also succeed in freeing up resources that can be better applied to making your organization the one which candidates choose to engage with.

Conventional buying guidance leads to conventional results

For most businesses, deciding whether to implement a free or a paid applicant tracking system is determined by the number of users, and the processes to be managed. An Applicant Tracking System which is available for free is typically sufficient when the number of people using it are strictly limited to very few, quintessentially, none of whom is a full-time recruiter.

Similarly, if just a few hires are needed at any one time, or if hiring is normally done in succession, one role at a time, then a free solution will do. The reporting capabilities of most free applicant tracking systems, however, might not suffice for organizations.

The decision to purchase usually arises if several users across multiple business functions need regular access, or if multiple simultaneous hires are expected, or if in general, hiring is intended to be handled as a parallel process. Such businesses are also likely to need the reporting capabilities of a paid solution for compliance, measuring recruiting performance, and informing sourcing strategies.

HR transformation and software implementations are a power couple

They don’t have to be expensive dates. HR is often illustrated with making big software purchases in order to justify its existence, and then asked to make significant changes to the organization.

By adhering primarily to conventional buying guidance to determine which Applicant Tracking System to acquire, HR establishes yet another system to measure itself, and not business impact.

HR needs to break this cycle. One way to do so is to get more strategic about its ATS configuration, such that it helps recruiters contribute to results throughout the entire organization.

Below are four fundamental organization-level objectives that ATS software effects. Determining what portions HR can accomplish through its own resources, what ATS software can do, and what still needs to be acquired helps build a solid business case. More importantly, it sets the stage for authentic transformation, one that is enabled by technology, not defined by it.

Eliminate inefficiencies throughout the entire hiring funnel

Although organizational processes that are fundamentally cannot be fixed, and ATS can catalyze the much needed operational improvements. Common ones include standardizing workflows, eliminating unnecessary activities, creating clear ownership, and simplifying administrative tasks.

As with any software implementation, there is a learning curve, and consequently, improvements may not be visible until a few hiring cycles later. It is also common for new ATS software to conflict with existing recruiting workflows.

Fill in gaps

Gaps may be anything; incompetencies, processes, software functionality, or hiring performance. Whatever the gap, the big question for the organization is whether new ATS software will integrate smoothly with the people, processes, and technology of the existing system.

Expand the system

In this case, the organization must determine whether existing recruiting technology can scale in order to meet anticipated future needs, and what must happen to make it possible. This is not a trivial undertaking. Organizations often need to develop new competencies and manage conflicts with existing recruiting workflows.

Streamline the existing system

Usually precipitated by a major organizational change, or existing software reaching the end of its lifecycle, organizations periodically need to consolidate their software stacks. Maintaining adequate performance and employer branding are the most frequent challenges in this case.